How useful are imitation PTs?

TMT90
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How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby TMT90 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:02 pm

I just took an imitation LSAT by sparknotes and scored a 150. My cold diagnostic last week on the June 2007 PT was 157. Is this score even an indication of where I stand in terms of understanding the material or should I disregard this score and the material in this "fake PT" and focus my time and energy on real LSATs?

For the record my best section on the June 2007 PT was RC with a total number of incorrect answers in the single digits and I scored -15 on the RC in this fake LSAT. So yes, big difference.

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jks289
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby jks289 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:10 pm

My experience is that imitations PTs are fine for general practice, but bad to used as timed diagnostics. Something about the language and answer choices of the LSAT is just incredibly hard to recreate accurately. I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.

TMT90
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby TMT90 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:14 pm

jks289 wrote:My experience is that imitations PTs are fine for general practice, but bad to used as timed diagnostics. Something about the language and answer choices of the LSAT is just incredibly hard to recreate accurately. I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.


Should I use the score from the imitation PT to gauge my progress or would this not be too realistic enough when averaged with real PTs?

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jks289
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby jks289 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:16 pm

TMT90 wrote:
jks289 wrote:My experience is that imitations PTs are fine for general practice, but bad to used as timed diagnostics. Something about the language and answer choices of the LSAT is just incredibly hard to recreate accurately. I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.


Should I use the score from the imitation PT to gauge my progress or would this not be too realistic enough when averaged with real PTs?


jks289 wrote: I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.

TMT90
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby TMT90 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:19 pm

jks289 wrote:
TMT90 wrote:
jks289 wrote:My experience is that imitations PTs are fine for general practice, but bad to used as timed diagnostics. Something about the language and answer choices of the LSAT is just incredibly hard to recreate accurately. I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.


Should I use the score from the imitation PT to gauge my progress or would this not be too realistic enough when averaged with real PTs?


jks289 wrote: I would stick to the real tests to gauge your progress.


Sorry I was just making sure. I feel guilty for throwing out a test score, "real" or not. Thanks for the replies.

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BigA
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby BigA » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:40 pm

I'd like to know if people think these could be useful for studying further after you've done every PT... say studying for a retake?

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LSAT Blog
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:15 pm

Depends on which ones. The vast majority out there are not realistic and/or contain typos and flaws.

Many of the others appear to be "modeled" on real LSAT PTs. I've noticed this with LG where a prep company simply changes the topic and variable of the game, but the underlying logic is still fundamentally the same.

That being said, I've found that old GRE exams used to contain LGs that are very similar to some LSAT LG.

Otherwise, you may want to use MCAT or GMAT RC sections. They're easier than LSAT RC, but at least they almost certainly won't contain typos or flaws.

GMAT LR (they call it Critical Reasoning) is a bit similar to LSAT LR. It doesn't have quite the same punch and certainly isn't as difficult.

Basically, I'd recommend going to GRE, MCAT, and GMAT before going to the vast majority of imitation LSAT Qs.

-Steve

TMT90
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby TMT90 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:16 pm

BigA wrote:I'd like to know if people think these could be useful for studying further after you've done every PT... say studying for a retake?


Good question, especially since there are tons of made-up logic games floating around the web. However if they are in any way different than the real games i'd rather not use them if there is a possibility I could get confused by them.

edit: Just read your response and great advice. Never would have thought of that, thanks Steve! Your blog is incredibly useful by the way.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:31 pm

Glad to hear it's helping you!

(Btw, I have written some LG of my own (LinkRemoved) that are extremely similar to the style of real LG but are not copied from them.)

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PLATONiC
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby PLATONiC » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:38 pm

I used to be an ardent advocate of immitation PTs.

Don't used immitation PTs. From my personal experience, there are different types of immitation PTs. Some of the immitation PTs are COMPLETELY different than the actual test; you'll actually end up feeling a little confused when you take real PTs.

There are certain immitation PTs that literally immitate actual practice tests from LSAC; they just switch the subject of an actual LSAT question, but parallel the situation in its exact form (i.e. the logic of the stimulus is exactly the same). I encountered a shit tone of LR questions that I was familiar with just because I went through so many immitation LSATs. Fake LGs actually backfired as well; both Kaplan and Princeton Review fucked me (Kaplan, through their LSAT 180, and Princeton, through their Logic Games Workout), by immitating logic games from actual PTs that I haven't even taken. By the time I took the PTs from which those immitation LGs were derived, my LG score had been tainted, because the parallels between the fake and the actual questions were obvious to me.

Don't use immitation PTs. Just retake older PTs.

tomwatts
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:55 am

PLATONiC wrote:my LG score had been tainted, because the parallels between the fake and the actual questions were obvious to me.

Don't use immitation PTs. Just retake older PTs.

The reasoning in the passage is vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it indicates that the use of already-familiar questions both is and is not useful practice.

I just had a flash of PT 12, Section 1, Question 24!

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PLATONiC
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby PLATONiC » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:33 am

tomwatts wrote:
PLATONiC wrote:my LG score had been tainted, because the parallels between the fake and the actual questions were obvious to me.

Don't use immitation PTs. Just retake older PTs.

The reasoning in the passage is vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it indicates that the use of already-familiar questions both is and is not useful practice.

I just had a flash of PT 12, Section 1, Question 24!


Tomwatts' counter to PLATONiC's claim is vulnterable to criticism on grounds that it overlooks

the possibility that an individual preparing for the exam can include in his studies unofficial preptests derived from actual preptests that he has yet to have taken, and thereby yielding numerous chances of generating inauthentic preptest scores, for it is very likely that the individual will remember an identical stimulus/answer pattern that will allow him to identify the answer immediately.

TMT90
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby TMT90 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:57 am

PLATONiC wrote:I used to be an ardent advocate of immitation PTs.

Don't used immitation PTs. From my personal experience, there are different types of immitation PTs. Some of the immitation PTs are COMPLETELY different than the actual test; you'll actually end up feeling a little confused when you take real PTs.

There are certain immitation PTs that literally immitate actual practice tests from LSAC; they just switch the subject of an actual LSAT question, but parallel the situation in its exact form (i.e. the logic of the stimulus is exactly the same). I encountered a shit tone of LR questions that I was familiar with just because I went through so many immitation LSATs. Fake LGs actually backfired as well; both Kaplan and Princeton Review fucked me (Kaplan, through their LSAT 180, and Princeton, through their Logic Games Workout), by immitating logic games from actual PTs that I haven't even taken. By the time I took the PTs from which those immitation LGs were derived, my LG score had been tainted, because the parallels between the fake and the actual questions were obvious to me.

Don't use immitation PTs. Just retake older PTs.


I think you're right. Going back through the imitation PT from sparknotes I noted a few questions that i'd never seen in a real LSAT question before, although it did sound "LSAT-y." The drop in my score from real PT score of 157 (diagnostic) to fake PT score of 150 makes absolutely no sense to me because I took the imitation PT after about a week of prep, so if anything the score should have improved and not drop as significantly as it did - unless of course the questions were flawed. Both were untimed.

d34d9823
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:01 am

BigA wrote:I'd like to know if people think these could be useful for studying further after you've done every PT... say studying for a retake?

There's like 40 real PTs. My intuition is that taking more than 40 is not likely to be much more helpful than taking 40. I mean, diminishing returns kick in at some point (I would guess around 15-20).

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BigA
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Re: How useful are imitation PTs?

Postby BigA » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:23 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
BigA wrote:I'd like to know if people think these could be useful for studying further after you've done every PT... say studying for a retake?

There's like 40 real PTs. My intuition is that taking more than 40 is not likely to be much more helpful than taking 40. I mean, diminishing returns kick in at some point (I would guess around 15-20).


Heh. You think there's only 40? Try 60. I've done all but some of the earliest. I still feel like I could make gains in every section with continued practice. Diminishing returns? Yes, but it's still returns. I wish there were like another 20 at least that I could do before an October retake.

And Platonic, I think Tom Watts's point at issue was when you said that retaking old PTs would be better than using imitation. Because in this case imitations wouldn't be tainting the original PTs. So is there any other reason not to use imitation? I'm not trying to pin you down here. But in about a week I'll probably be making a game plan for October.

edit: I just re-read your post and see your other reason is that some imitations are so different from the LSAT as to actually be confusing. Gotcha. Any good ones you'd recommend then?

Thanks everyone for the helpful responses.




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