Thinking Like the LSAT: Understand, Don’t Argue

I recently received a very thoughtful response to an earlier post about making the LSAT more complicated than it needs to be:

  • As a 33-year old, studying for the LSAT was tough for me because of my analytical, presumptive way of thinking. The Analytical Section is easy [many might disagree, but no matter]. The LR section, not so easy because I have a tendency to fill in the gaps (with Assumption questions) without realizing I’m doing it. I can also rationalize why any assumption answer could be right. The hard part was training myself to think like the test makers. Once I aligned my way of thinking with theirs, the test has gotten easier. We’ll see come December.
    JR  October 25, 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank JR for this comment, and for such a candid and excellent reminder that when it comes to the content side of the LSAT (test-taking is another, and very important, matter), the single most important factor in LSAT success is learning to think the way the writers of the test think.

Does that sound impossible? Well, it’s not, because the writers of the LSAT think in a very consistent and very specific way. Besides, it’s absolutely necessary for the simple reason that most people don’t instinctively think the way the writers of the test do.

This is one reason I ask my clients to analyze each of the errors that they make in their practice tests and additional daily exercises. It’s not “busywork”– I review those analyses carefully, all with an eye to conforming the way each client is thinking with the way the test writers think.

I know this is vital because I had to do it myself, and in that way I understand exactly what JR is going through. Remember: the test writers are always right. There is no room for explaining, or arguing, or justifying, or persuading the testmakers that your answer is just as valid. So why do we keep thinking we should? One major reason I got a perfect score the one time I took the test was because I finally contained my natural tendency (and I do have it!) to argue my position, and instead to believe–and not just say but really believe, in my gut–“You know what? These people are the LSAT experts and I’m not, and they’re better at this than I am. So, on this question, what makes them right and me wrong?” That was a huge step forward for me.

So, don’t argue with the test writers. Learn to think like them. (You can argue all through your legal career afterward.)

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on November 15, 2013.

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