Mike's Trainer Thread

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:22 pm

Hi everyone -- hope the mods don't think this is spam (and I won't post a link) but I just wanted to let you know that Amazon is currently seriously discounting the trainer -- they are selling it for $31 -- so, if you were planning to get it anyway, now is a good time --

Some extra info about how Amazon works -- when Amazon discounts a book like mine, they decide to do it themselves (I have nothing to do with it), and they eat the entire discount. Thank you Jeff Bezos!

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

Postby Baby_Got_Feuerbach » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:27 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hi everyone -- hope the mods don't think this is spam (and I won't post a link) but I just wanted to let you know that Amazon is currently seriously discounting the trainer -- they are selling it for $31 -- so, if you were planning to get it anyway, now is a good time --

Some extra info about how Amazon works -- when Amazon discounts a book like mine, they decide to do it themselves (I have nothing to do with it), and they eat the entire discount. Thank you Jeff Bezos!


Ah, rats. I was the last one to buy it at the old ($40) price! No worries, as long as you get the money.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:21 pm

Baby_Got_Feuerbach wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hi everyone -- hope the mods don't think this is spam (and I won't post a link) but I just wanted to let you know that Amazon is currently seriously discounting the trainer -- they are selling it for $31 -- so, if you were planning to get it anyway, now is a good time --

Some extra info about how Amazon works -- when Amazon discounts a book like mine, they decide to do it themselves (I have nothing to do with it), and they eat the entire discount. Thank you Jeff Bezos!


Ah, rats. I was the last one to buy it at the old ($40) price! No worries, as long as you get the money.


I thought about you guys who just recently bought the book as I was writing the post -- sorry about that! If it helps any, please feel free to use this as license to get $10 worth of extra help from me, here or through pm -- Mike

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cloy26
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby cloy26 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:38 pm

Is there any significance behind the artwork (fishes)? I dig.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:30 pm

cloy26 wrote:Is there any significance behind the artwork (fishes)? I dig.


It's very hard for me to answer this q without getting too cheesy -- I'll do my best --

The Trainer is very hard to get through. I don't take it easy on you. And no one is watching you study the LSAT. If you half-ass it -- if you skim a lesson while daydreaming, or you look up the answers to a drill instead of working through it, or if you don't spend the time to repeat the exercises that you feel weaker at, no one is going to notice, or think any worse of you.

When you look at that inside title page image with all of the fish, I'm sure you know of at least person that you can associate with every single one of them -- you know some people who are oblivious and happy-go-lucky, you know people attracted to success or envious of it, you know people in awe of it, and then there are the very few who actually go for it.

It takes a lot of effort to really do all the work in the trainer, and, in general, it takes a lot of work to get a top LSAT score -- I think the image of the fish is a nice reminder of the type of person that you are trying to be, and hopefully it'll be a good reminder of why it is that you put in that extra level of work.

Having said all that, I'm not an artist, I'm getting a lot of q's about it, and I'm really not sure if anyone is taking away the meaning that I intended! Oh well. I do think that at the least the design of my book clearly shows you that it was made by a person, and not a corporation.

-- Mike

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cloy26
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby cloy26 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:03 pm

So true and it's never been more pertinent than to my personal situation right now w/ regard to my score.

I've beat the horse to death and I'm almost certain I speak for the majority of the rest this thread, thank you so much for the level of detail and the amount of effort you put into every facet of this book.

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

Postby Mauve.Dino » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:27 am

Mike, no matter what my score ends up being, thanks so much for your help (especially with Flaw questions!). :)

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

Postby Tyr » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:25 pm

Mike,
Just so I'm crystal clear...

On your study schedules, when you have something like "PT 53: 1.8, 15, 23, 25; 3.2, 8, 9, 11, 20"... Does this mean to do Practice Test 53, section 1, questions 8, 15, 23, 25, and section 3, questions 2, 8 , 9, 11, 20? I just want to be certain that I'm not mistaking anything.



Also completely unrelated, if we notice typos or spelling errors in the book, would you like for us to PM you?

Thanks again!

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:01 pm

Tyr wrote:Mike,
Just so I'm crystal clear...

On your study schedules, when you have something like "PT 53: 1.8, 15, 23, 25; 3.2, 8, 9, 11, 20"... Does this mean to do Practice Test 53, section 1, questions 8, 15, 23, 25, and section 3, questions 2, 8 , 9, 11, 20? I just want to be certain that I'm not mistaking anything.



Also completely unrelated, if we notice typos or spelling errors in the book, would you like for us to PM you?

Thanks again!


That's right tyr --

And yes, please send me any issues of typos or spelling errors -- hopefully u don't find too many! -- hope you are enjoying the book --

Mike

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

Postby Straw_Mandible » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:18 pm

Hi Mike,

I think I might be able to anticipate your answer to this question, but for posterity's sake, I'll ask it: What do you think is the value (if any) in drilling RC passages untimed? I noticed in the Trainer that you placed quite a bit of emphasis on timing all of our drills, perhaps to avoid falling into time-wasting patterns of problem-solving. Nonetheless, do you think there might be some value in untimed drilling for the purpose of identifying patterns and giving answer choices the scrutiny they deserve? I ask only because I find myself neglecting the process of elimination on certain questions when I feel pressed for time, and I usually end up getting those questions wrong. I have the feeling that I would benefit from taking my time going through the process of elimination and confirmation in my drills, so that my instincts will be sharper once I make the transition to timed sections. Do you see any significant problem with this approach?

Thank you for all of your help--you're the best!

-SM

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Straw_Mandible wrote:Hi Mike,

I think I might be able to anticipate your answer to this question, but for posterity's sake, I'll ask it: What do you think is the value (if any) in drilling RC passages untimed? I noticed in the Trainer that you placed quite a bit of emphasis on timing all of our drills, perhaps to avoid falling into time-wasting patterns of problem-solving. Nonetheless, do you think there might be some value in untimed drilling for the purpose of identifying patterns and giving answer choices the scrutiny they deserve? I ask only because I find myself neglecting the process of elimination on certain questions when I feel pressed for time, and I usually end up getting those questions wrong. I have the feeling that I would benefit from taking my time going through the process of elimination and confirmation in my drills, so that my instincts will be sharper once I make the transition to timed sections. Do you see any significant problem with this approach?

Thank you for all of your help--you're the best!

-SM


Hi --

I definitely understand what you are looking to get out of untimed practice --

My suggestion is to keep track of time but not be beholden to it. Always push the pace and work to get faster, but don't sacrifice accuracy for the sake of time (give yourself the time to go through necessarily elimination processes, etc.).

Since you are a fan of my analogies, I hope you will forgive me for going really far afield for this one --

Imagine you are training for the hundred meter dash, and you have a certain timing goal in mind -- let's imagine you want to run it in exactly 11 seconds --

You can train in three ways:

1) You can practice running hundred meter dashes as fast as you can, with the right form etc., and keep track of your time, and work to get it closer and closer to 11 seconds.

2) You can practice running as fast as you can, but you stop wherever you are on the track right at the 11 second mark.

3) You don't worry about pace as you train.

Obviously, again, in real life, you can do all of these things, and you can combine them with other exercises, and the same goes for RC -- nothing bad is going to happen to you if you practice passages untimed, and it doesn't prevent you from doing other exercises, BUT -

I think that practice that is most similar to #1 from above is the practice that, on average, leads to the most efficient and effective improvement.

The most important reason I recommend timing yourself is because I think timing pressure is necessary for really working on reading skills. And I think if you consistently fail to put timing pressure on yourself, you make it harder and harder on yourself to develop these reading skills.

A huge part of getting better at the LSAT has to do with getting better at prioritizing -- getting better at thinking about less, and thinking about the right things at the right time. This is intimately tied to reading ability -- it's your reading ability, coupled with your understanding of task, that in large part dictates what you think about and when. Timing pressure, and a desire to go faster, is what really forces us to work on this (and it exposes to us weaknesses we have when it comes to reading correctly or prioritizing correctly) -- that's why if you don't emphasize timing during your prep, it becomes harder to develop these reading skills.

One thing that I hope you've noticed with Logical Reasoning is that prioritizing the right information not only helps you go faster, it makes questions far easier — if you are correctly focused in just on the argument core, for example, wrong answers become far more obvious and far less attractive. If you give yourself all the time in the world to think about and break down a Logical Reasoning stimulus, you can end up paying attention to everything, and you may think this makes you better prepared for the answers, but it can actually put you in a worse position -- because you haven't prioritized the right information, wrong answer choices become much more attractive.

Though it's harder to see this at work in RC, it's absolutely true that the same thing impacts students -- when students read RC passages paying equal attention and giving equal priority to everything, and letting their mind wander and judge and such, they can't prioritize as easily, and as a consequence the line between right and wrong answers becomes far blurrier. Again, to me that's the big fear of untimed practice -- it's not the best way to train yourself to think about the right things at the right time.

I think the best approach --especially at this stage in your prep when it's really all about getting better and better -- is to give yourself as much time as you need to go through all of your proper steps, and to put yourself in the best position to succeed and get q's right, but at the same time, always work to do this as fast as you can, and keep track of how long it takes you, with the goal of your timing getting closer and closer to 35 minutes (and hopefully eventually even getting significantly under that). And convince yourself that RC becomes easier when you can think about the right things, as opposed to thinking about more things (which is what you would get to do with more time). Finally, I think a lot of the full benefit you are looking to gain from untimed practice (such as seeing all the various reasons to eliminate an answer choice and such) can be had in your review of a passage, during which you should of course feel free to try resolving q's without time pressure.

Oh boy, ended up writing way more than I should have, but I hope that's helpful -- reach out if you have any follow up or need anything else --

Mike

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

Postby haus » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:07 pm

I seem to recall a previous mention of a possible ebony version, any news on this front?

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:09 pm

haus wrote:I seem to recall a previous mention of a possible ebony version, any news on this front?


ebony version?

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

Postby haus » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:27 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
haus wrote:I seem to recall a previous mention of a possible ebony version, any news on this front?


ebony version?

ebook...

The joys of posting from my phone... :)

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

Postby thevuch » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:37 pm

got this book on monday, loving it already. im using it in combination with manhattan LR (which the author of the trainer wrote half of as i understand it, and im up to chapter 11 now but last night before this test it was just chapter 9, in the trainer), and prior to last night my best prep test was a 161, but last night on preptest 30 i got a 167 ( realize you could say the correlate/cause thing buut). some of it is attributable to manhattan LR but the intuitiveness and the notion that recognizing the flaws is inherent in almost every LR question and the entire simplicity of the trainer a la puzzle doesnt equal piece vice versa apples dont equal oranges improper context shifts or incorrectly putting information together, these things really do "bleed" together like the book talks about in relation to LR (i went 46/51 for the LR sections on the test). this holistic approach rather than a rigidly differentiated systematic approach determined by question type that is common to other prep classes is superior. my elephant is getting smarter. also the "cloud" technique in the logic games things and calling floaters "free agents", coolest terminology ive seen yet. LOVING THIS BOOK. however, i cant speak how this thing would do to someone with no LSAT experience at all, because the logic games section so far to me seems to take some leaps that a newbie would just be like woah slow down, but for me (having taken kaplan course) its helped a lot. im not done yet, but my experience is great so far. also this book is more than just technical approach, it talks about mentality towards the LSAT that is also superior than what ive seen elsewhere. and the DRILLS without question answers for LR and LG ugh god its great, it nullifies your bad habits, it forces you to create good habits.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:49 pm

haus wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:
haus wrote:I seem to recall a previous mention of a possible ebony version, any news on this front?


ebony version?

ebook...

The joys of posting from my phone... :)


Ha -- I figured that's what you meant, but still fun to think about what an ebony version might be like --

Short answer -- I don't think I'm going to be publishing the trainer in its entirety as an ebook

Longer answer -- challenge of studying the LSAT off an ebook + lack of demand for it + time it takes to create it = not worth it right now.

I did create a small ebook primer (for 2.99), which includes the first four chapters, and I imagine perhaps creating equivalent mini-books for each of the three section types, but I don't think I'm going to be publishing the full book in ebook form any time in the near future -- sorry about that! --

Mike

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:52 pm

thevuch wrote:got this book on monday, loving it already. im using it in combination with manhattan LR (which the author of the trainer wrote half of as i understand it, and im up to chapter 11 now but last night before this test it was just chapter 9, in the trainer), and prior to last night my best prep test was a 161, but last night on preptest 30 i got a 167 ( realize you could say the correlate/cause thing buut). some of it is attributable to manhattan LR but the intuitiveness and the notion that recognizing the flaws is inherent in almost every LR question and the entire simplicity of the trainer a la puzzle doesnt equal piece vice versa apples dont equal oranges improper context shifts or incorrectly putting information together, these things really do "bleed" together like the book talks about in relation to LR (i went 46/51 for the LR sections on the test). this holistic approach rather than a rigidly differentiated systematic approach determined by question type that is common to other prep classes is superior. my elephant is getting smarter. also the "cloud" technique in the logic games things and calling floaters "free agents", coolest terminology ive seen yet. LOVING THIS BOOK. however, i cant speak how this thing would do to someone with no LSAT experience at all, because the logic games section so far to me seems to take some leaps that a newbie would just be like woah slow down, but for me (having taken kaplan course) its helped a lot. im not done yet, but my experience is great so far. also this book is more than just technical approach, it talks about mentality towards the LSAT that is also superior than what ive seen elsewhere. and the DRILLS without question answers for LR and LG ugh god its great, it nullifies your bad habits, it forces you to create good habits.


Thanks for the comments -- for all the positives, and especially for what you mentioned about the leaps in the LG (useful for me to know) -- hope you enjoy the rest of the book just as much, and please don't hesitate to get in touch here or through pm if you need me -- Mike

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.

Postby 10052014 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:54 am

.
Last edited by 10052014 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Straw_Mandible » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:42 am

Mike,

Thank you so much for your response above! I really enjoyed your hundred meter dash analogy (I am a serious track & field nerd), and it makes a whole lot of sense! Here's my own extension, and let me know if I'm understanding your point correctly:

Sprinters often practice their form by doing "striders," an exercise in which they are told to run the length of the track without a watch, going as fast as they can while still maintaining perfect form. The object of this exercise is not speed, but speed can be viewed as a means to an end. It would be very difficult to practice perfect sprinting form with a light bounce jog. To practice perfect sprinting form, one must sprint.

The connection to RC is clear--it is an exercise in reading dense material quickly which compels us to prioritize the right information. We stand to benefit from doing untimed RC only when we are able to maintain perfect form. Going too slowly in our exercises might hinder our form--kind of like the difference between a bounce jog and a sprint.

A long winded way of saying thank you, but thank you! Your advice is golden as usual.

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

Postby flash21 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:31 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Straw_Mandible wrote:Hi Mike,

I think I might be able to anticipate your answer to this question, but for posterity's sake, I'll ask it: What do you think is the value (if any) in drilling RC passages untimed? I noticed in the Trainer that you placed quite a bit of emphasis on timing all of our drills, perhaps to avoid falling into time-wasting patterns of problem-solving. Nonetheless, do you think there might be some value in untimed drilling for the purpose of identifying patterns and giving answer choices the scrutiny they deserve? I ask only because I find myself neglecting the process of elimination on certain questions when I feel pressed for time, and I usually end up getting those questions wrong. I have the feeling that I would benefit from taking my time going through the process of elimination and confirmation in my drills, so that my instincts will be sharper once I make the transition to timed sections. Do you see any significant problem with this approach?

Thank you for all of your help--you're the best!

-SM


Hi --

I definitely understand what you are looking to get out of untimed practice --

My suggestion is to keep track of time but not be beholden to it. Always push the pace and work to get faster, but don't sacrifice accuracy for the sake of time (give yourself the time to go through necessarily elimination processes, etc.).

Since you are a fan of my analogies, I hope you will forgive me for going really far afield for this one --

Imagine you are training for the hundred meter dash, and you have a certain timing goal in mind -- let's imagine you want to run it in exactly 11 seconds --

You can train in three ways:

1) You can practice running hundred meter dashes as fast as you can, with the right form etc., and keep track of your time, and work to get it closer and closer to 11 seconds.

2) You can practice running as fast as you can, but you stop wherever you are on the track right at the 11 second mark.

3) You don't worry about pace as you train.

Obviously, again, in real life, you can do all of these things, and you can combine them with other exercises, and the same goes for RC -- nothing bad is going to happen to you if you practice passages untimed, and it doesn't prevent you from doing other exercises, BUT -

I think that practice that is most similar to #1 from above is the practice that, on average, leads to the most efficient and effective improvement.

The most important reason I recommend timing yourself is because I think timing pressure is necessary for really working on reading skills. And I think if you consistently fail to put timing pressure on yourself, you make it harder and harder on yourself to develop these reading skills.

A huge part of getting better at the LSAT has to do with getting better at prioritizing -- getting better at thinking about less, and thinking about the right things at the right time. This is intimately tied to reading ability -- it's your reading ability, coupled with your understanding of task, that in large part dictates what you think about and when. Timing pressure, and a desire to go faster, is what really forces us to work on this (and it exposes to us weaknesses we have when it comes to reading correctly or prioritizing correctly) -- that's why if you don't emphasize timing during your prep, it becomes harder to develop these reading skills.

One thing that I hope you've noticed with Logical Reasoning is that prioritizing the right information not only helps you go faster, it makes questions far easier — if you are correctly focused in just on the argument core, for example, wrong answers become far more obvious and far less attractive. If you give yourself all the time in the world to think about and break down a Logical Reasoning stimulus, you can end up paying attention to everything, and you may think this makes you better prepared for the answers, but it can actually put you in a worse position -- because you haven't prioritized the right information, wrong answer choices become much more attractive.

Though it's harder to see this at work in RC, it's absolutely true that the same thing impacts students -- when students read RC passages paying equal attention and giving equal priority to everything, and letting their mind wander and judge and such, they can't prioritize as easily, and as a consequence the line between right and wrong answers becomes far blurrier. Again, to me that's the big fear of untimed practice -- it's not the best way to train yourself to think about the right things at the right time.

I think the best approach --especially at this stage in your prep when it's really all about getting better and better -- is to give yourself as much time as you need to go through all of your proper steps, and to put yourself in the best position to succeed and get q's right, but at the same time, always work to do this as fast as you can, and keep track of how long it takes you, with the goal of your timing getting closer and closer to 35 minutes (and hopefully eventually even getting significantly under that). And convince yourself that RC becomes easier when you can think about the right things, as opposed to thinking about more things (which is what you would get to do with more time). Finally, I think a lot of the full benefit you are looking to gain from untimed practice (such as seeing all the various reasons to eliminate an answer choice and such) can be had in your review of a passage, during which you should of course feel free to try resolving q's without time pressure.

Oh boy, ended up writing way more than I should have, but I hope that's helpful -- reach out if you have any follow up or need anything else --

Mike



wow what a great analogy. thanks mike

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

Postby thevuch » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:52 pm

mike do you recommend reviewing answers you got correct? ive been PTing and i am only reviewing the ones i miss, and usually the whole test is kind of a blur when im done and i only remember specific questions that really baffled me. how would you recommend reviewing for LR mainly, and maybe some RC review tips too.

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cloy26
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby cloy26 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:37 pm

You should always be reviewing ANY question that you answered without 100% certainty. Sure you got lucky today, but you don't want luck to even be a consideration on test day.

As you're taking the test, circle the ones that you were not certain on.

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

Postby Baby_Got_Feuerbach » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:05 am

Mike, who is Sharon in your life? That name seems to pop up quite often in the book, which I'm loving so far.

Also, how strongly do you advise against powering through the chapters / lessons without doing the 10 Actuals? My goal is to give myself a month to do nothing but drill from Cambridge and take PTs. (Which means I'd need to finish each of your lessons in the next two or three weeks.) FWIW, I've been doing each of your own drill sets and have been writing the answers in the space provided.

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

Postby DaveShady » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:18 am

Hi Mike,

I purchased your book a few days ago, after accepting that although I've improved from a 149 on my first PT in september to a 168 on my most recent that I haven't worked as efficiently as I could have and won't be ready for February.
I received it yesterday and there are two things I wanted to say:

1) Although I've only read the introduction, I can already tell that this is a well written book and much different than all the others I have previously used.

2) I REALLY like how the front cover feels lol. I literally made people in my house feel the front cover lol.

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flash21
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby flash21 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:08 pm

Mike hows it going?

Reading comp is beginning to click for me a bit better now - however, timing is an issue. I often find when drilling, I'll end up spending literally like 2-3 minutes on two questions of the set, usually for other questions I'll answer them almost immediately. any advice for this aside from just reviewing and trying to figure out why they are taking me forever and when its right/ wrong?

Also, whats your view on drilling indiv. passages vs whole secctions of rc? I made a thread and there seemeed to be some disagreement about this. thanks.


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