Major Score Increases and More Personal Statements (Ep. 316)

Listener personal statements have been rolling in, and Ben and Nathan are doing their best to respond to as many as possible. In what may be a new record, today’s episode features ten submissions. The guys pull no punches as they critique each one and compile a list of rule violations. But first, they hear from a listener who improved his official score by 27 points using LSAT Demon, and they tackle a Reasoning question from PrepTest 73.


Reminder: If you want to submit your personal statement to be read on a future episode, go to lsat.link/statement and answer the questions first.


5:45 – Major Score Increases


Listener Volodymyr studied with LSAT Demon for six months and increased his score by a whopping 27 points—from a diagnostic 142 to an official 169. Way to go! That 97th percentile score and his impressive 3.86 GPA make him an excellent candidate.


Nathan and Ben revel in the fact that major score increases are becoming so common among dedicated Demon students, they’re almost unremarkable. The thing that sets LSAT Demon apart from other test prep companies is the emphasis on actually understanding the test—not on gimmicky shortcuts.


14:13 – Logical Reasoning Question 16 from PrepTest 73


Nathan breaks down the argument and summarizes the main point: The top award for architecture should go to the best building just as the top award for movies goes to the best picture. Why? Because creating a building is a team effort, much like creating a movie. Ben and Nathan are sympathetic to the argument but also point out its weaknesses. They then discuss their strategy for answering a Reasoning question. The right answer must accurately describe something that the argument did—nothing different, nothing extra. Ben adds that it’s okay if an answer describes the argument incompletely, but it can’t be inaccurate.


Answer A makes perfect sense. The argument did use an analogy to reach its conclusion. Answers B, C, D, and E have a lot of the right words, but they’re all inaccurate and thus wrong. Nathan reminds listeners that the most efficient way to improve your Logical Reasoning score is to dig into one question at a time.


43:12 – Z’s Personal Statement


The first few sentences of Z’s statement are somewhat vague and fail to capture Ben’s or Nathan’s interest. There are some awkward sentence constructions and too many uses of the word “would” throughout the first paragraph. (Instead of saying that you would do something, just say that you did something.) Z then claims to teach students how to construct “the clearest possible prose.” Meanwhile, Z’s prose is unclear and contains several grammatical errors. Nathan and Ben both say they’d stop reading at that point.


49:30 – Kamilah’s Personal Statement


Kamilah’s first sentence can be edited down significantly. Ben and Nathan recommend losing the adjective “interesting.” If something is interesting, show the reader why it’s interesting—don’t force the conclusion. Kamilah follows with several more conclusions and too much detail about her attorney uncle. The reader cares only about you, the applicant. Don’t talk about family members.


Skimming a couple paragraphs ahead, the guys learn that Kamilah has worked in HR for 18 years and is now “responsible for the investigation of statutory complaints raised by and against Intel employees and its contractors.” They encourage her to cut the entire first paragraph and lead with the important work that she does today.


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