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Author Topic: How much studying should I be doing a day?  (Read 3566 times)

FalconJimmy

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2011, 12:41:17 PM »
<<I disagree completely with this statement.  Prep is just as helpful for analytic and reading comprehension sections.>>

Perhaps for some.  For me it would have been pointless.  Like most folks, I took 4 sections other than Logic Games.  3 of them were graded.  One of them, I know I missed maybe 3 questions on.  Might have missed 1 or two others that I thought I had right.  the rest, I doubt I missed any, but might have missed, at best, 1 or 2.

As I left the test, based on the number of questions I answered, i guessed that I got a 160.  I was off by one point.  Not conclusive proof, but seems to me that it's possible to ace all the reading sections with just general aptitude and good reading ability.  Also, based on my score, it appears that the section I thought I missed 3 on was one that was graded, unfortunately.

<< The analytical section is basically math riddles, and they keep using the same ones. >>

And the amount of math required to solve them is pretty much what you'd expect from a 12 year old of average ability.  Thus, it isn't testing your abilities at math.  it's testing your ability at reading.

Now, all that having been said, I generally agree with this statement.  Moreso with logic games than with the other sections, but still, at this point, folks know how good they are at taking standardized tests.  Also, in some situations this will be more important than in others.

<<My basic view on the LSAT is that it counts the same as your GPA, if not more.  You spent four full years working on your GPA - you owe it to yourself to spend the same amount of mental effort on the LSAT.  Take the LSAT very, very seriously.>>

I totally agree with that statement.

Thane Messinger

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2011, 12:19:08 AM »
Perhaps for some.  For me it would have been pointless.  Like most folks, I took 4 sections other than Logic Games.  3 of them were graded.  One of them, I know I missed maybe 3 questions on.  Might have missed 1 or two others that I thought I had right.  the rest, I doubt I missed any, but might have missed, at best, 1 or 2.


One difference in perspectives is that someone such as Lund is shooting for 180.  (Or, for me, the old scale of 48.)  Beware:  when entering the actual world of law practice, this perspective IS the world of law.  There is 180, and there is "lose."  I don't mean to make too much of this, but for a real lawyer, one strives to do (and be) the best.  Really.  The very, very best.  Not just "good enough," or "that's silly," or "golly isn't this over yet?"  Not everyone can get 180, sure.  But almost everyone can do better than they will if they study lightly or, out of some misplaced machismo, not at all.  Walk into an LSAT cold and the ghost of an admissions committee member will be standing watch, shaking his head.  The live member, sensing what the ghost whispers and reaching for the admissions stamps, selects the one labeled "smite."

Also, it's easy to make too much of difference.  Sure, individuals are different, and perhaps there's something to learning styles . . . but not nearly as much as one would suspect by reading about what works and what doesn't.  It's almost as if we've sipped a bit too much at the "if it feels good do it" Kool Aid bar.  At some level, brainpower is brainpower is brainpower.  And preparation is preparation is more preparation.  If you think you're prepared, think again. Prepare some more. 

I'm with Morten on this one, even if he is more extreme than I.  (Better that someone is!  = :  )

Thane.

FalconJimmy

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2011, 12:03:05 PM »
I don't mean to make too much of this, but for a real lawyer, one strives to do (and be) the best.  Really.  The very, very best.  Not just "good enough," or "that's silly," or "golly isn't this over yet?" 

Ya know, I agree with this as a general statement.  If the O/P really is trying to nail down a 180, then he is a fool to do anything other than EVERYTHING he can possibly do to nail down that 180.  Good for him.  I applaud everything about that.

However, a "real" lawyer?  I'm struck by a quote by Mark Lanier who said that when he took the bar exam, if he passed by 1 point more than the minimum required, then he studied too much:

http://www.lanierlawfirm.com/attorneys/w_mark_lanier.htm

Maybe he's not a real lawyer, but his verdict ($235 million) in the VIOXX case says otherwise. 

I doubt he got a 180 on his LSAT (Or whatever the equivalent was at the time), and he certainly didn't attend HYS.  He attended Texas Tech, a law school that I would probably have been admitted to if I had  applied.

So, yeah, if your definition of a "real lawyer" is one who has the potential to end up on the Supreme Court or will nail a biglaw salary of $160K upon graduation, then yeah, you need a high LSAT (though nowhere near 180) and admission to an elite school.

However, if your definition of a "real lawyer" is a prosecutor in the DA's office, you can get there with less than perfect LSAT and gpa and a less than stellar law school.

If it matters as far as getting into a top law school, then heck, go for it. 

I have a disagreement on the effect of practice and prep on what are essentially reading comprehension portions of the test, and my scores back it up.  Those portions of the test were probably consistent with getting in the high 160s maybe low 170s. 

I also know that I could have and should have prepped for the logic games, and my score, unfortunately, backs that up, too.

I'm not telling anybody to half-ass this thing.  What I'm saying is that if you're not going to take the LSAT (and hence, not attend law school) because you're only doing an hour a day of prep, then I think that's a mistake.

Preparing is clearly preferrable to not-preparing.

However, like anything in life, there comes a point of diminishing returns.  I think that point comes pretty quickly on reading comprehension.  If, after four years of college, you need somebody to coach you on reading comprehension, then I sincerely doubt that an elite law school is in your future.

I think the point of diminishing returns comes much later on logic games.  It's well worth spending time prepping for that because there are distinct strategies that an intelligent, literate person will not necessarily be aware of without somebody else helping them prepare.

Applying to law school, finishing law school, practicing the law, and basically any other significant endeavor in life will always boil down to managing your finite resources to attain your goal. 

So, if you're saying work as hard as you can, do the best that you can, use all the resources at your disposal, I'm right there with you.  Right on!  Go for it.

However, if you're saying that you can't go to law school and be a real lawyer if you are only studying 1 hour a day for the LSAT, I respectfully disagree.  I personally think I, and a whole lot of other people like me can/could get to something approximating their maximum potential if they just prep hard for the logic games portion and familiarize themselves with the format of the test.

MikePing

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2011, 12:24:18 PM »
The LSAT is way different from the bar, which is Pass-Fail.

I have personally worked with/for Mark Lanier.  I guarantee you, if he were taking the LSAT right now he would be shooting for a 180. 

Not everyone needs a 180; not everyone needs to go to HYLS. 

Morten Lund

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2011, 12:48:37 PM »
I don't mean to make too much of this, but for a real lawyer, one strives to do (and be) the best.  Really.  The very, very best.  Not just "good enough," or "that's silly," or "golly isn't this over yet?" 

Ya know, I agree with this as a general statement.  If the O/P really is trying to nail down a 180, then he is a fool to do anything other than EVERYTHING he can possibly do to nail down that 180.  Good for him.  I applaud everything about that.

However, a "real" lawyer?  I'm struck by a quote by Mark Lanier who said that when he took the bar exam, if he passed by 1 point more than the minimum required, then he studied too much:

I'll take a stab at explaining what Thane is talking about. 

I agree with your Lanier quote - but, to paraphrase the esteemed philosopher Inigo Montoya, it does not mean what you think it means.  The bar exam is binary - you pass or you fail.  There is no difference between passing by one point and passing by a thousand points.  What Thane and I are saying is perfectly consistent with Lanier's approach.  "Perfection," with regard to the bar exam, means passing, not getting the best possible score.

The LSAT is different - it is not binary.  Every extra point increases your chances of gaining admittance to a better school.  For the LSAT, "perfection" means 180.  Every other score is "not perfection."

Now, with regard to perfection in the context of life as a "real lawyer," I hope you will forgive me for quoting myself.  From Jagged Rocks of Wisdom:

"Our clients pay us for product 'A.'  They don't pay for product '90%-of-A,' or product '99%-of-A.'  It is either 'A' or 'not-A,' and '99%-of-A' might as well be '0%-of-A.'  99% is better than 50% only because it will take less work to get up to 100%.  Ultimately, everything gets to 100%."

What it means to be 100% varies, of course, but whatever the expected (i.e., required) result, that is the only acceptable result.  "100%" means that you got the partner what he wanted.  "Almost-A" is the same as "not-A."  So when the partner asks you to draft a motion that meets his expectations, then that is what you must do.  Drafting a motion that almost meets his expectations, even 99% of his expectations, means that your memo does not meet his expectations, and you failed to perform your task.  Every task on the job is pass/fail, and the passing grade is 100%.


Quote
However, like anything in life, there comes a point of diminishing returns. 

Also true - but on the job, you don't get to decide when you have reached that point.  The partner, and only the partner, decides when you are finished.  The partner defines success, not you.

Quote
I think that point comes pretty quickly on reading comprehension.  If, after four years of college, you need somebody to coach you on reading comprehension, then I sincerely doubt that an elite law school is in your future.

Quick side note - reading comprehension was my weakest LSAT section by far.  But I studied hard, improved my score, and ended up doing quite well.  Everyone is different.


Quote
Applying to law school, finishing law school, practicing the law, and basically any other significant endeavor in life will always boil down to managing your finite resources to attain your goal. 

So, if you're saying work as hard as you can, do the best that you can, use all the resources at your disposal, I'm right there with you.  Right on!  Go for it.

You are of course correct, in a general sense.  The point that Thane was making, however is that on the job, this doesn't apply to junior associates (or junior anything).  You are a resource being disposed of, and you do not have the authority to decide when you have prepared "enough."  You either will or will not perform the task asked of you.  If the end product meets the partner's expectations, then you have succeeded.  If not, then you have failed. 

Now, your Lanier quote applies to the extent that doing "101%-of-A" would in fact be wasteful, as the extra 1% will be disregarded. But, frankly, I would not advise fresh law grads to worry too much about what to do if they are constantly exceeding partner expectations.

FalconJimmy

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2011, 02:38:22 PM »
I have personally worked with/for Mark Lanier.  I guarantee you, if he were taking the LSAT right now he would be shooting for a 180. 

But he's not taking it right now.  He took it back then.  In spite of whatever LSAT he took, he ended up being a "real lawyer".

The main reason to get that great LSAT is to get into that great school, right?  However, he didn't do that.  (I mean no offense, to Tech graduates.  Just that most folks would not regard it as being on par with a few other programs in Texas.) 

Doesn't appear to have kept him from becoming a "real lawyer".

MikePing

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2011, 03:25:37 PM »
He grew up in Lubbock, Tech was his first choice. 

FalconJimmy

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2011, 05:09:38 PM »
He grew up in Lubbock, Tech was his first choice.

Which means that it wouldn't have really mattered, beyond a certain point, what he got on his LSAT, no?

It essentially became a binary equation for him as well:  good enough to get into Tech or not.


scenariosolver

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2011, 04:42:26 PM »
I scored a 172 on the LSAT and studied about five hours a day for at least four months.  I have taught the LSAT for about seven years and find that students are not prepared to make the necessary sacrifice for this test.  This test is principle based not memorization based.  This means that you must understand the concepts and apply them rather than spit out things that you memorized the night before.
www.ScenarioSolver.com Video Solutions of all releasedLSAT Logic Games - 13$ a month unlimited access

themanwithnoname

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Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2011, 05:17:14 PM »
do 30 practice tests, timed, under proper conditions before the exam. Best thing you can do.