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Messages - HYSHopeful

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Studying for the LSAT / LSAT Analog Watch Tip
« on: June 09, 2008, 02:39:51 PM »
SUMMARY: For the best LSAT watch, get an analog watch with a rotating bezel (like this one)... then all you have to do is line the 0 on the bezel up with the minute hand when each section begins, and you have an easy, visual, reference to see exactly where you are within the 35 minutes.

I thought I'd share a tip that I've found to be very helpful.

When I first began studying for the LSAT, I used a cheap analog wristwatch that I had lying around the house.

I would start my LSAT timer, make a mental note of the time that the test would be up (or would write down the start/stop times on the first page of the section) and would refer to my watch at various points throughout the test to ensure that I was properly pacing myself.

Unfortunately, there were times during the test when (in the heat of things) I would forget exactly when the test would be ending. At that point, I either had to take a few seconds and recall when it began, or take a moment to flip back to the front of the section where I often recorded the start and stop times. Either way, I would have to break my concentration for at least 5 or 10 seconds in order to regain a sense of timing.

In addition, It always took a few seconds for me to get a sense of where, on my watch, the 8:45, 17:30, 26:15 marks were.

Serendipitously, I lost the watch that I had been using, and borrowed my girlfriend's watch to take a test. I may have felt a bit emasculated using such a girly watch, but I immediately fell in love with a feature that this watch had: The bezel turns, and all you have to do is line the 0 on the bezel up with the minute hand at the point that the test begins, and you have an easy, visual, reference to see exactly where you are within the 35 minutes.

Since I didn't want to take a pink watch with me to the testing center on test day, I purchased a Casio for around $20 with the same turning bezel feature as my new LSAT watch:

This LSAT watch has been my best friend ever since. I was able to make marks at the 8:45, 17:30, 26:15 for additional reference points on the bezel. I've found it be to very helpful. It is one less thing that I have to think about during the test, and helps me make sure that I never lose a sense of proper pacing.

If you don't own a watch with a turning bezel, I would highly suggest finding one ASAP, and getting used to using it before test day.

More LSAT watch tips here.

Studying for the LSAT / LSAT superstitions
« on: June 09, 2008, 02:41:35 AM »
I'm not a superstitious guy, but LSAT prep has got me developing some very odd superstitions:

1) I take every PT (and intend to take the real test) in the same shirt that I first broke the 170s while wearing. It happened to be a vintage Harvard tee, which I originally purchased on eBay as a motivational aid to inspire me to do well on the LSAT in the first place.

2) I never use the same pencil on more than one test, and always use a fresh pencil to begin each AR section. While this habit is admittedly founded in superstition, it nevertheless has proven to be utilitarian as well (although I am acquiring a large collection of dull pencils in my desk).

3) I purchased a new analog watch specifically for the LSAT a couple of weeks ago. During the first test that I took using the new watch, I wore it on my wrist... I scored around 4 points below what I had been averaging over the previous five or six PT's (with a standard deviation of around 1 point)... I have never worn the watch again.

4) I ate chineese food yesterday and my fortune cookie read:

"You will pass a difficult test that will make you happier.
Lucky # 10, 23, 32, 33, 40, 43
Learn Chinese: Dan-Gao, [Chinese characters], Cake"

It was clear enough to me what 'test' the cookie was referring to, so I began to read further into it: Adding my "lucky numbers" yields 181. Which... is close enough to 180 to be symbolic of the LSAT (at least when viewed by an LSAT-addled mind). In fact, I now think of an LSAT score of "181" in much the same way that I am giving "110%" effort to achieve as high a score as possible. I also am happy to know that the LSAT will be "cake."

5) I generally wear flip-flops in the summer, but tonight I happened to be wearing socks while taking PT 39. I was finally able to get over a three week long plateau and score a 176. I doubt that I will ever test sock-less again.

Does anyone else have any LSAT superstitions?

I honestly believe that they are helpful (not becuase of any magical LSAT-aiding power inherent in my shirt or socks, but simply because I've created a routine around taking an LSAT which is familiar and comfortable for me. In addition, whenever I put on that shirt now, I begin to mentally prepare myself to think in the specific way which is required by the LSAT.)

This thread is of considerable interest to me:

I'm originally from Illinois, and love Chicago. However, I've never spent much time outside of The Loop/Lincoln Park/Michigan Ave. My fiancée will be moving with me, and I am particularly concerned with her safety, as I anticipate that she will be home alone fairly often.

How does the Northwestern campus area compare?

What neighborhoods in particular must be avoided when considering apartments/homes/etc.? Is anything south of 60th pretty bad? How about the area just north of Washington Park between MLK and S Cottage Grove? Is it generally better as you get closer to the lake?

BAFF for later... interesting discussion...

BAFF? I'm afraid this acronym is not a part of my lexicon. I'm new here, so I apologize in advance if this is nomenclature that I am expected to be privy to. Would someone please fill me in?

I for one do not approach law school as something that is as conditional as the OP's concerns may suggest. I want to be a lawyer. I am not buying stock or leasing a car because I have extra money. This is a life decision that I have made and I am fairly confident in.

I suppose the issue then becomes a matter of timing: "If I wait until 20xx to begin law school, I will be more likely to graduate into a favorable job market." This is, of course, nearly impossible to predict with any precision. If you are able to time the market with that kind of accuracy then you'd enjoy a much more lucrative career in hedge fund management.

Given that law school is a three-year endeavor, it is very difficult (if at all possible) to forecast the macroeconomic conditions into which you are likely to graduate. If you begin your matriculation in a bear market, you are just as likely (if not more likely--given historical trends in economic expansion and contraction) to graduate into a bull market as you are to graduate into a bear market. Imagine the uncertainty facing those students entering law school in 2001--yet they graduated into a rapidly expanding economy. Alternatively, I'd imagine that the class entering law school in 1999 was very optimistic about their job prospects, yet they graduated into the worst job market in a decade.

This morning I read this article about how a lot of Ivy league grads have had their job offers from Bear Stearns rescinded before they have even started working, and it TERRIFIED me.

BSC is a unique case, and their situation bears--no pun intended--very little resemblance to the legal job market. Bear suffered serious liquidity issues resulting from mortgage-backed securities and hedge fund losses, and were subsequently taken over by JPM. Layoffs and offer retractions are commonplace during any acquisition, as redundancies in organizational structure result in operational inefficiencies. Unless the firm that you accepted an offer from was going bankrupt and was taken over in a white knight acquisition, then the BSC case offers no parallel. The high-finance job market is notoriously volatile even in the best of times, and offers much less job security than the legal profession.

That said, I would argue that layoffs and slow hiring over the next couple of years would actually result in an increase in hiring as the economy picks back up in the wake of a recession or economic slowdown. The economy is cyclical, and periods of contraction tend to last, on average, 17 months. It is highly unlikely that this current period of economic slowdown will continue for another 3 or 4 years, when many of us will be entering the job market. In fact, we may enjoy graduating into an expanding economy and above average hiring practices.

In Sum: The case of Bear Stearns is unique and not representative of the high-finance job market at large; The high-finance job market, though currently contracting (to a lesser extent than the Bear Sterns example would cause you to believe), is more sensitive to changes in the overall economy than is the job market for lawyers; The economic cycle rarely sees periods of contraction lasting longer than several years, and we are likely to  graduate into a period of economic expansion in 3 or 4 years.

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