Travels with Advise-In Solutions (and a Little Reflection on the LSAT)

Last Thursday, March 18, I participated in an LSAT forum of major LSAT prep companies held by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.  Attendees other than Advise-In Solutions were sales representatives from Kaplan, Princeton Review and Test Masters, a Pittsburgh-area instructor from PowerScore and Knewton (by remote access).

Advise-In Solutions will participate in a similar forum organized by the UCLA Pre-Law Society on April 8, so if you’re a UCLA student, please make plans to attend.  I’ll be there, too.  I don’t delegate forums, LSAT preparation or Advise-In’s other consulting services to sales representatives or others (it’s why we only accept 15 clients per LSAT cycle).  When you hire an advisor—any advisor, whether a lawyer, an accountant or other professional—it’s very important to know who will actually deliver the services.  We’re a “who you see is who you get” company.

Back to Pittsburgh:  First, I want to extend their thanks to Dean Joseph Devine, Carnegie Mellon’s pre-law advisor, for his (and his staff’s) hospitality and effort in organizing the event.  It’s a valuable service to students to give them an opportunity to evaluate companies and their personnel “up close and personal.”  I was also very pleased to talk with Carnegie Mellon students after the forum; typically, I was enjoying myself so much that I was the last one to leave.

The topics were wide-ranging, from a basic description of the LSAT, what various people think it measures, and why and how law schools use it in their admissions decisions.  Advise-In takes a very pragmatic approach to these issues.  The debates around the LSAT (is it an IQ test in disguise, does it predict law school performance, does it predict an ability to practice law, etc.?) don’t matter for prospective takers.  I like a scholarly debate as much as anybody (ok, maybe not quite as much), but as long as law schools keep using the LSAT as a (not the only) crucial factor in their admissions and merit-aid decisions, those disputes are irrelevant to law school applicants.

Here are some things that the LSAT (incontrovertibly) does measure:

  • Your ability to adapt to a certain style of thought.  If the LSAT’s thought-style isn’t instinctive for you, you will have to make it so.  (By the way, its not being second nature doesn’t mean you can’t do very, very well.  It wasn’t second nature for me, either, and I still got a perfect 180.)
  • Your ability to make complex choices less complex—quickly.  Your preparation should be focused on simplicity, which will increase your accuracy and your efficiency.  See our blog post, “Three Keys to Success on the LSAT: Simplify, Simplify and Simplify.”
  • Your calm and composure under pressure.  Extra energy, including any panic or frustration, increases your error rate and makes you less efficient.
  • Your ability to focus in spite of the distractions that you’ll inevitably encounter on exam day.
  • Your endurance and ability to keep constant focus during a long exam day.

Some of those are matters of “understanding” and others are questions of “test-taking.”  They’re related, of course, but also partly independent.  To get your highest LSAT score, you’ll need to focus equally on both.  For additional information on some of these issues, visit our website and download a copy of our free white paper, “Five Key Reasons LSAT Takers Fail to Achieve Their Highest Score.”  You can worry about the higher-brow theories of what the LSAT may or may not measure after you take it; until then, it might be better to just prepare for it.

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on March 28, 2010.

One Response to “Travels with Advise-In Solutions (and a Little Reflection on the LSAT)”

  1. […] LSAT program the way I do.  I’ve talked about this in our free white paper and in blogposts and presentations. Advise-In emphasizes exam day from the start and develops easy-to-use techniques customized for […]

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