Episode 6: Crystal Ball: Predicting the March 2019 LSAT

March 6, 2019
01:34:41

With the March 2019 LSAT less than a month away, Jon and Dave devote the majority of this episode to predicting that test's content, including expectations of whether March will be a new exam or a reuse of a prior one, analysis of the latest test trends to determine precisely what the test makers are up to these days, and a detailed outline of the concepts and question types most critical to master in these final weeks. There is also a discussion of the latest law school rankings that were conveniently leaked just minutes before recording began!


0:00 to 3:07:

Dave and Jon kick off the episode in wannabe-rockstar fashion, sipping drinks inspired by Jon’s recent rereading of Mötley Crüe’s autobiography, The Dirt. (Note: Jon’s a far bigger fan of his cocktail than he is of the memoir and band members)

Next comes the night’s rather on-the-nose, but certainly fitting, song choice: Keane’s Crystal Ball.

3:08 to 12:56:

As always, there are LSAC updates to discuss, first in the form of a new Law:Fully blog on the success of LSAC’s partnership with Khan Academy to provide free, online LSAT prep materials. Dave and Jon provide their thoughts on the Khan content, both in terms of the tremendous access it’s provided to traditionally under-represented groups, as well as how test takers can best utilize the free material as a supplement to their studies.

Here’s the list of Khan’s 11 full PTs + 2.5 additional tests used as experimentals: 

Initial/Diagnostic: PT 78 (June 2016) 
Test 1: PT 66 (June 2012) with Exp RC PT 53 (Dec 2007) 
Test 2: PT 68 (Dec 2012) with Exp LR1 PT 53 (Dec 2007) 
Test 3: PT 70 (Oct 2013) with Exp LR2 PT 53 (Dec 2007) 
Test 4: PT 69 (June 2013) with Exp LG PT 53 (Dec 2007) 
Test 5: PT 54 (June 2006) with Exp LG PT 55 (Oct 2008) 
Test 6: PT 76 (Oct 2015) with Exp RC PT 55 (Oct 2008) 
Test 7: PT 79 (Sept 2016) with Exp LR1 PT 55 (Oct 2008) 
Test 8: PT 81 (June 2017) with Exp LR2 PT 55 (Oct 2008) 
Test 9: PT 64 (Oct 2011) with Exp LG PT 63 (June 2011) 
Test 10: PT 67 (Oct 2012) with Exp RC PT 63 (June 2011)

12:57 to 24:44:

The other breaking news this week in LSAC-land was a Kellye & Ken webinar on the polarizing topic of law school rankings. Guests included: Bob Morse, chief strategist for U.S. News and the head honcho when it comes to their rankings; Michael Sauder, Professor of Sociology at the University of Iowa and author of a new book on academic rankings, Engines of Anxiety; Kim Yuracko, dean of Northwestern Law; and Patricia White, dean of the University of Miami School of Law.

Jon and Dave review the overall tone and tenor of the discussion, examine the main talking points and the guests’ expressed pros and cons, and give their own take on the practice of school rankings.

24:45 to 35:53:

Conveniently, hot on the heels of that K&K webinar, the 2020 rankings—set to officially release on March 12th—began to slowly trickle out in the form of multiple “leaks!” So not only were Dave and Jon able to discuss the rankings system in general, but they were also able to examine the latest set and reveal specifics on how schools fared (including “specialty” rankings which compare schools based on narrow fields of study/practice, such as International Law, Tax Law, or Trial Advocacy, among quite a few others).

Note: as of this recording rankings are not officially out, so at the request of US News I won’t post them or link to sites listing them. All will be revealed on 3/11.

35:54 to 38:27:

Given that a March ’19 prediction was already provided in Jon and Dave’s last Crystal Ball Webinar (recorded in early November 2018), they take a moment to explain why this latest prediction discussion feels necessary.

38:28 to 52:14:

The first pressing March questions are addressed: will it be a new LSAT, or a reuse of a previously-administered exam (and if so, which one)? And what would each possibility looks like in terms of test composition?

52:15 to 1:03:33:

With two new tests—November 18 and January 19—to consider since the last Crystal Ball discussion, talk turns to the utility of recent tests and the trends they reveal, with a particular focus on November since it is publicly available and has been thoroughly dissected for insights.

1:03:34 to 1:04:51:

Now we arrive at the individual content discussions, analyzing test maker behavior section by section. This first, brief portion covers Reading Comprehension, what we’ve seen lately, and what that implies for the next exam’s RC passages.

1:04:52 to 1:18:09:

Moving on to Logic Games, Dave does a deep dive into both what’s been happening and what he’s confident will dominate this next test. For anyone worried about how to prep for LG and what to focus on, this will outline exactly where to spend your time!

1:18:10 to 1:30:23:

And lastly LR, including the “Big Four” question types that, between them, have represented roughly 50% (or more) of all LR questions on the last several LSATs. The chat also includes the value to be found in knowing those types backwards and forwards (the underlying skills being tested), and the subtle variations on themes within them the past few years.

1:30:24 to 1:33:37:

To wrap up the March predictions, Jon and Dave close out with a look at scoring scales, how they’ve been so successful in predicting them in the past, and why any prediction of the March scale necessarily needs to wait until after test day.

1:33:38 to 1:34:40:

Thanks as always for tuning in! Be sure to subscribe, leave us a rating, and send us any questions or topics you’d like us to cover: lsatpodcast@powerscore.com.