Matt Riley

My name is Matt but most people call me Riley.  In case you were wondering, I didn’t come up with the name LSAT Ninja.  I was not blessed with many talents in life, including coming up with clever names for blogs.  However, roughly seven years ago I discovered that I have an uncanny ability to solve word puzzles quickly and accurately.  In other words, my only real talent is the LSAT.

After receiving a 179 on my first LSAT in 2002, I went down the normal road and applied to law school.  I decided to turn down schools like Harvard and NYU and started teaching the LSAT (I know, my mom didn’t quite understand, either).  Then I kept teaching the LSAT, and kept doing it some more.  Now I am one of the owners of Blueprint and I still teach the LSAT.  I probably know every question that has ever been featured on the test, including the one about monkeys and teats, as well as male sage grouse air sacs.  Let's just say neither topic makes for a great pickup line.

So I am here as the “LSAT Ninja” to help you with your own LSAT adventure.  Most test prep companies keep this stuff under lock and key, but my idea is to liberate LSAT prep information.  I will discuss the experience of taking the LSAT, tips and strategies for doing well, and even a foolproof strategy for getting lucky with that cute guy or gal at your testing center.  I have a head for numbers so there will be lots of stats, charts and graphs and hopefully some spirited debate about the importance of such things.  It’s gonna be great.  I hope you enjoy…

Make Quantified Logic on the LSAT Easier By Simplifying It

During Blueprint LSAT Prep courses, few subjects are more vexing for students than quantified logic. Shoot, it even sounds scary.

But it doesn’t have to be.

On every LSAT, there are a handful of Logical Reasoning questions that test a student’s ability to combine all, most, some, and no statements. The problem is that there are a number of combinations that the LSAT can throw in your direction, and memorizing all of these combinations is reminiscent of calculus class (also know as the reason you are going to law school in the first place).

Good news: When broken down, there are really only two principles that define the valid and invalid conclusions that can be drawn from quantified statements.

Matt Riley’s October 2012 LSAT Predictions

It’s that time of year again. The LSAT countdown is on. 72 hours. 71 hours. 70 hours. 69 hours…

There are thousands of students around the country who are filled with anxiety about this Saturday’s LSAT. And, as always, there are thousands of students who would love to know what is going to appear on it.

That’s where I come in.

Over the last few years, I have made various predictions about upcoming LSAT administrations. Some rather obvious, some utterly ridiculous, some right on the nose.

With the October LSAT three days away, here we go again.

Predictions for the February 2012 LSAT

Just like that, the February LSAT is upon us. Rumors abound before each test administration, but there’s something especially dark and mysterious about the February test. It’s not released. Students get a score yet no explanation of how they fared. You know that empty feeling that you get when a girl doesn’t call you back after your first date? You thought it went well. You know she doesn’t agree. But you have no explanation for why. That’s the February LSAT.

In my circumstance, however, the February LSAT is an amazing gift. I get to make predictions about a test that will never see the light of day. If I predict that more than a handful of Logical Reasoning questions will investigate the relationship between kitty litter and global warming, no one can prove me wrong. If I claim that mapping games will make a triumphant return, any evidence to the contrary will never surface. I have never felt such freedom.

Predictions for the December 2011 LSAT

Here we go again. As the tryptophan-induced daze wears off, LSAT students are faced with a brutal reality. The December LSAT is just two days away.

At this point, studying is rather pointless. In fact, relying on those good old “cramming” techniques that got you through freshman biology would be counterproductive in the final days. So what can we offer you for guidance at this point?

Semi-outlandish predictions about what will appear on the December LSAT, that’s what.

1. Experimenting with the Experimental

For years, nay, for decades, the experimental (unscored) section of the test has been one of the first three sections.

Turkey Day LSAT Exercises

If you are studying for the quickly approaching December LSAT, you have probably reached a level of temporary insanity by this point. It is likely that you are accusing your significant other of committing fallacies during your intimate moments, you are having dreams in which you are actually one of the players in a game, and you are anticipating the primary purpose of each US Weekly article that you read at the gym. The good news is that you might be able to use this as a defense if you commit a crime in the next ten days. On the negative side, you are starting to smell pretty bad and your friends are avoiding your calls.

But screw it, I say we amp it up a notch. Let’s bring the LSAT to Thanksgiving.

Matt Riley’s October 2011 LSAT Predictions (With Parakeets!)

It’s time for another look into the crystal ball of logic. There’s an LSAT going down in roughly 48 hours. I have a bad habit of making predictions about impending LSAT administrations, so I figured I would give it another shot.

I have been making predictions for a couple years, with surprising accuracy. It all got really out of hand with what has been coined the “honeybee debacle.” In the middle of one of my old LSAT blog posts (one of my favorites, by the way), I made a joke about honeybees coming up during a Reading Comp passage. And then, right near the end of the third passage, what did we see? Freaking honeybees. Weird.

So here we go:

Maintaining Your Study Plan as the October LSAT Looms

In the wild and crazy life of an LSAT instructor, the month of September is the wildest and craziest time of all. You are probably picturing raging all-night parties filled with voluptuous video vixens and Crystal flying everywhere. (For the most part, you’re right, except substitute freaked out LSAT students and dry erase markers.)

With three weeks to go until the October LSAT, it’s important that students utilize the remaining time the best way possible. However, there always seems to be a lot of different theories about what defines the best way possible.

After working with thousands of LSAT students over the last decade, I think I have gotten a pretty good idea of what works.

How to Stack Up in LSAT Reading Comprehension

As my class for the October LSAT progresses, I am running into a common enemy: Reading Comprehension.

For some reason I will never understand, students do not always enjoy practicing their Reading Comprehension skills. Even when I explain to them that a good score in this section will inevitably lead to a deep understanding of the hidden mysteries of the universe and a better-looking spouse in the future, I just do not see the determination in their eyes.

All joking aside, acing the Reading Comp on the LSAT is very important and, with good practice, very possible. Too many students stumble along and don’t really improve because of a lack of good practice in this area.

I very often find that students are bad at diagnosing their own problems.

Getting Started: Early Issues with Reading Comp

During the last few lessons I’ve spent with my current class (whom I love unconditionally), a few issues have arisen as we worked through Reading Comprehension passages. The culmination was the moment when I was asked the following question:

“If I don’t understand the words, what should I do?”

You might assume that there is no answer to such a question, but you would be wrong. Over the years of teaching the LSAT, I have found that there is an answer to every question, a solution to every problem that students confront.

So here are a few tips that deserve repeating.

Carmegeddon: What to do? Study.

All of you are undoubtedly aware of this Carmageddon thing. In LA, there’s always traffic. But this weekend, we have decided to really screw ourselves. The 405 (better known as “concrete hell” to all those who frequent it) will be shut down this weekend.

If you don’t live in Los Angeles, it might be hard to comprehend exactly how dependent people are on their automobiles. This will have far-reaching implications. What are all the douchebags to do if they can’t drive their Porsche around trying to pick up chicks? How in the world will people get to the Whole Foods that is ½ mile away from home? And what’s a weekend if you can’t valet at least 14 times?