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Recommended Materials for LSAT Study

With the wealth of LSAT prep materials out there, it can be tough to find the best resources for LSAT study. I've been tutoring the LSAT for 5 years, and these are the materials I've found to be the most helpful.   Practice Tests The best way to practice is by using previously administered LSATs. LSAC has published several collections of tests: Volume 5 (Tests 62 to 71, December 2010 to December 2013) Volume 4 (Tests 52 to 61, September 2007 to October 2010) The Next 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests (Tests 29 to 38, October 1999 to October 2002) 10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests (Tests 19 to 28, June 1996 to June 1999) 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests (Tests 7 to 18, December 1992 to September 1995)   The most recent tests (Volumes 4 and 5 above) are the most accurate reflections of what you'll see on test day, while the older tests can be significantly different. I recommend both taking fully-timed practice tests and completing... read more

LSAT Resources

I wanted to write a blog post on where to find quality LSAT resources. Here's my list of material that I use with my students:   Free Materials:   Free LSAT Practice Test Free Virtual LSAT Proctor LSAT Answer Keys LSAT Score Conversion Tables LSAT Answer Sheet   Not free but worth every penny:   LSAT Study Pack - I used to use the "the next ten" LSAT books printed by the LSAC and just scan through to find questions of a specific type to review. I found this wasted a lot of time and my students didn't appreciate paying for time that wasn't spent reviewing questions. The Starter Set has every section broken down and grouped by question type so now I just work through the material and it makes my life easier and my students much happier. It costs $115.

Free Virtual LSAT Proctor

When taking an LSAT practice test it is important that you simulate real testing conditions as closely as possible. This virtual LSAT proctor will give pre-test instructions, announce the 5 minute warning before time expires, and time your test. To view the virtual LSAT proctor just click on the title of this Blog post then click the link below:    FREE VIRTUAL LSAT PROCTOR  

Free LSAT Practice Test

I always recommend that my students take a diagnostic practice test before our first meeting so that I can get a detailed picture of their strengths and weaknesses. To download a free LSAT practice test just click on the title of this Blog post then click the link below:   FREE LSAT PRACTICE TEST  

A brain teaser

 In the land of Zig-Zag, there are only two types of people: truth tellers who always tell the truth and zig zags who if questioned either tell the truth or lie. The zig zags never lie or tell the truth twice in a row when questioned.   We can infer which of the following:   A) In the land of Zig-Zag, if a person is asked if they are a truth teller and they answer affirmatively, then the next answer he or she gives to a question must be true.   B) In the land of Zig-Zag, if you ask whether their neighbor is a truth teller and the person answers in the negative, then the answer the neighbor gives to the next question is most likely true.   C) Both A and B   D) Neither A nor B

LSAT Analytical Reasoning---how to prepare

The LSAT is unique among the various standardized tests in that it includes sections that try to show the logic capabilities of the test-takers, based on logically analyzing reading passages AND doing "logic puzzles".  You may have seen logic puzzles in various media, such as Dell(tm) puzzle books or Games(tm) Magazine.   A typical puzzle would be on the lines of "Mrs. Wiggins has a case with four shelves, each holding a different animal toy that she got from four different relatives in four different years.  From the clues determine which shelves have which animal, who gave her the animal, and the year she got it."  There are then clues such as "The cat is on the shelf below the one she got from her nephew and above the one she got in 2011 (which is not the dog)."  With those clues, the solution can be worked out.  The difference between these puzzles and the LSAT is that these puzzles have one and only one... read more

LSAT preparation: interaction in tutoring a key to success.

Students preparing for the LSAT have a variety of resources available, including prep courses, books, and on-line materials. Only one resource - one on one tutoring - provides the most valuable aspect of LSAT preparation: the back and forth interaction that assists students in learning not only which answers are correct, but also why each answer choice is right or wrong.   The LSAT consists of three types of questions - reading comprehension, logic games (analytical reasoning,) and logical reasoning. With no penalty for guessing, the LSAT rewards students when they may not know the right answer, but can improve their odds by eliminating wrong ones. Unlike larger classes and self-study materials, tutors can focus on the student's understanding of the material one question at a time and at the student's own pace. A good tutor can also help a student identify strengths and weaknesses.   The LSAT is designed with Logical Reasoning questions... read more

Looking for a well rounded tutor?

To those of you looking for a tutor that has a range of possibilities, I dedicate this blog to you. Being a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, I know what it takes to use study skills to focus and remain organized in order to maintain a clean academic record. Graduating in only three years, I have had the opportunity to manage a schedule of work and school and internships, while studying and applying to law schools. Organization is one of my many skills that translates into my tutoring ability. I am currently a tutor. My focus has been editing, proofreading and college applications. However, I am a former kindergarten instructor. That opportunity fine tuned my patience, my understand that each student is an individual learner, and taught me how to approach difficult situations with younger children. I look forward to opportunities to come from this site, and look forward to your commentary. Many thanks, Davina

Using current events to explain statistical ideas

It is often examples that make ideas understandable to students and current events can be a good source of examples. Case in point. Today in Wisconsin, the issue of the day is the outcome of the recall elections and problems with the exit polling. As a tutor, the outcome isn’t interesting, but exit polling like all surveys is key to the usefulness of statistics! In fact, it gives a great opportunity to illustrate some of the basic (and non-mathematical) ideas and concepts of statistics — usually the ideas presented at the beginning of most introduction-to-statistics courses. Statistical inferences are grounded in some basic definitions and assumptions (in bold). A population is a defined collection of individuals that we want to know some data about and a sample is a group taken from the population that we are going to actually collect data from (Sullivan, 2010, p. 5; Triola, 2010, p. 4). If we wanted to know the actual data about a population, which is called a parameter,... read more

Standardized Exams - Tip 4

This post is for most if not all standardized exams. The number one issue I see with the majority of students who are preparing for these major and critical exams is that they do not spend enough time prepping. For example, obtaining a tutor a week or even three weeks before the test date is probably not going to do much to increase your scores, especially if you are meeting up with a tutor for only an hour or two per session, given your current score (pre-test). Here's my take. If you know that you will take one of these major exams (All High School AP exams included), please start months if not at least three months ahead of time. This is when you should start thinking seriously about what you need to obtain a 5 on most AP exams. What you should do is get a pre-test of how you're doing, thus you would know your strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to the test you plan to take. From here, I would work with the student to create a schedule to fit their time/financial... read more

Standardized Exam - Tip 2

Tip #2 for Standardized Exams Students who plan to sit for any standardized exams should do the following: 1. Take a diagnostic exam. It does not have to be a full-blown exam but a mini-version in order to get a idea as to your strengths and weaknesses. 2. Thoroughly evaluate and understand your diagnostic scores - every breakdown, not just how many wrong or right you got in each section but also understand the type of questions you are getting wrong. Also, if possible record those lucky hunches or guesses. The key is to maximize study time and effort. Why waste precious time reviewing topics in which you are comfortable in as opposed to spending your time on the tougher problems. Take Algebra - manipulation of equations. Yes, you might get the problem(s) correct but for each type of problems, there are different levels of difficulties, thus, check to see if you are truly comfortable with manipulation of equations. Most students get a few correct and think that... read more

Standardized Exam - Tip 1

This tip applies to all standardized exams. First, focus on eliminating careless mistakes. Most students who are taking this exam (SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.) for the first time will realized that majority of their errors (if not more than 50%) are due to careless mistakes. Thus, if they focus on fine-tuning this portion of their skill sets they would see their overall score rise. Given that most students wait till the last week or two to study for an extremely important exam, thus, focusing on the low-hanging fruits as they say in the process improvement arena is step 1. Second, once the low-hanging fruits of careless errors are eliminated or minimized, students should focus on working to learn the concepts that they did have trouble with or simply do not know. For example, at this stage of the studying preparation, students are working to fill in the gaps of their knowledge. This could be anywhere from 10-30% of the errors they are getting. This could be due to multiple... read more

How to do your BEST THINKING during the BIG TEST

Getting plenty of sleep EVERY NIGHT during the week of the big test. Drinking plenty of water (some extra) for SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE the test, and enough during the test too, in small sips. (Having to go to the bathroom a lot is also stressful, so moderation is important here). They say most people don't drink nearly enough water. If we are even slightly dehydrated, it can cause the brain to slow down 10 to 20% or more, which makes a big difference on timed tests that require you to think QUICKLY. Getting exercise, and the right mix of oxygen to the brain is so important. Exercise can also help reduce feelings of stress. Does anyone want to go jogging for a while before you get ready to go to the big test? Good nutrition -- protein is "brain food," along with the right vitamins, minerals, Omega III essential oils, B-Complex vitamins, Lecithin, etc. It is worth consulting a nutritionist if you want to have peak performance from your brain. I know several excellent... read more

What would you do?

I was having a crisis last night, thinking that I took on more than I could handle with going to law school. I shut down my computer and called one of my best friends - my mom - to get her advice. Of course, she didn't help when she said that she couldn't make that decision for me. I told her she was some friend, but the next thing she said got me thinking. She asked me, "What would you do if one of your students came to you and said learning English was too hard and was thinking of dropping out of school?" I would tell my student not to give up because it will get easier as he/she learns. One day, all will fall into place. I told my mom I loved her and went back to my office and fired up the computer and read the next case.

100 PERCENT SUCCESS AGAIN FOR THE NYS ELA AND MATHEMATICS

We did it again! All the students whom I have tutored for both regular academics and for the NYS ELA and Mathematics, have passed their exams. Some are moving up to the next grades, and others have received achievement awards. It is such a great feeling when the results of dedication from the parents, hard work from the students and myself, produce such a wonderful accomplishment. I am taking all my younger students out for ice-cream. We have to celebrate this milestone. I am available throughout the summer for anyone who may need my help. I must say that my calendar is filling up quickly, even for the fall semester. Have a great day everyone, while I gloat in this moment :).

Yesterday was another great day to be a tutor - REGENTS INTEGRATED ALGEBRA

Yesterday was another great day to be a tutor. I met with a young student for Regents Integrated Algebra and Geometry. She was so nervous when I first met her. I told her that I would put a curriculum together for her, and with hard work she will be fine. Week after week we work together. Slowly but surely she began exhibiting confidence, asking questions and solving problems. It was so nice to see. The best part is when I arrived yesterday she told me that she received a higher grade on her exam than the last time, at school. She told me that she has been studying, which was obvious by her performance. If I gave her a problem that she had difficulty solving, she would ask for more practice exercises like it. Three weeks ago she would never had done that. I am so proud of her. Both the student and her mom thanked me, and I hugged them as I left. I even received a referral before leaving. I really love what I do.

New LSAT prep tests available

A new book of 10 LSAT Prep Tests is available from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Tests 52 - 61 are now available in one book! This is great news because these tests include the new double passage that appears in the reading comprehension section. More recent tests may also be a bit more challenging than the older tests. Visit www.lsac.org to shop for materials. Just click on "Services for Prospective JD Students" and then "Shop for Prep Materials" And a word to the wise....never buy books from test prep companies! The best materials are available directly from the test makers themselves for very reasonable prices.

Bad Test Takers Cheat Sheet

Many students claim to be just bad test takers. No matter how much they study or how well they understand the information, when it comes to taking the test, they can’t perform. Well, rest-assure that the problem probably isn’t that the student is a “bad” test taker, but that they let stress get the better of them. In 9 out of 10 students, inability to perform on tests is caused by stress and tension. Luckily, there are some test taking tips that will help any student conquer test apprehension. SECRET WEAPONS All students should have a few of these secret ways to improve not only their test-taking abilities, but also their confidence and self-assurance on the day of the test. The following tips can make a big difference right before a test. Students should try them all to see which ones work best for them. Special Advice to Students: 1. Use multi-sensory studying and memorization practices. When we study, we tend to focus on the visual, but actually, other senses... read more

Lies, BLEEP lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain is often credited as saying that there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics" but as someone who tutors in statistics, I see it more as there are people who tell lies and lies with statistics. Statistics themselves are only numbers, and while calculations can be mistaken, the wrong formulas can be used and yes numbers can be used to mislead people; the numbers themselves do not lie. The problem for most people with statistics is that it is an unusual way to think about and manipulate numbers. This week, I have been helping a student better understand the implications of an average of a sample, also referred to as the mean in order to prepare for an upcoming standardized test. Generally, a sample consists of individuals 1, 2, 3, …, n, who each have some numerical characteristic x1, x2, x3, …, xn. For example, a sample of individual's resting heart rate (measured in beats per minute, bpm) could be as follows: Individual 1 has a rate of 43 bpm,... read more

Preparations for the Morning

Please note first off that this is written primarily about the ACT. I have not taken the other tests, but I have a feeling that what I write here will be at least partially relevant to them. Some of the fundamentals for preparing for the ACT test morning are pretty straightforward: 1. Get enough sleep the night before (and the night before that too. Many forget that two nights ago does have a strong impact on performance). 2. Eat a hearty breakfast. Eggs work well for me, but really anything hot to start the body going, and avoid sausages and the like. Most are made with turkey, which we all know from thanksgiving helps put people to sleep. 3. Leave early so you can arrive early to reduce stress. 4. If you have time to worry, you have time to do some last-minute studying ;) Now, there is one major thing I would like to point out that many of you reading this may not realize about the morning of the ACT: once you enter the building, the test is still far from... read more

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