At 180 Degrees LSAT, we employ a unique method of teaching the LSAT. LSAT writers are extremely good at testing certain types of skills. We at 180 Degrees LSAT have analyzed LSAT exams to determine exactly what these skills are and we focus on teaching you those particular skills rather than merely teaching you tricks and hints.
The 180 Degrees LSAT approach may seem obvious, but it’s far less common than you might imagine. Teaching tips, tricks, and hints is much easier-and far less effective in getting you a higher LSAT score-than actually teaching the skills, knowledge, and fundamentals that the LSAT tests.
The LSAT tests a wide range of abilities, but dynamic, critical thinking is the most essential skill to master the LSAT. Many people lack critical thinking skills since most moderan education systems are not designed to improve them. Throughout high school, college, and sometimes even graduate school, students are rarely asked to come up with their own ideas. Instead they are told what to think about certain ideas or they are told that certain approaches are the only way to understand those concepts. Since this way of thinking is so prevalent, test prep companies consistently use this very approach to teach the LSAT. While this may bump your score up by a few points, it will never allow you to reach your true potential-on the LSAT, in law school, or in your career.
An easy way to understand the difference between the formulaic thought that most test prep companies teach, and the type of dynamic thinking that we teach at 180 Degrees LSAT, is to consider the following example. Anyone with a very basic knowledge of cooking can prepare a dish by following a recipe. However, if anything goes wrong (they left it in the oven for 5 minutes more! Sacre bleu!), anything slightly unexpected happens (not enough sugar!), or the recipe is slightly illegible, disaster strikes. This happens, not because it’s impossible to overcome these hurdles, but rather because one lacks the fundamental knowledge necessary to tackle these problems-cooks who can only follow a recipe are not thinking organically. When the unexpected strikes, someone with a strong grasp of the foundations of cooking can judge whether a dish is still edible, substitute something for the sugar, or improvise ifthe recipe is illegible.
Similarly if you have developed a strong foundation in dynamic, critical thinking, and if the LSAT test writers throw a unique or unusual question type your way, you will be able to adapt and answer the question correctly. Mastery of critical thinking makes all the difference between an average LSAT score and an LSAT score in the top percentiles.
Unfortunately, unlike cooking, the LSAT is purposely tricky, and it can be very unpredictable. For example, the June 2010 LSAT (Preptest 60) featured a logic game commonly referred to as the “mulch” game. Actually, it was a simple game that didn’t involve many deductions and shouldn’t have taken a long time. For anyone who approached the test from a holistic, dynamic perspective, the game should have taken under 6 minutes to solve. But for most of test-takers, the problem was incredibly difficult. In fact, there were many complaints from people who felt that the game was too difficult when combined with the rest of the section. The game was so difficult for so many people because it was unusual–not because it was actually hard. Students who had been taught formulaic responses to each common type of game were baffled by this game because their teachers hadn’t, and indeed couldn’t have, foreseen that this type of game would appear on the LSAT. But 180 Degrees LSAT students didn’t find the mulch game difficult at all because of the holistic way they had been taught: they recognized that it was unusual, and they put their critical thinking to work to successfully solve it.
The dynamic critical thinking essential for the LSAT is very similar to the field of philosophy. One of the writers of the LSAT described his job this way: “Reviewing, revising, and editing test questions draw heavily on the analytical skills taught in analytic philosophy — close reading and analysis of texts, careful drawing of implications, identifying ambiguities and category mistakes. Since much of the LSAT consists of reasoning questions, my specific training in logic and informal logic was directly applicable, along with the general philosophical skill of argument analysis.” Someone trained in the study of philosophy, as our head tutor is, can instantly notice the philosophical underpinnings of the LSAT. This is part of the reason why philosophy majors tend to have a substantially higher score on the LSAT. At 180 Degrees LSAT we strongly believe that a test designed and written by philosophers should be taught in a holistic manner by another philosopher.