How to know 170+ is possible?

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superpippo
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How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:06 pm

I know that there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this. I'm just looking for some knowledgable opinions/anecdotal evidence on the forthcoming subject matter. If it matters: 3.55-58 GPA. Dream job is big law --> in-house, but would be ok with midlaw/non-shit law and a life.

I've scored a 163-165 on the June 2012 exam, averaging 163-165 on my final weeks of PTs. I got this score after doing a 2-3 month Kaplan in-class course, putting roughly 200+ hours into prep. Up to the exam, I was average -5 on RC, average -5 on LR, and never perfected games (missed a whole one on the exam).

I've been going back-and-forth (way too much) about whether or not I want to retake. I will be post-UG after this month and so any retake will require definite sacrifice (employment-wise, financially, socially, etc.). I need to have a good idea that I can improve to 170+ (maybe 168+) for me to deem that sacrifices worth it. I know the motto of TLS is retake, however this is mostly told to people who didn't adequately prep the first time. I felt like I put in the time and followed the test-prep strategies (at least for Kaplan) to get a 170, but did not get the results.

What I want to know is, from your experiences, how does someone boost their score to 170+ if they've already gone through a real prep? Has changing prep materials (strategies) been a substantial difference maker in scores, or are do the different companies basically use the same strategies, but package them differently? I made the most progress when drilling by myself so I think self-study might work for me, if so, which is the best: blueprint? manhattan? Or after this many hours of prep, is it realistic to say I may have relatively maxed out?

Sorry to bombard the board with so many questions, but I'm already deposited at a school, which I would attend (just not near sticker) so I need to make this decision rather quickly. I'm just trying to get some closure, so I can finally make a decision one way or another.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:11 pm

superpippo wrote:Up to the exam, I was average -5 on RC, average -5 on LR, and never perfected games (missed a whole one on the exam).

This is how you know you can score 170. Do not go to law school until you've perfected games, and you'll be fine.

superpippo wrote:I've been going back-and-forth (way too much) about whether or not I want to retake. I will be post-UG after this month and so any retake will require definite sacrifice (employment-wise, financially, socially, etc.). I need to have a good idea that I can improve to 170+ (maybe 168+) for me to deem that sacrifices worth it. I know the motto of TLS is retake, however this is mostly told to people who didn't adequately prep the first time. I felt like I put in the time and followed the test-prep strategies (at least for Kaplan) to get a 170, but did not get the results.

You are making no employment sacrifices by retaking, because your employment prospects from a school that will accept you with your current numbers are poor.

Even if you put in a lot of effort into your first take, you absolutely have to retake to make law school even close to worthwhile. At the very least get your shit together for a June retake and study your ass off. When you rock that 174 you can sit out a year and re-apply.

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superpippo
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:24 pm

Any advice on test prep method or company?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:29 pm

superpippo wrote:Any advice on test prep method or company?

Kaplan is universally regarded as pure crap, so you're in a good spot because you haven't learned the best methods. I took Testmasters and liked it, but BluePrint and others like Manhattan and Powerscore are just as good and probably cost less. And none of those have the same douchey owner as Testmasters.

If you buy the Powerscore Bibles and Manhattan books (especially the Manhattan RC book) I'm sure you can improve to 170 without taking a class. But you absolutely need to master logic games, so focus on that above all else.

Ti Malice
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:31 pm

I'm not being snarky when I say that you haven't had real prep yet. Kaplan is utter garbage. If you're scoring in the mid-160s while trying to employ Kaplan's trash methods, your ceiling is almost certainly a good deal higher. You owe it to yourself to put in more prep time with good materials. Forget anything you ever learned from Kaplan. It's crucial that you not allow Kaplan residue to contaminate your use and understanding of the new methods you will learn.

Any of the following companies will use well-constructed materials: TestMasters, PowerScore, Manhattan, and Blueprint.

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Lar-ties
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Lar-ties » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:37 pm

I didn't take any prep courses and scored 170+.

The thing that helped me was getting together with others and taking test sections, then going back through and talking through how we each approached the problems.

Obviously, you need someone willing to do this with, but if you find someone taking the test - especially if they are already performing on that level - is hugely beneficial. I found a ton of shortcuts that way, and specific strategies to cut down on time.

For the games, it is all about diagramming. Getting a games book and studying it real closely helped me a ton.

I am a self-motivated learner, though, and this approach was very comfortable for me. It isn't for everyone, but I think the most important thing is being COMFORTABLE on test day, so you don't panic when you come across a challenging problem.

No sure if that's helpful, but PM me if you want a further explanation.

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superpippo
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:48 pm

Ti Malice wrote:I'm not being snarky when I say that you haven't had real prep yet. Kaplan is utter garbage. If you're scoring in the mid-160s while trying to employ Kaplan's trash methods, your ceiling is almost certainly a good deal higher. You owe it to yourself to put in more prep time with good materials. Forget anything you ever learned from Kaplan. It's crucial that you not allow Kaplan residue to contaminate your use and understanding of the new methods you will learn.

Any of the following companies will use well-constructed materials: TestMasters, PowerScore, Manhattan, and Blueprint.


Well it's good that I'm pretty much a blank slate now because I've forgotten everything. How do you (or anyone else) recommend self-studying? I have the PowerScore bibles for all 3 sections. Do I just buy sets of tests and use those to implement the methods. PowerScore has workbooks that go with the bibles, do I need to buy those or are the LSAT test sets enough?

Ti Malice
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:47 am

I only took the LSAT once, so I'm not sure how helpful I'll be with retaking advice.

I took a course with Testmasters -- not because I thought a course was essential, but because I was working anywhere from 50 to 70 hours a week at the time and wanted some forced structure. The methods were sound, and I liked the mixed approach of focusing on questions and games by type and also in randomized fashion with PTs and multiple individual test sections. This is the only approach I'm personally familiar with, but I'm sure I would have been pleased with others as well.

Speaking as an instructor for a good LSAT prep company (not TM), I think only working through timed PTs is not the best method for most folks. It's important that some of your study involve deeper and untimed engagement with tough LR. I think some of the best learning takes place when students spend time drilling down into particularly hard questions. Force yourself to articulate one or more concrete justifications for eliminating each wrong AC and selecting each right AC. Review all missed questions in depth. Note questions and games that trip you up and return to them at a later date (obscure your original selections).

You could accomplish most of this with the three bibles and all the PTs. The Manhattan games book gets high marks as well. Above all, just don't mindlessly burn through material without rigorous review. Take a look at the LSAT forum for threads with advice on how to prep and see what sounds good to you.

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superpippo
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:17 am

Ti Malice wrote:I only took the LSAT once, so I'm not sure how helpful I'll be with retaking advice.

I took a course with Testmasters -- not because I thought a course was essential, but because I was working anywhere from 50 to 70 hours a week at the time and wanted some forced structure. The methods were sound, and I liked the mixed approach of focusing on questions and games by type and also in randomized fashion with PTs and multiple individual test sections. This is the only approach I'm personally familiar with, but I'm sure I would have been pleased with others as well.

Speaking as an instructor for a good LSAT prep company (not TM), I think only working through timed PTs is not the best method for most folks. It's important that some of your study involve deeper and untimed engagement with tough LR. I think some of the best learning takes place when students spend time drilling down into particularly hard questions. Force yourself to articulate one or more concrete justifications for eliminating each wrong AC and selecting each right AC. Review all missed questions in depth. Note questions and games that trip you up and return to them at a later date (obscure your original selections).

You could accomplish most of this with the three bibles and all the PTs. The Manhattan games book gets high marks as well. Above all, just don't mindlessly burn through material without rigorous review. Take a look at the LSAT forum for threads with advice on how to prep and see what sounds good to you.


I agree wholeheartedly, I think my prep strategy was correct. studying question types, their individual strategies and doing individual games/passages/groups of 3 LR then reviewing explanations --> timing on individual games/passages/a page of LR --> individual timed sections. All this interspersed full practice tests.

I implemented the right overall practice schedule/strategy, I'm just thinking/hoping that the reason it didn't result in a 170 is that the actual Kaplan methods didn't work for me. I've just been trying to ascertain if there really is that much difference in the methods that I could improve 5+ points by using the same level of diligence with a different/hopefully better method.

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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:45 am

Judging only from the students I've taught who had previously taken Kaplan classes, Kaplan appears to be easily more than a five-point handicap on average.

The Kaplan RC method is the worst. So much senseless, time-wasting diagramming. The games methods are largely junk. Among other issues in LR, Kaplan doesn't adequately or accurately distinguish between necessary assumption and sufficient assumption question types, which is criminal (calling one of them a "scope shift," which is nonsensical).

Maybe they've addressed some of these problems since I last saw their materials, but the consensus is that Kaplan is still awful. You should be able to score in the 170s with sound methods and dedicated prep.

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superpippo
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:03 am

Ti Malice wrote:Judging only from the students I've taught who had previously taken Kaplan classes, Kaplan appears to be easily more than a five-point handicap on average.

The Kaplan RC method is the worst. So much senseless, time-wasting diagramming. The games methods are largely junk. Among other issues in LR, Kaplan doesn't adequately or accurately distinguish between necessary assumption and sufficient assumption question types, which is criminal (calling one of them a "scope shift," which is nonsensical).

Maybe they've addressed some of these problems since I last saw their materials, but the consensus is that Kaplan is still awful. You should be able to score in the 170s with sound methods and dedicated prep.


That really makes me feel better. Kaplan still does not distinguish between necessary and sufficient assumptions in RC. My class, luckily for me, had a very good teacher who actually noticed this distinction and explained it to us in class as if it was some secret (sad now that I think about it). However since it wasn't in the curriculum it definitely wasn't something I quite had down fully on test day.

Thanks for the insight, all this really makes me just want to pick up the PowerScore books right now and gun for the June LSAT.

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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby Ave » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:07 am

superpippo wrote:Well it's good that I'm pretty much a blank slate now because I've forgotten everything. How do you (or anyone else) recommend self-studying? I have the PowerScore bibles for all 3 sections. Do I just buy sets of tests and use those to implement the methods. PowerScore has workbooks that go with the bibles, do I need to buy those or are the LSAT test sets enough?

Have you read Pithypike's LSAT Guide on TLS? You should: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide
There's also the LSAT Blog's Study Plans outlined depending on the number of months of preparation you have left until the test day: LSAT Blog

These are mainly to get you "started." People have different studying methods and different paces that work best for them. Try these (or any other you find) and tinker with the load or timing.

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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby star fox » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:39 am

Ti Malice wrote:I'm not being snarky when I say that you haven't had real prep yet. Kaplan is utter garbage. If you're scoring in the mid-160s while trying to employ Kaplan's trash methods, your ceiling is almost certainly a good deal higher. You owe it to yourself to put in more prep time with good materials. Forget anything you ever learned from Kaplan. It's crucial that you not allow Kaplan residue to contaminate your use and understanding of the new methods you will learn.

Any of the following companies will use well-constructed materials: TestMasters, PowerScore, Manhattan, and Blueprint.


I hope you're right on the whole Kaplan being crap, one thing I will say through my experience is they seem be gunning for getting students into the 160s. I thought a lot of the class time was spent going over rules to easy questions that I already could intuitively answer. They also seem to advocate just giving up on the harder questions in place of overall testing accuracy. My experience was that the class helped teach me some logic games tricks and made it easy for me to identify question types but that my score really shot up through going through the Mastery & Timing Books they offer. I really hate the way they taught RC. I didn't learn anything.. I think that section of my test actually went down, until it stabilized when I gave up on their whole roadmapping idea and just read the passage and went off memory. I'm hoping with the Bibles and Manhattan books I can get into the 170s.

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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:15 am

OP, a 170+ is almost always possible, it just depends on how much time/energy you are willing to devote to studying. The LSAT is not an IQ test, as much as LSAC and law schools love to bill it that way. Hit the books!

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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby totoro » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:29 am

you'rethemannowdawg wrote:OP, a 170+ is almost always possible, it just depends on how much time/energy you are willing to devote to studying. The LSAT is not an IQ test, as much as LSAC and law schools love to bill it that way. Hit the books!


While I agree with you that OP has definitely not hit their ceiling yet, I think this kind of sentiment on tls is overdone and can hurt other people. I don't think a 170+ is "almost always possible." you might be able to say that for 160+, but many people do hit a ceiling, and its an exaggeration to say that almost everyone can achieve this score (though everyone should certainly aim for it). OP, you just need to use some better books, get down to -0 on LG consistently since its the most predictable section, and put in some more hours with the new methods, If your getting 165ish with Kaplan you can definitely get 170 with PS and Manhattan.

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you'rethemannowdawg
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:03 am

totoro wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:OP, a 170+ is almost always possible, it just depends on how much time/energy you are willing to devote to studying. The LSAT is not an IQ test, as much as LSAC and law schools love to bill it that way. Hit the books!


While I agree with you that OP has definitely not hit their ceiling yet, I think this kind of sentiment on tls is overdone and can hurt other people. I don't think a 170+ is "almost always possible." you might be able to say that for 160+, but many people do hit a ceiling, and its an exaggeration to say that almost everyone can achieve this score (though everyone should certainly aim for it). OP, you just need to use some better books, get down to -0 on LG consistently since its the most predictable section, and put in some more hours with the new methods, If your getting 165ish with Kaplan you can definitely get 170 with PS and Manhattan.


I don't think it is exaggerating much. There are probably a lot of factors that create this perception about the LSAT. It requires a different type of studying than you have to do in undergrad (more than just memorization or completing tasks.) People who used to spend 3 hours a night studying to get straight As in undergrad try to do the same thing for the LSAT and aren't able to score highly. These people don't understand why their studying routine now isn't working as well as it was in the past, and they think that means they have hit their ceiling. A lot of studying for the LSAT is creating different habits in your brain, and there's a growing body of research in psychology suggesting that the brain's habits aren't nearly as static as we used to believe, and that people who accept that are able to make significant improvements in intellectual tasks. There are a lot of people who think they are bad at standardized tests, or think they aren't smart enough to do well on the LSAT because it is supposed to be a test that tells you if you can be a lawyer, when they actually just have a flawed picture of the way the mind works and an overly pessimistic view of their own abilities.

In any case, it can only help an individual to believe that scoring a 170+ is possible for them and not worry about whether they have hit their "ceiling."

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star fox
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby star fox » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:50 am

you'rethemannowdawg wrote:
totoro wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:OP, a 170+ is almost always possible, it just depends on how much time/energy you are willing to devote to studying. The LSAT is not an IQ test, as much as LSAC and law schools love to bill it that way. Hit the books!


While I agree with you that OP has definitely not hit their ceiling yet, I think this kind of sentiment on tls is overdone and can hurt other people. I don't think a 170+ is "almost always possible." you might be able to say that for 160+, but many people do hit a ceiling, and its an exaggeration to say that almost everyone can achieve this score (though everyone should certainly aim for it). OP, you just need to use some better books, get down to -0 on LG consistently since its the most predictable section, and put in some more hours with the new methods, If your getting 165ish with Kaplan you can definitely get 170 with PS and Manhattan.


I don't think it is exaggerating much. There are probably a lot of factors that create this perception about the LSAT. It requires a different type of studying than you have to do in undergrad (more than just memorization or completing tasks.) People who used to spend 3 hours a night studying to get straight As in undergrad try to do the same thing for the LSAT and aren't able to score highly. These people don't understand why their studying routine now isn't working as well as it was in the past, and they think that means they have hit their ceiling. A lot of studying for the LSAT is creating different habits in your brain, and there's a growing body of research in psychology suggesting that the brain's habits aren't nearly as static as we used to believe, and that people who accept that are able to make significant improvements in intellectual tasks. There are a lot of people who think they are bad at standardized tests, or think they aren't smart enough to do well on the LSAT because it is supposed to be a test that tells you if you can be a lawyer, when they actually just have a flawed picture of the way the mind works and an overly pessimistic view of their own abilities.

In any case, it can only help an individual to believe that scoring a 170+ is possible for them and not worry about whether they have hit their "ceiling."


None the less, someone who diagnostics 155 is going to have a much more reasonable chance at getting their score to a 170 than someone who cold-tests at 130. There are definitely intuitive factors that make the LSAT easier for some than others. The person who doesn't get it all at first glance is probably going to need years of preparation to get to the 170s.

kms825
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby kms825 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:46 pm

Not sure if you're still looking for course recs, but I took Blueprint and went from a 164 to a 172. Ended up doing the worst in what had consistently been my best section during PT, so technically speaking, I probably should have scored even higher. Can't recommend Blueprint enough- worth every penny.

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superpippo
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby superpippo » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:22 am

kms825 wrote:Not sure if you're still looking for course recs, but I took Blueprint and went from a 164 to a 172. Ended up doing the worst in what had consistently been my best section during PT, so technically speaking, I probably should have scored even higher. Can't recommend Blueprint enough- worth every penny.


Thanks I appreciate that, did you do the class or self study? I think I'm looking for self study at this point because I've already had a classroom experience and it didn't seem too helpful.

kms825
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby kms825 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:32 pm

superpippo wrote:
kms825 wrote:Not sure if you're still looking for course recs, but I took Blueprint and went from a 164 to a 172. Ended up doing the worst in what had consistently been my best section during PT, so technically speaking, I probably should have scored even higher. Can't recommend Blueprint enough- worth every penny.


Thanks I appreciate that, did you do the class or self study? I think I'm looking for self study at this point because I've already had a classroom experience and it didn't seem too helpful.


I did the class. I'd tried self study beforehand with the PowerScore bibles, which were somewhat helpful, but I just wasn't getting anywhere. I'd really recommend taking the class if you're open to it, mainly because the online video lessons tended to over-complicate things, whereas my instructor did the opposite. If self study is more your thing, though, I'd still recommend BP. Instructors work off the books (which are great, IMO) and the lessons are pretty easy to follow.

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wtrc
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Re: How to know 170+ is possible?

Postby wtrc » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:28 pm

I did Testmasters. Sort of helps. Studying alone or with a small group is a way more efficient and productive use of time. If I hadn't taken a prep course and just did what I am doing now (studying on weekends and when I have time during the week), I think I would not need to be retaking.




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