Rod Hits the Friendly Skies…39 days until the LSAT

BPPdixie-lsat-blog-flyingHello fellow June 2010 LSAT test-takers (and to all of you curious October LSAT test takers…I see you). We are getting closer to test day, as all of you know who are familiar with the concept of time. This last week, I took a 4-day trip to New York to visit some of my good college buddies. The trip had been booked a couple months in advance, and was strategically placed far enough from test day so I could actually enjoy myself in the Big Apple. I had not seen some of these friends in the almost two years since our graduation in 2008 from, we’ll call it, um…. “SchmEmory” University. I knew what was likely in store and was not going to delude myself into thinking I would get much studying done once my plane touched down.

Fully aware that these 4 days would be devoid of any actual LSAT instruction, I preemptively completed Lessons 8 and 9 using Blueprint: The Movie. (A great resource that can be yours with 3 easy payments of $99.99! Call a representative at 888-4-BP-PREP today!…Seriously though, it’s great). My first goal was to complete the homework for these two lessons while I was actually in the air. My second goal was to try and keep the LSAT in mind while I was down in the Manhattan trenches. Easy enough — let’s go!

A lady friend dropped me off at LAX, armed with my rolling luggage and my BP Prep textbook. All I was missing was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox. Passing through security and boarding my plane, I prayed to the Gods of Airplane Seating Assignments (a very specific denomination) that I would have an aisle seat, and that I would have some room to get good and logical with my Lesson 8 homework in peace. As we all know, the LAX to JFK flight was overbooked. I always wonder how they manage to get away with this. I mean, what kind of excuse can they give their customers about overbooking the plane? “I’m sorry sir, we simply did not count the amount of seats on the plane. We have a monkey in a diaper that we keep in a special room, and when he pulls the giant lever, that’s when we stop selling tickets.”

Luckily, it appeared that my airline, which I will call Schmelta Airlines, had never heard of the LSAT. Instead of setting up an In and Out grouping game with interdependent rules about who could fly and who would be left behind, they simply told four disgruntled Frenchmen with over-sized luggage that they would have to catch the next flight out. This is a logic game that I think we can all get behind. God Bless America. The airplane deities had shined on me so far, but the biggest battle lay ahead — seating assignments. I always like to see if the emergency row is available before I get on the plane, so I walked up to the very friendly stewardess (airline attendant?) at the front desk:

“Hi there. I think you should let me sit in one of the seats in the Emergency Row. You see, being 6’3”, I would be more appreciative of the extra legroom than most of the other passengers. In addition, I am constantly in a heightened state of awareness and I perform superbly in crisis situations. If anything goes down, I will defend this plane’s honor like Van Damme in Bloodsport, or Macgyver.”

Rod’s claim that he “will defend the plane’s honor like Van Damme in Bloodsport” plays which one of the following roles in the argument?

(A) It is cited as evidence that only tall passengers should be permitted to sit in the Exit Row.
(B) It summarizes the position that the argument is trying to discredit.
(C) It is an assumption which the argument fully depends on
(D) It is the main conclusion of the argument
(E) It is one of the premises offered in support of the position being advanced.

The friendly flight attendant picked apart my argument, ironically with Macgyver-esque precision (Answer: E). I was ready to proceed to my assigned seat.

Seven seats, seat 1 through seat 7, must be assigned to exactly seven passengers. Four of the passengers are very husky and three of the passengers are svelte. Two of the passengers are loud, and five are quiet. The seating assignment must conform to the following rules:
— The two loud passengers sit in consecutive seats
— No two svelte passengers can sit in consecutive seats

With this extremely fundamental game setup, you get the picture…(If you don’t, it’s time to start over with Lesson 1). I shook-off my unfortunate seating assignment and cracked open my homework. The truth is, the cramped, close quarters in the coach section of a Boeing 747 will be good practice for test day…think training for a tennis match with weights in your shoes. This comparison fits perfectly if you are able to view heavy tennis shoes as analogous to a surly, 350-lb insurance salesman who smelled like Glenlivet and who could not stop laughing at the in-flight entertainment — and I can.

All in all, Lessons 8 and 9 went well. There is no doubt that the back-to-back Parallel / Parallel Flaw homework sections were tiring, and probably took the same time as it took for my plane to fly over Utah and Colorado, but they were certainly helpful practice in breaking down argument structure. My speed in Reading Comp sections is also improving quite a bit. For me, there are fairly large discrepancies in difficulty between passages. In each section, there always seems to be one passage that takes me only about 4-5 minutes to get through and answer all the questions with accuracy. There also always seems to be one passage where I want to used that “banked time”, and it takes me about 9-10 minutes to get through with accuracy. This is why I like (“like”) to practice Reading Comp with full sections on actual LSATs.

Anyway, I arrived in New York, worried sick about some of my fraternity brothers who majored in Business/Finance, expecting to find them cleaning windows amid the wake of the “financial crisis.” By the looks of some of their apartments, it appears that they are doing A-OK thanks to Uncle Sam. I guess if they can spend 65-75 hours each week trading V.I.X. volatility securities and Greek collateral-debt obligations, I can suck it up and study my ass off for the next 6 weeks.

Let me know how everyone’s doing out there! See you next time…

– Rod

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