LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

ConsideringLawSchool
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LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Sat May 08, 2010 2:39 pm

Hi everyone--

I used this board a lot when I was studying for the LSAT, and I definitely would not have done very well without all the advice and tips from folks on here (thanks to everyone who patiently addressed all the individual questions I posted). I was fortunate to get a 177 on my first attempt. I do not claim that the advice below is original, but I have tried to collect the strategies that helped me the most as a way to give back for all the help I received :-)

I think that this approach may be particularly helpful to the following folks:
  • People who score 160+ with limited prep and are trying to get 175+
  • People who are very busy with work/school/life and have limited study time
  • People who have a limited budget to spend on prep

Below are the materials that I would recommend using:

The total cost here, assuming that you have access to free printing on a campus, at a workplace, or elsewhere is $250.

I also recommend taking advantage of the following free resources:

General advice for taking practice tests:
  • Go to a location other than your home that is fairly similar to (or a bit more hectic than) a test center. I alternated between the reading room at the local public library and the tables at a busy urban train station.
  • Set a countdown timer with a low beep for each section (if you have a smartphone, you probably have one built in). Put this timer out of view (just upside down on your desk is fine). You won't be able to see the proctor's timer during the real thing.
  • For your reference during the test, use the same large-faced watch that you will use during the real thing. Set it to 11:25 before each section. Use your watch as a guide the way you will during the real thing, but time is up when your out-of-sight timer beeps.
  • Always use a bubble sheet.
  • Mark any question where you don't feel 90+% confident. These marks will be useful in reviewing later--and in helping you to learn when your uncertainty suggests you are wrong and when it doesn't.
.
General advice for reviewing PTs:
  • Carefully review each question that you got wrong or that you got right but marked as uncertain. Many people like to write out why each wrong answer was wrong and why the right answer was right. I was a bit too lazy to do this consistently, but I do think that it would be very helpful. Someone on here gave the great advice that the ability to see why wrong answers are wrong is just as helpful as the ability to see why the right answer is right. If you can effectively eliminate 4 wrong answers, you're all set.
    .
  • If you're not completely sure that you understand why the right answer is right and the other 4 are wrong, look for posted explanations on TLS, on the Atlas forum, or on the Wiki. You can always post the question here or on Atlas, and folks are generally very kind in explaining.
    .
  • Use a simple spreadsheet to track how you many you miss on each section on each test. Also keep track of your raw and scaled scores. There are some much more complex tracking spreadsheets that have been shared on here. I personally did not use one, but I imagine they might be very helpful to certain people.
    .
  • Keep track of every single question where you were incorrect or uncertain. I just kept all my PTs together and highlighted in yellow each question that was wrong. You could also clip the questions. Do whatever seems easiest to you to keep track, but you will definitely want to revisit these questions in the future.

Here is the basic study plan that I would recommend. I think that you could follow this plan in as little as 2-3 months, but starting earlier is obviously better:

  • Begin by reading the LG Bible cover to cover, doing all the practice problems. I do not personally think that doing a PT before you begin the LG Bible is particularly helpful. If you want to get a baseline score, go for it. As far as I'm concerned, though, you just risk beginning to get into bad habits with the logic games (and getting frustrated with a low score since you won't know the basic strategies for the games). If there are any questions that you don't understand, come on here to find explanations. Go though each and every game until you can do it in under 8.5 minutes. You may find it helpful to make a photocopy of the games before you begin so you can redo them as many times as needed.

    I personally think the LG Bible is great for all game types other than Pure Sequencing/Relative Ordering and In-and-Out games. For those two game types, I prefer the Atlas strategies. One of their teachers has been kind enough to post their approach in the past. For copyright reasons, I don't want to repost his links, but I'm sure you can find them if you search the forums. Their pure sequencing strategy involves a tree format that I think is much easier than the PS Bible's complex series of arrows and lines. Their in-and-out strategy involves two columns with all the variables that I find much simpler than the PS method.
    .
  • Read through the written portion of SuperPrep. The first 100 pages (as I recall) offer a great analysis of question types and how to approach each section. There are also some practice questions. I really like this resource since it is written by the testmakers and is concise but effective. The reading is dense, but it's worth it, in my opinion.
    .
  • After you have finished the LG bible and the SuperPrep reading material, take a practice test under strictly timed conditions. If you live in a city where Kaplan offers free proctored tests, I'd recommend taking the test there (just being in a room with other test-takers and a proctor with a precise timer is very different from sitting in your living room with your cat on your lap and the chips and salsa nearby). After you review this test, you will know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you ran out of time on sections (other than LG), that's not a huge problem at this point. This score is just a baseline of sorts.
    .
  • Do each PT from SuperPrep under untimed conditions. The goal here is to come to understand each question and answer. This book offers the wonderful resource of explanations written by LSAC. I would read every word of these explanations--whether you get the questions right or wrong. They really helped me to appreciate what sorts of reasoning the testmakers have in mind. Go back and revisit questions as many times as needed until you have them mastered.
    .
  • Depending upon how much time you have to study, your next goal is to master doing hard questions effectively. Ideally, you would have a month to dedicate to this phase of your studying. I would next go through the "Difficult Questions" LR set from CambridgeLSAT (again, this advice is primarily for folks who are doing well on most LR questions and want to get into the mid-to-high 170s) and the Logic Games from PTs 1-39. You may want to incorporate into this stage some RC sections too. I did not, and I somewhat regretted that. There are RC sections by type on CambridgeLSAT, so you may wish to download some sections that tend to be challenging for you.
    .
    • There are 400 questions in the LR "Difficult Questions" set. If you have a busy schedule, you can just do these questions a few at a time when you have down time. I took them with me wherever I went and did them whenever I was sitting on a bus, waiting for a friend, on a boring conference call, or on my lunch break from work. Time doesn't matter for these questions (within reason). All that matters is that you are able to figure out these hardest questions correctly. As with the PTs, mark and set aside any questions that you got wrong.
      .
    • Many people will tell you that the LGs from PTs 1-39 are difficult and funky. They are. Once you can master them, you will not be thrown by any LG that you encounter, even if they do not fit in the PowerScore mold. If you are able to do so, I would do all of these LG sections under timed conditions. Set aside 35 minutes whenever you can to do these sections. I did them primarily on the train to and from work each day (so it took me about 3 weeks to get through all of them). As with the PTs, mark and set aside any games you got wrong or could not complete during the allotted time.
    .
  • You are now ready to tackle full tests under timed conditions. You want to dedicate at least the final month of your prep to this objective.
    • There are many people on here who will tell you that you should do every single preptest (1-59). For those who are already doing well and have busy schedules, I recommend at least doing PTs 39-59. I decided to set aside 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM each weekday for studying during the final week. During 4-5 weeks, do 4-5 preptests each week.
    • Whether you do 4-section or 5-section preptests is up to you. If you do 5-section, add as the extra section a section from PTs 1-39. Generally add whatever type of section is most difficult for you to get the extra practice. If endurance is an issue for you, definitely do 5-section (or even 6). If you don't feel endurance is a concern and you are very busy, you may prefer to stick with 4-section. If you do 4-section, don't take any breaks between the sections (you'll build up endurance--and each PT will only take 2 hrs, 20 minutes).
    • Review each PT right after you finish it as described above.
    .
  • 1-2 weeks before the test, go back and review every question you have marked as problematic since you started studying. Redo these questions until you are getting them right.
    .
  • During the final week, do a couple new PTs. If you're going to be stressed out by the scores, don't score them. (Correct the answer sheet, but don't calculate the score.)
    .
  • Do a few familiar practice questions on your way to the test.
    .
  • Relax, do your best, have a drink!

I hope this advice is helpful. Pick what might be useful, and throw out the rest. Good luck!

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Knock
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Knock » Sat May 08, 2010 3:42 pm

Great post...thank you so much!

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nycsoul87
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby nycsoul87 » Sat May 08, 2010 4:05 pm

I will definitely be incorporating a lot of this into my own prep- thank you!

blackmamba76
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby blackmamba76 » Sat May 08, 2010 4:06 pm

Thanks for the post.

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iwanta170
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby iwanta170 » Sat May 08, 2010 4:41 pm

Awesome post. I'm taking the June 7 test. How often should I take a full (4 sections for me) timed practice test? I've been taking one a day but my friend says I should reduce to every other day so I don't get burned out and on the off day he says to do timed sections, just not a full timed test. Any thoughts on this?

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Sat May 08, 2010 7:58 pm

iwanta170 wrote:Awesome post. I'm taking the June 7 test. How often should I take a full (4 sections for me) timed practice test? I've been taking one a day but my friend says I should reduce to every other day so I don't get burned out and on the off day he says to do timed sections, just not a full timed test. Any thoughts on this?


At this point, I'd recommend making a detailed schedule for what you will do each day between now and the test. By having such a schedule, you'll greatly reduce the "will I be ready?" stress. In making that schedule, consider how many more tests you feel you need to complete before June 7.

Only you can know whether you tend to get burned out / feel burned out with this material. If you feel it's going well, I'd keep doing what you're doing--assuming that you won't run out of material. Perhaps schedule in 1-2 days off per week?

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Knock
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Knock » Sat May 08, 2010 10:06 pm

If you're interested, I'll offer my prep test tracking spreadsheet and a sample PT review to this thread, since I think it is extremely worthwhile and helpful. Let me know! :mrgreen:

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Sun May 09, 2010 4:52 pm

Knockglock wrote:If you're interested, I'll offer my prep test tracking spreadsheet and a sample PT review to this thread, since I think it is extremely worthwhile and helpful. Let me know! :mrgreen:


Sure, absolutely! I hope that we can make this thread a database of great resources for folks aiming for top scores.

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brutus
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby brutus » Sun May 09, 2010 6:16 pm

Great post and simply just nice of you to put this up for others.

Sandro
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Sandro » Sun May 09, 2010 7:39 pm

Knock do you have anywhere where you talk about how you improved your LG? I read one of your posts saying you couldnt even finish an LG section when you started.

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Knock
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Knock » Sun May 09, 2010 8:51 pm

Sample PT Review:
PT #25 Review

Section 1: -0 RC

Section 2: -2 LR

#10: Correct answer was E, I chose D. I circled this question as uncertain when I answered it.

Stimulus: Insects can see ultraviolet light and are known to identify important food sources and mating sites by sensing the characteristic patterns of ultraviolet light that these things reflect. Insects are also attracted to Glomosus spiderwebs, which reflect ultraviolet light. Thus, insects are probably attracted to these webs because of the specific patterns of ultraviolet light that these webs reflect.

Question Stem: Which one of the following, if true, most strongly supports the argument?

Incorrect answer:
D: When Drosophila fruit flies were placed before a Glomosus web and a synthetic web of similar pattern that also reflected ultraviolet light and both webs were illuminated with white light containing an ultraviolet component, many of the fruit flies flew to the Glomosus web. This answer is incorrect because, if true, this answer choice tells us that the fruit flies are attracted to the Glomosus web for reasons other than the ultraviolet light. Because both webs reflect ultraviolet light, that variable is held constant, and thus can not be responsible for why the fruit flies are attracted to the Glomosus web.

Correct answer:
E: When Drosophila fruit flies were placed before two Glomosus webs, one illuminated with white light containing an ultraviolet component and one illuminated with a white light without an ultraviolet component, the majority flew to the ultraviolet reflecting web. This is the correct answer because the argument concludes that the insects are probably attracted to these webs because of the ultraviolet light that these webs reflect. Since the webs were the same type, and only the variable of whether ultraviolet light was reflecting off the web, we know that that the ultraviolet light was the reason for why the fruit flies chose one web over another.

#25: Correct answer was D, I chose C.

Stimulus: Jack's aunt gave him her will, asking him to make it public when she died; he promised to do so. After her death, Jack looked at the will; it stipulated that all her money go to her friend George. Jack knew that if he made the will public, George would squander the money, benefiting neither George nor anyone else. Jack also knew that if he did not make the will public, the money would go to his own mother, who would use it to benefit herself and others, harming no one. After reflection, he decided not to make the will public.

Question stem: Which one of the following principles, if valid, would require Jack to act as he did in the situation described?

Incorrect answer:
C: One must choose an alternative that benefits some and harms no one over an alternative that harms some and benefits no one. This answer choice is incorrect because if Jack made the will public, there is no indication that it will harm some, it would just simply not benefit anyone else.

Correct answer:
D: When faced with alternatives it is obligatory to choose whichever one will benefit the greatest number of people. This answer choice is correct, because this principle, if valid, would require Jack to act as he did in this situation.

Section 3: -9 LG

Missed a key inference on game two, causing me to go 0/7, which was the numerical distribution. It either had to be 1-1-2-2 or 1-1-3-1.

#6: Correct answer is C. Because of numerical distribution, K and M can't both speak Russian.

#7: Correct answer was A. Numerical distribution again.

#8: Correct answer was B. Numerical distribution again.

#9: Correct answer was E. This answer comes as a byproduct of knowing about the numerical distribution.

#10: Correct answer was B. ND.

#11: Correct answer was E. Answer comes from the rule that is Klaus is assigned to Xerxes, then Michael speaks French.

#12: Correct answer was E, comes from the above rule.

Section 4: -2 LR

#11: Correct answer was D, I chose E. I also circled this one as uncertain during the test.

Stimulus: Taken together, some 2,000 stocks recommended on a popular television show over the course of the past 12 years by the show's guests, most of whom are successful consultants for multibillion-dollar stock portfolios, performed less successfully than the market as a whole for this 12-year period. So clearly, no one should ever follow any recommendations by these so-called experts.

Question stem: Each of the following, if true, weakens the argument EXCEPT:

Incorrect Answer:
E: The stock portfolios for which the guests were consultants performed better for the past 12-year period than the market as a whole. This answer is incorrect because this does indeed weaken the argument that no one should ever follow any recommendations by these so-called experts, by demonstrating that they are capable of choosing stocks that can perform better than the market as a whole. The correct answer needs to be neutral or strengthen the idea that no one should ever follow any recommendations by these so-called experts.

Correct Answer:
D: Performance of the stocks recommended on a television show was measured independently by a number of analysts, and the results of all the measurements concurred. This answer is correct because it is neutral to the argument that no one should follow any recommendations by these so-called experts.

#23: Correct answer was B, I chose D. I also circled this question as uncertain.

Stimulus: Only computer scientists understand the architecture of personal computers, and only those who understand the architecture of personal computers appreciate the advances in technology made in the last decade. It follows that only those who appreciate these advances are computer scientists.

Question stem: Which one of the following most accurately describes a flaw in the reasoning of the argument?

Premise 1: Only computer scientists understand the architecture of personal computers
(UAPC → CS)
Premise 2: Only those who understand the architecture of personal computers appreciate the advances in technology made in the last decade.
(AAT → UAPC → CS) Here is the flaw, just because they understand the architecture of personal computers (UAPC), and therefore are computer scientists (CS) doesn't mean they appreciate the advances in technology made in the last decade (AAT).

Conclusion: It follows that those who appreciate these advances are computer scientists.
(AAT → CS) FLAWED

Incorrect answer:
D: The premises of the argument are stated in such a way that they exclude the possibility of drawing any logical conclusion. This answer is incorrect, because you it is possible to draw at least 1 logical conclusion from the premises, such as SOME people who AAT are CS.

Correct answer:
B: The argument ignores the fact that some computer scientists may not appreciate the advances in technology made in the last decade. For reasons stated above.


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pilawpcv
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby pilawpcv » Mon May 10, 2010 6:41 pm

Awesome post. I'm taking the June 7 test. How often should I take a full (4 sections for me) timed practice test? I've been taking one a day but my friend says I should reduce to every other day so I don't get burned out and on the off day he says to do timed sections, just not a full timed test. Any thoughts on this?


Unless you have a compelling reason not to, I fully recommend taking 5 section practice tests. The first time I took the LSAT, the experimental section was logic games. Back to back logic games sections totally drained me and I made a lot of stupid mistakes on the LR parts.

Just my 2 cents.

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Tue May 11, 2010 12:21 pm

pilawpcv wrote:
Awesome post. I'm taking the June 7 test. How often should I take a full (4 sections for me) timed practice test? I've been taking one a day but my friend says I should reduce to every other day so I don't get burned out and on the off day he says to do timed sections, just not a full timed test. Any thoughts on this?


Unless you have a compelling reason not to, I fully recommend taking 5 section practice tests. The first time I took the LSAT, the experimental section was logic games. Back to back logic games sections totally drained me and I made a lot of stupid mistakes on the LR parts.

Just my 2 cents.


I think that's a good point. When you have the time, 5 section is great. If you're doing 4 section, I'd at least play around with tossing in extra back-to-back sections a few times so it doesn't throw you.

op-ti
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby op-ti » Tue May 11, 2010 12:24 pm

Oh wow! Thank you for this :D

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nonpareilpearl
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby nonpareilpearl » Tue May 11, 2010 1:24 pm

This is very helpful! Thanks for writing that all out :D

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TLS1776
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby TLS1776 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:24 pm

Posted this in the "How to Get a 160+" thread.

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Sat May 29, 2010 7:46 pm

TLS1776 wrote:Posted this in the "How to Get a 160+" thread.


Thanks, TLS.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby sgtgrumbles » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:22 pm

Do you have a rough schedule you used? I'm taking the October LSAT, so I have almost exactly four months. Right now I'm a quarter of the way through the LGB and wondering how quickly I should knock the whole book out, practice games included. Two weeks? Three? I scored a 161 on a diagnostic fairly cold, but I'm still skeptical of my chances of self-studying to a 175, which is my rough goal. For this reason I want to self-study for a month and reassess based on my progress after that time. Thus I'd like to know what your schedule looked like. Thanks in advance and thanks for posting this, you described my situation perfectly!

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Anaconda
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Anaconda » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:12 am

sgtgrumbles wrote:Do you have a rough schedule you used? I'm taking the October LSAT, so I have almost exactly four months. Right now I'm a quarter of the way through the LGB and wondering how quickly I should knock the whole book out, practice games included. Two weeks? Three? I scored a 161 on a diagnostic fairly cold, but I'm still skeptical of my chances of self-studying to a 175, which is my rough goal. For this reason I want to self-study for a month and reassess based on my progress after that time. Thus I'd like to know what your schedule looked like. Thanks in advance and thanks for posting this, you described my situation perfectly!



It took me a solid 2 weeks of reading the LGB and doing many linear, advanced linear, and sequencing problems to be able to move onto grouping games. I'm now getting -0/-1 on most of my linear style games, so I'd progress at the pace in which builds up your confidence. I feel like if I moved onto grouping games last week, I would have been overwhelmed and stressed out knowing I still needed major improvement with other game types. I think you're at a good pace if you're improving.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby sgtgrumbles » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:14 am

Anaconda wrote:
sgtgrumbles wrote:Do you have a rough schedule you used? I'm taking the October LSAT, so I have almost exactly four months. Right now I'm a quarter of the way through the LGB and wondering how quickly I should knock the whole book out, practice games included. Two weeks? Three? I scored a 161 on a diagnostic fairly cold, but I'm still skeptical of my chances of self-studying to a 175, which is my rough goal. For this reason I want to self-study for a month and reassess based on my progress after that time. Thus I'd like to know what your schedule looked like. Thanks in advance and thanks for posting this, you described my situation perfectly!



It took me a solid 2 weeks of reading the LGB and doing many linear, advanced linear, and sequencing problems to be able to move onto grouping games. I'm now getting -0/-1 on most of my linear style games, so I'd progress at the pace in which builds up your confidence. I feel like if I moved onto grouping games last week, I would have been overwhelmed and stressed out knowing I still needed major improvement with other game types. I think you're at a good pace if you're improving.


I just finished the Linear Games chapter and am moving on to Advanced Linear Games. Were you supplementing the games in the book with others? If so, from where? Or were you just redoing the ones from the book? I'd like to give myself a little time to let the LGB games I just solved slip from my memory before I take them again to see how well I've internalized the material.

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brickman
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby brickman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:14 am

I think it is more helpful to think about time spent studying in hours. With regard to studying the advanced linear and linear elements, I studied for 30 hours by reading and re reading the chapters and then doing all of the logic games of that type from PT 19-38 and then reviewing them, abstracting them, and annotating them for trends in terms of what rules were being presented, what information was being tested and the prevalence of important modifier language.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby LSAT Blog » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:27 am

sgtgrumbles wrote:I just finished the Linear Games chapter and am moving on to Advanced Linear Games. Were you supplementing the games in the book with others? If so, from where? Or were you just redoing the ones from the book? I'd like to give myself a little time to let the LGB games I just solved slip from my memory before I take them again to see how well I've internalized the material.


I would suggest both redoing the ones from the book at the end of each chapter AND doing more by type. As brickman suggested, you may want to do all the games of a particular type from PrepTests 19-38 for additional practice. This will help you drill, solidify, and apply the skills you learn from working through the LGB.

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Anaconda
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby Anaconda » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:47 am

sgtgrumbles wrote:
I just finished the Linear Games chapter and am moving on to Advanced Linear Games. Were you supplementing the games in the book with others? If so, from where? Or were you just redoing the ones from the book? I'd like to give myself a little time to let the LGB games I just solved slip from my memory before I take them again to see how well I've internalized the material.


Yes, this is the key. The LGB doesn't have enough practice. Go and buy all 3 LSAT preptest books of 10, so you have tons of games and other problems you can use to practice on. And make photocopies of every logic game so can redo them in the future or if you struggle. You could save tests 39-60 for actual practice testing. That's what I'm doing.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby sgtgrumbles » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:59 pm

I would suggest both redoing the ones from the book at the end of each chapter AND doing more by type. As brickman suggested, you may want to do all the games of a particular type from PrepTests 19-38 for additional practice. This will help you drill, solidify, and apply the skills you learn from working through the LGB.[/quote]

Are there any posts or websites that break down PTs by LGB game type, or should I just look at them myself to figure it out? Sorry if this is a basic question that's covered elsewhere, but I couldn't find it in any of the article collections or stickied posts.

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D-ROCCA
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Re: LSAT Study Guide for those Aiming for 170/175+

Postby D-ROCCA » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:09 pm

Bookmarked, great post. Thanks ConsideringLawSchool and Knockglock




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