Hedging Bets with Test Materials

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theZeigs
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:26 pm

Hedging Bets with Test Materials

Postby theZeigs » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:53 pm

What are your opinions on saving test material in case one needs to retake?

Let's be optimistic and suppose you're scoring your target score +2-3 points to account for test day jitters, consistently. Your score is stable, you feel good about the test going into it. Furthermore, this is say 3-4 weeks+ out and you have plenty of material (like 20-30 PTs) to make sure you don't regress in scores.

But, you want to make sure that, if you bomb the test, have to cancel, or otherwise need to go back and take it again, you have enough material to study a second time. In other words, you haven't used up all PTs if you need to take the test again.

Assumptions in addition to above:
-that retaking PTs is not as valuable as the first go around b/c of familiarity with questions, i.e. they're not a true measure of how you're doing, e.g. since you have a good memory and can recall older problems as soon as seeing them, etc.
-you have more than one shot at the LSAT
-you are happy with your target score, i.e. you don't need to push yourself to get a perfect score

Any thoughts? How much to save? Which ones to save?

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yoni45
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:12 am

Re: Hedging Bets with Test Materials

Postby yoni45 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:05 pm

As long as you're not burning through material, it seems to me you should take a 'natural' path, leaving only whatever happens to be left over.

Assuming taking a 'new' PrepTest improves your abilities by a certain margin, not having taken that test for your first go means you won't have that margin of improvement. You'll get that margin of improvement on your second go, but then you'll have essentially wasted that margin for the first test.

LSAT ability doesn't generally regress, so that generally means that the more you do, the better you get. If you do a certain amount prior to your first test, you'll reach a certain level before that first test, and you'll have at least that level for the 2nd test. If you do less for the first test and save the rest for later, then you'll be at a lower level for the first test, and at the same level for the second test.

Of course, there are numerous other variables to throw in the mix, but in general it doesn't seem that there's a point in saving materials for another go -- you'd just be forcing yourself to get the benefits of those tests at a later time.

I'd focus more on avoiding burning through material -- make sure that you squeeze out of every test you do, and that you thoroughly understand *everything* that's in play before going to the next one. Doing any less than that is what will lead to a waste of material more than anything else.

(even if you do run out of material for the 2nd go -- you wouldn't have been in any different position had you not done so. I personally found that retaking tests does help, since it helps you hone in on your real trouble spots -- if you're *still* screwing up certain questions, you clearly didn't learn everything you should have the first go-around. If anything, I'd save one or two tests just so you have an accurate gauge of where you stand before taking it the 2nd time...)

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theZeigs
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Hedging Bets with Test Materials

Postby theZeigs » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:53 am

yoni45 wrote:LSAT ability doesn't generally regress, so that generally means that the more you do, the better you get. If you do a certain amount prior to your first test, you'll reach a certain level before that first test, and you'll have at least that level for the 2nd test. If you do less for the first test and save the rest for later, then you'll be at a lower level for the first test, and at the same level for the second test.


Thanks for the reply. I wonder about this statement though, and I'm not trying to be nitpicky or get into semantics, but I disagree that the LSAT is "like a bicycle" in that if, for example, I didn't go to Law School for another 5 years and had to retake, how much would I have dropped by not practicing? Clearly, in this case, I would have 15 fresh preptests to work with, and probably would have forgotten a lot of questions, but my point is that I don't think that all gains in LSAT prep are irreversible.

yoni45 wrote:As long as you're not burning through material, it seems to me you should take a 'natural' path, leaving only whatever happens to be left over.


Good call. In my case, I have it such that I will use up all materials if I stick closely to my plan. But for a hypothetical person, it might make sense to plan differently.

yoni45 wrote:I'd focus more on avoiding burning through material -- make sure that you squeeze out of every test you do, and that you thoroughly understand *everything* that's in play before going to the next one. Doing any less than that is what will lead to a waste of material more than anything else.


TITCR +1. The key is to realize that when you miss a problem, you have made two mistakes: you selected a wrong answer and eliminated a correct one.


Any other thoughts on saving material?




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