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Archive for the ‘Logical Reasoning’ Category

The “Rage to Master”

The Development of Mastery

Psychologists report that some children have an innate, self-driven desire to learn and know all there is to know about a field.  These children lock onto and pursue a topic with unusual tenacity, pouring hours of unbroken concentration into exploring this topic.  The results of this kind of concentration are not surprising:  a very high competency in the chosen field.

One phrase that is apparently in current usage as a label for this type of drive is the “rage to master.”

Not Just for Kids

While “child prodigies” appear to have attracted the most study so far, the “rage to master” is not something that is unique to children—or child prodigies.  College and law students can also catch fire with an internal desire to know, dominate, master a field.  These students are, of course, great at test preparation.

Finding the “rage to master” within oneself for a topic such as the logical reasoning or reading comprehension that is tested on the LSAT or the contracts, torts, evidence, or other law topics that are tested on the bar exam may require some soul-searching.  But it’s worth going on this journey, because that fire—the rage to master—is an incredibly powerful mechanism for improvement.  More discussion on the rage to master coming soon. . . .

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Occlumency for LSAT, Law School, and the Bar Exam

Test-Taking Distractions Don’t Always Come from the Outside

In recent articles, the external distractions that can from from a testing center facility or a proctor have been discussed.  But these distractions can be relatively easy to handle compared to the distractions that come from within one’s own mind.

Clearing and Closing Your Mind:  Occlumency for LSAT, Law School, and the Bar Exam

Internal sources of distractions include several different types of worry, such as:

loose ends: the test-taker can’t concentrate during a part of the test because anxieties about not having paid the rent, not watered the plants, or not made travel or lodging arrangments
underpreparation remorse: as the test begins, the test-taker is overcome with regret about not having practiced and studied more
personal baggage:  the test-taker has under-performed on some previous test and believes that there’s something inherently “wrong” with him or her that will doom him or her to failure on the present test
habitual self-denigration: some test-takers have a more generalized form of baggage in which they have become perpetual—and vicious—critics of themselves, telling themselves they are dumb, a failure, a loser almost constantly; these antagonistic voices and messages can reach a debilitating pitch when a difficult task requiring a lot of concentration—such as the LSAT, a law school essay, or the MBE—is at hand

One part of the solution to all of the above distractions is essentially a real-world version of  “occlumency,” a form of magic resistance from the Harry Potter fantasy book and movie series.  Wizards in the Harry Potter world are taught to block others out of their minds rather than let their thoughts be meddles with.  Test-takers need to do the same, i.e., to treat all of the above distracting thoughts as though they were just little “curses” or “spells” that are being cast against you in order to take you away from your work.  Dispense with them accordingly.

Not Easy, But Worth It

Building up this mental resistance to distraction is easier said than done.  But the first step is recognizing that each of the above mental distractions is counter-productive.

Each one of these thoughts takes points out of final score by burning up your time and diluting your focus.  These thoughts are not friends, not teaching you valuable lessons, not helping you to develop a stronger character or to be responsible.  They’re just undermining your abilities and hurting your scores.  They are, in short, point stealers.

As such, they are not worth one moment of your time or one heartbeat’s worth of emotional energy on test day.

Logical Reasoning Overview

History

The logical reasoning section of the LSAT took its present form in 1991.

Importance

The logical reasoning section typically comprises about 50 questions out of the approximately 100 questions that go into a test-taker’s LSAT score. This section is therefore the most important section on the LSAT, serving as the basis for essentially 50 percent of one’s final LSAT score. Reading comprehension (about 28% of one’s LSAT score) and analytical reasoning (often called “logic games,” at about 22% of one’s LSAT score) are second and third in importance, respectively.

Content

Each modern (i.e., post-1991) LSAT comprises two scored logical reasoning sections. Each logical reasoning section contains approximately twenty-five (25) short passages, most commonly one paragraph in length each. Each passage is then followed by a question to be answered or a statement to be finished.The question or statement is then followed by five possible responses, lettered A through E. Only one response of the five possible responses is the “credited response,” i.e., the right answer.

Timing

Each logical reasoning section is allotted 35 minutes.

Technical Information

Unlike the GRE or GMAT, the LSAT is a paper-based test. A test taker’s answers must be recorded (“bubbled in”) on an answer sheet using a soft lead pencil, which answer sheet is then scanned and electronically graded. No credit (or penalty) is given for marks in the test booklet. There is no penalty for guessing.

Strategy and Tactics

Many LSAT preparation companies are available today to assist students in preparing for the LSAT and the logical reasoning section thereof. LSAT prep companies typically provide in-class instruction regarding logical principles, test-taking strategy, and diagramming techniques. These LSAT prep courses may also include proctored mock LSATs. LSAT prep providers may also offer online LSAT training, computerized analysis of a student’s LSAT performance, and one-on-one LSAT tutoring.

For More Information

Students preparing for the LSAT reading comprehension section are advised to get a free copy of “Eight Questions for Your LSAT Tutor—and One for You” from LSAT Tutor.net.

 

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