On the lsat, do sweat the small stuff manhattan prep lsat blog gas weed

When the youngster boils over and says, “I’m sick of being your slave! When are we going to learn karate?” the master wryly smiles and says, “Show me: wax the car ,” and starts throwing punches at the kid. To the kid’s surprise, the well-rehearsed motion of waxing the car is actually similar to the motion of blocking a punch. The well-rehearsed motion of painting the fence helps him to block kicks. The master secretly has been teaching the kid karate by focusing on certain foundational skills.

If you wanted to master car racing, you would first have to become automatic at manual transmission, as oxymoronic as that sounded. You wouldn’t be able to simultaneously judge the curvature of the upcoming track, the proximity of cars around you, or the imminence of your next pit stop until you had already turned gear-shifting into a “brain dead” skill.

Our brains only have so much working memory, so complex tasks can easily overwhelm us. Musicians repeatedly run scales, so that muscle memory is handling the task of dexterously moving one’s fingers to the right places, enabling working memory to have resources to devote to things like dynamics and expression.

3D stuff would not be as quick as the above four types, and you would normally sense it more from reading the paragraph setup: Okay, so for these characters, I not only have to assign them to an order/group, I also have to keep track of whether they’re ____.

The other type of LSAT game worth knowing is “Other,” as in, I couldn’t quickly categorize this . That empty name (about as informative as “dark matter” or “dark energy” in physics) at least registers with our brain that “this task seems less familiar, therefore less likely to draw upon my practice experiences. Thus, I might want to consider doing a different game instead and saving this for later, or if I’m doing this game, I should be very flexible and willing to adapt to whatever this new task is.”

To practice: take any official LSAT test you have, go to its Games section, and give yourself 2 minutes total to identify the four LSAT games as one of the above-mentioned 7 types (including “Other”). If you can start to do that in 2 minutes, see if 90 seconds or 60 seconds is enough time for you to categorize all four games. 2. Rule Symbolization/Linkage

You can also just take any official LSAT test, go to the Games section, and look directly at the rules (only peek at the setup if you need to). See how quickly and comfortably you can symbolize all the rules for a game. From doing so, did you figure out what type of game you’re doing? If you encountered a rule that didn’t fit a pre-made schema, should you make a flashcard so that you can quiz yourself on how to translate that rule several more times? 3. Setting Up the Roster and Master Diagram (And Frames, If Applicable)

This gets back to the idea mentioned in #1—if this is one of those six normal types of LSAT games, then you should already have a good sense of what diagrams look like for that type of game. Be brisk as you copy down your roster of characters and as you draw out your blanks (and label them, if necessary/desired).

Other people like to set up frames by writing separate diagrams, each fully-labeled, in different spots of the page. That is prettier, but that can eat up time. If you like framing, but don’t like the time involved, you might want to experiment with a jankier system like mine that makes it very quick to start a new scenario.

Normally, when we frame 2 or 3 worlds, only one of them is going to actually have juicy chain reactions. If you know that going in, you don’t push futilely to find anything interesting in the more open frame. You just harvest the domino reactions in the cool frame(s), and then you move onto the questions perfectly content that one or two of your frames are nicely fleshed out, while the remaining one is “open for business.”

There’s an old Beach Boys song that goes, “I wish they all could be California girls.” That’s how I feel about Orientation questions. These are almost always extremely low-level thinking. We take each rule and scan the answer choices to see whether the rule is being followed. Usually, each rule eliminates one answer. Once we’ve read through all the rules, we should have our correct answer: the last man standing, the only legal scenario up there.

You should fly aggressively into these, confident that you know exactly what your job and process are. If we read a rule like, “Howard appears earlier than Francis,” we can scan for H and F in each answer and verify that H is somewhere to the left of F. You can also translate the rule into what it would like broken, so that you’re only scanning once for the wrong thing.

I see my students getting these questions consistently correct, but they’re often taking at least a minute. That’s cray. You should be able to do most of these in 30 seconds or less. If you’re taking a full minute to get an Orientation question right, you might be wasting about 30 seconds per game, which is wasting about 2 minutes per section!

We tend to overlook the stuff we’re already pretty good at, because we (correctly) don’t perceive it as a weakness. But it can still be a valuable opportunity for improvement. By maxing out your proficiency at low-level parts of the LSAT, you give yourself the “I can breathe again” headroom that allows for calmer, more concentrated thinking on the tricky stuff.

Patrick Tyrrell is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Los Angeles, California. He has a B.A. in philosophy, a 178 on the LSAT, and relentless enthusiasm for his work. In addition to teaching test prep since 2006, he’s also an avid songwriter/musician. Check out Patrick’s upcoming LSAT courses here!