Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

mattyb214
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Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:15 pm

Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby mattyb214 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:29 pm

I'm going to retake the LSAT in either October or December (probably October). I took the Feb 2009 LSAT after taking the Princeton Review Hyperlearning course. I scored a 163 (definitely below where I was practicing, but thats another discussion) and have been told by several people that PR course/materials aren't going to get me where I want from this point (169/170 range).

Most of my improvement will need to come in games (speed, not accuracy), and I've been told the Bibles are great for self-study. But I'm wondering, if I've already taken a course and half-heartedly learned their 'methods', am I going to be screwed up by trying to prep with a different system/methods like those found in the Bibles?

Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm currently working (teaching), so an evenings/weekends study schedule I what I'm going to be doing, if that matters.

ANY feedback is greatly appreciated, thanks.

tomwatts
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby tomwatts » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:29 pm

mattyb214 wrote:have been told by several people that PR course/materials aren't going to get me where I want from this point (169/170 range).

This is not true, thankfully.

mattyb214 wrote:But I'm wondering, if I've already taken a course and half-heartedly learned their 'methods', am I going to be screwed up by trying to prep with a different system/methods like those found in the Bibles?

The Bibles get their reputation from having licensed, real questions in them. You already have access to real questions. My first reaction is that you don't need the Bibles. Powerscore is somewhat different from us (Princeton Review) anyway, so yes, there is some chance of becoming confused. On the other hand, it's also possible that you may benefit from a (potentially very) different perspective. It's hard to know without more information.

My suggestion is to work through those tests in the Online Student Center that you didn't do during the course. I'm assuming that you left alone at least some of them (maybe PTs in the 30's, maybe PTs in the high 50's; both are there). You have ~20 tests (some of which are very old) to play with, so use those for new practice, and redo stuff that you did during the course (focusing on games but not exclusively, or else you'll see other stuff drop). If there's any homework you didn't complete during the course, work on that for untimed practice. That should be plenty of material for self-study, and while you're at it, you can review your notes and review the summaries and body text at the beginning of each Practice in each Unit to remind yourself of the relevant strategies.

Alternatively, if you attended all the classes and such, you'd qualify for the Satisfaction Guarantee and could repeat the course for free (or any portion of the course, really; if you just want to review In/Out Games or something, you could just show up to classes 7 and 8). I especially recommend doing this if either 1) you really liked your instructor and think you may not have gotten everything the first time or 2) you can sit in a class taught by a different teacher and think you may benefit from a different take on the same approach.

If you were practicing higher before the test, it's entirely possible that all you have to do is maintain and then perform as you did in your practice in order to do well, so it may not really matter what you do, in fact, as long as you keep doing real LSAT questions.

RTFM
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Re: Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby RTFM » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:21 am

I also scored a 163 (lower than practice average) after taking a full-length course (Kaplan), and I am also currently studying for a re-take while teaching. Crazy.

Anyway, I had used the bibles while taking the Kaplan course. I don't think that mixing methods was in any way harmful. It actually helped me develop my own method of doing games rather than strictly adhering to one method or another. However, if you always understand why you got every question wrong, you might not need to go through the bibles. If you know what you're doing wrong, you're probably solid on your methods and you just need to practice more.

I think that what did me in when I took the LSAT the first time was 1) not taking enough full length practice tests under "real" conditions before the test, 2) not practicing games enough (doing ones that tripped me up over and over) and 3) taking the LSAT right after my finals week. To study now, I take one full, strictly timed, preptest (and add a 5th section) a week on Saturday. During the week, I do timed sections from another preptest, so every week I do two complete preptests. I also go over a few games I haven't done from older preptests and I re-do games that took me more than 9 minutes to do the first time around (I've been working on games for a while now).

It's a lot to do with the teaching schedule, but it's going all right.

Baloo
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Re: Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby Baloo » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:04 am

If you've already taken a course, I'd advocate first doing a general LSAT book that reviews all three section all the way through. This will refresh you and give you another set of tools. After that, my advice would be to dive into the Bibles wholeheartedly. I took a course and studied the LG and RC Bibles simultaneously with the course materials. The course was useless for trying to get a score anywhere above the %90 cutoff. Like the last poster, the Bibles/course materials combo allowed me to develop my own hybrid method, especially for games.

It's also extremely important to use some common sense and perspective when you're approacing the games. I'm referring to recognizing when neither a course nor Bible system is either necessary or appropriate. For many of the easier games (about two per test/games section) you don't need to use certain parts of the games set-up process. You can easily save 2 or 3 minutes by skipping over the initial steps. If you already got a 163 and you're going for a higher score, I'll assume you're fully capable of doing so.

Some related advice I would offer would be to take at least three days off from studying directly before you take the test. I realize that this is purely a personal point, but I firmly believe it gives your mind some time to consolidate what you've studied and recover for the test.

Lastly, as the other poster mentioned, taking full-length tests is by far the most useful studying tool. Take as many as you can, especially the newer ones (signifcantly harder), and study every difficult question as well as the ones you miss. I'd even advocate copying all the questions you missed or found extremely difficult and reviewing them again at the end of each week.

I'm in the same boat in some ways. I took the test in Sept 2009 and will likely retake in June 2010 to bolster transfer apps for next year and possibly try to appeal some rejections from this cycle. Good luck

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby quickquestionthanks » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:50 am

Just be aware that you may have already seen some of the questions if you are planning to go through an LSAT bible. You would probably recognize a logic game or a reading comprehension (although maybe not), but lots of logical reasoning questions are very similar to each other. You might end up with higher PT scores because you subconsciously know the answers already.

That's one reason I regret taking Testmasters and a good reason not to take a course in general.

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quasi-stellar
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Re: Retaking LSAT - Self-Study after already taken course?

Postby quasi-stellar » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:40 am

mattyb214 wrote:Most of my improvement will need to come in games (speed, not accuracy), and I've been told the Bibles are great for self-study. But I'm wondering, if I've already taken a course and half-heartedly learned their 'methods', am I going to be screwed up by trying to prep with a different system/methods like those found in the Bibles?

Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm currently working (teaching), so an evenings/weekends study schedule I what I'm going to be doing, if that matters.

ANY feedback is greatly appreciated, thanks.


I really don't think you will be in any disadvantage if you study LGB methods after prior exposure to PR course materials. Even if they are substantially different you still may end up with a deeper understanding of the games. You should be able to decide which strategies work best for you, especially since you already know the test well enough.

Work factor doesnt really matter in my opinion. You still can easily devote 2 hours or so to studying, which should be plenty given your experience.




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