Studying with Victoria: End of Summer, LSAT in Sight

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“Officially,” the summer is over. Fear not, for LSAT prep goes on. Hopefully, you all enjoyed your long weekends and took advantage of the last of the summer days to do some logic games in the sun. I went back to LA for the weekend and after carefully weighing the options on which books to pack (sorry, German, but Blueprint wins), took in the sights and too much sun at the Los Angeles County Fair, where, apparently, anything that can be eaten is either on a stick or deep fried. I also did some LSAT homework because surely no holiday weekend is complete without resolving the apparent discrepancies in some statement about kidney stones. I sincerely wish I were joking.

But like I said, LSAT prep goes on and Tuesday’s class saw the last day of new material for us. Those “must be true” and “most strongly supported” questions might seem far away, but they made a glorious comeback with Principle questions—those niggling buggers that have been cropping up all over your practice LSATs, wreaking havoc with your sanity and scores. Or maybe that was just me. Yet there’s good reason to cover them last simply because they reinforce the skills learned for dealing with just about every other logical reasoning question type. Overall, the principle questions don’t seem incredibly daunting as most of the class tackled them with relative ease.

We also covered everybody’s favorite sixth and un-scored section of the LSAT: the writing sample. Yes, even after four scored sections, one experimental section, and the slowest moving person in the world being assigned as your test proctor, you’re still not finished. Like captcha codes on some internet sites, you need to prove that you’re not some logic crunching robot programmed by hours of prep class but instead a human being capable of writing a logical argument at least at the fifth grade level. “Fifth grade level,” I hear you say incredulously, “but I’ve been churning out masterpieces for my humanities major since I was a freshman!” That’s all well and good, but four plus hours of grueling testing are probably going to reduce you and your writing to mental lows you didn’t know you could reach.

Luckily, essay writing has been ingrained in us since probably before the fifth grade and the ability to produce a simple argumentative essay is like second nature. We’re given a single prompt that puts forward two equal courses of action and it is our job to put forth a case for one of those options. After spending too long being at logic’s mercy, it’s finally your chance to generate some logic on your own! Apparently, both of the courses of action are set up to be pretty much equal, so it doesn’t matter which one you pick. Flip a coin or play eeny-meeny-meiny-mo or something. Probably the latter because I don’t know if you can put coins in your LSAT-approved Ziploc test-day baggy. But the best part of writing the essay? Getting to reinterpret weaknesses in the claims as strengths! My nerdy little heart is doing a happy dance because this is probably going to be the most fun I’ll have on the LSAT. Make of that what you will.

One month to go, guys. It’s hard to believe the end is in sight. I know I’ve said it before, but even if you’re freaking out and trying to cram in as much study time as possible, remember to make time for you. Forcing yourself to study is like beating your head against a brick wall: you’re not doing yourself any good and unless you’re Superman, that brick wall is still standing. I’m finding this to be especially important now that school is getting into full swing again. Attending lecture is not an acceptable break from LSAT prep, nor is practicing logic games a good way to take a break from class. Dust off those free reading books you’ve been meaning to get to, find a treadmill, or pick up the game controller. Everything will still be there when you get back, but at least you’ll be in a better state of mind.

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