Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

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greyblob
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Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby greyblob » Sat May 01, 2010 11:56 pm

I am feeling pretty down right now. An '09 graduate, I quit my low-paying job in mid-February, opting for law school sooner rather than later. I started studying in March, but felt my improvement to be nearly nonexistent. My parents were kind enough to fund a Powerscore course, which I just started mid-April. So on the first test, I received a 153. I've been improving a little (with the exception of Logic Games...), so I was really upset when my second test today went down 6 points.

While taking the test, I think I halfassedly applied the techniques because otherwise, I'd only get through half of the questions per section. I also had 3 hours of sleep the night before (I have insomnia), which probably didn't help. I still feel as though I shouldn't have done this horribly!!

I am really freaking out right now. My (edit: initial) goal is a score of 170. Is this unrealistic for the October test? I just feel so stressed out right now. Maybe I should lower my expectations. I feel even worse because there are many people out there who are studying with a job in tow or who are still in school. Yet, here I am - majorly sucking.

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Teoeo
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby Teoeo » Sun May 02, 2010 12:07 am

Not unrealistic, just gonna take a lot of work. =)

afa_brandon
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby afa_brandon » Sun May 02, 2010 12:08 am

greyblob wrote:I am feeling pretty down right now. An '09 graduate, I quit my low-paying job in mid-February, opting for law school sooner rather than later. I started studying in March, but felt my improvement to be nearly nonexistent. My parents were kind enough to fund a Powerscore course, which I just started mid-April. So on the first test, I received a 153. I've been improving a little (with the exception of Logic Games...), so I was really upset when my second test today went down 6 points.

While taking the test, I think I halfassedly applied the techniques because otherwise, I'd only get through half of the questions per section. I also had 3 hours of sleep the night before (I have insomnia), which probably didn't help. I still feel as though I shouldn't have done this horribly!!

I am really freaking out right now. My (edit: initial) goal is a score of 170. Is this unrealistic for the October test? I just feel so stressed out right now. Maybe I should lower my expectations. I feel even worse because there are many people out there who are studying with a job in tow or who are still in school. Yet, here I am - majorly sucking.


you don't have to work, were handed a free $1300 prep course, and you're half-assing something in your own prep? not to be unreasonably harsh, but i feel like someone should tell you: that's pretty ungrateful. if your goal is 170, you should probably start behaving as though you DESERVE a 170, because my guess is the people who score in the 170s worked a hell of a lot harder than you seem to be.

furthermore, if insomnia precludes effective LSAT prep, how will it function with law school? i know nothing of the disorder, but it seems to me you should at least correct that before burning through too much prep material.

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Teoeo
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby Teoeo » Sun May 02, 2010 12:14 am

afa_brandon wrote:
greyblob wrote:I am feeling pretty down right now. An '09 graduate, I quit my low-paying job in mid-February, opting for law school sooner rather than later. I started studying in March, but felt my improvement to be nearly nonexistent. My parents were kind enough to fund a Powerscore course, which I just started mid-April. So on the first test, I received a 153. I've been improving a little (with the exception of Logic Games...), so I was really upset when my second test today went down 6 points.

While taking the test, I think I halfassedly applied the techniques because otherwise, I'd only get through half of the questions per section. I also had 3 hours of sleep the night before (I have insomnia), which probably didn't help. I still feel as though I shouldn't have done this horribly!!

I am really freaking out right now. My (edit: initial) goal is a score of 170. Is this unrealistic for the October test? I just feel so stressed out right now. Maybe I should lower my expectations. I feel even worse because there are many people out there who are studying with a job in tow or who are still in school. Yet, here I am - majorly sucking.


you don't have to work, were handed a free $1300 prep course, and you're half-assing something in your own prep? not to be unreasonably harsh, but i feel like someone should tell you: that's pretty ungrateful. if your goal is 170, you should probably start behaving as though you DESERVE a 170, because my guess is the people who score in the 170s worked a hell of a lot harder than you seem to be.

furthermore, if insomnia precludes effective LSAT prep, how will it function with law school? i know nothing of the disorder, but it seems to me you should at least correct that before burning through too much prep material.


Don't be so harsh =(, it's pretty common for people to have trouble in early diags because they are in limbo between what they are learning and time management.

That being said, if you want to get a 170, you are going to have to study a LOT, like, take 30-40 timed practice tests +focused study. What i would do on the practice tests is circle questions that you arent sure of/dont know while actually taking it and then go back after you finish and circle anything else you got wrong. The most important part of this is the post-test analysis. Ex. why do I keep missing type 2n logic questions, maybe i should look up how to solve that ----- Oh, I should negate the possible answers, let me do focused practice on 2ns ---- etc. That what I would do AFTER the course + focused study on games.

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greyblob
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby greyblob » Sun May 02, 2010 12:14 am

you don't have to work, were handed a free $1300 prep course, and you're half-assing something in your own prep? not to be unreasonably harsh, but i feel like someone should tell you: that's pretty ungrateful. if your goal is 170, you should probably start behaving as though you DESERVE a 170, because my guess is the people who score in the 170s worked a hell of a lot harder than you seem to be.

Furthermore, if insomnia precludes effective LSAT prep, how will it function with law school? i know nothing of the disorder, but it seems to me you should at least correct that before burning through too much prep material.


I meant that I "halfassed" the questions not because I'm "ungrateful" or because I haven't been studying (sadly enough...). I felt pressed for time because I knew I couldn't finish all the sections, so was rushing crazily, which made me use the techniques less and less with each section.

Yes, I am trying to fix the sleeping problems that I've always had.

In any case, I suppose you're right; I should study harder.

jjlaw
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby jjlaw » Sun May 02, 2010 12:18 am

If you are studying for the October test, I think a 170 is possible, but be prepared to kiss most of your summer goodbye, or at least learn how to balance fun with serious studying. Just keep working on the techniques and review, review, review! If you burn through PTs without reviewing, you are just wasting the PTs and your time.

Also, it should come as no surprise that sleep is crucial to proper concentration, so if you can work on the insomnia in any way, you should. I would try to get that in order by at least August. I find that I do a lot worse if I've had too little sleep or been out drinking the night before.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby NoleinNY » Sun May 02, 2010 12:19 am

If given adequate time and dedication, a 15 point jump from your initial diagnostic is plausible. You definitely have the first... The second needs to change. Definitely need to work on fixing that sleep schedule and any other non-LSAT impediments. If your course provides/recommends homework or extra work in addition to the instruction DO IT ALL.

Take a deep breath, and do your best to learn from your mistakes. Analyze each of the questions you get wrong (both your answer and the correct one) thoroughly. If possible, make sure to create a routine out of your training. I believe I saw a quote on another thread along the lines of "treat it as a job."

(Disclaimer- I only got a 165, though that was after testing at an average of around 159 and up from a 140 initial diagnostic.)

am060459
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby am060459 » Sun May 02, 2010 12:19 am

greyblob wrote:
you don't have to work, were handed a free $1300 prep course, and you're half-assing something in your own prep? not to be unreasonably harsh, but i feel like someone should tell you: that's pretty ungrateful. if your goal is 170, you should probably start behaving as though you DESERVE a 170, because my guess is the people who score in the 170s worked a hell of a lot harder than you seem to be.

Furthermore, if insomnia precludes effective LSAT prep, how will it function with law school? i know nothing of the disorder, but it seems to me you should at least correct that before burning through too much prep material.


I meant that I "halfassed" the questions not because I'm "ungrateful" or because I haven't been studying (sadly enough...). I felt pressed for time because I knew I couldn't finish all the sections, so was rushing crazily, which made me use the techniques less and less with each section.

Yes, I am trying to fix the sleeping problems that I've always had.

In any case, I suppose you're right; I should study [strike]harder[/strike] SMARTER.

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MrKappus
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby MrKappus » Sun May 02, 2010 12:20 am

Trite thought it may be, it's really more about studying "smarter" than studying harder. The 2 reasons so few crack 170 on the LSAT (including me, sadly) are: (1) not many people can do it naturally, and (2) the methods for improving are both time-consuming and cognitively enervating.

Go through questions you got wrong over and over again until you understand precisely why you chose wrongly, and focus on one question "type" at a time while you do this (e.g., parallel reasoning Q's), and I doubt you won't see improvement.

Then again, a perfectly legit question would be why listen to advice from someone who didn't hit 170+. :)

afa_brandon
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby afa_brandon » Sun May 02, 2010 12:22 am

greyblob wrote:
you don't have to work, were handed a free $1300 prep course, and you're half-assing something in your own prep? not to be unreasonably harsh, but i feel like someone should tell you: that's pretty ungrateful. if your goal is 170, you should probably start behaving as though you DESERVE a 170, because my guess is the people who score in the 170s worked a hell of a lot harder than you seem to be.

Furthermore, if insomnia precludes effective LSAT prep, how will it function with law school? i know nothing of the disorder, but it seems to me you should at least correct that before burning through too much prep material.


I meant that I "halfassed" the questions not because I'm "ungrateful" or because I haven't been studying (sadly enough...). I felt pressed for time because I knew I couldn't finish all the sections, so was rushing crazily, which made me use the techniques less and less with each section.

Yes, I am trying to fix the sleeping problems that I've always had.


Ah i'm sorry, i misunderstood your initial post. that was mostly jealousy speaking on my part :)

greyblob wrote:
In any case, I suppose you're right; I should study harder.


this is true of everyone, i think.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby vanwinkle » Sun May 02, 2010 12:28 am

With a 4-month prep course I went from 157 to 170. I probably could've gained more if I worked even longer or harder on it. The test is very learnable, a big part of it is how dedicated you are. Starting out it's hard, but even 20-point gains are possible and not unheard of.

A big part of the learning process will be learning the method. The more comfortable you get with it the easier it will get. It feels daunting now but you can do it.

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Knock
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby Knock » Sun May 02, 2010 4:39 am

Didn't read the entire thread, but don't worry about taking timed tests yet...just take the sections untimed and learned the concepts first. Once you have a solid gasp of the concepts, question types, techniques and strategies you can start to improve your speed. Don't worry...I went from not even being able to do a single logic game question(no joke) to averaging roughly ~175 on my last 10 PT's. But first...baby steps.

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LawLucy
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby LawLucy » Sun May 09, 2010 6:09 pm

[quote="greyblob"] So on the first test, I received a 153. I've been improving a little (with the exception of Logic Games...), so I was really upset when my second test today went down 6 points.quote]

Take a deep breath. If you are taking the October exam, I agree with another person, kiss your summer goodbye.
It is entirely doable to get a decent score. It is going to require alot of hardwork and dedication. Go out and buy yourself a monthly/day planner. Use it. Note how many hours a day you are studying (this will hold you accountable), use lots of plastic post-it tabs for pages you need to review and get rid of the self-defeating negative nelly on your shoulder.
It is hard to not freak out after an initial low PT when first starting. Use it as a tool to go back and review what you screwed up on. It is the only way to increase your score over time.
Go on to Amazon and purchase past PT exams, get onto Powerscores site and purchase their timer. do whatever you have to do.
Good luck

crossingforHYS
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby crossingforHYS » Sun May 09, 2010 6:33 pm

MrKappus wrote:Trite thought it may be, it's really more about studying "smarter" than studying harder. The 2 reasons so few crack 170 on the LSAT (including me, sadly) are: (1) not many people can do it naturally, and (2) the methods for improving are both time-consuming and cognitively enervating.

Go through questions you got wrong over and over again until you understand precisely why you chose wrongly, and focus on one question "type" at a time while you do this (e.g., parallel reasoning Q's), and I doubt you won't see improvement.

Then again, a perfectly legit question would be why listen to advice from someone who didn't hit 170+. :)

thats an ad hom.

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F458JE
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby F458JE » Sun May 09, 2010 9:11 pm

crossingforHYS wrote:
MrKappus wrote:Then again, a perfectly legit question would be why listen to advice from someone who didn't hit 170+. :)

thats an ad hom.


You might want to look up what an ad hominem is (the above sentence is not an ad hom)... :wink:

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun May 09, 2010 9:33 pm

make sure you get the techniques and concepts down. worry about time management later, you have a lot of months ahead of you. often, when ppl start learning the new strategies, they lose a few points on PTs because applying the strategies takes more of their time...no worries as they will become second nature to you later on.

timed PTs you can focus more on later...just practice, practice, practice on LSAT question types and what you arent understanding. get the basics down first! i wouldnt be too discouraged at this point in time.

srpaik
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby srpaik » Mon May 10, 2010 1:08 am

U just gotta work hard.
I started studying for this test since this March, with my first PT score of 154.
I studied at least 3~5 hours a day, and now I'm scoring 170~175 consistently, and will take the JUNE exam.

I think you can achieve ur goal for sure if you put a lot of effort and take this exam seriously.

Here's what I did.
First two weeks, finished up the Bibles, and did one PT per day. Practice makes perfect.

PS: I'm an Asian, and English isn't my first language. Actually, i suck at english. Still, I managed to raised 20 points up doing PTs.

Work hard, worry later.

dk8
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby dk8 » Mon May 10, 2010 1:14 am

LawLucy wrote:
greyblob wrote: So on the first test, I received a 153. I've been improving a little (with the exception of Logic Games...), so I was really upset when my second test today went down 6 points.quote]

Take a deep breath. If you are taking the October exam, I agree with another person, kiss your summer goodbye.
It is entirely doable to get a decent score. It is going to require alot of hardwork and dedication. Go out and buy yourself a monthly/day planner. Use it. Note how many hours a day you are studying (this will hold you accountable), use lots of plastic post-it tabs for pages you need to review and get rid of the self-defeating negative nelly on your shoulder.
It is hard to not freak out after an initial low PT when first starting. Use it as a tool to go back and review what you screwed up on. It is the only way to increase your score over time.
Go on to Amazon and purchase past PT exams, get onto Powerscores site and purchase their timer. do whatever you have to do.
Good luck


I don't think this is necessarily true. There is alot of time until October. If you take a couple a tests a week and review them thoroughly (the most important part) you can make improvements and still have a life.

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BigA
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby BigA » Mon May 10, 2010 1:27 am

studying for the LSAT is a lot about ups and downs. Take both of them with a grain of salt. I know how you feel. My last PT dropped 10 points right after I thought I had made some huge strides. You can't get hung up on one PT. I feel like the LSAT is a lot about getting lucky on test day and not getting hit by that perfect storm of weaknesses.

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voice of reason
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby voice of reason » Mon May 10, 2010 1:30 am

I would be very curious to learn the SAT (not lsat, sat) percentiles of people whose initial LSAT diagnostics were in the 150s and who then achieved 170+ on the real thing.

There is tons and tons of anecdotal evidence that the LSAT is learnable, but I have never seen any scientific evidence that the expected outcome of studying hard is a 10-15 point improvement. We do know from LSAC data, however, that the average retake results in improvement of only 2-3 points.

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rx3r
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby rx3r » Mon May 10, 2010 1:45 am

Started studying in December '08 for the June '09 test.

155 (Dec diag)----> 174 (actual)

I was also working 50 or so hours a week during this period. I think you can definitely hit the 170s with targeted practice. I found the Powerscore bibles useful.

Also, it's not about studying hard, but about studying smart. At first I couldn't wait to do all kinds of timed practice tests, but I think you really learn from going over your mistakes on these tests in detail. I cut out questions I missed and arranged them by type in a notebook. I got super OCD on the pattern-recognition stuff, and I think that is what will lead to a high score.

jamesieee
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby jamesieee » Mon May 10, 2010 1:51 am

Sounds like you're relying solely or mostly on the PowerScore course to get you the points you want. My biggest advice would be to treat the course as a bonus. It's great if you get something out of it, but don't expect to. Take one of the self-study guides on this forum and stick to it like your life depended on it.

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Osos
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby Osos » Mon May 10, 2010 1:55 am

If the insomnia is a serious problem you should see a doctor. There are medicines that can really help you.

yeff
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Re: Expectations/reality of raising LSAT score

Postby yeff » Mon May 10, 2010 10:29 am

i concur with a lot of the opinions here - I improved about ten points from diagnostic to real score through self study, but started out higher.

I'd say:

1. Figure out your insomnia issue.
2. Work on your motivation / confidence / stress. There is plenty of time. Take the long view and don't stress out too much about bumps in the road.
3. Targeted prep:

Step back from the timed practice and really learn the test - this means self-studying LG types with the LG bible, using your course, and really deconstructing and reviewing everything you do. Don't just learn why you missed a question, figure out why you got questions right and KNOW why the correct answer was the correct answer.

Learn the specific strategies for different question types, so that you start to see the rather limited patterns within the test.

4. Show your gratitude to your parents by surprising them with random acts of kindness/service.
5. Get your other application ducks (LOR, PS, etc) in a row so that you can submit your application as soon as the score comes in.




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