Myth #1: Just take as many tests as you can.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this story:
“I knew a guy who just took, like, 40 LSAT in a row over 2 weeks. He hardly slept or ate, he just like, took LSATs, until he got a 180.”
You know what? I’d put money on it: Either that guy started at a 172, or he is an urban legend. (I’ll let you guess which I think is more likely.)
In general, you’ll hear Manhattan Prep teachers say over and over again, quantity does not trump—or match—quality when it comes to LSAT preparation. It is better to take 1-2 tests per week and spend twice as long reviewing them as you did taking them than it is to squeeze in 4 or 5 tests and rush through your review, if you even have time to review at all.
You will learn logic by studying logic methodically, systematically, and dedicatedly. Not by binging on logic problems, hoping that the sheer volume will somehow leak into your brain.
Myth #2: Memorize all the tricks and tactics, and you’ll get a 170+.
The LSAT, I’m sorry to tell you, does not boil down to a set of tips and tactics and “gotcha” solutions. While devices like mnemonics and rules of thumb such as, “The word ‘thus’ indicates a conclusion” are certainly useful, they should not be relied on to carry your score. They should be used as supplements to logical thinking, in other words, not replacements for logical thinking.
Be wary of study methods, people, and books that appeal to your wishful thinking—while tricks and tactics can be helpful, they cannot substitute for rigorous study of the actual concepts being tested, no matter how good they are.
Myth #3: Learn conditional logic, and you’re set.
Conditional logic—the kind of logic that goes, “If X, then Y,” and all its variations—is all over the LSAT. There’s no question about that. And for this reason, learning it is essential. There’s also no question, there.
But a common pitfall is believing that learning conditional logic and applying it across the board is the solution to breaking 170, and that’s just not the case.
Many questions on the LSAT not only don’t require conditional logic, they become more convoluted and even impossible to solve when cast through the lens of conditional logic. (And there is very little if any conditional logic on the Reading Comprehension section.)
The better plan is to learn condition logic backwards and forwards, yes, but then, learn how to recognize where it should be applied and where it should be set aside to wait for you while you use the other tools in your kit.
Now keep up the good work!