Law School Discussion

anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?

redemption

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #50 on: March 28, 2006, 09:05:56 PM »
Let me be as clear as I can about your question: there is no relationship between (so-called innate) intelligence and performance on the LSAT, assuming away learning disabilities and lack of fluency in English.

I think we are misunderstanding each other because I don't think I asked any questions to which this would form a response!  As I said earlier, I pretty much agree with you on this: I don't believe the LSAT says much, if anything, about one's intelligence.  (As an aside, this also contradicts something you say below -- that is, if you are willing to include me among the high scorers.)

My beef is with this statement:

The LSAT isn't tough enough to distinguish between who's smart and who isn't. I just paid attention to what I was reading and bubbling.

I don't know whether an instrument's ability to measure intelligence can be judged by how difficult it is.  If the LSAT were tougher, I don't think it would measure intelligence any more than it does now; if it were easier, I don't think it would measure intelligence any less.  It just measures something else.  (You have pointed to some of the things it measures: linguistic and cultural fluency, concentration, etc.)

But remember, the LSAT is tough -- very tough -- for a lot of smart people who try hard. It does assess some qualities beyond paying attention while one is reading and bubbling.  Your insistence that anyone can ace it if she works hard enough is an insult to people who work hard and don't ace it. 

Smart, work hard and don't ace the LSAT? Not possible, unless you're defining smart in such a way as to exclude basic reasoning ability.

I say that it has nothing to do with intelligence because
1. I believe that reasoning ability is learned, not innate.

2. I believe that the reasoning ability tested by the LSAT is so basic, so elementary, that it could not distinguish intelligence levels between two people who has this basic ability to read and understand straightforward text;

3. If the LSAT were tougher, it could make fine distinctions between people's skills in argument, analogy, inference and induction - especially under time pressure. (There are better ways to do this, though)

4. SES, cultural literacy etc have their role in explaining variations in LSAT performance

5. insult? It should not be an insult to say that lots of people cannot reason, and did not study well or hard enough to bring their skill up to where it could have been. It is, after all, a fact. It has no moral content.

Does this response more adequately answer what you were asking me?

redemption

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #51 on: March 28, 2006, 09:06:56 PM »
Not to pick straws, but 170+ is the 98th percentile, not the 99th.  Not that I'm bitter or anything. :D

I think that people on this board are probably HIGHLY self-selected for above average amounts of study/prep time, so I wouldn't draw many conclusions from our experiences.  As I think back to the kids in the same room when I took the test, I am guessing not many of them put much time into preparing.

Test anxiety, concentration issues and other problems are all overcomeable (is that a word?).  Again, it might take five years of therapy, but that is a time issue, not a denial of the possibility.  

It is just not the case that some people are born with gold intellects, some silver and others copper, wood or mud.  Taking tests comes easier to some people, sure, but I refuse to admit that there is any non-learning disabled person who does not have the potential to become a skilled test taker.  People are events who develop into all sorts of strange and beautiful things over their lives, not things who can be categorized, labelled and fixed in neat little alpha plus and epsilon minus categories.

Yes. I cosign everything here.

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2006, 09:26:40 PM »
I think I am unclear of your opinion.  You do not believe intelligence is innate, but that the LSAT is not difficult enough to distinguesh between intelligences?  Do you mean learned intelligence?  Because then doesn't it still distinguish nothing, because hypothetically anything can be learned?  Maybe I do not understand quite what you mean by innate intelligence, or if your talking about the intelligence needed of taking the LSAT.  I also somewhat understand your idea of a 167 cut-off, because there is not a true differential between a 167 and a 177.  BUt are soft factors really a more quantifiable approach to gauging appropriate candidates?  Maybe more of a focus on it, but some people can afford to do volunteer work in Madagascar, while others meanwhile move houses to pay the bills.  At that point, it seems it would just come down to who can write the best, or emphasize their importance. 

redemption

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2006, 09:37:15 PM »
I think I am unclear of your opinion. 

#1 You do not believe intelligence is innate, but that the LSAT is not difficult enough to distinguesh between intelligences?  Do you mean learned intelligence?  Because then doesn't it still distinguish nothing, because hypothetically anything can be learned?  Maybe I do not understand quite what you mean by innate intelligence, or if your talking about the intelligence needed of taking the LSAT. 

#2 I also somewhat understand your idea of a 167 cut-off, because there is not a true differential between a 167 and a 177.  BUt are soft factors really a more quantifiable approach to gauging appropriate candidates?  Maybe more of a focus on it, but some people can afford to do volunteer work in Madagascar, while others meanwhile move houses to pay the bills.  At that point, it seems it would just come down to who can write the best, or emphasize their importance. 

On the 1st point: the LSAT measures - imperfectly - your readiness to engage in some of the central tasks of being a law student. Can you read? Can you recognize a useful analogy and spot a fake one? Can you deduce things? etc. These skills can be learned. They can certainly be learned to a level necessary to satisfy the simple requirements of the LSAT.

If there is such a thing as innate inteliigence, it would take something more challenging than and/or different to the LSAT to measure it.

On the 2nd point: I have suggested how I would construct an admissions system in a thread by that name in the Affirmative Action section of LSD. The 167 cut-off is part of a bigger scheme.

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2006, 09:41:22 PM »
Assume that intelligence is a measure of knowing what needs to be done in order to accomplish what we set out to achieve. In that event, the LSAT is a measure of intelligence. It might be a horrible experience for some, for others a mere waste of five hours performed while fighting a wicked hangover. Either way it's a hoop--we jump through it to get what we want. The LSAT IS learnable--for some of us it takes work b/c we have to figure out how in the hell we're going to approach the thing. I started at 153 and finished at 165. What kept me from scoring higher? Simple--me. Not my lack of intelligence, or my inability to figure out who's eating apples while sitting in seat six but my inability to perform at the pace I needed to perform during the second logical reasoning section. That slip in execution cost me five points. I envy those of you who scored much higher with minimum preparation but anyone who wants to whine about how they just aren't "smart" enough to score any higher or they can't control their test anxiety may need to consider whether they can overcome these excuses to face three years of really demanding, competitive education.

apologies in advance if that's too harsh, but at some point you have to stop analyzing things and just do them. so what if it sucks--do it. what other option do you have?

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2006, 09:56:11 PM »
Red, I understand what you are saying about the LSAT.  My question is if innate intelligence is a fabrication (I am not saying it is not), than how would something more difficult measure intelligence.  If it is not innate, than it is learned, correct?  Something that is more difficult, would just mean that you have just learned the necessary procedures in dealing with the questions.

pass36

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Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #56 on: March 28, 2006, 09:58:56 PM »
I think part of what is confusing here is that all of us are moving back and forth much too easily between "skills required to do well on LSAT" and "intelligence."   Reading comprehension, argument analysis and logic games are all specific skills.  

Other specific skills are serving a tennis ball, carving ice sculptures and hosting a dinner party.  

All six of those skills are learnable.  People start from many different places with each of them, however, and have different amounts of time they are able to devote to improvement.  Reading comprehension comes more naturally to me than serving a tennis ball, which in turn comes much more naturally than carving ice sculptures.  

It is easy for people to make the jump from this to saying that I am highly intelligent, fairly athletic and not very artistic.  But I don't think that is a necessary connection.  I could be a great pianist, for example.  Similarly, people could have many "intelligent" skills without necessarily having the ones that the LSAT tests for.


habeas dorkus!

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Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2006, 10:00:43 PM »
just curious

I thought the test itself was easy; granted, I dropped a ways from practice scores (that was my own fault though).

Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #58 on: March 28, 2006, 10:01:44 PM »
fair enough, but you can learn those skills with the proper prep. heck-i'll even teach you to serve a tennis ball if need be :)

habeas dorkus!

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Re: anyone here thinks LSAT is easy?
« Reply #59 on: March 28, 2006, 10:03:23 PM »
Why has frankness so little value in our discourse?

When does it ever have greater value?