Short preparation time and what to do now

hamiltonwasright
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Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby hamiltonwasright » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:55 am

After lurking for the past two weeks, I figured I'd share my own situation with the TLS community, get some advice, and hopefully make some members feel better about their own respective levels of preparation in the process.

My study experience has been a bit different from a lot of advice shared on this site. I only decided to take the June LSAT near the end of finals, and after recovering from burn out, only got serious last Sat. the 22nd when I popped open the LG Bible (I'd done LR Bible/practice and preliminary assessment before that). I've been hitting a timed PT a day since then, complemented by as much independent LG work as I can find. My scores have been encouraging: 149 to 158 to 163 to 166. Currently (with a rogue 171) I'm up to an honest 167. My goal, however, is low 170s, and I'm just not there yet.

The easy answer to my problem is to take and cancel, setting the "real" test for October. But there's also more to consider.

As of test day, I will have spent these two and a half weeks doing literally nothing but LSAT. It's been a consistent seven to eight hours a day, with pretty extreme focus and basically nothing else on my plate. I know I won't have a comparable circumstance come October, when I'll be juggling classes, extracirriculars, work, and all that fun that seniors are supposed to have. Furthermore, I'll be spending most of my time on an internship the second half of summer. I'm not sure where I'll find the energy to push my PT average higher, and I'm concerned my performance may be similar (or worse!) come October than it is now.

The last piece to consider is that my shortfall is almost 100% LG. My LR has seen steady improvement and is now at about -5, which I'm satisfied with. I've averaged a -2/-3 on RC from the get-go. The big loser is LG, where I'm still pulling between -8 and -10. This is a huge improvement from a week ago, where I was -14 to -16, but it's sure not 170s territory yet. However, I also know that LG is the most "learnable" section, and think I still have time to improve my technique (and/or find that mystical breakthrough moment). Furthermore, if the June LG ends up like some of the more random PT's I've taken, I could end up doing very well regardless.

If you've gotten through this post, what I'm really trying to figure out is:

1) How the hell do I get my LG performance in line with LR/RC? How much is doable between now and the 6th? FYI, I have the LG Bible and Workbook, PT's 10-20 and 30-40, as well as a PowerScore pack of dissected LSAT's from '04.

2) Under what circumstances, if any, should I let this test count?

3) If I defer to October, how do I make more progress? Because I've studied in one gigantic lump, am I liable to lose this preparation if I scale back to one PT every week or two weeks for the second half of summer? And if you took it during the school year and have any advice on how to avoid the day-to-day crush, I'd appreciate that too.

As a final note, my first time checking this site and seeing the MONTHS AND MONTHS (!!!) of prep most folks recommend was pretty frightening. Condensing the LSAT this much has been a hell of an experience. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired of LG dreams...

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MURPH
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby MURPH » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:20 am

Almost every school is interested in your highest LSAT, even the ones that say they take the average or look at all your scores. They only report the highest to USNWR and they care about rankings more than students. There is almost no reason to drop a score if you are praticing in the mid 160s. That is good.

You can improve LG by doing only LG from now until Thursday. Rest Friday. Go at 'em on Saturday.
I found it very helpful to go over LG more than once. Sometimes, after doing a few games more than once, something would just click and I'd get it. Then I could use that clicky thing to get similar games. So restart with the first two or three games that you ever did and do them over. When something clicks in your head and you get it, then do two or three similar game types. There is a list in the back of the LG Bible for similar game types. Play around with variations on a theme.

On test day do the games in this order: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 3rd. I found that the 3rd is usually hardest. (if the 3rd game has 7 or 8 questions then maybe do it earlier) If you come across a game and you have no idea how to make a quick diagram, then cut your losses and move on right away. Test day is no time to think "hold on I'll just take a minute to figure this one out." If you don't recognize the game type just move on and come back to it. Anyone who took last June's mauve dinosoar game knows what a disaster it can be to not have a good diagram but to keep trying anyway.

shoop
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby shoop » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:25 am

MURPH wrote:Anyone who took last June's mauve dinosoar game knows what a disaster it can be to not have a good diagram but to keep trying anyway.


Was there more to a "good diagram" than:

M M R __ __
__ __ S __ __ ?

That was all I ever had for the dino game (plus the rules diagrammed out with the arrows and shit), and I answered all the questions (correctly!) just by knocking off obvious incorrects and testing out the rest of the answer choices.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:35 am

shoop wrote:
MURPH wrote:Anyone who took last June's mauve dinosoar game knows what a disaster it can be to not have a good diagram but to keep trying anyway.


Was there more to a "good diagram" than:

M M R __ __
__ __ S __ __ ?

That was all I ever had for the dino game (plus the rules diagrammed out with the arrows and shit), and I answered all the questions (correctly!) just by knocking off obvious incorrects and testing out the rest of the answer choices.


That's one way to do it. Here's how I approach it.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:19 am

By the way, I concur with Murph's advice for the OP.

Drill, drill, drill LG between now and test day while taking breaks to avoid burnout.

Take the June LSAT, and if LG goes well, consider keeping the score.

If LG doesn't go well, that's probably a sign you should cancel because it'll mean that you probably didn't get your goal score.

You can maintain and improve by going through older exams and reviewing them. Doing anything LSAT will help you maintain what you have. I wouldn't recommend only touching the LSAT once every week or two, though.

I would spend time over the summer working through some kind of LSAT study schedule at a slow and comfortable pace. You should probably do something at least every few days for the most part.

hamiltonwasright
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby hamiltonwasright » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:12 am

Thanks so much for your thoughts! Today, I attacked the LG's with a vengeance and managed my highest LG score ever (-3) on a section that was all Grouping/Linear and Grouping Undefined with a resulting 170. I'll keep on that LG offensive, keep those LR's from slipping away, and maybe even not cancel come Monday. 8)

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romothesavior
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:15 am

Take the LSAT, and re-take if necessary.

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nsideirish
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby nsideirish » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:16 am

LSAT Blog wrote:By the way, I concur with Murph's advice for the OP.

Drill, drill, drill LG between now and test day while taking breaks to avoid burnout.

Take the June LSAT, and if LG goes well, consider keeping the score.

If LG doesn't go well, that's probably a sign you should cancel because it'll mean that you probably didn't get your goal score.

You can maintain and improve by going through older exams and reviewing them. Doing anything LSAT will help you maintain what you have. I wouldn't recommend only touching the LSAT once every week or two, though.

I would spend time over the summer working through some kind of LSAT study schedule at a slow and comfortable pace. You should probably do something at least every few days for the most part.


Ok...I have a question about this. If you take the June test and feel a bit iffy about it, what is the harm in keeping the score? If you plan on taking it again in October..why not keep the June score just in case? Don't most schools only look at your top score?

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Always Credited
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby Always Credited » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:17 am

romothesavior wrote:Take the LSAT, and re-take if necessary.


+1. No need to cancel/absent.

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typ3
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby typ3 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:40 am

I would say with the new trend in reporting, don't cancel and take it. If you're consistently scoring 167-170 and you get that on the actual in June just retake it in October.

Look at it this way. If you take it in October and get a 167-170 (not your goal) then you'll have to retake in December putting you behind the ball in RD admissions.

For my June exam, if I don't meet my target score, I plan on continuing to study but having all my apps ready to go in September for my safety schools. Should I need to retake, I can retake in October putting me in mid-cycle for T-14's. After talking to a few adcoms I'm not worried about retaking. The vast majority have shifted to looking at your top score, but they will consider all your scores.

I asked an adcom member to extrapolate on "considering all your scores", and she noted that if you take the LSAT more than two times your lower scores will likely be counted against you or averaged in. However, if you take it twice and show a huge improvement, they don't think anything of it because the lower score could be due to circumstances / illness / a number of reasons that they don't have time to entertain nor care about. Consequently, they always take the highest score because they assume it is the truest measurement of your ability and it's the only thing that is reported under current policies.

In short, take the June exam. The risk of having to retake in December is worse than the possibility of having a less than ideal score reported (a score that will be disregarded if you score higher in Oct).

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goawaybee
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Re: Short preparation time and what to do now

Postby goawaybee » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:37 am

so much to be gained.

you are scoring solid. I have a feeling if you have made that much progress thus far you will have a solid performance. I would rather apply and get everything in motion. Would feel much better knowing you already have a mid to high 160's an if that proves insufficient for the schools you want to attend. Take your beast studying approach and apply it to the fall exam. blow that out and continue on down your path. 2x seems to be fine across the boards less a small percentage of schools who might frown upon it. But alas we are in reality here, planet earth where so many things are beyond our control. There is always a way to justify a less than stellar performance as long as you are willing to put in the work and do better upon retest.

I say run it, kill it. Do it with confidence, walk out of there with a 170 and call it. dunzo




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