Syllabus Summer, 2006
Preparing for and taking the LSAT is an arduous process. This process can be physically demanding and emotionally draining (much like law school itself). The purpose of this class is to prepare you to maximize your score on the test. We will do that by teaching skills and techniques to approach the material covered on the test. We will also train and coach you for test day itself.
This class is based on two principles: (1) the LSAT matters; and (2) who we are and what we bring to the test matters also.
The LSAT matters, like it or not.
Standardized tests in general tend to reproduce social hierarchies in their results. When these tests are used to determine access to educational and professional opportunity, they become an "objective” justification for perpetuating these same hierarchies.
On the personal level, however, a high score on the LSAT can also serve to break this cycle. The LSAT is the ultimate high stakes test, because it factors so highly in the law school admissions process. The LSAT does not test anything except a way of thinking. So you can improve your score by understanding the formula of the test without learning any specific content. Significant score increases are possible and can completely change your law school admissions outlook.
We matter, believe it or not.
This class will be different than a regular test preparation class. We want to put your efforts to improve your LSAT scores into the broader context of who you are, what goals led you to take this test, and what you hope to accomplish with a law degree. This emphasis on context is not to make anyone feel good. This class will be hard and law school will be harder. Motivating yourself to keep studying for another hour will be easier if you keep in mind why you are studying.
The LSAT tests one type of thinking, but that doesn't mean that we only learn in one way. To be fully effective for all students, this class MUST be a continuing dialogue between students and instructor. There will be room for different kinds of learners in this program.
We will work exclusively from real LSAT tests. If you want to beat the test, you must know the test, inside and out.
This is the tentative schedule. Some of the classes (especially Saturday classes) will be eliminated or shortened. Some of these classes will introduce new material specific to the LSAT, some will focus on broad topics of test-taking technique, some will be workshops to hone skills. When possible, classes will be supplemented with speakers from the native Hawaiian legal community and other areas of interest. Attendance at all classes is mandatory.
Monday July 31 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Introduction; How to symbolize structures and clues in logic games; Basic logic game strategy
Saturday August 5 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Games drills and practice; Reading strategies-Content vs. Structure vocabulary
Monday August 7 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Breaking down arguments; identifying different argument question types
Saturday August 12 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Additional Argument types; timed drills
Monday August 14 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Reading comprehension strategies; three ways to read for speed and score; introducing the essy.
Saturday August 19 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Practice Test (3.5 hrs)
Monday August 21 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Advanced games strategy; conditionals
Saturday August 26 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Timed practice sections
Monday August 28 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Final argument types; argument distractor answers
Saturday September 2 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Saturday September 9 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Timed practice sections
Monday September 11 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Reading comprehension distractor answers; writing an essay in LSATese
Saturday September 16 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Practice test (3.5 hrs)
Monday September 18 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Test strategy decisions; planning to maximize scores
Saturday September 23 --- 9:00AM-1:00PM
Timed practice sections
Monday September 25 --- 6:00PM-9:00PM
Test review; test day; pep talk
Saturday September 30 --- THE TEST
I will be available for individual help by appointment. TAKE ADVANTAGE of this offer. When you don't understand something, ask. We can meet to go over a test, to hone your personal test approach, or just to review a topic that is fuzzy. Don't be shy; make an appointment early in the class, don't wait until the end.
I strongly encourage the formation of study groups to work through the material together and to share and borrow understandings. The LSAT is in many ways a lonely, solitary undertaking (like law school). However, most professional legal work includes a strong collaborative element. Study groups can broaden your understanding, support your motivation, and allow an opportunity for critical reflection on the process you are engaged in.