Re: Geek thread - Manhattan LSAT Q & A
Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:46 pm
flash21 wrote:Hi Christine,
Anyway- -- my question is about how often I should be PT'ing. I wrote in December got a 157, truly bombed reading comp (-11) so I'll be working on that a lot. Had a bit of anxiety on games too, missed the first three questions of LG on some very easy questions, -8 ultimately. LR went as usual which was -6 on both. Was also in the midst of undergraduate exams. There! You heard all my excuses. Anyway I'm digressing a bit but honestly I want you to know what factors were going on. Additionally, I was unable to study for the LSAT as much as I wanted to in the few weeks leading up and could definitely see the difference in my LSAT scores - the reason being I was in the midst of exams for undergraduate which took up a ton of my time unfortunately.
you helped me quite a lot on my last write which was the first time I wrote and I think you said one should always be PT'ing? Unless I'm thinking of someone else. But if I don't get into law school this year (I live in Canada), I'll re-write the LSAT as I'm all done undergraduate now. So I've got a little over 5 months, and I've only been drilling as of now, really focusing my efforts on reviewing thoroughly, I feel like thats where I could have done better along with drilling RC waaaaaay more.
Sorry for the rant, but would really appreciate the help.
PS, congratulations on your marriage!!
Thank you flash21!
So, I'm not good at recalling my exact words, but the idea that you're 'always PTing' sounds like something I might say - but there's a very important additional bit of info! I believe that one should always have full-length exams as a part of their lineup, but there are significant changes throughout a study schedule in 1) frequence and 2) treatment.
With you 5 months out from the October exam, it will be important to maintain a study schedule that keeps you on track, but doesn't burn you out. So, the first question I have is: when will you find out if you got into a law school this year? I ask because it's important that you allow yourself to have breaks, to avoid burnout, and the answer to that question might help you decide when it would be smart to schedule those breaks.
Putting that aside, I see LSAT work as existing in three phases: comprehension, efficiency, and endurance. These phases are not linear and exclusive though - it's not like "well, I'm totally done working on comprehension, time to move on to efficiency!" It's more that in the early stages, you have to work a hell of a lot more on comprehension than anything else - it's hard to work on efficiency when you have absolutely no idea what you should be doing in the first place! And when you're mostly focused on comprehension, a lot of the work you do is going to be drilling - one question at a time, small sets focused on a certain question type, allowing yourself to work through things with no clock for a bit, etc. Full length PTs don't do a lot for comprehension - yes, you can learn a ton from deep and thorough review of that full length exam, but it's not the most effective way to build comprehension. (Also, comprehension work doesn't ever really go away - even in the late stages when you are mostly focused on efficiency and endurance, there's still comprehension work to be done (deep and meaningful review!!), it just no longer takes center stage.)
However, that doesn't mean that full-length PTs have no place in the early, comprehension-focused time! You should have a PT on the schedule every few weeks. The danger of NOT doing this is that we get a bit tunnel-visioned in the deep, exploratory work of drilling. Making sure that you knock out an exam every once in a while keeps your mind trained on the endgoal, and keeps you remembering what the point of all that deep-dive comprehension work is.
After you've built up a solid foundational base of comprehension, you'll start thinking more about how to do all that awesome 'full-comprehension' work in the most efficient/effective manner. Timing yourself becomes critical, and full-length PTs should also become more frequent, but they still may not be the absolute centerpiece of your workload. Timed passages/games and timed full sections may allow you to focus on specific timing/efficiency issues more clearly.
When you get into the end-game, you should still be working to deepen your comprehension where it needs it, and you should be continuing to clean up your efficiency, but the real challenge at that point is holding onto the good comprehension and great efficiency over the course of the entire exam. At this point, full-length PTs are the absolute centerpiece of prep - alongside deep and meaningful review of each one.
So, that's a very long answer to your question! TL;DR - yes, you should always be PTing, but the frequency of (and weight you give) full-length PTs should increase over the course of your study schedule!
Would love to hear your further thoughts on this!