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…

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Predictions for the Impending June LSAT

So here we are again – three days out from the June LSAT. Stress abounds, rumors spread like wildfire, and personal hygiene has all but been abandoned. Of course, this also means that it is time for me to make some predictions. Wouldn’t it be great to know what form the ugly beast was going

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The Truth, the Whole Truth, and…Lying on the LSAT

While working through a particularly difficult slew of questions with my lovely class the other night, I noticed a few things. First, nothing gets a crowd pumped like a discussion of fractal geometry. Second, and more pertinent to our discussion here, students have a hard time knowing when they should question the truth of different claims made on the LSAT.

After some spirited discussion intertwined with some personal insults, we came around to one big distinction. There are facts, and then there is everything else.

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Comparative Statements on the LSAT

If Sally is better looking than Margaret, you can’t infer that Sally is good looking.  She could easily resemble Shrek and still be better looking than Margaret.  However, you also can’t conclude that Margaret looks like a wildebeast.  Margaret might be the second best looking Victoria’s Secret model.  Right behind Sally, of course.

If Walter receives a better grade on his biology exam than he did on his calculus exam, he could have received an A+, a C, or an F.  The general population generally believes that rocky road ice cream tastes better than broccoli, but does that mean that everyone loves rocky road ice cream?  Not necessarily.

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LSAT Logic Games: Choosing 2 of 3

If you are studying for the LSAT, you are probably tiring of hearing your instructor yell at you over and over again about deductions. “Look for deductions. Find those deductions. Deduce, you damned fool.”

There are good intentions behind such sentiments, but noting specific and repetitive deductions can be much more helpful. There is one deduction in particular that has come up on a number of recent tests and it will be the subject of this week’s post.

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A Frustrating New Type of Question on Logic Games

By its very nature, the Logic Games section of the LSAT is very frightening for students. When acceptance to the law school of your dreams rides on your ability to decipher whether Lucita is accompanied by Ms. Margoles or Ms. Podorski, stress is sure to follow.

The worst thing the test makers can do is pile stress on top of this, and yet that’s what they frequently do. The latest incarnation: a new type of question.

Students get very comfortable, as they are studying, with the common types of questions in games:

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Tackling the Early Issues with Reading Comprehension

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.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks: LSAT Sufficiency & Necessity

It’s been a while.  Life at Blueprint has been pretty busy, resulting in my extended hiatus from the blog.  But it’s good to be back.
First, let me reintroduce myself.  Riley.  UCLA grad.  Co-owner of Blueprint.  Scored 176 or higher four times on the LSAT.  Taught more LSAT students in the last six years than anyone in the universe (I think).  Unfortunately nicknamed the LSAT Ninja.
Great, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk LSAT.  I recently started teaching a course gearing up for the June LSAT.  In the hopes of aiding my team (as well as all of the other LSAT students out there), I will be authoring weekly blog posts with LSAT tips.
This week: sufficient and necessary.
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December 2010 LSAT Predictions

As the resident Miss Cleo of Blueprint, it is incumbent upon me to gaze into a nonexistent crystal ball and, somehow, magically foresee what will appear on the impending LSAT.  So here goes again…

1.    The curve will be easier than a limbo showdown with Yao Ming.

I gotta go with recent trends on this one.  From 2004 through 2007, I made a habit of warning potential lawyers about the tightening curve.  However, for whatever reason, that trend has reversed in the last two years.

Halloween Costume Idea: An LSAT Student

I am bad at Halloween.  You see, I always have a number of decent costume ideas, but I’m sorely lacking in the execution arena.  Generally, I end up searching through the back of my closet for random remnants left over from my college years.  A pink boa?  Sure.  Skin-tight, blue snakeskin shirt?  Why not.  And a tutu to top things off?  Done.  I normally end up looking like I recently escaped from a mental institution.

If you are in the midst of studying for the LSAT right now, I would imagine that you are in a similar position.  You just don’t have the time to piece together a good costume when you’re trying to diagram an “unless” statement.

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Predictions for the October LSAT

I learned a couple important things this week.  First, in my constant quest to keep up with the slang used by the students in my class, I was instructed that it is a very bad thing to “spill your haterade”.  Or it might have been bad to pour it on someone.  But either way, you have to be careful with haterade.  (Thanks, Wu-Tang.)

Second, and more important for our discussion here, I learned yet again that LSAT students are very interested in figuring out what is going to be tested on the LSAT before they actually take the test.  There is no empirical way to discern exactly what is going to be tested (otherwise I would own a small island in the Caribbean by now), but the issue warrants some conversation nonetheless.