Mike's Trainer Thread

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neprep
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:49 pm

PourMeTea wrote:How do you suggest we study in the last two weeks- cramming, reviewing, redoing old PTs, drilling, taking days off?


PourMeTea, I had come here to post the same question! I will do 5 more fresh tests in the next two weeks (65-69), but any guidance about how to space them and what to do in between them would be great.

(And Mike, I just saw your response about the retake schedule. You're always a step ahead! Happy to provide any suggests if they come to me.)

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:16 pm

Frozinite wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:3) Starting about three hours ago, a freshened up version of the trainer is now available on Amazon -- thanks again to all those who helped find those final typos.



Noo! I ordered mine last week and got the old version - definitely lots of typos :lol: . I bought it due to amazing reviews from others from the October thread and I just finished it two days ago. Probably the best prep book that I've read - helped a lot with the thought process and super quick identifying 80+% of the correct/incorrect answers. I'm already seeing an improvement, but not as much as I had hoped (average 169/170 -> 173/174), but I only just started working with the new techniques.

I really love that you spend so much time describing why answers are right/wrong for every single question. Manhattan does this too, but only for a couple questions here and there. This is very useful!

Only gripe - line numbers in passages! It really doesn't bother except for the 3-4 questions where you need it, then its actually a little annoying and throws off the groove.

Either way, great resource - Keep up the good work!


P.S. The book was shipped at the same zip code as where I live and I got it same day - are you located in the LA area?


Yes, I am in the LA area (though I don't ship the books out of my house or anything like that) -- I live in Redondo Beach -- home of Bill Clinton's brother's kids (he came and spoke at the high school) -- where are you?

Glad you liked the book, and thanks for the comment about the line #'s -- that's something I went back and forth on for a while before I printed -- I even asked some people about it to get their opinion, and they were fine with the way I dealt with it, but I felt a bit uncertain about it until the end, and I'm glad you shared your thoughts with me --

Let me know if you need anything, or if you want to hang out, come on by!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:28 pm

neprep wrote:
PourMeTea wrote:How do you suggest we study in the last two weeks- cramming, reviewing, redoing old PTs, drilling, taking days off?


PourMeTea, I had come here to post the same question! I will do 5 more fresh tests in the next two weeks (65-69), but any guidance about how to space them and what to do in between them would be great.

(And Mike, I just saw your response about the retake schedule. You're always a step ahead! Happy to provide any suggests if they come to me.)



I know a lot of good stuff has been written about this on tls already, and I generally agree w/all of the common advice about not burning yourself out but keeping sharp -- but I'll add just a few more thoughts in case you find them helpful --

At the level that you guys are at, I'm assuming that you know pretty much everything this is to know about this test, and have strategies for pretty much everything that you need strategies for. People at lower levels might be able to make big jumps even up to the very end by learning new things or making sharp adjustments (for example, if you've approached Inference q's incorrectly the entire time, and finally figure out a system that works, you can get several more q's right just like that), but for both of you, it's much more a matter of just making sure you represent what is already in you at its very best.

To that end, I think it might be helpful for you to think about your final prep in terms of two specific goals
- On test day, you want to be as efficient and accurate as possible at the things that already feel fairly "automatic" or "goes-as-expected" for you (again, at your score levels, this is most of the test).
- You want to put yourself in position to react aggressively and confidently when you run into challenges.

Nine out of ten people go into the exam preoccupied with their weaknesses, and afraid of the challenges the test presents ("I hope I don't see this type of game" or "I hope I don't see a passage like Noguchi") -- this is kind of like asking a girl out expecting her to say no -- your fear makes it far less likely that you're going to get the result that you want -- this sort of fear is, I think, almost a way for us to brace ourselves for not meeting our own expectations, or not getting what we want.

The test is going to be hard. It will have challenges. Even if you are at the 180 level, there will be games that you can't totally visualize (at first), or questions that absolutely stump you (at first) -- the test is designed to pose challenges, and so it's useless to think something is going wrong when you find something challenging -- for people at the very, very top of the scale, I think a huge key is to embrace these challenges, recognize that if a passage or game or question is tough for you it must be tough for everyone else who is looking at it, recognize that it's your reaction to the challenge that you are really being tested on, and that all your prep has put you in position to react better than anyone else who is sitting in that room with you. When everyone else is thinking "oh no, this is what i feared!" you want to be thinking "this is where i separate myself -- look at what I can do." Of course, like many things I discuss, this is far easier said than done, but I think both of you have put yourselves in a position where you deserve to have this sort of mentality, and I want to encourage it as much as possible.

I certainly think that at this point a test a day or something like that is way too extreme -- a test every few days, depending on your preferences, is ideal -- one reminder is to make sure you use these final tests to finish internalizing your timing strategies. Remember that this isn't about just planning your "ideal" timing (remember the point about challenges) -- it's about being comfortable with flexible and dependable timing systems that allow you to achieve your maximum score no matter where and when unexpected challenges arise -- and at your level, you want to make sure you don't have to waste time and energy thinking about and making tough decisions about timing (again, something pretty much else in that room will have to spend a lot of their energy doing) -- make sure you use your final practice to play out various timing challenges / develop automatic reactions to those challenges. Also, PourMeTea, I think in pm we talked about the tennis racket thing -- I noticed I was better at rallying in tennis than actually playing a match, and the reason why was that I was holding the racket loosely while I was practicing, and tightening my grip when a match started -- make sure you take your last pts as realistically (including your mindset, what you do before the test, etc.) as possible, so that you can carry on how to practice to how you play.

I also strongly encourage you to do as much big picture thinking as possible -- think of your brain as having all these various pieces of information scattered everywhere, and doing certain exercises/drills can help it organize this information a bit more neatly (I realize that a human brain doesn't actually work like that, but I hope you'll allow me that analogy). One thing you could do, for example, is write out, or type out, notes for a certain section, say, Logical Reasoning, then spend time organizing and prioritizing these notes. Or you can do something similar by skimming through the trainer one more time, writing down or typing (use your hands to make the actual words! don't just copy and paste!) points you felt were important, and then organizing and prioritizing them. As you know, I'm always a big supporter of developing your big picture sense -- in terms of the two goals listed initially, I am certain this big picture sense allows you to handle basic issues confidently, accurately, and efficiently, and I am certain it helps you react better than others do to the challenges the test presents.

This last thing I'll suggest is totally cheesy, so only consider doing this if you are, like me, a totally cheesy person --

Get a notecard, put on it a couple of reminders to get yourself in the right mindset, and look at it before the test -- my suggestion -- on one side, write "embrace challenges" (or the equivalent in your wording -- to remind to be aggressive attacking these challenges when everyone else is freaking out about them). On the other side, write "no one deserves this more than I do" (or your equivalent). I know that second phrase might sound arrogant, but the truth is that I know, from reading your posts, that both of you have put in an incredible amount of work -- far more, i'm guessing, than anyone else who will be sitting in that room with you on test day -- who deserves that top score more than you do? When you are that type of person, I think you naturally don't think about how other people aren't working as hard -- because you don't want any excuses or anything that will prevent you from working even harder -- I'm sure you focus far more on your weaknesses, or whatever you think your weaknesses are, and you don't sit around patting yourself on the back. On test day, it's time to focus on strengths -- it's your time to cash in, and get the prize you deserve for all the hard work you've put in. It's time to be aggressive and show off what you can do. Again, who else is in better position to react to challenges than you are? No one.

Whew! Got a bit personal there -- but I am really pulling for you two, and wish you the best -- hope that helps, and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:57 pm

Mike, thanks so much for always responding thoughtfully; your responses are always complete and accurate!
This thread has been the best thing to happen to the LSAT since two-paged logic games :)

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Frozinite » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:20 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Yes, I am in the LA area (though I don't ship the books out of my house or anything like that) -- I live in Redondo Beach -- home of Bill Clinton's brother's kids (he came and spoke at the high school) -- where are you?

Glad you liked the book, and thanks for the comment about the line #'s -- that's something I went back and forth on for a while before I printed -- I even asked some people about it to get their opinion, and they were fine with the way I dealt with it, but I felt a bit uncertain about it until the end, and I'm glad you shared your thoughts with me --

Let me know if you need anything, or if you want to hang out, come on by!


I'm in Westwood - actually my wife goes to UCLA Law. Guess your publisher has a warehouse around here!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:18 pm

Hi everyone --

My website has been revamped, and as part of that I'm now offering 8 sample chapters for free -- you can check it out here -- http://www.thelsattrainer.com/ --

I'll be adding some other new material as well over the next month --

If you are taking the exam in Oct, and have limited prep time, I encourage you to take a look at the free LSAT Vocab chapter, and if you do so, I hope you find it helpful --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:09 am

Hey mike do you think you can help me make sense of answer choice B in PT16,S2,Q1

Also, nice update on your website :D

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby AAJD2B » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:05 am

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hi everyone --

My website has been revamped, and as part of that I'm now offering 8 sample chapters for free -- you can check it out here -- http://www.thelsattrainer.com/ --

I'll be adding some other new material as well over the next month --

If you are taking the exam in Oct, and have limited prep time, I encourage you to take a look at the free LSAT Vocab chapter, and if you do so, I hope you find it helpful --

Mike


Mike that was a great refresher of a video. Thanks!!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:04 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:Hey mike do you think you can help me make sense of answer choice B in PT16,S2,Q1

Also, nice update on your website :D


Thanks Dre --

Are u asking about the rabies q?

So -- here's the situation --

Two years ago, 25% of raccoons were infected, and this 25% of the total = 32.
Today, over 50% of raccoons are infected, and this 50% of the total = 18.

So, the discrepancy is -- how can a greater % of raccoons = a smaller actual amount of raccoons?

The only explanation for this is if the totals have changed (I actually discuss this exact issue on pg. 109 of the book) --

There must be fewer raccoons now total then there were two years ago -- (B) gives us a reason why this might be the case (lots of raccoons died) -- does that help? let me know if u need further explanation -- MK

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby esquirelhomme » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:09 pm

I just received my copy of the LSAT Trainer today, a day earlier :D I'm pretty excited to start reading it.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:52 pm

esquirelhomme wrote:I just received my copy of the LSAT Trainer today, a day earlier :D I'm pretty excited to start reading it.


I hope you enjoy it! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need anything -- mikekim

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:12 am

thanks Mike! i just got thrown off by the word "succumbed"—it didn't register in my brain that it meant the raccoons died.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Fianna13 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:53 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:thanks Mike! i just got thrown off by the word "succumbed"—it didn't register in my brain that it meant the raccoons died.


that question still irks me. Technically succumbs just means fail to resist something. I feel there's an implicit assumption in this question that contacting rabies will cause deaths in some raccoons.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby neprep » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:52 pm

Fianna13 wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:thanks Mike! i just got thrown off by the word "succumbed"—it didn't register in my brain that it meant the raccoons died.


that question still irks me. Technically succumbs just means fail to resist something. I feel there's an implicit assumption in this question that contacting rabies will cause deaths in some raccoons.


Idiomatically, succumbing also means dying.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:20 pm

neprep wrote:
Fianna13 wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:thanks Mike! i just got thrown off by the word "succumbed"—it didn't register in my brain that it meant the raccoons died.


that question still irks me. Technically succumbs just means fail to resist something. I feel there's an implicit assumption in this question that contacting rabies will cause deaths in some raccoons.


Idiomatically, succumbing also means dying.






truth






succumb |səˈkəm|
verb [ intrans. ]
fail to resist (pressure, temptation, or some other negative force) : he has become the latest to succumb to the strain.
• die from the effect of a disease or injury.
ORIGIN late 15th cent. (in the sense [bring low, overwhelm] ): from Old French succomber or Latin succumbere, from sub- ‘under’ + a verb related to cubare ‘to lie.’


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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby roranoa » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:52 pm

What should I do when my scores have plateaued for a long time? I'm getting high160s but that is as far as I go. RC is my biggest problem.( -6 , -7) This is so frustrating and discouraging. I accept that I'll get one or two wrong each on LR and I'm good with games. But RC!! What the hell!! Maybe I'm not reviewing things well enough? Ugh..

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:59 am

Hey Mike, I don't annotate RC passages at all and have found it to be better in regards to identifying accurately and quickly the passage structure. I feel like a kid who no longer has training wheels on his bike.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:05 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:Hey Mike, I don't annotate RC passages at all and have found it to be better in regards to identifying accurately and quickly the passage structure. I feel like a kid who no longer has training wheels on his bike.


That's great to hear -- I think it's pretty consistently true that as test takers get better and better at the RC, they tend to notate less and less -- sorry to hear about the surgery, btw -- hope it didn't/doesn't hurt too bad -- MK

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Sinatra » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:10 pm

Hey Mike, do you have a hard release date for your books in PDF format or is it still in the works/up in the air?

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:23 pm

roranoa wrote:What should I do when my scores have plateaued for a long time? I'm getting high160s but that is as far as I go. RC is my biggest problem.( -6 , -7) This is so frustrating and discouraging. I accept that I'll get one or two wrong each on LR and I'm good with games. But RC!! What the hell!! Maybe I'm not reviewing things well enough? Ugh..


Hi Roranoa,

You are not the first to get frustrated by RC -- I do hope you'll be able to break through your plateau, and I'm sure it'll be incredibly satisfying for you when you do --

It's really, really hard to assess personal RC performance -- it's much easier, say, to see what we did right and wrong on a logic game or a logical reasoning problem -- however, by the time we are in trouble on an RC q, by the time we realize it feels much harder than it ought to and that none of the answers seem good -- it's very difficult to sense where things went wrong.

I think trying to be as practical and organized as possible can help you pinpoint issues, and, ultimately, improve faster.

One way to do this that I suggest in the book (and in this thread elsewhere ) is to think about all misses as falling into three categories -
1) I missed it because I didn't read the passage properly (this has to do with actually misunderstanding the passage, but, more commonly, it has to do with not prioritizing the right issues or noticing the subtleties of the author's opinion clearly).
2) I missed it because I didn't understand the question correctly (remember -- this questions are very specifically designed, and carefully worded -- answers are often right or wrong based on how they match the very specific task in the q stem, and a lot of test takers make RC harder than it needs to be because they don't see distinctions in these q stems the way they should).
3) I missed it because I messed up the process of evaluating the answers -- in a minority of cases, this involves not using the right methods to arrive at and confirm a right choice; more commonly, this involves not prioritizing, or not using the right methods, for eliminating incorrect choices.

You can obviously miss q's for more than one reason, but I think the above can serve as a very useful framework for assessing your RC strengths and weaknesses, and, in particular, I think the above can be useful when you are trying to figure out what you ought to perhaps try doing differently in order to break past your current ceiling --

If you have any extra time, or if you decide to hold off until December, here's two assessment/strengthening exercises you can try --

1) Take a section and solve it as follows: read a passage just as you would during the real exam, but, once you are done reading, put the passage away and try to answer the q's without looking back at the text at all. Your goal should be to get the majority of q's correct, based on your initial and general understanding of the passage. If you can't do this, it may be a sign that you are not focusing on the right things as you read, or it may be a sign that you are not thinking about question tasks in the right way.

2) Take another section and read the passages just as you normally do, and return the passages whenever you need to. For this exercise, however, make it a goal to not once "select" a right answer, but, rather, arrive at the right answer for every single question by figuring out why each of the four wrong answers are wrong (you may need to give yourself a bit of extra time for this exercise, and that's fine) -- with enough time, you should be able to get a strong majority of q's correct without ever deciding on or confirming a right choice. If, even with unlimited time, you have trouble with this exercise, chances are that working on our elimination skills will be a key to getting your score up --

Neither of those is too much fun, but I do think they can be very illuminating --

Hope that all helps -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:28 pm

Sinatra wrote:Hey Mike, do you have a hard release date for your books in PDF format or is it still in the works/up in the air?


Hi there -- sorry to say, but I will not be releasing a PDF version of the book, ever. PDF's are simply too easy to copy and distribute.

I do have 8 chapters available as free PDF downloads on my website --

And I'll be releasing parts of the trainer as separate ebooks (in fact, the first one is being released today, and I'll come back on and announce it as soon as it's available). But, considering that the trainer is in large part a drill book, the paper version is probably the best fit for most customers --

Sorry about the PDF --

MK

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Sinatra » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:41 pm

Cool, ebooks work as well. Thanks, Mike!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:01 am

Sinatra wrote:Cool, ebooks work as well. Thanks, Mike!


Speaking of...

Just wanted to announce that I've just released my first kindle book -- How to Study for the LSAT, A Primer --

It's basic information and advice for those who are just starting their LSAT prep -- probably not needed by most of this tls crowd, but I just wanted to let you all know about it.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby roranoa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:08 am

Hey Mike, I just did pt68 and I bombed at the very last game, the one with sorting seven articles.
I had so much time left (like 13min) and later I ran out of time. Something about this game made really difficult. I usually don't write in much inferences with ordering games and just go straight for the q's. Do you think that would be a wrong approach with this one?

To be more specific, what I usually do is just plug in whatever premise a "if q" would present me with and go from there. So if it says "if X is fourth" I would plug that in and make up a scenario where all the rules are factored in and works. I do this especially with MBT q's but also with could be true q's.

Would this approach be wrong for this game? (Im thinking maybe it is)


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