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Messages - Jeffort

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Need advice- slumping before June
« on: May 28, 2013, 06:26:06 PM »
Hi all,
I took my first diagnostic test a couple months ago and scored a 166. I've been taking practice test after practice test (no course, just me), and slowly (with a few bumps along the way), worked up to an average of about 175. I one time even hit 178! But 3 of my last 4 tests have been around 169. I'm very frustrated by this slump and really nervous since June is coming up. What do you guys think- should I push through the slump, keep taking tests, and go for it in June? Should I take time off and take the October test? Take some time off and still try for June? I'm going to be busy all summer so I'd like to not have this weighing over my head if I don't have to, but I really want to do the best I can - and I know I'm capable of upper 170s. Please let me know your thoughts on last-minute slumps!

Sounds like it might be a little bit of burnout plus the extra stress with the reality that the test is now only two weeks away. 

You need to relax a bit to get back to your previous mental state you had when scoring in the high 170s.  Take a day or two off and do something stress reducing, then come back to the test.  The only thing that has changed since your highest scores is your state of mind, not the test, so you obviously have the ability and just need to get back to unstressed, calm and more focused.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Highlighters and LSAT
« on: March 18, 2013, 06:59:05 PM »

So the question is, will LSAC permit you to bring only a highlighter or can you bring more than one and use more than one at a time? For example, pink is main main conclusion, organge is evidence, green is opinion.

I will go further than Jeffort (and against the grain of nearly the entire educational establishment) to say that if you've fallen into the habit of highlighting, you are wasting your time and talent. 

If one could look at a law classroom from above, one will see a rainbow of highlighted passages . . . and nearly none of the highlight-happy souls will have a clue as to the deeper meaning of what it is they've so earnestly highlighted.

The LSAC testers are interested in logical ability, not in some mechanical aptitude.  Put away the highlighters.  Put away even a single highlighter.  Take several dozen exams, under real-world conditions, and then take a few dozen more.  And a few dozen after that.

Sorry to seem even a bit rude, but that's the take from at least one corner.  Highlighting (and, in the classroom, note-taking) are not just silly, they are a distraction from what you really do need to be doing.


I 100% agree.  Going nutzo with highlighters is not helpful. 

When I started LS I got a good laugh at some classmates during first semester.  There were people in the class that went overboard with multiple highlighter colors.  They made every page of the casebooks look like rainbow bright was the student taking notes.  It was amusing looking at their books since they would end up having almost everything on each page highlighted with various colors all over the page.  It made no sense to help focus on particular pieces as being more important than others since eventually everything would be highlighted.  I asked one classmate if the highlighting was helping and she said no because it was confusing, but that it made her feel good while doing it because the page would be colorful and look friendly rather than intimidating.

So, don't highlight, do think and analyze carefully, and get a coloring book for fun when not studying to put the highlighters to good use.


Studying for the LSAT / Re: Highlighters and LSAT
« on: March 16, 2013, 05:44:15 PM »

So the question is, will LSAC permit you to bring only a highlighter or can you bring more than one and use more than one at a time? For example, pink is main main conclusion, organge is evidence, green is opinion.

The LSAC description of items allowed in the test room says "a highlighter" in singular rather than plural "highlighters" form whereas it says "pencils" rather than "a pencil", so it follows that the rules limit you to one highlighter.  There are multicolor all in one highlighters available at office supply stores so you can have one that you just twist or whatever to select a color.  I think using multiple colors to highlight is a bad idea because it will slow you down and over complicate things on test day.  The time pressure is rigorous, making it difficult for many people to finish the sections within the allotted time.  Spending mental power and analysis time deciding which color to highlight things will detract from the amount of time you have available for quality analysis to accurately solve as many questions as possible in the allotted time. Just use either one color or come up with a simple set of notations you can make in pencil to differentiate important portions of the test questions.



Studying for the LSAT / Re: how to read faster and faster...
« on: April 06, 2012, 08:11:17 PM »

This topic RE: ESL students was recently discussed somewhat in this thread:

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Sincere Inquiry from a Starter
« on: April 06, 2012, 03:13:03 PM »
Logical hole- child porn conviction = bad person = bad at LSAT prep = you better person = you good at LAST prep = go pay for your services.

You can't use logic then say, "think about it as a parent"- emotional generalization. Arg.

To Catch A Predator was wrong on so many levels. Are you really using that to infer (note not deduce) how the world is?

I'm not saying child porn is good, just that its unrelated to your criticism without unacceptable generalization.

If you say to me: Hitler was a cannibal. And I say, Nope he was a vegetarian.  Am I defending Hitler by pointing out you are wrong on the facts.   Holocaust murderer does not = cannibal.

"Character" is so wild and varying a concept as to not exist.  There are people that think Hitler had "good character".

Your logical hole chain at the top is not what I have said. 

I never said that because he is a sex offender deviant he doesn't know how to teach/tutor the LSAT, that was never an issue. He could know the test very well, IDK.  Also, I'm not in competition with the guy.  You made the same false assumption somebody on TLS did.  I'm not a rival tutor competing with him for business from students.  He is on the east coast, I'm on the west coast almost 4000 miles away.

I'm not overgeneralizing.  It's been proven time and time again that almost all deviant sex offenders, especially ones with sexual desires towards children/underage adolescents re-offend even after having been caught before and knowing the serious consequences they face if caught again.  Many quality research studies have concluded, based on using sound statistical methods and data, interviews with convicts, etc., that almost all pedophilia type sex offenders have committed the crimes many times before getting caught and busted the first time, and continue to commit the crimes many times again after first conviction. 

It's not a wild generalization to assume that there is a high probability that a caught and convicted pedophilia type sex offender will be tempted to and do it again.  This isn't the type of crime a person that is willing to and intentionally does it commits just once. 

Would you believe a defense such as "oh golly your honor, I had bad judgment that day and made the mistake of seeking and obtaining child porn just to see what it was like on a whim and happened to get caught with it that one and only time.  Sorry, never done it before, I promise I'll never do it again." ??

That type of defense/position goes against known facts and reality.  It's probably pretty hard to find child porn given that it is illegal and morally repugnant, so a person would have to intentionally put in effort and affirmative actions to obtain it in the first place with specific intent and a desire to want it and get it, then would have to have done something bad to be detected and caught by law enforcement with it. 

My question about if you are a parent is not an emotional generalization, it's about risk assessment and protecting a child/young impressionable person from potential danger/risky circumstances. 

Since the guy had the urge to do it and did it at least once in a way that he got caught and convicted for, it's logical to assume there is a level of probability that he will do it again given the opportunity. 

Many pedophiles and sexual predators seek out positions of authority where they have access to young people, such as being a teacher, where they are supposed to be trusted by the younger person and the student is expected to be obedient to the adult.  The perverts that do this sometimes exploit that power/authority role over young people to have their way with one or some of them for gratification of their deviant urges. 

The logical quality and credibility of your reasoning and positions are seriously put in doubt by your statement about the concept of character (acceptable moral character is what we are talking about), being so wild as to not exist.  It does exist and there are widely established and agreed upon by society moral standards that relate to character.  Sure there are some behaviors that people disagree about in terms of whether it is of good or bad moral character, such as smoking pot, but there are many acts and behaviors fairly universally agreed upon to be of bad moral character by civilized society, one of them being pedophilia.   

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Sincere Inquiry from a Starter
« on: April 05, 2012, 11:46:28 AM »
Meh, Those kind of wild generalizations is what's really wrong with America.  Sadly, the majority of people will relate to you void of the obvious logical holes.  Come on man, you're an LSAT tutor, you have to understand where I'm coming from.

Please explain again how his child porn case is in any way connected with the LSAT. Put another way, say you were using his sexual preferences or desires to make a global "character" based decision that connects unrelated things- like say condemning someone for gay sex used to determine if the person is good at math.

P.S. I am not condoning child porn.  Keep heart, I cannot win this argument either.  I'd have just a difficult time trying to explain how the mid east invasions are crusades (just replace "Christianity" with "democracy" and everything else fits, but now you see democracy is sacrosanct- which frickin strengthens the argument- arg).  Regardless of truth, you can't tell people thing the don't want to hear.  People want to think you can take a small piece of info and use the powers of induction to understand everything about a person, its stupid but its human.

I disagree that I made any wild generalizations.  Please point out the logical holes you see. 

We are not discussing a closed universe LSAT LR argument where you can only reason in and infer things from the few sentences presented and are not allowed to bring in outside knowledge except for common sense and basic pedestrian/warranted assumptions about the topic of the argument.

It's a matter of character, previous behavior and possible future behavior that can be seriously harmful to young people that get victimized.   

Haven't you watched any of the many Dateline "To Catch a Predator" episodes?  They produced tons of them.  Those alone, and I'm not basing my judgment simply on that show, contain mountains of evidence which demonstrate that people who desire and seek to obtain sexual gratification from underage children (in whatever form, in person, with pictures, videos, online chats, etc.) have super high recidivism rate and frequently cannot resist their urges to do it again, even when they know it is wrong and that they may be caught again and locked up.

Beyond the Dateline series, there are mountains of peer reviewed studies about sex offenders that contain many verified statistics and well done research from law enforcement agencies and respected academics that have focused on studying the problem.

One of the well held conclusions that has even been agreed to be true by many repeat convicted offenders is that there is no cure, and that people with pedophilia sexual desires keep having the strong urges to seek gratification and do it again even though they know they are risking serious prison time and that it is wrong.  Basically, they cannot help themselves with the urges and desires to get off that way.

So, to connect the dots of relevance, the question is simple. 

Should a documented caught and convicted guy with proven deviant sexual desires that according to science and research he will continue to have and may again act on be teaching/tutoring young impressionable people one-on-one in private without them knowing about his predisposition before agreeing to hire the guy as their teacher? 

It doesn't matter how well he knows the LSAT and the logic it tests.  I'm sure many serial killers, child molesters, mobsters and other types of criminals that have hurt people in serious ways are experts at all sorts of things they could teach others about.  Does that make it ok for them to be allowed to teach students without their informed consent and knowledge of the character and serious criminal behavior patterns/history of the teacher and possible risks getting involved with and interacting with that teacher and type of person carry along?  I say NOOOOO!

If the dude discloses it up front and some people are willing to hire him and trust him, then that is fine with me.  Take your own risk.  My main focus is on disclosure, especially in this context with young impressionable people seeking a good teacher/tutor to spend time and work with in person. It sucks, but in reality there are bad people out there in the world that do bad things to other people they try to hide while frequently putting forward a 'nice guy next door' public persona.  There are many very strong legitimate reasons behind the lifetime sex offender registry laws and freely accessible/searchable public databases/registries. 

Think about this question: 
As a mother or father, if your child wants to go to law school and asks you to pay for a private tutor, while sorting through the many options available, would you opt to hand over a lot of $$ to a guy you knew had already committed a very serious sexual offense crime and let your child spend time with and be taught by that person in private one-on-one sessions? 

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Sincere Inquiry from a Starter
« on: April 04, 2012, 08:13:56 PM »
Arg, please don't make me agree with TLS mods.  Banning should be used so rarely as to be closer to never rather than always, unless you're an angry kid moderating TLS of course.

However, what does his crim rec have to do with anything related to the LSAT?  Why would you care?  I want to make it my mission to remove those silly registries.  Value judging is too dangerous a human problem.  We know better than to facilitate it. 

P.S. I know I have to preemptively say: child porn is bad.  Deviant sex stuff is bad.  Not trying to justify the behavior, just saying its not a global indicator of everything (or very much at all for that matter).  We don't need to be the fool that sets someone up to fail then acts shocked when they fail. 


Prostitute for life

In case you misunderstood.  I did not out the guys real name.  He posted with it as well as a link with his full name and pictures of himself.  That is what I responded to on TLS. It was a spam thread the guy started to market his new LSAT prep business.

I didn't even have to do any research on the guy other than following the link he posted and then one google search with his name I did to see what his LSAT prep biz is about since I'm an LSAT tutor and the guy seemed new to the LSAT prep biz.

Others may disagree, but I believe that a caught and convicted sex offender, especially for child porn, has no business teaching anybody anything, at least not people that are unaware of the teachers prior 'bad acts'.  Child porn doesn't just randomly end up in a persons possession unintentionally (by cruising legal internet porn sites for instance), the person getting caught with it by the police, then prosecuted and convicted after judicial and prosecution scrutiny.  I think it's fair to assume it wasn't an instance of innocently cruising the internet, viewing some web pages/following a few links and some images from illegal sites getting stored in the cache on the hard drive. 

The information IS relevant to potential customers seeking to pay for one-on-one LSAT prep services and deciding who to hire in order to prepare to get into the legal field, which, in order to function properly and fairly, relies a lot on the character, ethics, integrity and morality of the participants. 

That's my view and it will not change.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Sincere Inquiry from a Starter
« on: April 03, 2012, 06:50:06 PM »
I am entering college in 2012 fall and long to become a law school student for graduate school. I am planning to major in International Relations or Political Science in a women's college (admission results are coming out in March), such as Mount Holyoke, Smith or Bryn Mawr College.

I know it is definitely too early for me to do legitimate LSAT prep, but I want to know what type of course I should choose to benefit my college education in preparation for law school and the LSAT test? Or, anyone has good advice for starters?? Thanks!!

Getting back to the original post, a lot of people have suggested Econ for an undergrad, but the bottom line is, if you aren't interested in Economics and aren't very good at math, you may really struggle to keep your GPA up. This will inevitably make your college experience terrible. You want to be able to enjoy this time. If you've got a legitimate interest in another field and feel that you will do well and enjoy the classes, go that route. In the long run, the job market will get better. So don't stress about that either. Enjoy yourself in the present while you keep one eye on your future!

It's important to choose an UG major that focuses on subjects you are interested in, otherwise you could end up miserable trying to get yourself to study subjects and topics you loath/don't care about, which will negatively impact your GPA. 

Also, when you select a major it is not a sealed in stone lifetime commitment you cannot back out of.  Many people change majors while in UG as they explore subjects and figure out what fits.  Plus, most schools also let you minor in something so you can get a broader education with exposure not limited to one particular field. 

Whichever major one goes with, to help be better be prepared for the LSAT and law school, it's a good idea to take a statistics class(es), basic logic/philosophy class(es) as well as English/humanities/language or other related classes that involve a lot of reading and writing. 

Law school and beyond involves reading a lot of dense text that is complex/sometimes cryptic as well as a lot of writing.  Best to get used to doing that while also enjoying several years in the non-real world cocoon of earning an UG degree and staying focused on keeping your GPA up.  Also, build up your vocabulary as you go.  Whenever you encounter a word you are unfamiliar with while reading something, look it up in the dictionary, perhaps even build a set of index cards with words you look up.  Write the word on one side, the definition on the other side, and go through them to quiz yourself from time to time.  It doesn't take much time to do that with flash cards as you go, a minute or two at most per word you come across and are uncertain about.  Get in the habit and the stack will build over time.  You can get little plastic index card holder boxes really cheap at office supply stores to keep them in. 

RE:  The TLS banning issue.  I got banned again over there again on Saturday night.  I do not understand their moderation philosophies, it doesn't seem to make sense or have a consistent rational basis. They apparently banned me for posting some publicly available facts (URL links to official registration databases available to the public by law and government entities) about a spammer in response to the guys spam thread advertising LSAT tutoring services that included the dudes real name.  The guy is a convicted registered sex offender that got busted for possession of child pornography.  I figured that information would be important to know for people considering handing over a bunch of $$ to spend private one-on-one LSAT tutoring time with the guy.  Apparently TLS moderators didn't agree and decided to protect a pervert and kick me, a long time poster giving free LSAT prep and law school advice on the boards out instead.  Go figure.  :-\

Studying for the LSAT / Re: How can I improve my reading?
« on: March 26, 2012, 02:39:02 PM »
Since English is your second language, amongst other things, I suggest that you brush up on grammar and parts of speech.  Stuff about nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, compound-complex sentences, etc.  It makes it hard to know what the heck is being presented if you get mixed up in those and misinterpret the substance of what the author is conveying with the text.

LSAT reading comprehension passages typically include sentences of the compound, complex and compound-complex variety that also use pronouns and all other parts of speech in much more complicated ways than simple sentences and the way magazines and news articles and other consumer publications are written. 

Also, vocabulary.  Whenever you come across a word you are unsure about, look it up in a dictionary.  Don't worry about the big $20 word specialized scientific terms (they will be defined in context), but for words not tied to a particular specialized field or topic, look it up, and maybe write it down on a flashcard and the definition on the back. 

One of many good free web sites with tutorials about English grammar, parts of speech and sentence structures is:

With various searches you can find youtube videos that provide a good refresher as well.  I typed search term "english grammar sentence diagramming" and found several good youtube video lessons. 


Studying for the LSAT / Re: How do I know when I should diagram in LR?
« on: March 23, 2012, 07:38:52 AM »
Yeah that helps, thanks. But my concern is that if I read the question, and then only halfway through it I decide to diagram, I will lose valuable time rereading the question. I was wondering if there's some type of clue (perhaps by the type of question) that would make this decision easier and/or quicker. I think by reading the question stem before the stimulus may help on that.

Your question is about an issue many students commonly face early into preparing for the LSAT and one worth asking.

Diagramming is useful for some question types and not for others when you are taking a timed test. 

You must keep in mind that many of the various diagrams in LSAT prep books and the ones instructors write on the white board during prep classes are meant for educational/illustration purposes and not always meant as an example of what/how much you should diagram on test day.  Many of them are meant to illustrate, teach and drill in the concepts and relationships that exist in a given LR question.

For instance, on test day/under timed conditions, it is not very useful to diagram Main Point/Main conclusion questions because your task is simply to identify the main conclusion of the argument and find the answer choice that restates/paraphrases it.  Same thing with role in the argument questions.  Even if there are conditional statements, diagramming them out is not a very efficient way to determine if a given statement is a premise, counter premise, sub-conclusion, or main conclusion.   

The LR question types that diagramming sufficient and necessary condition relationships when presented in the stimulus and/or answer choices is most useful for include:

must be true/most strongly supported
Must be false
sufficient assumption/justify the conclusion
parallel reasoning (non flawed ones, but sometimes with parallel the flawed reasoning ones if the flaw is based on conditional logic)
Principle questions (there are several variations of these)
Flawed method of reasoning (Not all, only when the argument is based on conditional logic)
Strengthen and weaken questions occasionally, but not that often.

Regarding wasting time re-reading the stimulus to make your final selection between two answer choices, that is mostly a mythical fear.  In reality, most students that have trouble finishing LR sections in time waste a lot of time debating answer choices BECAUSE they didn't fully comprehend the stimulus and/or overlooked/forgot some crucial details that make the difference between the correct answer and the most attractive trap answer. 

This is especially true with the higher difficulty rated questions that many test takers answer incorrectly.  A quick re-read of the stimulus once you have it narrowed to two (sometimes three) contender answer choices should take no more than a few seconds since you have already read it and are already familiar with it.  Refreshing your memory of the finer details and nuances of the stimulus can make the difference between getting the point or selecting a trap answer and typically takes less time than people spend debating answering choices on hard questions they get stuck on.

First, thanks a lot for the help. Second, let me be a little bit clearer. Should I read the question stem before the stimulus? At least your point that some question should not be diagrammed supports the reading of the question stem upfront. This way a person can identify that a question type need no diagram, no matter how hard the stimulus may be. That is personally what I think is better to do, unlike the PowerScore LR Bible.

Finally, when I was talking about re-reading a question I was referring to questions that sometimes need to be diagrammed. For example, by reading a question stem upfront I know that the question is a Must Be True question, which sometimes makes diagramming recommended. However, how do I know I indeed need to diagram that specific question? Ultimately, what I'm trying to avoid is to read the stimulus and only then realize that I need to diagram it. And if the question is complex enough to require diagramming, it is likely that I'll need to re-read the question because I wont remember the statement that need to be diagrammed.

Regarding re-reading the stimulus before picking the "winner" choice, in my little experience I've already learned that it is well worth it and takes little time.

When beginning prep in a class or by self study with a book like the LRB, it is a good idea to start with reading the stimulus first for several reasons.  Right from the start you need to learn how to and get good at breaking down arguments and it takes time to learn all the different question types.

One of the first important things you need to learn and get good at for LR is to be able to differentiate whether the stimulus is an argument or just a set of facts/information, and then how to break down arguments into their components such as main conclusion supporting premises, counter premises, sub conclusions.  Focusing on getting good at doing that from day one of prep is a crucial foundation building block everything else you learn in progression about the LR section rests on.  It is important to read the stimulus first in the early and mid stages of learning about the LR section while getting all the other basics and concepts down.

The other important part early into LSAT prep is learning all the different LR question types, their respective characteristics, and becoming familiar with the various different ways the question stem can be phrased for each given question type.  It takes time to learn what all the different question types are and get familiar with them.  Early to mid-way in the process you will not know all the question types since good books and classes teach them one at a time and it should take at least several weeks to be exposed to, learn the basic ins and outs of each type, practice some of each type before moving to the next, etc. 

Once you have learned all the basics of each type and how to identify them, strategies and relevant concepts to apply to each, have worked many of each time slowl and then move more into the mainly practice and drilling phase, it then becomes a matter of what works better for you in terms of whether to read the stem or stimulus first.  It only takes one second at most to glance at a question stem to identify the type once you have covered and become familiar with them all. Some people perform better reading the stem first, while others prefer reading the stimulus first, which is why there are conflicting positions about which part you should read first.

Regarding diagramming, knowing when to do it or consider doing it not only depends on the question type, it also depends on the substance of the stimulus.  If you see conditional premises, conclusion, or conditional answer choices (usually by noticing commonly repeated sufficient or necessary indicator words and phrases), then you know that diagramming things out can be helpful.  If you do not see conditional statements in the question, then you should not try to force diagramming (arrow diagrams A--> B) onto the problem.  Diagramming things out is not efficient for all questions, not even all must be true ones. 

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