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Studying for the LSAT / Re: NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:47:10 PM »
Hey --- bothering people again...I see that you are attacking Liz too, so I am in good company. You must have something against people who are trying to be helpful to others.

All you had to do is to email me from your purchase email to get your $10 back, if in fact you actually got the study plan. Since you chose to attack can always email me directly. COWARD!!!  :P

Also, if you look on the feedback page of the people who used the study plan and scored high...maybe you would stop harrassing!  :o

Or are you just mad because you did not get into law school? Or maybe you work for a test company that feels threatened by my study plan that helps others for $10 versus spending $1,000+.

Good luck to you, Vera  :)

« on: November 05, 2006, 10:42:38 PM »
I have posted this before...but here it is again...hope it helps?

Once you have learned the basics about RC, it is important to practice your timing, your understanding of the passages and practice answering the different types of questions. RC is the “least studied for” section by many LSAT students. In my opinion this is a mistake. Work through these reading passages by “genre” or “section type”. Review your answers after you have read the passage under timed conditions (only give yourself 8 minutes to work through the section, add another 45 seconds if you are using a bubble answer sheet to record your answers).

It is really important to not only familiarize yourself with these reading passages, but to also get a thorough feeling of timing and what it takes to get through the entire RC section in under 35 minutes during the test while answering as many RC correctly as possible.

Though I am not a Reading Comprehension Expert, I am going to share my study notes with you that I compiled while preparing for the LSAT.

Common Themes in Passages:
1)   Presenting two contrasting views or ideas or explanations on a particular subject and explaining each. It is important to note whether the author favors one side or the other or is neutral. Mark the places in the passage where the different viewpoints are located. Many times wrong answer choices involve information presented for the other viewpoint.
2)   Detailing the history of a particular subject, discussing the various ‘cause and effect’ relationships and other influences on the resulting consequences. Again, note the author’s opinion regarding the different viewpoints, including if the author is neutral.
3)   Often the author’s viewpoint is given with only one word, an adjective, an opening word for a sentence or a descriptive phrase. For example, “Unfortunately, the scientist X is mistaken…”

As you read each paragraph, not in the margin any important information or words that give a quick indication of what the paragraph is about. At the same time, underline parts in the passage to mark key signal words, names of people, and key phrases.

The first paragraph is usually the most important paragraph in the passage because that is where the author introduces the topic and scope of the passage, along with the purpose and main idea.

In any passage, pay attention to the third of the entire passage and also the first and last sentence of each paragraph as the questions tend to focus on these parts of the passage.

List of Important Annotations/What Should be Underlined:
1)   Topic – the subject matter of the passage is usually revealed in the first paragraph.
2)   Scope – the specific area of the topic the author is concerned with is usually revealed in the first paragraph.
3)   Purpose – why the author is writing the passage, will sometimes be found in the first paragraph, but can appear later on.
4)   Main Idea – the author’s opinion or conclusion, can be found anywhere in the passage.

Be aware of signal words: *
1)   Evidence – since, because, studies have shown
2)   Conclusion – therefore, thus, clearly, so, hence, consequently, as a result, accordingly
3)   Contrast – however, although, even though, but, nevertheless, on the other hand, rather than, yet, while, alternatively
4)   Sequence – first, second, third, next, in addition, also, another, lastly
5)   Comparison – similarly, analogous, also, likewise, parallel
6)   Examples or Lists – for instance, for example, such as
7)   Words in Italics or “Quotes”

* I tend to underline and mark up the text more than other people. I also tend to mark the signal words and list (1), (2), (3) on the side of the text if I come across a list of something in the text. Most likely, there will be a question referring back to the list.

Some people outline each paragraph, making notes in the margin to allow you to locate key facts, including notes that summarize the paragraph very briefly. The summary can be one sentence or a key word or two that will help you remember what the paragraph is about. (I will at most make a one word, abbreviated note on the side of the paragraph because I find that if I outline more, I run out of time.)

Circle or Underline Words that Indicate Tone – circle words or phrases that indicate the author’s attitude toward the topic discussed in the passage.

Question Stems:
1)   Global Questions – are concerned with the topic, scope and purpose. You should predict the answer before going to the answer choices.

These types of questions usually ask for: the main idea, the author’s primary purpose, a general summary, or it can ask you for an appropriate title for the passage.

Most incorrect answer choices for the main idea will paraphrase a portion of the passage. Be careful not to choose an incorrect answer because you recognize something from the passage. Make sure that it does not just paraphrase one portion of the passage.

Global questions can ask about the structure of the passage: “most accurately describes the contents of the passage” or “accurately describes the organization of the passage”.

As soon as you determine that any portion of the answer choice does not match the passage, the choice is WRONG!

Global Questions can also ask about the author’s tone. When answering tone questions, determine if the author has a positive, negative or neutral view.

2)   Detail Questions are concerned with specific information reference that are either indicated by line or subject of the particular paragraph in the passage. The answers to these questions can be found explicitly in the text. Make sure to refer back to the text when you come across these types of questions. Do not try to answer from memory. Always read a couple of sentence prior to and beyond the reference.

3)   Inference Questions ask you to choose an answer choice that must be a true conclusion based on the information that is presented in the passage. The answer choice is not found explicitly in the passage, but must be deduced based on the text. An inference must be based on the passage’s topic and scope, as well as match the author’s tone.

Unlike inference questions found in LR sections, inference questions in RC can be based on minor details. In RC passages, the correct answer choice can usually be pre-phrased from information presented in the question stem.

4)   Logical Reasoning Questions are similar to logical reasoning question types found in the LR sections, or the questions may ask for the function of a detail or a statement in the passage.
Question stems: “the author … in order to illustrate which one of the following claims”, “which one of the following, if true, would most support…” or “the primary purpose of the paragraph (or particular sentence) is”.

Common Wrong Answer Types:
1)   Outside the Scope are answer choices that discuss ideas that are not addressed in the passage or information never discussed in the passage.
2)   Contradiction choice is the opposite of what the author says in the passage or is the opposite of what the author believes.
3)   Irrelevant to Question are ideas in the passage but do not respond to the question being asked.
4)   Distorts, the answer choice misrepresents information in the passage either by exaggerating the information or mixing up the information.
5)   Too Narrow, the answer choice discusses only part of the passage the question is concerned with.
6)   Too Broad, the answer choice discusses the part of the passage in terms that are too general or vague.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:37:57 PM »
160 is not a bad score. Your decision should depend on where you are applying to. Also, have you been studying since the June test? Often performance drops if you do not keep up with the practice. Have you taken a timed test lately? If so, what was your score? Where there any circumstances why you did not score higher (like a cold, sore throat, no sleep)?

Vera :)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Logic Game strategy ?
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:35:58 PM »
You need to learn how to do the games first. Have you worked through the Powerscore Games Bible yet? If not, get it... and then practice on games.

Vera :)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Realistic?
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:34:41 PM »
If you are studying through the LR and Games Bible now and you are taking some practice tests to gauge your progress, you may not need to take the class come January. Be disciplined about your studies.

One issue that I have with prep-courses is that many people need additional time after the course has finished (because that is where you learn the basics) to practice taking the tests under timed conditions. Most people need that additional practice to bring their score up.

A 148 is not going to get you into a T4 school under most circumstances. Increasing your score from a 148 to a 160 is easier than increasing from a 160 to a 170 because the LSAT is graded on a curve.

A 150 is approximately at the 50th percentile and a 160 is around the 80th percentile (if I remember correctly).

Good luck,

Vera :)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Bombed... is there hope?
« on: October 23, 2006, 09:40:19 AM »
It sounds like test anxiety gets to you?

This may sound silly, but I have found it to work for me. I have some self-hypnosis CDs that I listen to. I had to buy several ones for exam nerves until I found the one that really worked/appealed to me.

Don't think of self-hypnosis as a circus act. It is actually a way for you to learn to relax when you need to relax. Many of the bar exam prep companies are making the relaxation techniques part of their prep program now because it works.

It does not matter how much you know, if you get stressed, the memory part of your brain only works up to 30%, meaning that you are only working at 30% capacity (thus the low score).

Look on ebay or amazon. The one CD for exam nerves that worked well for me is from "When Nothing Else Works" for the U.K. They also have a website, though I got the CD from ebay. It is www. whennothingelseworks

I think that it may be worth a try?

Vera :)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: ran out of practice tests!
« on: October 23, 2006, 09:34:56 AM »
There are more than 49 tests that have been released. To my calculations there are 54.

Also, it is useful to go over the tests again even though you have taken them all. At this point, you should see the patterns of the games and LR questions. I know that I did in the end. At times, just starting to read a question in LR, I knew the trick that was going to be on the question. The same with games, after all, how many variation can they come up with? You should immediately know what deductions/rules to pay attention to. If you are not on that level yet, I would recommend that you review the tests and really look at the structure of the questions.

Vera :)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: 170+ scorers, self-study or prep course?
« on: October 21, 2006, 09:42:47 AM »
In my experience, just taking a course will not get you to 170+. It takes a lot of hard work, lots of practice tests and reviewing of the tests, in addition to taking a class.

The class helps you understand the materials, but you can do that with self-study too. It saves you a LOT of money. A class is good if you are somebody who procrastinates. But if you have the self-discipline to study, then go with self-study.

Also, it depends on where you start from. I was helping a girl this cycle. She started with a diagnostic score of 158 and ended up with a 168. I tutored her, but just on things that she did not understand from self study. We only met for a total of 10 hours. The rest, she did herself with self disciplined studying.

However, it you start out at 150 or even lower, a class is helpful because you are missing a lot of the LSAT required skills. Keep in mind that the LSAT tests logic reasoning skills under strict time pressure. So, you not only have to learn how to do the questions, but you have to learn how to do them fast.

Now that I am in law school, taking law exams are like "horserace exams". Similar to the LSAT, they are strictly timed and really don't give you enough time to finish. For example, a 3 hour exam should be 5 hours long. In my opinion, there is definately a correlation between the skills tested on the LSAT and the skills you need to do well on law school exams. It does not matter how well you know the materials, but it is how well you know them AND how fast you can process the knowledge and get it down on paper/the test.

(Sorry, I kind of went off on a tangent here...)

When talking to people who have taken the LSAT, many will tell you that the thing that they would do differently is to take more timed practice exams.

Vera :)


Racist, sexist, and heterosexist images and words are a problem not merely because they offend but because they help keep non-white people, women, and lesbians and gays in subordinated positions. Framing the problem of oppressive systems as a question of offensiveness often leads people to argue that the solution is for the targets of the offensive speech or actions to be less sensitive, rather than changing the oppressive system. Sager's email doesn't suggest that, but it could play into that common feeling among people in the dominant classes. We live in a world in which the legitimate concerns of non-white people about racist _expression and actions are often met by white people saying, "Stop whining -- get over it." In such a world, white people trying to resist racism should be careful not to do anything that could contribute to that.
  Second, the email suggests that the partygoers didn't consider "the potential harm they were causing to UT Law" by doing something that could make some people "feel uncomfortable simply because of who they are." Most would agree that it's important at a public institution of higher education for all people to feel accepted as part of the university community, but the real harm is not to the institution but to the people who are targeted. By highlighting the effect of this on "UT Law," Sager risks elevating the institution above the principles involved and may well leave people wondering if the university isn't worried most about its image.
  Finally, and most important, the dean's message warns the partygoers that they failed to consider "the extraordinary damage they could do to their own careers" in a society in which those who employ lawyers might not want to hire people who engage in such conduct. Sager warns that it is "genuinely foolhardy to engage in conduct (and even more foolhardy to proudly disseminate proof that you have done so) that could jeopardize your ability to practice law." That's certainly true, though it's also true there are many places in Texas (and around the country) where the good old boys in power would find no problem with this kind of "harmless fun." There are no doubt lots of practicing attorneys who enjoy similar kinds of fun themselves.
  But whatever the case, should we be stressing to students that the reason they should not be white supremacists is that it might hurt their careers? What does such a message convey to students and to the community?
  What's missing in this official response is a clear statement that these law students -- many of whom go on to join the ranks of the powerful who run society -- have engaged in behavior that is overtly racist. Whatever their motivations in planning or attending the party, they have demonstrated that they have internalized a white-supremacist ideology. When these students are making future decisions in business, government, and education, how will such white supremacy manifest itself? And who will be hurt by that?
  Here's what we should say to students: The problem with a racist "ghetto fabulous" party isn't that it offends some people or tarnishes the image of UT or may hurt careers. The problem is that it's racist, and when you engage in such behavior you are deepening the racism of a white-supremacist culture, and that's wrong. It violates the moral and political principles that we all say we endorse. It supports and strengthens an unjust social system that hurts people.
  These incidents, and the universities' responses, also raise a fundamental question about what we white people mean when we say we support "diversity." Does that mean we are willing to invite some limited number of non-white people into our space, but with the implicit understanding that it will remain a white-defined space? Or does it mean a commitment to changing these institutions into truly multicultural places? If we're serious about that, it has to mean not an occasional nod to other cultural practices, but an end to white-supremacist practices. It has to mean not only acknowledging other cultural practices but recognizing that the wealth of the United States and Europe is rooted in the destruction of some of those cultures over the past 500 years, and that we are living with the consequences of that destruction.
  We white people can't simply point to the ugliest racism of the KKK as the problem and feel morally superior. We can't issue a polite warning to a few law students about being thoughtless and think we've done our job. The problem is that most of us white people -- myself included -- are comfortable in white spaces, and we often are reflexively hesitant to surrender control of that space. Real change -- the process of truly incorporating a deep multiculturalism into our schools, churches, and businesses -- is a long struggle. The more I make some progress in my own classes, for example, the more I see how much I have left to do and the more aware of my mistakes I become.
  An easy place to start is by clearly marking racist actions for what they are -- expressions of white people's sense of entitlement and privilege that are rooted in a white-supremacist system. We can start by saying -- unequivocally, in blunt language -- that such racism is morally wrong, that white supremacy is morally wrong, and that we white people have an obligation to hold ourselves and each other accountable until we have created a truly just multiracial society.
  We'll know we are there not when white people have stopped throwing ghetto parties, but when we have built a world in which there are no ghettos.
  We have a long way to go.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the board of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. He is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. He can be reached at rjensen@uts. cc.utexas. edu

October 16, 2006

"Ghetto Fabulous" Parties: the New Face of White Supremacy
Racism and Cheap Thrills at the University of Texas Law School

  When one of the first-year University of Texas law students who participated in a "ghetto fabulous" party posted pictures on the web, we saw the ugly face of white privilege and the racism in which it is rooted. But the depth of the problem of white supremacy at the university -- and in mainstream institutions more generally -- is also evident in the polite way in which the university administration chastised the students.
  While the thoughtless actions of young adults acting out the racism of the culture are disturbing, the thoughtful -- but depoliticized -- response from the law school is distressing. The actions of both groups in this affair are a painful reminder of the depth of white society's commitment to white supremacy.
  This controversy is not unique to UT. It seems that every year students at a prestigious university -- the University of Chicago last year, Cornell in 2004, and Texas A&M in 2003 -- hold one of these parties, in which white students revel in what they believe to be the appearance and behavior of the black and brown people of the "ghetto."
 The student from the UT party who posted the photos has taken them off the web, but news reports describe a party in which the students "carried 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor and wore Afro wigs, necklaces with large medallions and name tags bearing historically black and Hispanic names." No one involved has contested the characterization of the event.
   The motivations and views of participants may vary, but these parties have two consistent features:
(1) white people mock African American and Latino people through stereotypes of the residents of low-income urban areas, while at the same time enjoying the feeling of temporarily adopting these looks and poses; and
(2) the white folks typically do it without pausing to ponder what right they have as members of a dominant racial class to poach in this fashion on the lives of people of a subordinated racial class.
  In other words, white people find pleasure in insulting non-white people while at the same time safely "slumming" for cheap thrills in that non-white world, all the time oblivious to the moral and political implications.
  Also typical in these university controversies is a tepid reaction from administrators, who tend to avoid the contentious race politics at the core of the problem. At UT, the email that went out to all law students from Dean Larry Sager is revealing.
  Let me be clear that this critique is not focused on the dean, or any other administrator involved. Sager, who has a distinguished record as a teacher, is a widely recognized constitutional scholar who has published important work on civil liberties, especially freedom of religion. He consulted other administrators and students before communicating to the entire student body, and his commitment to equality and diversity is clear. Still, his characterization of the incident is troubling.
  The email to students doesn't use the terms "racism" or "white supremacy." The only reference to the racial politics of "ghetto fabulous" is the description of the party as being "named in a way that was easily understood to have negative racial overtones" and a reminder that being "racially insensitive" is inappropriate. While many of the students at the party may not have thought they were being racist, it's essential that we name such activities as rooted in white people's sense of privilege and entitlement, the result of historical and contemporary racism in a white-supremacist culture.
  This language is crucial. Even with the gains of the civil-rights movement, U.S. society is still white supremacist in material terms (there are deep, enduring racialized disparities in measures of wealth and well-being, some of which haven't improved in the past four decades) and ideology (many white people continue to believe that the culture and politics of Europe are inherently superior). To pretend that things such as a ghetto party are not rooted in those racist realities is to ignore fundamental moral and political issues in an unjust society. It's not about "negative racial overtones" -- it's about racism, whether conscious or not. It's not about being "racially insensitive" -- it's about support for white supremacy, whether intended or not.
  The dean's email to law students goes on to give three reasons the party was "thoughtless."
  First, Sager suggests that some students "might be seriously offended by the party, and especially by the pictures taken at the event." No doubt many people were offended, and we all should avoid unnecessary offense to others. But the key problem is not that such images are offensive but that they are part of an oppressive system of white supremacy. In a pluralist society, we all can expect to be offended by some things other people say and do. Such offense becomes an important political issue when connected to the ways in which some people are systematically devalued and discriminated against.

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