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Get Curious

The LSAT can feel cold and calculating. It often rewards robotic thinking. But it also rewards curiosity.

Cultivating an attitude of curiosity towards the test has two major advantages:

  1. Being curious will help make studying more fun and productive.
  2. Being curious will help you avoid the LSAT's favorite tricks and traps.

When you're uncurious, the test becomes something that happens to you. When you're curious, you gain agency and control.

Curiosity is the antidote to confirmation bias

Dan Kahan's research has shown that people tend to use new data to confirm their old beliefs.

For example, when you give research that shows humans are causing climate change to a climate change denier they tend to deny climate change more forcefully.

And the smarter you are, the more you're able you to twist the data to fit your narrative. The tendency to seek out confirmation is correlated with scientific literacy.

This effect, called "politically biased information processing," is one aspect of our brain's broader tendency towards confirmation bias -- we tend to see what we look for.

Thankfully, Kahan's research has also shown that some people are able to resist this tendency. Some people are more able to read new information and change their mind.

What makes these folks different is that they're more curious.

Beat confirmation bias on the LSAT by trying to disprove things

The LSAT loves to take advantage of confirmation bias.

Across the LSAT, being curious often means trying to disprove things.

Curious Studying

When you get a question wrong, it's easy to get frustrated. My first reaction is often: "That question was unfair."

Fortunately, the LSAT is never unfair. The wrong answers are always wrong for a reason. And there is only ever one right answer.

If you get curious about your mistakes, you can turn your failures into specific and productive information for the future. If you get curious, maybe you can find the poison in the wrong answer; or the clue in the text that could have helped you make a better prediction.

Curious Test Taking

The best way to see through the LSAT isn't to have preexisting ideas or formula, it's to be curious about what's on the page in front of you.

Being curious means...

  • applying the same level of skepticism to each answer, instead of looking for the right answer
  • being open to strangely worded answers, rather than chasing the false security of matching words.
  • spotting all the problems within an Reasoning argument, rather than getting wrapped up in a single solution.
  • trying to get something out of a boring Reading passage, which can help you stay engaged.