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Messages - Jeffort

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT course in LA???
« on: May 17, 2010, 10:51:34 PM »
now I am really confused.    What is paging Jeffort ????
Any suggestions other than Kaplan??

I'm Jeffort and somehow missed getting paged here  :-[ .  I've been teaching and tutoring LSAT in Socal since 2001 so I'll weigh in on this.  The major big name prep course providers (except Princeton Review) offering courses in the LA area have been named already in the thread, but there is more to picking a class that will be effective for you than just brand name.  Here are several other things to consider that are important and worthy of researching before committing $1k or more:

   -  Instructor quality.  How much experience and expertise does the particular instructor you will get have teaching LSAT prep classes?  For any given class offering, are you going to get a seasoned veteran instructor or a newbie that was recently trained?
   -  Quality of the course curriculum, methodology, class materials and included non classroom-time resources for study and review when outside of class.
   -  Location of the classroom.  Are you going to have to fight nightmare traffic getting to class on time?  That is a big issue in Los Angeles, otherwise known as the land of evening gridlock purgatory.  A class is pretty worthless if you cannot get there on time because you get stuck sitting on the freeway giving strangers the bird while trying to figure who's to blame for the 405/10/110/101 being parking lots rather than freeways.
   -  Class schedule start and end dates and times and frequency per week of class sessions.  How does that fit with your busy schedule and with the date of the LSAT administration you are going to take?  Does the class start long enough in advance of your test date to give you adequate prep time and time to do the homework?
   -  Class size.  Are you going to be in a giant, medium, or small class in terms of number of other students in the section.  This greatly influences how much personal attention you can get from the instructor and how easily and often you are able to ask a question and get the instructor to address it before, during and at the end of class sessions.

To figure these things out and which class is a good fit for you, you must do deeper research than just asking 'which company should I go with?' by making phone calls, asking specific detailed questions and seeking personal experiences/opinions from others. 

For the LA area I say that TM or PS are the better choices.  No matter the geographic location Kaplan is not known in the LSAT prep world for providing a strong curriculum or strong expert instructors.  Blueprint has gotten good anecdotal reviews over time, but I cannot recommend them for personal reasons.  Years ago when I started teaching LSAT and was working for the same company as Trent at the time (long before BP existed) he substituted for the instructor teaching in the adjacent room one day.  The GF/fiance (and now wife) of my best friend from grade school was in that section.  After class Trent hit on her and told her to dump her 'loser' boyfriend/fiance.  That made her cry and she called me in tears later that night.  Not that that has much to do with his LSAT teaching abilities, but still, the dude made my friend cry and question her engagement to my best friend!  That's just not cool.

its ok to guess, but honestly the LSAT gives you shittloads of time to finish each section, you shouldnt run out of time at all. Just hold your piss untill break and you'll be fine(unless you have a learning disability and then inform the proctors of that well in advance) Take a few timed practive ones if you need proof.

I disagree.  The LSAT is a highly time pressured exam and with 35 minutes per section you have very little time to thoroughly analyze and answer each question.  I would hardly say 35 minutes is a $hitload of time to complete each section.  If you go a little slow or get caught up by and stuck on a few time trap/difficult questions per section for 2min or more it is very easy to end up running out of time before completing the section and then having to bubble in some blind guesses before time is called.

One of the many skills the LSAT is designed to measure is time management and how well you can analyze and reason through new substance in a short period of time while under pressure.  I find your claim perplexing.  In all the years I've been teaching people how to perform well on this test I've never had a student say anything to the effect of being given more than enough time per section.  Rather, it is the opposite, students frequently complain about not having enough time and often say things like 'if I had a few more minutes per section I would score much higher'.

As for your comment about learning disabilities, it seems pretty insensitive and like you are implying that people who have trouble finishing sections in 35min must have a learning disability.  That's pretty insulting if it is what you meant. 

And to clarify it for others, if one has a legitimate disability that merits getting extra time or other test day special accommodations from LSAC, you don't tell the proctors about it/ask the proctors for it, you apply for special accommodations to the proper department of LSAC far in advance of your desired test date and have to supply all sorts of medical reports and stuff to justify the request. 

So i took a prep course and just wanted to know, is "D" still the best choice to fill in if you are in doubt or run out of time. Also, are the last 2 sections the one that alwyas count on the exam?


You should treat 'when in doubt' situations differently than 'running out of time and having to blind guess' situations.  If you have put some effort into a question and narrowed down the contender answer choices, going with (D) or some other letter by default would be silly, especially if you already rejected it.  In those situations go with an educated guess between the answers you have not already eliminated.

As for pure blind guessing on questions you are not able to attempt, it's really a matter of luck.  Historically, over all test forms, (D) has a slightly higher probability of being the answer than other letters (slightly above 20% chance), but we are talking about minuscule differences in answer choice probabilities. 

Keep it simple, pick one letter to use for blind guesses, stick with it and that it comes up just like people do when betting on roulette. 

Many books and big prep companies have been saying pick (D) for years and from my experience teaching I have noticed that most people that have to blind guess at the end of sections go with (D) due to that common recommendation.  Given that, and that LSAC does heavy number crunching statistical analysis on test day performance/results, I doubt they have not noticed that pattern.  It is not that hard to notice that on every test there are a bunch of answer sheets with several (D)'s bubbled in a row at the end of sections!  This is just my theory, but do you think LSAC wants a bunch of people getting inflated scores due to heavy prevalence of (D)'s at the end of sections?  I think not.  Don't waste time and energy worrying about this issue, decide on a letter and spend your mental power and time getting ready for the substance of the test.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: diagramming question
« on: May 17, 2010, 04:20:56 AM »
Hi All--I was wondering if we can diagram associations into if, then statements

for example can I diagram "a high level of cholesterol in the blood is associated with an increased risk of heart disease" into

+C ----> +H

Thanks guys

Technically you can diagram it as you did, which can be restated as "If one has a high level of cholesterol in the blood, then they have an increased risk of heart disease."

However, for LSAT purposes, things can get a little dicey/confusing when doing that with premises that establish an association/correlation rather than a straight up conditional premise like A only if B. 

An association is the same as a correlation and such relationships are presented and used in LSAT questions designed to test you about causal/cause and effect reasoning much more than they are presented to test you about conditional - sufficient and necessary logic. 

The risk of diagramming correlations as S/N conditionals is that many people mistakenly think that the sufficient condition CAUSES the necessary condition (because it is on the left side of the right pointing arrow), when in fact it may not have.  The cause and effect relationship (if there really is one) may be the reverse, the association may be coincidental, or the two correlating elements may both be effects of some other cause they have in common.

Cause and effect reasoning, as tested on the LSAT, mainly revolves around analyzing and thinking about alternate causes, situations of cause without effect or effect without cause, etc.  LSAT questions designed to test conditional reasoning skills are not typically about causation.  That is simply a recurring pattern of the test.  When you see a correlation presented, analyze the question from C/E perspective rather than S/N perspective and the credited answer choice will likely be based on C/E reasoning rather than typical S/N arrow diagrams.   

Even though C/E logic and S/N logic are different types of reasoning, there is some overlap between them, which is what creates a lot of confusion for many students before they are able to differentiate them and clearly understand that the sufficient condition in a S/N relationship is NOT NECESSARILY the cause of the necessary condition.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Kaplan LSAT Mastery Practice Book...
« on: April 29, 2010, 03:32:41 AM »
mabey your simpelton ass needed to be spoon fed but I poop in the toilet like a big boy.

Thanx for letting us know that you made it through potty training.  That is very helpful and informative information, make sure to flush.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Kaplan LSAT Mastery Practice Book...
« on: April 29, 2010, 03:16:45 AM »
You can try it but people on average only go up 2 points.

What brand of glue are you sniffing dude?  Do you have a data reference for your absurd claim?  I can answer that question myself, NO you don't because it doesn't exist and your claim is false.  

Even LSAC themselves in some of their publications recommend prepping for the test in order to improve ones ultimate test day score.  Meaning that they acknowledge that a person can improve their score significantly by preparing for the test:

Preparing for the LSAT

Most law school applicants familiarize themselves with test directions and question types, practice on sample tests, and study the information available on test-taking techniques and strategies. Although it is difficult to say when examinees are sufficiently prepared, very few people achieve their full potential without some preparation.

You should be so familiar with the instructions and question types that nothing you see on the test can delay or distract you from thinking about how to answer a question. At a minimum, you should review the descriptions of the question types and simulate the day of the test by taking a practice test that includes a writing sample under actual time constraints. Taking a practice test under timed conditions helps you to estimate the amount of time you can afford to spend on each question in a section and to determine the question types for which you may need additional practice.

LSAC publishes a variety of free materials to help you prepare for the LSAT.

You may also purchase additional LSAT preparation materials. For more information, check out LSAC's test preparation publications and law school guides.

who told you that you "need" it and for what? The lsac provides FREE lsat study materials, and dosn't require ANY other preps.

Huh??  Please at least type out and post something that is decipherable.  Geeze...

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Studying for the LSAT....need tips
« on: April 29, 2010, 02:56:00 AM »
Thanks for the reply Jeffort, I am planning on taking one diagnostic exam just to see where I am, but then will start working through the books. 
As for the question, I have one more semester left, but due to a good job opportunity I am taking a year off to work, and then coming back in fall 2011 to finish my BA.  My thinking is that I will know where my LSAT is and can apply early in the cycle.

That sounds like a good plan that makes sense to balance everything.  Taking one timed practice test soon to get your current baseline score is a good idea to help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to decide what to focus on more as you go through it all. 

Getting everything done well in advance and applying early in the cycle is also a very good thing with how rolling admissions works. 

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Studying for the LSAT....need tips
« on: April 28, 2010, 04:18:35 PM »
Hey all,

Wondering if people have any good advice about how to go about effectively self-studying for the LSAT.  I am studying for the October LSAT, and am taking a full length Powerscore in July.  Until them I have the 3 Powerscore bibles, and am setting apart 3-4 hours per day as I am taking summer classes, and them starting a 40 hr. per week job in June.

Any tips on how I should work through the bibles/take practice tests? Curious on what worked for people...



You are certainly trying to cover all the bases, which is a good thing.  

I typically prefer students in classes I've taught to not have done much pre-class self study except for familiarization of the basics of the exam and the process, stuff like section types, time restraints, deadlines, etc.  Tabula Rosa - starting with a clean slate, otherwise students come in with faulty conceptions of the concepts and effective approaches that are a pain to undo once formed.

However, given the circumstances you described you are going to be very busy during the time you are taking the class leading up to test day.  I'm not sure how you are going to be able to fit in the necessary time for LSAT homework/study/practice while working full time and taking summer classes.  

With your set of circumstances RE: time demands I don't see a problem with you starting to review/peruse the bibles now as time permits.  Since your class is from the same company as the books there is consistency with the methodology and techniques, that is a good thing.  

A very bad thing many people do is buy every prep book out there and then they get lost and confused by all the various different approaches/descriptions/techniques/etc.  It's important to stick with one method from one quality source.  The LSAT is complicated and confusing enough as it is, why add another layer of confusion...

At this point in time you should toss out the idea of starting to take timed practice tests.  Basically, learn to walk before you try to run.  Plus, you don't want to burn through all the available questions before receiving proper instruction and being able to ask questions and get feedback from a good instructor.  

For your described circumstances I say go ahead and leisurely read through the bibles and work through the drills and supplied questions in slow motion leading up till your class starts.  As you do that keep a running list of errors, things you are confused about, things that messed you up, etc. so that you have a sheet of your issues to ask the instructor directly about once class starts.  Take advantage of your instructor.  The better and more precise your questions, the better answers and advice you will get.

And to reiterate, DO NOT START TAKING A BUNCH OF TIMED PRACTICE TESTS NOW!!!  Please don't do the 'churn and burn'.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Can anyone explain this flaw question?
« on: February 03, 2010, 03:18:10 PM »
no insult to "changed name" but the discussion of probability in the way he described it is completely irrelevant.  Since about half are approved there is a dependency between the denied and approved sets.

You don't know this.  If the approval or denial was based on a coin flip (meaning about half get approved), there would be no dependency.

Earlcat's explanation is out of scope.  There is no reason to believe we need more information about the procedures of budget approval.  Either it is approved or it isn't.  Assuming there is more information to budget approval is the type of out of scope thinking LSAC does not want you to do.

Fail.  Try actually reading my post.  I never said we NEED more information.  I said we don't have enough information--that is, enough information to conclude the trivial nonsense you're rattling on about.  If you read further you'll find that, "the only important thing" is the assumption between the  premise and the conclusion.  Discussing the necessary assumption in a necessary assumption question is hardly outside the scope.  (But nice try on the Kaplan buzzword.)

You're getting into the weeds with your (completely inaccurate) analysis of the veracity of the argument.  If you're ever going to conquer this test, you need to realize that the subject matter is completely irrelevant to solving the problem.  The thinking has to take place at a more abstract level where you can apply similar reasoning to every problem.  Your treatise on the budget approval process, even if it was helpful for this problem (which it's not), is of absolutely no use on any other problem.  

If the question had read, "Our next budget proposal will probably be approved, because normally about half of all budget proposals that the vice president considers are approved, and last night was a full moon," the same type of assumption is present ("the stage of the moon affects the likelihood that the next budget proposal will be turned down"), but your analysis goes out the window.  Do you see how the number of budget proposals is now completely irrelevant?  Do you see how the fact that half of the proposals are approved is completely irrelevant?  Well, all of that was completely irrelevant in the first place.

Let's say there are 10 requests and the last 5 are denied then the next one will likely be approved.

Good grief, now you're making the same stupid assumption the author did!

lol at the Kaplan reference.  I was thinking the same thing and almost posted the question 'llsatt1, have you been drinking the Kaplan cool-aide?'

llsatt1, you are all over the place and have even contradicted yourself a few times with your analysis.  

Let's start from scratch and make sure you understand the question stem because I think that might be where your misunderstanding is partially coming from.  The reasoning is FLAWED because it 'presumes, without giving warrant, that'.  The presumes without warrant part is equivalent to saying assumes or assumption, meaning that you are supposed to be selecting the answer choice that states a faulty assumption the conclusion of the argument is relying on.  Since it tells you that the reasoning is flawed BECAUSE of the assumption, it is asking you to identify an assumption that is not reasonable or logical to make.  

It boils down in part to the difference between warranted and unwarranted assumptions.  

To illustrate this in general terms about warranted vs. unwarranted/flawed assumptions:

Is it safe to assume that when it rains that the streets get wet?  ABSOLUTELY!  That is a warranted assumption.  
Is it safe to assume that when somebody is talking about an alligator or a snake that they are talking about a reptile even if they don't specifically say they are reptiles?  Yes, that is common sense.  

As it applies to this LR question, is it safe to assume that past events and the statistics about them (remember, statistics are compilations of data about many past events over time calculated into averages and other statistical measures) will determine or likely determine what is going to happen with the next event regarding the subject matter in question?  NO!  That is a logically flawed unwarranted assumption.

I'd bet that if you went to Vegas or a casino somewhere and played roulette that your reasoning and betting strategy would be something like 'the last 5 spins came up black so red is due and going to hit next' and bet red.  

llsatt1, you need to learn the common flawed methods of reasoning much better as well as learn logically valid methods of reasoning and be able to tell the difference between the two sets.  If you're getting your LSAT prep from a Kaplan book or something related or like that, put it down and get some prep from a quality source with quality materials.  

Earlcat knows his $hit about all this and so do I.  

If you want to get good advice and improve your score, instead of being combative/argumentative/recalcitrant or whatever, I suggest you listen to advice from people that know this stuff by asking questions for clarification or whatever in a friendly way instead of vigorously trying to defend flawed and incorrect reasoning.  

One common type of counter productive attitude people prepping for the test get and let guide themselves (which leads them to not doing as well as possible) is trying to argue with the test and fighting and arguing that the credited answer choice is not or should not be correct.  

The test is very well constructed and put together with tons of extensive quality control and review procedures before a question appears on an administered exam in a scored section in order to make sure the logic and everything is sound.  There have been very few of the 5000+ administered questions that were later removed from scoring due to flaws.  I can count them all on two hands, barely needing the fingers of my second hand.

You are preparing for the LSAT.  Earlcat, myself, and many other people on this and other related boards have achieved 99% scores (high 170 range) and have been teaching and tutoring people for the LSAT for many years.  Instead of fighting with us, just ask questions and we'll be glad to help.  

Who's Jeffort?

That's like asking Who is Elvis!  :D

New PSA: is back up and I Jeffort am back at your service for LSAT prep advice and also for some online fun. 

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