javandane

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the reason for the question is that i've got all the previously-administered lsats and plan to use them for verbal reasoning practice. anyone know if the passage types are similar?
 

nachoDoc

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Took them both awhile ago - definitely different - (got into law school).

Try Kaplan or EK.

:)
 

OnMyWayThere

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For what it's worth,

I remember reading one of EK's posts that if you run out of MCAT material, LSAT verbal is the closest to it. I've read LSAT passages from my friend's prep stuff and it looks pretty close.

Wow that 'games' section of the LSAT sucks.......
 
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freaker

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I took both. I would say that old LSATs would be pretty useful. They focus on logic a bit more than what you'll see on the MCAT, but that's a good thing. Nothing makes you focus on a passage quite like the LSAT will. Plus there are what, 35 or so of them now?

Did you ever apply to law school, Javadane, or did you just come across the tests?

I'm leaving law school to attempt to hop into med school is why I'm asking.
 

javandane

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applied, accepted, and shorty before beginning, returned to my original interest in medicine. best decision i've ever made.
 

freaker

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applied, accepted, and shorty before beginning, returned to my original interest in medicine. best decision i've ever made.
Good for you. I feel the same way, though it took (thankfully just) a semester for me to figure that out.
 

medic170

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I took both the mcat and lsat. IMO the verbal was not very similiar to the lsat. However, any reading that requires analysis and/or comprehension is good practice for the mcat verbal.
 

terzian

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I'm taking the LSAT in June and I took the MCAT last weekend. I agree with medic170, the passages aren't really that similar but anything that helps you learn to quickly analyze a reading sample is good practice for the verbal section.
 

Shrike

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Several posters have opined that LSAT and MCAT reading comprehension sections are similar/different/whatever. Let's get specific, for purposes of studying for MCAT:

- LSAT passages are more predictable in structure than MCAT -- their length does not vary much, the number of questions varies less. They are rarely other than three, four, or five paragraphs. Relevance to MCAT study: essentially none.

- LSAT questions are roughly the same, though sometimes the differences between answer choices are more subtle and finding the correct answer more a matter at looking at tiny details in wording than at understanding larger issues (but even on MCAT Qs, the way to find the answer is almost always in the details anyway). Relevance: low, though you?re using slightly different skills.

- In LSAT the number of ambiguous and awkward questions is essentially zero, not true in MCATland. Relevance: none.

- LSAT passages have more predictable subject matter: each LSAT section has one each of hard science; social science or history; art or literature; and law. The law passage doesn?t really happen on MCAT, but the others do. The science tends to be a little easier, unsurprisingly; the literature averages more difficult to read. Fiction is nearly unknown on the LSAT. Still, any LSAT passage could appear, or resembles something that could appear, on the MCAT, though the converse is false. So the relevance of this fact is low.

LSAT timing is different: because of the smaller amount of time and of passages, huge decisions need to be made (the difference between completing, say, two and completing three passages is huge; on MCAT, the difference between seven and eight is small). This is relevant if you are doing LSAT sections, but not if you are just doing a passage at a time.

LSAT sections, and to a lesser extent passages, are more difficult to do in the allotted time. Relevance: essentially none, except to the extent you are playing with your timing.

Bottom line: of course they?re different, but LSAT passages are still very good material on which to practice for MCAT verbal.


(background: I teach, and have taken, LSAT and MCAT. GMAT, too: it's far easier than, and not as helpful as, LSAT.)
 

mellantro

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I'm curious--if you are good at standardized Verbal sections (say your strong points were SAT and MCAT verbal), will you find the LSAT relatively easy?
 

Shrike

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mellantro said:
I'm curious--if you are good at standardized Verbal sections (say your strong points were SAT and MCAT verbal), will you find the LSAT relatively easy?

Maybe. It's a good start.

LSAT reading comprehension is as dicussed above: MCAT verbal on speed. Unfortunately, though, that's only a fourth of the LSAT, and is the part where scores vary the least among reasonably smart and learned people, so aptitude here is not worth as much as on other sections.

Half the LSAT is devoted to detailed analysis of arguments. The minutiae of language matter much more than ability to read and comprehend on a macroscopic level. If you aced the verbal SAT and MCAT the odds are you will do well, but you have to have a mind for linguistic detail. And, again, you have to be fast.

Then there's games, a fourth of the test. Games are, in my not-unusual opinion, no measure of ability to be a lawyer, or much else besides an LSAT taker, but they're there. Logic puzzles, performed (there's a theme here) at speed. Techniques are valuable, though not necessary. A very few people can nail them without any training; I'm not sure whether raw skill here correlates particularly well with aptitude on any other test, beyond that which just comes down to basic smarts.

With the exception of games, I would guess that someone who did "well" on other verbal standardized tests will usually do "well" on the LSAT. If it doesn't work that way, the difference will often arise from a different approach to written language. Some people like to say this is related to "thinking like a lawyer." I think that's an overbid, but it does seem to relate to reading like one.
 

TheFlash

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Ok, I teach MCAT VR for a national test prep company, and I'm also intimately familiar with LSAT verbal passages because I trained with people who specialized in them.

The MCAT and LSAT can't be compared fairly because the passages for the MCAT are taken out of scholarly journals, whereas the LSAT uses passages written specifically by test makers for the purposes of standardized testing. This is why MCAT passages are much more dense and grueling to deconstruct than the LSAT. The LSAT passages are usually structured in logical formats, i.e. thesis/body/conclusion, unlike the MCAT, whose passages may be pulled from the middle of an author's discussion about medieval serfs in the Journal of European Anthro. However, with the right intuitive abilities, a verifiable topic and scope can be identified for every single MCAT passage as well. If you couldn't, the test makers wouldn't have included such a passage on the MCAT. It's still a test, after all.

The question stems are a second main point of difference for these two tests. The LSAT focuses heavily on reading comprehension. You'll see tons of global, detail and purpose questions on the LSAT, and the answer choices are straight-forward. While the MCAT tests reading comp too, it focuses primarily on critical thinking. Going through the questions you'll see an obvious bias for deduction, application, structure and new information question stems on the MCAT. While there may be an errant detail or main idea question per passage, they're on the rarer side.

Lastly, the 85 minute MCAT VR section makes it the distance champion of all standardized tests for verbal reasoning/reading comprehension. It takes a good amount of training just to be able to finish the VR under the alotted time, much less become proficient at it.

Practice makes perfect, both with the MCAT and LSAT. If you're good at MCAT VR, chances are you won't have a problem with the LSAT reading comp. I can't say with certainty, however, that this will work in the reverse role as well. You can beat the crud out of either test with the right amount of preparation and training, so that's what it boils down to. Best of luck to all those that are studying for either of these tests.
 

JA Prufrock

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What crack are you people smoking? People rarely improve on the RC section of the LSAT. Reading Comprehension is determined by your background in English and years of development through school. RC does not improve. You can't really practice for the RC section of the LSAT.
Unfortunately whatever crack they were smoking is now over 4 years old.
 

IvyLeagueThug

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For what it's worth,

I remember reading one of EK's posts that if you run out of MCAT material, LSAT verbal is the closest to it. I've read LSAT passages from my friend's prep stuff and it looks pretty close.

Wow that 'games' section of the LSAT sucks.......
Yes, it's pure evil. Most importantly, no matter how much I practiced, I never got any better at the things. You either see certain deductions up front, or you don't. There is no time for POE, working out possibilities, etc.

I found that stuff 100x worse than anything on the MCAT. Still, impressions like this are personal ones. Your mileage may vary.
 

LikeClockWork

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Unfortunately whatever crack they were smoking is now over 4 years old.
I really don't understand how it is that people do this. I mean, how do you even find a 4 year old thread to begin with, much less think it's new?

Can someone explain this to me?
 

nfg05

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I really don't understand how it is that people do this. I mean, how do you even find a 4 year old thread to begin with, much less think it's new?

Can someone explain this to me?
search? SDN's lack of automatic archiving after 1 year of inactivity?
 
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