Need advice to break into the high 170s

RTFM
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Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby RTFM » Sat May 08, 2010 10:30 pm

Hey everyone, I could use any advice you have. Since I started taking 5-section practice tests, my scores have consistently been in the 170s, but my scores fluctuate and I have yet to break 175. I would be really happy with a score in the 170s, but I really want to get my practice scores up before test day.

Right now I am taking one practice test a week (because of my work schedule that's all I can do), reviewing each test thoroughly and writing out why I got every question wrong, and then doing a few games almost every day during the week and taking more practice LR and RC sections when I can (and then reviewing those answers in the same way). There isn't a whole lot of consistency between what types of questions I'm getting wrong, but the LR that I am missing are usually the harder questions at the end of a section.
I've thought about getting the Kaplan LSAT Advanced book, but I can't figure out which PTs it includes.

Here's what my PTs look like so far:

Test Scaled Score Raw Score LR LG RC
B 168 84 -4 -10 -3
56 175 94 -1 -0 -5
46 172 92 -4 -2 -2
47 171 91 -3 -2 -4
48 174 96 -4 -0 -1
49 171 91 -7 (-1/-6) -1 -1
51 173 92 -3 -0 -5

Any tips/advice??

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Knock
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby Knock » Sat May 08, 2010 11:26 pm

If you're scoring in the low-mid 170's consistency, then you have a solid grasp of the concepts tested in the LSAT. In order to get into the mid-upper 170's, you need to clean up sloppy mistakes, maintain a proper pace so you never run out of time, and get a little bit of luck (in the form of an accommodating test, or lucky guesses).

The only way to ensure consistency is to take enough PT's under test-day conditions, so you are comfortable and familiar with anything that the LSAT could possibly throw your way.

I wrote a longer post but my laptop ran out of battery on me. Hopefully this helped.

Edit: A couple of tips: Circle questions that you're not sure on, and come back and answer them after you've finished the section. Often times approaching a question with a different mindset will clear up the question for you, and you can solve it quickly.

On difficult questions, or ones that you're not sure about, pare down answer choices to the two best contenders, and then look for reasons to discount one of the answers, and confirm the other.

Also see this great thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=117096

hithere
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby hithere » Sat May 08, 2010 11:38 pm

Practice, practice, practice--that's how you do it, no shortcuts.

yeff
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby yeff » Sun May 09, 2010 12:24 am

not much, besides practice more.

while it isn't perfect, I found that there were helpful tidbits here and there in the kaplan advanced and it was nice to focus on only the tougher questions.

hopefully you won't have to guess, but if you do,

jamesieee
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby jamesieee » Sun May 09, 2010 8:49 am

I had a similar plateau, and that's when I started becoming extremely nit-picky about my prep process - I took pains to simulate the test-taking conditions down to the number of seconds between sections, I monitored my focus level and my thought process throughout all PT's I took, I made sure I never went into any question giving it less than my 100 percent. From where you're at, it's really just about bringing it to the next level of intensity. Prepare for it as if you're an Olympian conditioning for game day. That may sound silly, but that's what it takes - everything you've got.

ze2151
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby ze2151 » Sun May 09, 2010 9:04 am

if you're scoring where you are, then you know that there is no real reason you should miss any questions. when you check your work, i'm sure you find yourself saying "i should have gotten that one" for every wrong answer. so keep practicing. don't leave anything on the table.

it takes a little luck too. imo >170 is the real accomplishment, but anything above that (short of a genius who can repeat 180s ad infinitum) is a crap shoot. good luck!

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TCScrutinizer
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby TCScrutinizer » Sun May 09, 2010 9:56 am

You're doing fine. Repetition, as others have said, is just about all you can do at the top level. It's clear you have the ability; now you just need the reps.

In order to reduce your chance of a test day disaster I'd say you need to practice with distractions. Make sure to keep very strict time; I might even time myself in smaller blocks so that I get used to having review time. Still, there are some things you can never account for. My worst section, the proctor never called five minutes, but instead only called time, which really threw me off.

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Emma.
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby Emma. » Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm

Just doing more practice tests isn't going to help you IMO.. What you need to be doing is very careful review to understand the types of mistakes you make and why you make them. Knockglock's advice about going back after you've finished the test and working untimed on any question you found tricky is a good idea. I would do the entire test timed and then come back and work on every question you circled at the end before you check your answers.

I know you are looking to up your PT score, but TCS' advice about taking at least a few tests under the most realistic conditions you can might help prevent a big test-day drop. I took a couple tests in a local public library that was close to my test center. Basically did everything I could to simulate the real thing. Took the test early in the morning, no breaks other than the break between section 3 and 4, it wasn't exactly noisy but at least there were other people around me constantly.

If you are looking to get into the high 170s one of the easiest things you can do is make sure you clean up your LG section to the point where you are getting -0 every time. LG is like free points, so don't waste them.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby Stringer Bell » Sun May 09, 2010 2:06 pm

If you haven't done the LG Bible yet, going through that is a given. Opinions as to the usefulness of the LR bible are pretty split on this site. I'm in the somewhat useful camp. It's not a game changer like the LG bible, but IMO it can help you shave one to three wrong answers off.

A recurring theme that seems to keep popping up with mid-high 170 folks is that they handicapped themselves in some way during their preparation. There are people like myself that would do PT's after a 9 or 10 hour workday. I've also seen folks say that they have shortened their time per section by a few minutes and other folks say that they have done PT's with 6 sections. Handicapping yourself can be good because it makes the real thing much easier.

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Dead Ringer
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby Dead Ringer » Sun May 09, 2010 2:24 pm

jamesieee wrote:I had a similar plateau, and that's when I started becoming extremely nit-picky about my prep process - I took pains to simulate the test-taking conditions down to the number of seconds between sections, I monitored my focus level and my thought process throughout all PT's I took, I made sure I never went into any question giving it less than my 100 percent. From where you're at, it's really just about bringing it to the next level of intensity. Prepare for it as if you're an Olympian conditioning for game day. That may sound silly, but that's what it takes - everything you've got.


This is great advice and should also be applied once you are in law school. I made the mistake of not doing this first quarter.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sun May 09, 2010 2:31 pm

emrose wrote:Just doing more practice tests isn't going to help you IMO.. What you need to be doing is very careful review to understand the types of mistakes you make and why you make them. Knockglock's advice about going back after you've finished the test and working untimed on any question you found tricky is a good idea. I would do the entire test timed and then come back and work on every question you circled at the end before you check your answers.

I know you are looking to up your PT score, but TCS' advice about taking at least a few tests under the most realistic conditions you can might help prevent a big test-day drop. I took a couple tests in a local public library that was close to my test center. Basically did everything I could to simulate the real thing. Took the test early in the morning, no breaks other than the break between section 3 and 4, it wasn't exactly noisy but at least there were other people around me constantly.

If you are looking to get into the high 170s one of the easiest things you can do is make sure you clean up your LG section to the point where you are getting -0 every time. LG is like free points, so don't waste them.


I was going to give you advice, but this ^ is pretty much everything I would have said. At the expense of belaboring the point, I'll offer my two cents.

LG is completely masterable. Your scores suggest you're almost at that point. Just make sure you work out any kinks and perfect it.

When I was doing LR if I was not 100% confident about my answer I would put a ? in the margin. There is a natural tendency to only review questions you get wrong. If you make note of which questions you aren't positive about, you can go back and review them even if you end up picking TCR. If need be, literally write out why the correct answer is correct and why the wrong answer is wrong. Alternatively you can literally explain this to someone else. When you're making as few mistakes as you are, I think it is worth while to do this. It forces you to keep making improvements and identifying your weaknesses instead of just being satisfied with "pretty damn good".

It's tough to give advice for RC. It's the least "learnable" section. My only advice would be to make sure you're actively engaging the material. Don't just read it, attack it. Make yourself feel invested in the passages. Trick yourself into believing that these are the most important and interesting things you've ever read. (Obviously they're not. Many of them are boring as f*@%, but you can't control that. All you can do it work with what you're given.) When I was doing RC I made the most mistakes if it was the 5th section. I would get tired and read passively instead of actively. On test day I had experimental RC in the beginning and real RC 5th. It took a lot of will power to stay at the top of my game for 35 more minutes. Just keep reminding yourself how badly you want it.

You're in great shape and I think you will do very well. In general, just remember to be confident. The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. The question is "Which one are you?".

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F458JE
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Re: Need advice to break into the high 170s

Postby F458JE » Sun May 09, 2010 11:54 pm

ze2151 wrote:if you're scoring where you are, then you know that there is no real reason you should miss any questions. when you check your work, i'm sure you find yourself saying "i should have gotten that one" for every wrong answer.


I agree completely with your post. With the exception of the occasional odd-ball question, most questions I end up missing seem obvious afterwords. Though it does not make it any easier next time you test. Try to actively think about each answer choice and have a legitimate reason cataloged for eliminating it.




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