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Passage Discussion

Paragraph One:

This passage deals with the ethical requirements of medical practitioners to provide the best
medical treatment, and the special issues that arise in comparative treatment studies, which involve
withholding at least some of the treatments studied from at least some participants. When there
is a traditionally accepted treatment available, traditionally doctors and ethicists have agreed that
participating physicians should have absolutely no opinion as to what treatment is superior. This
ambivalent state of mind is referred to as “equipoise.”

Paragraph Two:

This next paragraph begins with a central point of the entire passage: “theoretical equipoise,” which
is how the author refers to the traditional definition of equipoise, “may be too strict.” Such a state
implicitly requires a perfect balance of evidence for each treatment—a standard which, the author
notes, is nearly unattainable. Researchers often have preferences based on intuition, interpretation,
and a balancing of the evidence available. Even if attaining a state of theoretical equipoise were a
possibility, the author points out, such a balance would be tenuous, easily tipped by evidence on
either side of the issue. As such, the impractical standard of expected equipoise would be difficult to
achieve and even harder to maintain.

Paragraph Three:

Following up on the discussion of potential issues with the standard of theoretical equipoise, the
author now turns to the suggestion that a different standard be adopted. “Clinical equipoise,” says the
author, would impose standards that are rigorous but not overly restrictive. After all, says the author,
one reason for comparative trials is to resolve conflicts in expert opinion and in the interpretation of
available evidence.

Paragraph Four:

In the closing paragraph, the author continues to make the point that clinical equipoise is possible
because of the conflict in opinion that is an inherent part of comparative studies. A decided
preference on the part of a researcher, asserts the author, should not bar participation, as long as
the researcher recognizes that the other treatment is preferred by “a sizable constituency within the
medical profession as a whole.”


This passage presents the Viewpoint of the author, as well as the traditional perspective of “most
physicians and ethicists.”

The Structure of the passage is as follows:
  • Paragraph 1: Introduce the special issues that arise in the case of comparative clinical trials;
    define “equipoise” as the desired state of mind for physicians conducting such
    studies, who should have no opinion as to which of the studied treatments
    would be preferable.

    Paragraph 2: Note that the traditional notion of theoretical equipoise may be too restrictive,
    in that it requires the avoidance of any preference on either side, making such
    a state of mind hard to achieve and even harder to maintain.

    Paragraph 3: Suggest the new, less restrictive notion of “clinical equipoise,” which would
    set a rigorous standard without unreasonable constraints. Note that one reason
    for such trials is to resolve conflict in the medical community.

    Paragraph 4: Point out that a lack of consensus in the medical community makes clinical
    equipoise possible; a physician conducting a comparative trial may have
    strong preference for one treatment, which should not be an issue so long as
    the physician notes that the alternative treatment is preferred by a sizeable
    constituency among medical experts.
The author’s Tone is academic, reflecting a clear, well-reasoned opinion.

The author’s central Argument is that theoretical equipoise is such a strict standard that it might
be unachievable, which is why it should be replaced by a less restrictive , more realistic standard of
clinical equipoise.

The Main Point of the passage is to argue for the standard of clinical equipoise to replace the
traditional notion of theoretical equipoise as the standard for comparative clinical trials.
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This was a vey demoralizing passage. I get the academia part but I couldn't figure out the main purpose of it nor what the author was leaning towards.

Also its taking me 18 mins to do simple passages as well. I'm using a book and not currently highlighting.

Any tips? My exam is January
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi TootyFrooty,

Sorry to hear about your Reading Comp frustrations.

Unfortunately, there's not nearly enough specific information given for me to provide detailed, tailored advice, and improving on Reading Comp overall is a very broad topic.

Here are a few questions that I would normally ask any student to get a better sense of how that student should proceed.

How long have you been studying the LSAT and how exactly have you been studying (on your own, taking a course, with a tutor, etc.)?

If you're just at the beginning of your studies, then you shouldn't be worried about taking practice tests right now, (but you also probably shouldn't be taking the January LSAT in that situation).

If you've been studying on your own and haven't used "The Reading Comprehension Bible" that would be my first recommendation.

If you haven't taken a PowerScore course or hired one of our tutors, you should consider these options if they are in your budget.

How is your performance on the other sections of the test?

For example, if you are able to finish the Logical Reasoning section and get most of those questions correct, then your problem isn't that you are reading too slowly overall. On the other hand, if you're struggling with other sections as well, then that becomes a larger issue that will require more time/studying, etc..

As for taking the test in January, my advice is to take the test when you are consistently scoring in the range of what is typical for the law schools to which you hope to apply. In other words, if you aren't scoring where you need to be by January, you should consider taking the LSAT at a later date, even if (worst case) that means holding off to apply in another year. (Just to be clear, the February LSAT is not too late to apply for this admission cycle.)

Personally, I'd rather hold off going to law school for a year if it meant either getting into my first choice or getting a much larger scholarship by significantly improving my LSAT with additional studying. (Of course, this also depends on how long/much you've already studied.)
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Sorry about the delay in responding. I’ve been studying since April. Covered all powersocre bibles and working on finishing LR bible. I read the reading comp twice and am reviewing some chapters in LR and need to review patterns and sequencing in LG. I do pretty decently in LG unless I get a super off game that i simply don’t understand the language of.

LR I’ve gotten 8 or 9 wrong my weak points being assumption justify and flaw. I also sometimes struggle to identify premise from conclusion.

Last exam I got a 160. I want to score in the 170s. I’m hoping after I review the lr and games chapters selected above I should be able to raise the score but the reading comp is killing me a bit.

Justify questions also kill me. Any tips welcome, in fact highly appreciated and desired :)

I do need to make it this cycle and I’m willing to put in the work. I’m an older student and want to make it happen this year

The Bible’s are extremely dense so it took me many months to really ingrain the concepts in my brain. I’m now moving to practice exams.
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi TootyFrooty,

Studying since April is a long time. In that amount of time, your knowledge/understanding of the test should have increased significantly, and this should be reflected in a significant increase in your test score. If it has, great! (To give you a general idea, students who take our course usually improve about 10-12 points on average in about 2 months of part-time studying, say roughly 20 hours a week.)

If it hasn't, then studying on your own has not been very effective for you and you should consider another studying strategy (such as taking a course or private tutoring). The LSAT Bibles are a great option for those wishing to study on their own, but they aren't the optimal approach for everyone. It's also important to do a lot more practice questions than just the questions in the Bibles. For each LR question type, you should use additional materials (such as the LSAT Bible Workbooks) to further practice these question types.

Another possible problem could be if you studied a little at a time over many months. Because this is a skills based test, it requires a certain amount of consistent studying/practice to develop and maintain those skills. If too much time elapses between periods of study, then you will likely lose/forget those skills. For example, if you completed the LG Bible and stopped doing games completely while you tackled the RC Bible, that would probably not be a good strategy.

One of the important things to do when studying is to track your progress. We recommend that every student take a full practice test at the very beginning of their studying to get a rough baseline of their overall score and performance in each section, and to get immediate exposure to the different sections, the timing element, the length of the test, etc.. As you study, you should periodically take additional practice LSATs to check your progress (perhaps one when you are halfway through the material, then another 3/4 way, etc.). If you focus on each Bible separately (which I generally wouldn't recommend), then just do timed individual sections of that section to see how you're progressing.
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Thanks this is very helpful.

Yes it’s been a little choppy I had a personal stressful situation take place that took a lot of my attention for a good 2-3 months or so in between

My score has definitely raised from initial diagnostic of 139 to 160. And yes I did keep forgetting the concepts due to the breaks, I thought I should first read all the Bible’s then start practising so I didn’t do logic games in between. Bummer wish I had known. I was also trying to get this test out of the way asap just to get it over with.

I guess I should focus heavily on practice now since my main focus has been studying these books only
 Luke Haqq
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Hi TootyFrooty!

Just to echo my comments on your other post, I'd encourage you to take practice exams daily if possible. In addition, it's just as important to review the exam once you've taken it to understand why you selected wrong answers and why the right answers are correct. Since it sounds like you've already reviewed most of the course materials, you could, say, spend 5-6 hours each day taking a practice test and reviewing it, then 2-3 hours reviewing strategies and doing drills from the course books.
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Thank you so much. How do I build the stamina for this type of intensive studying in a day. My brain is usually fried after the practice sessions. Also, I'm having a hard time finding some detailed explanations so I keep making the same errors I suppose...

Some of these RCs have pretty grueling vocab too. I've built my vocab up but some of it is simply ruthless, such as political relativism etc.. it throws me off.
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 Hanin Abu Amara
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Hi TootyFrooty,

Building stamina on RC is hard but so doable! I would drill RC fully timed then go through and blind review your work.

Blind review is explained here: ... ice-tests/

I would make sure I take my time reviewing. Break down the passage, try to find patterns and re-do old passages.

A good idea could be to try doing two RC sections back to back to make the one section less grueling and exhausting. I would suggest reading some hard material in your ofttimes, like articles from the Economists or other notable publications that LSAC uses to find their RC materials.

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