Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

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achyjakey

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Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby achyjakey » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:06 pm

Hello everyone. As many of you reading this, I have a dream of going to a good law school. In the infancy of my pursuit of this dream, i boldly made the decision that I was to study my ass off, whatever it took, to score a 170 and go to NYU. Since then, I have taken a mediocre test prep course, read the LGB and LRB, and taken 15 timed tests and about 10 untimed tests. My first timed test was BEFORE reading the bibles but AFTER taking the course; it was a 160 right on the nose. To be honest, I was very happy with this score as a starter. I told myself that I was only 10 points away and closing that gap was doable.

Here is where things lose hope. As with many, I got a reality check. I took about 10 practice tests and not a single one of them was above 160. They all hovered just a couple points below, with one exceptionally bad test day going down even to a 154. For each one, i checked my answers and seemingly understood my mistakes. Yet, there was no improvement. I decided it was time to read the bibles. 5 more practice tests and my score was still a 160!!! It is almost as if the bibles and PTs had absolutely no effect. I felt like i was taking an IQ test. I took the June LSAT and got a 158. I was disheartened to say the least. On test day, I got 10 LG questions wrong because of time constraints, and i got 31 wrong total. At this point my only feasible strategy in my opinion would be to take a break from PTs and just hammer away at LG because of the high potential for improvement. Had i gotten those 10 LG questions right, my score would be just under mid 160s at least right??

At this point, I've given up my dream to go to nyu and i am willing to settle for Fordham. Whats so hard to get over is the absolute and complete lack of progress. I have a 3.62 GPA at Baruch College, here in Manhattan. Although my GPA is decent, when paired with a 158 I cannot even comfortably call Fordham my safety school. The last thing I want to do is apply with so much uncertainty about admission. More than anything at this point, i just want to break 160 by just a few points so I can safely expect to be granted admission.

For those reading, what are your experiences? What were your diagnostics and how did you improve? Any and all advice and comments are greatly appreciated! Thank you guys.

TAD

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby TAD » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:46 pm

Honestly man/woman, I was once in the same boat as you. Diagnostic was 145 (kaplan was offering a free diagnostic like 3 years ago when i was in undergrad so I said why not)...Started actually studying last year june and diagnostic was 142 (to say the least, i was pissed). Anyways I was going to write the test on October 2015, after a Princeton review course, but I had only increased to a high of 150 or 154 (I can't remember, but anyways you're already at a higher level than me). I decided to postpone and take the December LSAT. This time I was self studying with the powerscore LR bible. I stuck to the princeton review logic games method, however, because I loved my teachers approach to it - i also used 7 sages free logic games videos every once in a while, and their memory method for reading comp (google it, its pretty much just read to understand, no annotation, and bang out the questions)

Anyways, in doing the above, and using the cambridge packets to drill (I would read, lets say strengthen questions on powerscore bible, and then drill the whole cambridge strengthen packets, and then do the same with weaken and then assumption and so forth), my PT's, which i did in the school library most of time, started hovering around 163-166. The questions I was getting wrong were reading comp, which was all over the place, and the logic reasoning questions i hadn't read in the bible yet. December was fast approaching so i decided to postpone to june 2016, which just passed, as you know. It was around april/may I got around to finishing the bible (with classes and midterms and finals i had to sometimes go three weeks at a time from not doing LSAT)

By the time i finished reading the bible, I was around 166-171 (had an outlier of 157 and 174). Two weeks before the test I scored 164 three times in a row, I was pissed. I figured it was burnout because once classes ended i was doing LSAT for an average of 6-8 hours a day to make up for lost time. So my last PT was 164, but the mistakes were ridiculously stupid mistakes (read must be true as could be true and shit like that, or missed whole rules on games). So i drilled games and reading comp the whole day after my last 164. I decided not to do any more LSAT after and relaxed all weekend (from Thursday to Sunday).

Well anyways, long story short, after all that studying, wrote the test on Monday I walked out of the June 2016 Lsat with a 170. In the words of Kevin Garnett - Anythings possible.

LR - 2 (forgot to bubble one answer)
LR - 4
LG - 0
RC - 5

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brinicolec

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby brinicolec » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:53 am

Hey!

Okay, so a couple things:

1) NO SILLY, DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM SCHOOL, THERE'S STILL TIME! As a psychology major, I can't avoid talking about the mental aspect of these things, and part of success if all about attitude (obviously paired with ability, but attitudes it important!) As disheartening as it may be, sometimes people simply plateau, and the true defeat only really comes when we decide that we just can't do anything about it, so don't give up yet, just try to do something different.

2) Based on my understanding of what you wrote, you're retaking, right? If so, I'd recommend one of two things: Either go through the Bibles again and really make sure you work through every concept and pair your readings with drilling from PTs OR pick up a new book (The LSAT Trainer is a good book, especially for LR). Especially on LG (since you think you have the best room for improvement there), look at the questions you missed. You said time constraints were an issue. Why? Were you having difficulty making inferences? Diagramming? Did you just get anxious and kind of freeze up (that's what happened to me)? What was your weak link? Try to strengthen it. However, I wouldn't recommend ONLY hammering on LG. We have a few months until the next LSAT (I plan on retaking too lol) which is enough time to go through all material we need. Also, s/n: Yes, if you had -0 on LGs you would've been at a 163 or 164. I missed 20 and was at a 164.

3) I know I said this in #1, but please please don't be so quick to give up! I know it's frustrating but you still have time to study and get that score you want. Also, going back to mentality, try to think back to test day. Were you overly-excited or stressed? Was your arousal level too high? Did you feel a lot of pressure? These are all things I think a lot of people don't really think about that can really impact your performance. If any of those things impacted your performance, maybe you could also focus on some relaxation techniques. I'm 90% sure that I would have done better on LGs if I hadn't started to feel so anxious so part of what I'm going to focus on come September is breathing techniques and how to overcome any anxiety that might come up if, for whatever reason, I feel like I "don't" know how to do something. One thing I've been learning in my Sport Psychology class is that most people's tendency when they're anxious about a performance is to say "Don't mess up" "Don't miss" "Don't ___" which then makes it like a self-fulfilling prophecy because you're actually *accidentally* programming your brain to think about that one thing, so if that's something you tend to do, try to replace that with things you SHOULD do rather than things you SHOULDN'T do.

Good luck! I hope you're able to get the scores you want/need!

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floatie

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby floatie » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:44 pm

A couple things stuck out:
1. Are you sure that you understood why you got PT questions wrong? It's really easy to look back and think "oh yeah, the right answer makes sense" but that isn't the same as understanding where your reasoning went wrong, and why the right answer choice is a better choice. One thing I've been doing is for each question I got wrong, I wrote out a little explanation of why I got the answer choice wrong...even something as simple as "misinterpreted that part of the passage" or "the author didn't actually say that" helped me be on the lookout for common mistakes.
2. Make sure you're practicing smart, not just a lot. Endlessly doing practice problems just for the sake of doing them won't help out too much. For LG, is there a particular kind of game you're struggling with? If so, seek out examples of those games and do those, and if you continue to struggle, find explanations and strategies for those games. 7Sage has free explanations for all the games.
3. Don't burn yourself out. If you're tired and/or cranky and/or feeling dejected, it's going to impact your score. Sometimes, taking the day off and hanging out in a park can do your mental health a world of wonders, and that will help you.
4. I can tell you're stressed out about the timing, which happens to the best of us, but your "ridiculously stupid" mistakes (which I'm guilty of making, so I feel your pain there) could come from feeling stressed out about the timing and rushing through the passages/games, and subsequently being careless. You will do a LOT better if you read carefully and take your time reasoning out the questions/answers. You may not get to the last one or two questions, but 4-8 wrong is better than 31.

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The_Pluviophile

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby The_Pluviophile » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:24 pm

Lots of good stuff here already, so just posting to emphasize how much of a difference stress/burn out can make on your scores. After scoring below my average a few weeks before the test I freaked out and took one a day for the next four days, and started doing progressively worse. I couldn't understand why I was doing so poorly in comparison to my earlier scores. Eventually I spoke with several people about it, and everyone told me to take a break. I followed the advice and took about four days off without even looking at my LSAT books. The next PT I took jumped back up like 6 points.

So don't sell yourself short and don't let the stress get to you. Take breaks when you need to, and try not to see missed questions as failures, or at the very least don't dwell on how many you missed, because (for me at least) that only fuels the frustration. Look at each missed question as a separate puzzle to learn from instead of counting all of them up to beat yourself up with.

Best of luck!

achyjakey

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby achyjakey » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:49 pm

UPDATE:

I ended up frilling LG like I mentioned in my original post. I took a month off from taking PTs and looked at all the LG explanations on 7sage for every lsat ever released. When I took my first PT after this, I scored a 167. I was ecstatic but little did I know that this would be the highest PT I would ever get. After taking about 10 more, my lowest was a 158 and my average was a 163. From my 158 that i got when I sat for the June LSAT, I was at least happy to be almost at the mid 160s.

I sat for the September LSAT and felt mediocre about it after taking it. I ended up getting a 162. I was graduating undergrad and decided that I didnt want to take a year off so I began applying. I had a 3.6 GPA and had strong letters of recommendations. I got waitlisted at Fordham and denied by NYU. From my last post these were my goal schools. Fordham never extended an offer to me but I did get two full ride offers from Cardozo in Manhattan and St. Johns in Queens.

After contemplating I decided that I hadnt conquered the LSAT and wanted to take a year off to get that fabled 170. All of my friends and family were frantically urging me to take one of the full ride offers. For them, I was a fool for considering turning down a full ride to grad school, let alone law school. 2 weeks after the deadline to accept the offers, I had a wild and sudden change of heart. I realized that I wanted to move on with my life and I went ahead and accepted the full scholarship offer from Cardozo.

I am now almost done with my 1L, studying for finals. Looking back I often said to people I had no regrets, and in many ways that is true because I am loving being in law school and I also really like my school, the people in it, and of course the knowledge that I am saving money. But, a part of me still knows I could have gotten my LSAT score up. There is no way to know what could have happened but I am looking forward to my law career either way.

CR7fanboy

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Re: Would really appreciate some input. I'm having trouble increasing my LSAT PT scores

Postby CR7fanboy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:04 pm

Hey OP!

I was just going through the posts here and came across yours. Just wanted to say that thank you for initiating the discussion on this topic and sharing what you did. I am in a similar boat right now and the stress is just eating me away. After reading your post and replies, I have realised that I need to stop freaking out less and how if I stay calm then improvement is a realistic possibility.

Thank you for the post - it’s invaluable for me.

Best,



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