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Random Act of Acing the LSAT

LSAT studying

I may sound like an old(er) lady before my time, but sometimes I just can’t understand the slang of the kids these days! Is “cray” the same as “crazy”? Something “sick” can be a good thing, while someone sick is decidedly not good… huh? And “random”: the kids seem to use it to describe anything unfavorable (e.g., “sucks”), but in my day (there I go again), something random was unexpected, unforeseen. Random could be good or bad or just a way to pick lottery numbers, but it always a toss-up.

As a Kaplan LSAT instructor, I hear potential test takers describe the test as random, complaining that it “doesn’t mean anything” and shrugging that they will just “take a guess and see what happens.” But, again, at the risk of sounding like a grouchy granny, the LSAT is anything but random, sonny! It tests the specific skills that law schools look for in successful candidates (to-be-successful graduates and, later, successful attorneys) in strategic, time-tested ways. The LSAT is meticulously researched, designed, and test-run in sample groups to ensure that it is airtight: only a handful of questions have been recalled in the last couple of decades, and those were statistically analyzed to exhaustion.

So, instead of throwing their hands up and dismissing the LSAT as random, test takers should meet strategy with strategy. Consider the end game:  if the test is measuring the reading, analysis, and reasoning skills necessary to thrive in law school and legal practice, you should answer each question with an eye toward those desired skills.  Always consider “Why am I being tested?” and rise to that challenge by reading carefully, paying attention to detail, sticking to the scope of the problem, and following the path of logic.

Kaplan’s strategic, proven LSAT methods walk you through these practices step-by-step, enabling you to identify correct answers confidently and efficiently- there’s nothing random about learning, practicing, applying, and benefitting from a system that works! Instead of taking a chance, Kaplan students take charge of their test and their future in law.

Lindsey Plyler

About Lindsey Plyler

Before I became an LSAT teacher and tutor, I prepped with Kaplan myself! Now, in addition to my own great experience, I am privileged to be a part of hundreds of students' success stories with Kaplan. I hold a BA in anthropology from Wellesley College and am currently pursuing my own law degree at Stetson University. When I'm not teaching and tutoring, my hobby is trying new restaurants, so I have also recently started training to run my first 5k!

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  • Baddabing

    It would be good form to descibe what the LSAT’s real name is so that we don’t require a decoder ring.  This is usually done in the first paragaph.

    • AJ

      If you don’t know what the LSAT is before you come to this blog, then what are you doing here?

      • Diae

        Sorry, didn’t see this post before I wrote the above. Ya got that right AJ!

    • Loreebee

       If you don’t know what it stands for, you’d probably never be taking it  😉

      • Diane

        Amen Loreebee, Amen!

    • Aksana Primakov

      the LSAT’s real name is Fred

    • Diane

      If you do not know what LSAT stands for you shouldn’t be reading this blog lol

  • TransplantedTexan

    Back in the day (early 1970’s) when I took the LSAT, it was based upon 800 point system like the SATs at the time. A couple of days before the test I came down with a bad case of the flu. I felt so bad I almost blew it off. At the last minute I decided to go ahead and take the test, use as “practice” and then take it again “for real” when I felt better. The day of the test my temperature was 101, every joint in my body ached and my nose was dripping like a leaky faucet. The proctor took mercy on me (after asking if I really felt like taking the test) and let me keep a box of kleenex in the room (after checking it very carefully). I took the test and finished every section in less than the time allotted. I didn’t spend a lot of time agonizing over answers. I just read the information and answered the question with what seemed, on first impression, to be the best answer. Then I just put my head down awaited for the next part to start. All I wanted to do was get home and go to bed. Needless to say, I was more than surprised (and ecstatic) when I got the results back and found I had scored in the top 2 percentile. I learned something about myself that day that I have used the experience to my benefit every since. First, that my analytical skills were pretty good so I ought to trust them (go with my gut instinct) and, second, don’t overanalyze and put unnecessary pressure on yourself. In addition to being sick the day I took the test, I was probably as unfocused and relaxed taking the test as I had been in my life. The lesson is don’t be your own worst enemy – focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

    • Jack M

      Similar situation, plus add the fact that there was  a driving rainstorm and a 70 mile trip at dawn. By the time I sat down, still tired and soaking wet-no parking spaces nearby-I just wanted to get it over with and go to sleep. Scored in the top top 6% in the country…in those days, I think it was more important than college grades, since I was accepted to Virginia, Harvard, Notre Dame, Boston College, Fordham, and Georgetown (off campus only for Georgetown!), yet only had a 72.3% overall GPA in college. I left after the first year-have regretted it ever since. Though successful, always think what could have been in the legal profession-something you can do until death, since it is your brain that carries you through. Same analysis as Transplanted Texan-trust your gut feelings…always wanted to be a lawyer but got impatient to get on with life and close up shop on schooling. You only go around once, so think carefully before abandoning ship impulsively. As Danny Thomas used to say: “…coulda, woulda, shoulda”.

    • Diane

      Excellent life story/lesson in there Texan. Either way you did an amazing job! Makes you wonder, the less stress the better you’ll do? Will have to try technique one day during practice, a few times, then compare results! Top 2% :)

      • Jack

        Mrs. Diane- you are such a lovely encourager. :)

  • Zardoz

    Sorry, Reading Comp is the only part of the test with real world applicability to legal education or the practice of law.

    Neither analytical nor logical reasoning apply to the law, legal education, or lawyers.

    • ohatty

      I disagree, first of all, the most important skill in lawyering is having the chutzpah to stand up and make an argument, especially under cicumstances where your “game plan” has long since gone out the window. The LSAT doesn’t test that, and the people who would do it best will  never see the inside of a law school. I spend a lot of time drafting appeals and find creating those arguments reminds me of studying the logical reasoning questions on the LSAT. The analytical part, I wasn’t good at, which is why I only scored 82nd percentile. As they say: “The “A” students will become law professors; the “B” students will become judges; the “C” students will become filthy rich.”

      • TransplantedTexan

        I was always told “If you can’t argue the law, argue the facts…if you can’t argue the facts, argue the law…and if you can’t argue the facts or the law, just argue!”

  • Michael Marr

    I have no idea how I passed the LSAT, the bar exam or got those guys out of prison on appeal.  I just keep guessing.

    • ohatty

      Your comment proves beyond any doubt that you are in fact an attorney…and an inspiration to us all.

    • jay

      that makes no sense ~ LSAT isn’t pass/fail

  • Steeewwwwie

    Stetson University?  Lol!  If you knew anything about acing the LSAT you wouldn’t be at that TTT

    • Diane

      Stetson may be the closest law school to her house. Many of us LSAT takers, students, etc, already have a family, career, own a house. We are settled into our lives, we just want MORE! However, kids graduating in ’13, moving home from a dorm room back to their parents basement may have the flexibility to choose a law school across the Country. Steeeewwwwie, if I were you, one should be happy they were admitted to law school, period!
      Congrats Lindsey! I plan to attend Stetson as well. There’s not a very large selection here on the west coast of Florida, Tampa area.
      Maybe we can meet and chat one day when I’m up at school! Head up! Great jon and blog!

  • Jeff Grotke

    the truth is that the LSAT is often the opposite of what an attorney does. In my practice I take complicated issues and boil them down to simple problems. The LSAT is about taking mundane situations, contrived to be complex, and sort them out.Typically, it is something like scheduling a recital based on the strange demands of all the players…A real attorney knows you tell all those idiots to shut up, remind them you are billing them $300 an hour, and ask them if they really want to pay that much for you to decide if the Obo player goes before the string player..

  • B25shooter

    To the extent that the LSAT seeks to measure the “skills” necessary to become or be an attorney, I disagree.  The LSAT is nothing more than a lawn tool for getting rid of weeds.  Of the four LSAT sections, I scored perfect on three, and missed a few on the fourth section.  I found lawschool to be about who-knows-who, and I have found the legal profession to be much the same – to a crippling degree.  I taught for Kaplan, but quit because they AREN’T interested in teaching you how to excel, just how to “improve” your score.  But, if you walk in getting 65% correct, and they can show you how to get 70% correct, they see that as a significant improvement.  It is not.  If this somehow has not disuaded you from being an attorney or a law student, then at least go with a program that teaches SKILLS (like logic) rather than one that teaches… “if you really don’t know, always choose ‘c’ because of the odds.”

  • stephen k

    What a useless article.

  • Ericyg

    “it’s” always a toss up…or it always was a toss up.

    “it always a toss up” needs to be edited.

  • Joe Porinchak

    LSAT prep? Load a crap. Never took any “prep” course. Went in cold. Took the test. Got into law school. Graduated. Don’t waste your money on prep. If you can put two sentences together, you’re in. You want something tough? Try engineering as your undergrad….that was tough.

  • unfortunatelylawstudent

    I don’t mean to be a dick, but how do you consider going to Stetson a “success story”? I had never heard of it but Googled and discovered its not ranked. I am not judging, I go to a pretty mediocre law school myself, but I don’t go around telling people I am an expert at LSAT preparation. I actually don’t even tell people I’m in law school. No point admitting that failure in judgement.

    • Diane

      It’s not what YOU consider a success story, it’s her success story. Maybe she is an LSAT expert and chose Stestson bc they gave her a full paid scholarship, school is close to her home, etc.
      If you people have nothing of importance to say/write then do something productive with your time! Like go read a book!

  • Vinnie

    Good luck at joining the job market Lindsey. I can see you’ve got a much better shot than the other 50,000 newly minted lawyers vying for the 1000 new openings.

    • Diane

      Lindsey will find work if she lives in Florida. If not, shoot me a message,, my husband worked for the State for 20 years, retired @ 42. He has many friends throughout the State. Jeb Bush is his FB friend! I mean Jeb (whom he was Chief of JJ under). If you need assistance, I am here.
      Good luck and feel free to send Craig Chown a friend request on LinkedIn. :)