Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
— Leonardo da Vinci
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacher”
“Winning Requires The Will To PREPare To Win!”
– the wise words of a great basketball coach
I would hate to be a pre-law student today trying to choose the best LSAT prep books, or trying to decide on an LSAT preparation course. There is a dizzying array of options available. When it comes to LSAT preparation you need to both:
– be prepared; and
– feel that you are prepared.
Welcome To The Following Principles of “LSAT Reality”.
First, the LSAT is a test of reading and reasoning. Nothing more and nothing less. That makes the LSAT either hard or easy depending on how well you read and reason. When you read LSAT questions you must focus on two things:
(1) What are you being told (conclusion, main point or rule in Logic Games)?
(2) What is the reason/justification/supporting information for that main point?
Second, the LSAT is a standardized multiple choice test. This means that your primary goal is to identify answers to questions. This may or not include actually understanding the answer (you will have some blind guesses) and will certainly include varying degrees of understanding the answer (sometimes you will select a choice only because you believe it is better than another choice). The bottom line is that if used to your advantage:
Multiple Choice Is Your Friend!
Third, the identification of answers is a process of making a decision about which answer choice to select. Therefore, LSAT preparation is about how to make better decisions.
Fourth, people differ greatly in how they make they decisions. Some people are slow, deliberate, contemplative and require lots of information. Others are more comfortable making decisions by using a smaller amount of information they consider to be more important. Your style of LSAT preparation should reflect your style of decision making.
Fifth, you will not be able to change the person you are. Hence, you need to learn to make better LSAT decisions in the context of your particular style of decision making. You must learn to make decisions that are compatible with your particular conative connection.
Sixth, the LSAT is a severely timed test. Almost all test takers must make decisions under severe time pressure. This means that LSAT answers are chosen in the context of some uncertainty. The LSAT experience requires that you learn to make decisions more quickly without sacrificing too much accuracy.
Seventh, all LSAT questions require that the test taker understand WHAT LSAT is telling you and WHY (the reason for it). If you focus on these two issues you will always be pointed in the direction of the answer.
Eighth, anything that interferes with your ability to understand what LSAT is telling you will hurt your performance. The vast majority of LSAT books and LSAT preparation courses focus on categorizing LSAT questions. The more you are categorizing LSAT questions the less you will be paying attention to the “What” and the “Why” of the argument. People are different. That said, the process of categorizing LSAT questions – if it becomes an end in itself – is harmful to many test takers. I recommend categorizing questions only if you have clear evidence that it will actually help you. Your job is to answer LSAT questions, not discuss them at social events. (A high LSAT score will NOT make you popular – and might actually hurt your social life.) It’s one thing to know that there are categories of questions. It’s quite another to categorize questions before answering them.
Ninth, bearing in mind that your job is to understand the “what” and the “why”, your job is to: Simply, Simplify, Simplify. Separate the “LSAT Clutter” from the information that matters. The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Tenth, when it comes to LSAT – less is more. When it comes to reasoning with LSAT information:
“The smaller the step, the bigger the result”.
Eleventh, a great football coach said that:
“Winning Isn’t Everything, It’s The Only Thing”.
When it comes to LSAT:
“Time Isn’t Everything, It’s The Only Thing”.
During the LSAT there will be a lot that you don’t know, but there is also a lot that you do know. Make sure that you concentrate on what you do know!
Finally, a low LSAT score will hurt you more than a high LSAT score will help you. Hence, your goal should be to score high enough so that a law school will not reject you because of your LSAT score.
“Success Favors The PREPared Mind!“
Copyright © 2011 John Richardson. All Rights Reserved.