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Messages - HYSHopeful

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Somehow this thread got deleted after 6000 views... No clue why, so I thought I'd post it again for June LSAT takers...

HYSHopeful's Last Minute LSAT Tips & General LSAT Advice

RC Timing - 3 minutes  (+/- :30) to read each passage and approximately 45 seconds per question... +bubbling time. If one passage has 5 questions and another has 8 questions, attack the 8 question passage first and take a bit more time. It takes 3 minutes to read nearly any passage, regardless of the number of questions associated with it. Spend this time wisely by attacking passages with 7/8 questions first.

RC Order - I always flip through the section, write the number of questions per passage at the top of the page for each passage, and attack the longest passage first, the shortest passage last. If one passage has 5 questions and another has 8 questions, attack the 8 question passage first and take a bit more time. It takes 3 minutes to read nearly any passage, regardless of the number of questions associated with it. Spend this time wisely by attacking passages with 7/8 questions first.

RC Bubbling - Bubble after each passage

General RC Tips - It is important to have a general understanding about certain things that you can expect to see on the questions: Main point, organization, author's attitude & purpose, paragraph function, etc.

In addition, be aware of:
-shifts in point of view ("Despite," "however," "nevertheless," "on the other hand," "on the contrary," "proponents claim...," "critics claim...", etc.) [be sure to know which point of view the author subscribes to]
-lists ("first... second... third...", "one such... another...")

It is less important to know specific details (scientific nomenclature, definitions, etc.). It is, however, important to know WHERE these unfamiliar terms are so that you can quickly refer to them when you see a question regarding them.

Granted, it is always great if you can quickly read a passage and fully comprehend every detail... it simply isn't always possible to do so. If you cannot, then try and get the gist of the passage and move on to the questions without wasting too much time reading and re-reading. It is easy to refer back to the passage to answer questions on specific points, as long as you understand it well enough to know where to quickly find the

Personally, I usually feel like I've read a passage properly if I read it in 3:00 (+/- :30), and can easily answer the main point question.

After reading through hundreds of passages, you develop an intuitive sense of where the questions are likely to come from. Pay attention to developing that sense, and learn to anticipate what will be asked of you (but DON'T read the questions before reading the passage).

Underline key words and phrases: "First, Second, Third"; "Furthermore"; "On the other hand"; "for example"; "namely"; "for one thing"; "In addition"; "Nevertheless"; "For these reasons"; "proponents believe"; "critics believe"; "But"; "However"; "According to"; "In contrast"; ""; "...goes so far as to claim"; "others argue"; etc. This is far from a comprehensive list. As you work through more RC passages, you begin to develop a sense for where the testmakers are likely to draw questions from. The goal is to anticipate where questions are likely to be drawn from, and remember where that important information is located so that if you see it later then you will know exactly where to refer to.

More LSAT Reading Comprehension Strategies:
      Push through the passage. Don't allow yourself to get caught reading and re-reading.
      Keep a clear head and positive attitude to your approach. Getting frustrated/getting bored/zoning out is what the test makers WANT you to do. The material is intentionally dry and technical so that many readers lose focus. Don't allow yourself to fall into that trap.
      Don't be so afraid to skip a difficult question. Keep moving forward. Narrow the answer choices down to 2, circle one, move on. Come back later. Perhaps the fresh perspective will quickly lead you to the correct answer. If not, a 50/50 shot at a tough problem is ok, especially if it gives you sufficient time to attack 2 or 3 easier problems that you may not have gotten to if you remained stuck.

Logical Reasoning:

LR Timing - approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds per question... +bubbling time. I generally tried to move through the first 10-12 questions in around 1 minute per question. These questions are often the easiest, and if you can complete them under time then you will set yourself up with additional time to complete the more difficult questions in the later half of the section. If you are having timing issues, skip the lengthy parallel reasoning questions that always seem to appear toward the end, especially if these questions tend to slow you down.

LR Order - Front to back. Questions start off easy, so you get a chance to warm up before you run into the difficult questions that always seem to appear after question 12 (or so). I never felt that there was any benefit to be gained from jumping around the section. If anything, skipping around this section will hurt your bubbling accuracy. Just understand that the difficult questions appear in the second half of the section, and move through the first half with appropriate speed.

LR Bubbling - bubble prior to turning the page, OR bubble if you run across a particularly difficult/frustrating problem and you need a few seconds to gather yourself prior to moving to the next question.

General LR Strategies - For me, this section was the most intuitive. Read CAREFULLY and DELIBERATELY. Misreading even one word in a stimulus or question stem could lead you to incorrectly answering the question. Unlike the RC section, it important that you thoroughly understand the entire stimulus. Even the smallest turn of phrase could through you off if you don't read it properly. In my experience, many errors are made simply out of carelessness when reading.

LSAT Logic Games:
LG Timing - 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game, including bubbling time. Slightly more for difficult games & slightly less for easier games. Game 1 is generally not going to be particularly difficult. ATTACK IT... finish in 7 minutes. You don't want to get in the mindset of "oh, I've got 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game, so I can take my time on this basic linear game and triple-check my answers even though in 99% sure I'm correct." Learn to recognize and CRUSH easy games in under 8 minutes if possible. If you can do this, then you will be able to use that extra time when you come across a more challenging LG.

LG Order - As soon as you open the section, make a note at the top of each game regarding the number of questions per game. As previously mentioned, Game 1 is easy, CRUSH IT. Move on.  Your decision regarding the order of the remaining three games should take the following variables into consideration:
-# of questions: much like RC, it takes a considerable amount of effort to properly set a game up, regardless of the number of questions. You should prefer games with more questions over games with fewer.
-Personal preference: if you are particularly good at grouping games, attack those first. (Basic Linear games are generally the easiest and should be given preference by most test takers.)
-Familiarity: If a particular game simply looks unfamiliar, save it for later. This would probably include any odd games such as mapping, circular linear, etc. While there is probably greater than a 95% chance that you won't see these games types on your LSAT, if you do... save them for last.

A quick read of the stimulus and rules for most games will give you a fairly good idea of how easily you will be able to set the game up. If there is an element in the game that you've run into before which has given you difficulty, save it for the end.=

LG Bubbling - bubble after each game

HYSHopeful's Last Minute LSAT tips - It's been a while since I've posted here since I've been busy with work, LSAT tutoring, and applying to law schools. With the October LSAT rapidly approaching, I thought I'd take some time to compile a comprehensive summary of my approach to the LSAT. I know that this comes a bit late... but hopefully someone benefits from it...

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Timed or untimed? lets settle this...
« on: February 02, 2009, 12:04:02 PM »
Too late now, but I think everyone should start prep with a timed diagnostic first.

I do think it is important to take a timed diagnostic early in your prep work... though probably not first.

I think it is a good idea to work through at least a couple of untimed exams to get a general idea of the material, then take a timed preptest to get an idea of what it is like to take the exam under the strict time conditions under which it will be administered. While your score isn't likely to mean much, the experience will give you a  better idea of what the real exam will require of you.

When I first began prepping, I was doing so well on untimed exams that I thought I had a great handle on the material. It wasn't until I took my first timed PT that realized how much work had to be done. My timed score scared me into working my ass off in the coming months. I'm not sure that I would have worked as hard for as long if I hadn't taken a timed PT early on.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Timed or untimed? lets settle this...
« on: January 31, 2009, 07:46:05 PM »
I started taking practice tests to prepare for the June LSAT, but I find myself getting contradicting advice: Some people say take them untimed, others say timed.

In general the consensus seems to be "take the first few untimed, and the last few before the test timed" am I correct in making that observation?

I've only taken 3 so far, 2 untimed and both untimed ones I got a 179 and a 180. How should I proceed? Should I switch them up, timed one week, untimed the next week and so on?

Please I need advice on this one!

If you are scoring near perfect on untimed exams, It sounds like you have a very solid general grasp of the material. I think your best bet it to focus on timed exams at this point. When I was taking untimed exams, I was scoring near 180 as well... but when I added the element of time, my scores dropped precipitously. Take a couple of timed exams, and consider which sections give you the most difficulty under timed conditions. For me, it was LG that suffered the most when the element of time came into play. Work through these sections of older preptests, in isolation, under both timed and untimed conditions. Meticulously reviewing errors and considering where your mistakes are being made. I'm not sure what your timed scores are right now, but with work, you should be able to close the gap significantly.

« on: January 30, 2009, 04:22:20 PM »
I am not sure I would buy the assumption that going to a Tier 4 law school leads to a salary of $30K with only cost of living increases for the rest of your life because it is far from necessarily true.

My assumption was that the Cooley grad made $47,750 (the Cooley avg.) upon graduation. $30,000 is the salary I assumed the same individual could earn today, without going to law school. Yes, it may not be entirely accurate to assume a 5% annual growth rate, but I assumed the same growth rate for the UChicago grad. In addition, I started the UChicago grad at $145,000, when we know the market rate is more like $165,000.  It isn't uncommon for a BigLaw associate to be making $280,000 in year 8 - my model has the UChicago grad earning right around $200,000 in year 8. If anything, I'm erring on the side of the Cooley grad.

HYS, your NPV make huge assumptions with the discount rate and starting salaries.    

Indeed, which is why i prefaced the whole thing by saying that I'd done "quick, rudimentary" analysis, and explicitly listed the assumptions made. Obviously, the discount rate is the variable that would have the most drastic effect on the data. I used the average rate of unsubsidized student loans (which is right around 7%) as a proxy for the cost of capital. You could probably make a case for for moving the discount rate 100 basis points in either direction.  Still, I used the same discount rate for each scenario, so you can still get an idea of the magnitude of disparity. If you move the discount rate to 6%, the Cooley grad's NPV goes up, but the dollar disparity between the two scenarios grows as the UC grad's NPV increases exponentially. If you move the discount rate to 8%, the dollar amount disparity between the two decreases, but the Cooley grad's NPV ends up being closer to $0.

My starting salary estimate for UChicago grad was left intentionally low at $145,000. The Cooley grad salary estimate was the stated average starting salary of the 82% of the class of 2007 that had jobs within 9 months of graduation. Sure, a Cooley grad might make a bit more or a bit less, but it is entirely reasonable to use the average as a best estimate.

As for the Salaries that I assumed these individuals could earn today instead of going to law school... Average starting salaries for B.S. degrees generally range between $30,000 (liberal arts majors, etc.) and $50,000 (engineering, finance, consulting). Again, in an effort to err to the benefit of the Cooley grad, I assumed that they would have a much lower opportunity cost than a UChicago grad.

Keep in mind that I did throw this analysis together in 15 minutes on my lunch break, but I don't think I made any assumptions that are completely irrational and where I do err, I attempted to do so in favor of Cooley. The point was not to execute an impeccably accurate analysis, but to consider roughly (give or take a couple hundred grand, perhaps) the difference in the average expected NPVs of an education at UChicago vs. Cooley & roughly (within a few years, perhaps) the difference in the amount of time each graduate must work in order for an investment in law school to have a postitive NPV.

« on: January 30, 2009, 12:29:43 PM »
If you score at or below the 30th percentile on the LSAT (146 and below), then I think you should seriously consider another career path while you are studying to retake the exam. There is a statistically significant positive correlation between success on the LSAT and success in law school. The exam is designed to test certain basic skills that are critical to this success: reading and verbal reasoning, critical and analytical thinking, time management, etc. If your LSAT score is in the bottom third, then you either lack these skills or you weren't adequately prepared. Either way, law school may not be for you. You'd be well advised to carefully consider your options.

Law school is an expensive prospect... even Cooley will run you $35,000 a year after tuition, fees, room & board. Factor in the opportunity cost of the salary that you could earn by getting a job today, the time value of money, interest on any loans you will have to take out, and it may not be a good financial decision in real terms.

I ran a quick, rudimentary NPV calculation on attending Cooley:

Assuming Cooley costs $35,000 per year, tuition does not increase during the 3 years you are there, and you pay cash.
Assuming you could get a job now earning $30,000 per year, with a 5% annual raise.
Assuming you get hired immediately after law school at $47,750 (the average in 2007 for Cooley grads), with a 5% annual raise.
Assuming a 7% discount rate

In this case, your investment in law school does not have a positive net present value until year 25, after working for 22 years. If you work for 30 years, then the net present value of investing in law school is $51,788.91.

YEAR   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33
Career year            1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30
School Cost   -$35,000.00   -$35,000.00   -$35,000.00                                                                                          
Salary sacrificed g=5%   -$30,000.00   -$31,500.00   -$33,075.00   -$34,728.75   -$36,465.19   -$38,288.45   -$40,202.87   -$42,213.01   -$44,323.66   -$46,539.85   -$48,866.84   -$51,310.18   -$53,875.69   -$56,569.47   -$59,397.95   -$62,367.85   -$65,486.24   -$68,760.55   -$72,198.58   -$75,808.51   -$79,598.93   -$83,578.88   -$87,757.82   -$92,145.71   -$96,753.00   -$101,590.65   -$106,670.18   -$112,003.69   -$117,603.87   -$123,484.07   -$129,658.27   -$136,141.18   -$142,948.24
Lawyer Salary g=5%            $47,550.00   $49,927.50   $52,423.88   $55,045.07   $57,797.32   $60,687.19   $63,721.55   $66,907.63   $70,253.01   $73,765.66   $77,453.94   $81,326.64   $85,392.97   $89,662.62   $94,145.75   $98,853.03   $103,795.69   $108,985.47   $114,434.74   $120,156.48   $126,164.31   $132,472.52   $139,096.15   $146,050.95   $153,353.50   $161,021.18   $169,072.24   $177,525.85   $186,402.14   $195,722.25
Net gain/loss   -$65,000.00   -$66,500.00   -$68,075.00   $12,821.25   $13,462.31   $14,135.43   $14,842.20   $15,584.31   $16,363.52   $17,181.70   $18,040.79   $18,942.83   $19,889.97   $20,884.47   $21,928.69   $23,025.12   $24,176.38   $25,385.20   $26,654.46   $27,987.18   $29,386.54   $30,855.87   $32,398.66   $34,018.59   $35,719.52   $37,505.50   $39,380.77   $41,349.81   $43,417.30   $45,588.17   $47,867.58   $50,260.96   $52,774.00
NPV T0   -$60,747.66   -$118,831.34   -$174,400.82   -$164,619.55   -$155,021.10   -$145,602.07   -$136,359.10   -$127,288.89   -$118,388.21   -$109,653.91   -$101,082.86   -$92,672.02   -$84,418.39   -$76,319.03   -$68,371.07   -$60,571.66   -$52,918.04   -$45,407.47   -$38,037.29   -$30,804.88   -$23,707.64   -$16,743.07   -$9,908.67   -$3,202.02   $3,379.27   $9,837.55   $16,175.11   $22,394.22   $28,497.08   $34,485.86   $40,362.71   $46,129.71   $51,788.91

Then, I ran the same calculation using University of Chicago's numbers:

Assuming UChicago costs $50,000 per year, tuition does not increase during the 3 years you are there, and you pay cash.
Assuming you could get a job now earning $50,000 per year, with a 5% annual raise.
Assuming you get hired immediately after law school at $145,000 , with a 5% annual raise.
Assuming a 7% discount rate

In this case, your investment in law school does not have a positive net present value until year 8, after working for 5 years. If you work for 30 years, then the net present value of investing in law school is $1,268,131.48

YEAR   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33
Career year            1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30
School Cost   -$50,000.00   -$50,000.00   -$50,000.00                                                                                          
Salary sacrificed g=5%   -$50,000.00   -$52,500.00   -$55,125.00   -$57,881.25   -$60,775.31   -$63,814.08   -$67,004.78   -$70,355.02   -$73,872.77   -$77,566.41   -$81,444.73   -$85,516.97   -$89,792.82   -$94,282.46   -$98,996.58   -$103,946.41   -$109,143.73   -$114,600.92   -$120,330.96   -$126,347.51   -$132,664.89   -$139,298.13   -$146,263.04   -$153,576.19   -$161,255.00   -$169,317.75   -$177,783.63   -$186,672.82   -$196,006.46   -$205,806.78   -$216,097.12   -$226,901.97   -$238,247.07
Lawyer Salary g=5%            $145,000.00   $152,250.00   $159,862.50   $167,855.63   $176,248.41   $185,060.83   $194,313.87   $204,029.56   $214,231.04   $224,942.59   $236,189.72   $247,999.21   $260,399.17   $273,419.13   $287,090.08   $301,444.59   $316,516.82   $332,342.66   $348,959.79   $366,407.78   $384,728.17   $403,964.58   $424,162.80   $445,370.94   $467,639.49   $491,021.47   $515,572.54   $541,351.17   $568,418.73   $596,839.66
Net gain/loss   -$100,000.00   -$102,500.00   -$105,125.00   $87,118.75   $91,474.69   $96,048.42   $100,850.84   $105,893.39   $111,188.05   $116,747.46   $122,584.83   $128,714.07   $135,149.78   $141,907.26   $149,002.63   $156,452.76   $164,275.40   $172,489.17   $181,113.62   $190,169.31   $199,677.77   $209,661.66   $220,144.74   $231,151.98   $242,709.58   $254,845.06   $267,587.31   $280,966.68   $295,015.01   $309,765.76   $325,254.05   $341,516.75   $358,592.59
NPV T0   -$93,457.94   -$182,985.41   -$268,798.73   -$202,336.25   -$137,116.06   -$73,114.94   -$10,310.11   $51,320.81   $111,799.74   $171,148.23   $229,387.40   $286,537.99   $342,620.34   $397,654.42   $451,659.83   $504,655.79   $556,661.18   $607,694.50   $657,773.92   $706,917.28   $755,142.08   $802,465.48   $848,904.32   $894,475.15   $939,194.19   $983,077.36   $1,026,140.29   $1,068,398.30   $1,109,866.44   $1,150,559.47   $1,190,491.89   $1,229,677.91   $1,268,131.48

Obviously this data isn't even close to perfect, but I think it does give some idea of the disparity:

T4 = $51,788 NPV
T1 = $1,268,131 NPV

Perhaps the discount rate should be higher at Cooley, because of the increased risk associated with lower job placement rates, higher attrition rates, etc... which would create an even larger disparity...

Wow.. I must have been really bored over my lunch break to have actually done this... At any rate, my point was, from a purely financial perspective, it makes little sense to

Studying for the LSAT / Re: My LSAT strategy for June 09, critique
« on: January 23, 2009, 01:49:06 PM »
I have a few comments...

Superprep consists of only 3 preptests... If you are allowing an adequate amount of time each day for LSAT prep, I don't see how you could stretch that into 2 full weeks of prep.

In general, I think that you should try and go through another 30 or so PTs, the PS bibles, and use the remaining 20(ish) PTs to drill yourself on weaknesses. I don't know much about the PS coursebooks, so I can't comment on that.

I cannot stress enough how much it helped me to take 40+ timed practice exams. I was aiming for 175+, and couldn't have accomplished it without taking exam after exam and reviewing them well.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: What letter will you choose?
« on: December 03, 2008, 09:48:45 AM »
General guessing strategy says go with "D", with 2 exceptions:

The last 5 questions on Logic Games, your guess should be "A".
The last 5 questions on Logical Reasoning, your guess should be "E".

Otherwise, always go with "D"

See: What is the best LSAT guessing strategy? for statistics regarding guessing strategy, and for more details.

Hey all!

I have a dilemma that's been keeping me up at night.  I'm scheduled to take this December 2008 exam, but I'm not sure if my impending circumstances would allow me to perform my best on the exam day.  Before I go any further, let me give you some of my background information:

-  This next LSAT will be my third exam.  I cancelled the previous two, including the October 2008.

-  Been studying consistently for over a year now.  During the recent months, I've been scoring above 170 for the most part and my highest was 178.

-  Other parts of my applications are finished with help from Anna Ivey: Personal Statement, Statement of Purpose, Resume, and three great LOR.

-  Have about three years of work experience and continues to work at the same place.

This last point is also a problem since during the past three months I've traveling non-stop.  Constant travel has been exhausting and if I were to take the exam next friday, I need to fly back to my home and take it at the designated site.  Of course, there is a good chance that I will do well and get this over with. Hopefully, I will be able to submit my applications in time and start attending one of the schools of my choice in fall 2009.  However, my goal is to apply with the best score and have the best chance in getting accepted to one of the top law schools.  I can postpone and take the exam at a later date when I'm feeling less exhausted and stressed, but this would also mean that I have to wait another 20 months or so to start my education. 

I honestly believe that I can still improve my timing on each sections and increase my accuracy a bit more.  I would greatly appreciate any of your feedbacks, opinions, or advices.  Thank you.

(Does this somehow resemble one of the LSAT's writing section?)

I have a buddy who took the LSAT in June and October. He is planning on taking it again in December, and believes that this is the last time he can take the exam. I never canceled an LSAT, so I have no clue as to whether or not this is true. Does anyone know if you can only take (or cancel) a certain number of LSATs in a given period?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: has anyone tried ACE test prep?
« on: November 30, 2008, 12:21:29 PM »
likely another shill - most of his posts mention this Ace company.

What do they say about people who live in glass houses?

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / UChicago Visit
« on: November 21, 2008, 04:26:08 PM »
Last Friday I visited UChicago. I opted out of the standard open house events and, instead, followed a 2L around campus for the day.

I met up with a 2L student, went and got amazing thai food, brought the food back to the law school, and sat in the student lounge area with a table of 2L students. While eating, I spoke with two 2L students. One had a summer internship with Skadden, the other had a summer internship with Wachtell. Both students, despite their obvious intellect and insane job prospects, were very gracious and down-to-earth.

In fact, everyone I encountered at UChicago was outgoing, friendly, and left such a positive impact on me that I'm pretty sure, at this point,  I'd reject HYS for an opportunity to attend.

After lunch, I sat in on a Corporations class with Henderson. He was wickedly brilliant, witty, and entertaining. The class was fairly large, probably 130 or so, but it felt much smaller... no one was intimidated to speak... There were actually a few points throughout the lecture that I wanted to raise my hand and participate. Henderson had a great way of making the class fun, and had everyone laughing at least 4 or 5 times in the short 1:05 period that I spent with him.

After class...  both Jayme McKellop (Assistant Director of Admissions) and Sara Arimoto-Mercer ( Director of Financial Aid) somehow recognized me from the LSAC Chicago Law Forums, and both took the time to say Hello, which made me feel very welcome. Later, I met with Ann Perry (Assistant Dean for Admissions), with whom I spoke for 10-20 minutes. She was very gracious and helpful.

I've never felt so welcomed and comfortable at a school. It was truly a great experience that I won't forget throughout the app cycle.

Thought I'd share my experience...

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