Has anyone tried computerized tests?

jason8821
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Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Sat May 15, 2010 11:40 am

I am taking Knewton's test prep and although I like some aspects of the course, I don't like the fact that PT's are on the computer. My scores seem a bit lower, but I have not taken a paper test in a while. Has anyone else tried this, which tests do you normally perform better on. I don't know that the computerized test hurts LR, but it may hurt RC, and probably hurts logic games.

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Knewton_Jose
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby Knewton_Jose » Mon May 17, 2010 1:59 pm

Hey Jason,

Glad to hear that you're enjoying Knewton's course so far.

The computerized technology of our LSAT course definitely gives us some advantages--for example, allowing us to identify your weaknesses and then create individualized quizzes testing those concepts.

However, we definitely realize that you'll have to take the actual LSAT on paper (oh, the stone ages!), which is why we also provide our LSAT PT's in printable format. (Just click "Print" in the offline practice column for any of the scheduled PrepTests for a paper version.) Hopefully, downloading and printing out a couple of tests will give you a better sense of your score discrepancy, if any, between computer- and paper-based PT's.

Hope this helps! Good luck with the rest of the course and with your test.

Best,
Jose

jason8821
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Mon May 17, 2010 3:06 pm

Jose,

Thank you for the response. I hope there is a score discrepancy that will work in my favor, but I understand that may not be the case, but yeah I know they can be printed off, but then I would not be able to keep track of my stats online for that exam. Also do you feel that taking the 4 section tests with a one minute break online is equally as demanding as a 5 section test (15 minute break between 3 and 4) I do feel the online tests are as accurate as possible for being online, but I am curious as to how/why you came up with idea to do that.

Thanks!

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Knewton_Jose
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby Knewton_Jose » Mon May 17, 2010 5:02 pm

Jason,

After taking the test offline, just go into the system and enter your answers as if you were taking the PrepTest online. This will allow you to track your stats. Inputting your answers in this way should take about the same amount of time as it would to check them manually.

As for the question about the 4-section vs. 5-section test, I understand your concern. But think about it this way: when you're training for a marathon, you don't run 26 miles in the weeks before the race. Instead, you work your way up to somewhere near 26 miles--18, maybe 20--and save the bulk of your endurance for the real thing.

Sure, the 4-section PrepTests won't be quite as grueling or demanding as the actual LSAT--but I can assure you that they'll more than adequately prepare you for test day, without burning you out. Plus, Knewton only uses actual LSATs in our course, and LSAC doesn't release the fifth, experimental section of the previous tests.

Happy to answer any more questions that come up.

Best,
Jose

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LSAT Blog
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby LSAT Blog » Mon May 17, 2010 5:20 pm

Knewton_Jose wrote:Jason,

After taking the test offline, just go into the system and enter your answers as if you were taking the PrepTest online. This will allow you to track your stats. Inputting your answers in this way should take about the same amount of time as it would to check them manually.

As for the question about the 4-section vs. 5-section test, I understand your concern. But think about it this way: when you're training for a marathon, you don't run 26 miles in the weeks before the race. Instead, you work your way up to somewhere near 26 miles--18, maybe 20--and save the bulk of your endurance for the real thing.

Sure, the 4-section PrepTests won't be quite as grueling or demanding as the actual LSAT--but I can assure you that they'll more than adequately prepare you for test day, without burning you out. Plus, Knewton only uses actual LSATs in our course, and LSAC doesn't release the fifth, experimental section of the previous tests.

Happy to answer any more questions that come up.

Best,
Jose


The marathon analogy isn't perfect (although analogies rarely are). However, there's a big-enough difference between training for a marathon and training for the LSAT that it's worth noting.

Two oft-given reasons for not doing 26-mile runs prior to a marathon is that you don't want to experience physical exhaustion or put yourself at risk of injury.

While mental exhaustion is a real and present risk in the form of burnout, you can avoid this by spacing out full-length timed PrepTests (like not doing 2 in one day, and not doing full-lengths 2 days in a row. These can be either 4-section or 5-section exams. I recommend doing a few 4-section exams and several 5-section exams.

There's not much risk of mental injury. (Although I did hear about someone who ended up in a mental institution after doing five PrepTests in one day with no breaks :twisted: )

I don't see any reason you can't just, for example, do PrepTests 46, 47, 48, and 49 as full-length 5-section timed exams. Where do you get the 5th section? Splice in one section from PrepTest 45 into each of 46-49. I recommend something along these lines in my study schedules.

It won't injure you, and there is a big difference between being used to 4 sections vs. 5 sections.

I believe you'd be doing yourself a disservice by only taking 4-section exams prior to Test Day.

Why not do everything you can to get ready? You know there will be 5 sections on Test Day - at least take a few 5-section tests beforehand.

jason8821
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Mon May 17, 2010 6:27 pm

Thanks for the advice (both of you). I will say that the Knewton's exams are 4 back to back sections with a 1 minute break in the middle. Although I have not done a 5 section exam, I think this would sort of mitigate some of the fatigue that one would experience on 3 back to back sections (10-15 minute) back to back sections. It's not as if I am going 3 sections 10 minute break, one section. I am just praying to god someone chimes in with "I took computerized tests, and found that my score was significantly higher on paper." Either way I'll find out the truth after my Lsat Hiatus (I know it's not the best time to take one) next week.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby LSAT Blog » Mon May 17, 2010 6:34 pm

Glad to help.

That does sound like it would mitigate fatigue to some extent.

I still suggest you make things as realistic as possible.

Why not print out 2 exams and make a 5-section exam out of them?

-Steve

jason8821
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Mon May 17, 2010 6:40 pm

Yeah I am definitely going to do that this upcoming monday.

jamesieee
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jamesieee » Mon May 17, 2010 6:54 pm

LSAT Blog wrote:
The marathon analogy isn't perfect (although analogies rarely are). However, there's a big-enough difference between training for a marathon and training for the LSAT that it's worth noting.

Two oft-given reasons for not doing 26-mile runs prior to a marathon is that you don't want to experience physical exhaustion or put yourself at risk of injury.

While mental exhaustion is a real and present risk in the form of burnout, you can avoid this by spacing out full-length timed PrepTests (like not doing 2 in one day, and not doing full-lengths 2 days in a row. These can be either 4-section or 5-section exams. I recommend doing a few 4-section exams and several 5-section exams.

There's not much risk of mental injury. (Although I did hear about someone who ended up in a mental institution after doing five PrepTests in one day with no breaks :twisted: )

I don't see any reason you can't just, for example, do PrepTests 46, 47, 48, and 49 as full-length 5-section timed exams. Where do you get the 5th section? Splice in one section from PrepTest 45 into each of 46-49. I recommend something along these lines in my study schedules.

It won't injure you, and there is a big difference between being used to 4 sections vs. 5 sections.

I believe you'd be doing yourself a disservice by only taking 4-section exams prior to Test Day.

Why not do everything you can to get ready? You know there will be 5 sections on Test Day - at least take a few 5-section tests beforehand.


+1. It's ludicrous to suggest that practicing with four sections is preferable to practicing with five sections. I took 30 five-section PTs before test day and felt like I had built up the stamina to take three PTs back-to-back, but I was still fighting off jitters on the day of. You could have the nerves of steel, but why take the chance? Be as comfortable with real test-taking conditions as you can be. You have enough on your plate without taking on avoidable unfamiliarities.

jason8821
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:42 am

Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Mon May 17, 2010 7:01 pm

jamesieee wrote:
LSAT Blog wrote:
The marathon analogy isn't perfect (although analogies rarely are). However, there's a big-enough difference between training for a marathon and training for the LSAT that it's worth noting.

Two oft-given reasons for not doing 26-mile runs prior to a marathon is that you don't want to experience physical exhaustion or put yourself at risk of injury.

While mental exhaustion is a real and present risk in the form of burnout, you can avoid this by spacing out full-length timed PrepTests (like not doing 2 in one day, and not doing full-lengths 2 days in a row. These can be either 4-section or 5-section exams. I recommend doing a few 4-section exams and several 5-section exams.

There's not much risk of mental injury. (Although I did hear about someone who ended up in a mental institution after doing five PrepTests in one day with no breaks :twisted: )

I don't see any reason you can't just, for example, do PrepTests 46, 47, 48, and 49 as full-length 5-section timed exams. Where do you get the 5th section? Splice in one section from PrepTest 45 into each of 46-49. I recommend something along these lines in my study schedules.

It won't injure you, and there is a big difference between being used to 4 sections vs. 5 sections.

I believe you'd be doing yourself a disservice by only taking 4-section exams prior to Test Day.

Why not do everything you can to get ready? You know there will be 5 sections on Test Day - at least take a few 5-section tests beforehand.


+1. It's ludicrous to suggest that practicing with four sections is preferable to practicing with five sections. I took 30 five-section PTs before test day and felt like I had built up the stamina to take three PTs back-to-back, but I was still fighting off jitters on the day of. You could have the nerves of steel, but why take the chance? Be as comfortable with real test-taking conditions as you can be. You have enough on your plate without taking on avoidable unfamiliarities.


Yeah I agree that it's important to try and simulate the real conditions at least a few times. I like to think that maybe computerized tests build up a little more mental stamina too. It is considerably more difficult (IMO) to memorize a stimulus without being able to underline anything, to have to scroll up and down to find things in RC, and to not be able to easily use previous work in logic games, none the less, I do think LR can be a little easier on a computer screen, but I have no clue why this is.

jamesieee
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jamesieee » Mon May 17, 2010 7:28 pm

jason8821 wrote:
jamesieee wrote:
LSAT Blog wrote:
The marathon analogy isn't perfect (although analogies rarely are). However, there's a big-enough difference between training for a marathon and training for the LSAT that it's worth noting.

Two oft-given reasons for not doing 26-mile runs prior to a marathon is that you don't want to experience physical exhaustion or put yourself at risk of injury.

While mental exhaustion is a real and present risk in the form of burnout, you can avoid this by spacing out full-length timed PrepTests (like not doing 2 in one day, and not doing full-lengths 2 days in a row. These can be either 4-section or 5-section exams. I recommend doing a few 4-section exams and several 5-section exams.

There's not much risk of mental injury. (Although I did hear about someone who ended up in a mental institution after doing five PrepTests in one day with no breaks :twisted: )

I don't see any reason you can't just, for example, do PrepTests 46, 47, 48, and 49 as full-length 5-section timed exams. Where do you get the 5th section? Splice in one section from PrepTest 45 into each of 46-49. I recommend something along these lines in my study schedules.

It won't injure you, and there is a big difference between being used to 4 sections vs. 5 sections.

I believe you'd be doing yourself a disservice by only taking 4-section exams prior to Test Day.

Why not do everything you can to get ready? You know there will be 5 sections on Test Day - at least take a few 5-section tests beforehand.


+1. It's ludicrous to suggest that practicing with four sections is preferable to practicing with five sections. I took 30 five-section PTs before test day and felt like I had built up the stamina to take three PTs back-to-back, but I was still fighting off jitters on the day of. You could have the nerves of steel, but why take the chance? Be as comfortable with real test-taking conditions as you can be. You have enough on your plate without taking on avoidable unfamiliarities.


Yeah I agree that it's important to try and simulate the real conditions at least a few times. I like to think that maybe computerized tests build up a little more mental stamina too. It is considerably more difficult (IMO) to memorize a stimulus without being able to underline anything, to have to scroll up and down to find things in RC, and to not be able to easily use previous work in logic games, none the less, I do think LR can be a little easier on a computer screen, but I have no clue why this is.


IMHO, the whole point of taking PT's is to become familiar with what you're actually going to do on test day. If you're going to be underlining RC, you should be practicing underlining RC. If you're going to be using previous work in logic games, you should be practicing using previous work in logic games. There's not much sense to practice a test that isn't exactly like the LSAT as it's administered - you'll end up spending too much time developing methods that you won't be using anyway and not enough time honing methods that you'll actually be using; if you do worse on PT's because of this extra level of self-imposed difficulty, it could unnecessarily damage your confidence. Practice as if you're doing the real thing, and not just a few times. Do it as much as possible.

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romothesavior
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby romothesavior » Mon May 17, 2010 7:44 pm

You should be practicing as closely to the real thing as you possibly can. Every single question matters. Say the computer/4 section thing causes you to miss a question or two... no big deal right? One LSAT point ain't worth all that much, is it? Well I can tell you that if I had gotten one morequestion right I'd likely be in at a T10 right now, and 2 more questions right and I'd be at a T14 with money. One less question and I would have been shut out of the T14 altogether, and I would have about half the scholarship money I got. One question can make a HUGE difference in your cycle. You should be prepping yourself to get every single question you can.

jason8821
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Re: Has anyone tried computerized tests?

Postby jason8821 » Mon May 17, 2010 9:39 pm

These are all helpful answers, I wish I would have thought about how important this was, and the domino effect of doing things even slightly different from test day (lack of confidence/real precise estimate of my abilities, and just overall shuffling writing answers on paper vs computer etc.) ohh well I still have some time! Thanks.




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