Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

jason8821
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Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:39 pm

So this is sort of an off topic question for a law school forum, sort of, but a lot of people on here have taken multiple standardized tests such as the GMAT, GRE, and MCAT as well. I know it seems like this question has been discussed Ad Infinitum in some shape or form, but for those who have done really well on the LSAT, did you always read a lot since you were really young, do you believe it's just a matter of pattern recognition over a long period of time, or is it that you actually have better short term recall, or cognitive capabilities than a person who struggles to get into the 150's or is it all of these things?

12262010
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby 12262010 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:40 pm

I'm just a cognitive ninja.

edit: now, with meme.

Image
Last edited by 12262010 on Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:44 pm

booyakasha wrote:I'm just a cognitive ninja.


+1 :lol:

I did read a lot as a kid, which I think gives a quicker reading speed. I've done really well on basically all standardized tests I've taken. Short term recall doesn't really vary too much from person to person, fyi. Working memory, maybe...though that wouldn't really have much to do with the LR section of the LSAT.
Last edited by acrossthelake on Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hax123
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby hax123 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:45 pm

Genes.

lawgod
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby lawgod » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:46 pm

I'm slightly confused by the attitude people seem to have that high LSAT scores are correlated with "good test taking skills", good preparation, good tutoring, etc.
Seems to me that if the adcomms are so concerned with the LSAT, it must have some serious objective measuring capability. If you could circumvent it by taking a good prep course, it would quickly lose its clout.

jason8821
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:49 pm

Haha thanks for chiming in. I never understood why I was not a great standardized test taker. at a young age I could do very large math problems in my head no problem, and had a strong vocabulary, but for some reason I am unable to perform well with standardize tests, I definitely have trouble focusing for any extended period of time. I have also heard some people say that the GRE reading is harder than the LSAT, when the GRE reading for me is a complete joke, the LSAT is quite difficult. Perhaps it has to do with the short passages, and the fact that one only need be able to concentrate on reading for 5 minutes where as on the LSAT it takes 35.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:51 pm

jason8821 wrote:Haha thanks for chiming in. I never understood why I was not a great standardized test taker. at a young age I could do very large math problems in my head no problem, and had a strong vocabulary, but for some reason I am unable to perform well with standardize tests, I definitely have trouble focusing for any extended period of time. I have also heard some people say that the GRE reading is harder than the LSAT, when the GRE reading for me is a complete joke, the LSAT is quite difficult. Perhaps it has to do with the short passages, and the fact that one only need be able to concentrate on reading for 5 minutes where as on the LSAT it takes 35.


Not being able to focus for extended periods of time would do you in. When I want to be focused, I can be for many hours on end.

jason8821
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:52 pm

lawgod wrote:I'm slightly confused by the attitude people seem to have that high LSAT scores are correlated with "good test taking skills", good preparation, good tutoring, etc.
Seems to me that if the adcomms are so concerned with the LSAT, it must have some serious objective measuring capability. If you could circumvent it by taking a good prep course, it would quickly lose its clout.


+1, agreed, and although most will disagree with me I believe the LSAT is possible to beat, and by beating it I mean almost anyone should be able to get a 165+. The LSAT seems designed in a way where (almost) everyone with enough practice should be able to "get it" untimed. Getting it means getting into the mid 170's without the clock. However, the ability to focus under pressure seems to be what will ultimately seperate great test takers from good ones.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:55 pm

jason8821 wrote:
lawgod wrote:I'm slightly confused by the attitude people seem to have that high LSAT scores are correlated with "good test taking skills", good preparation, good tutoring, etc.
Seems to me that if the adcomms are so concerned with the LSAT, it must have some serious objective measuring capability. If you could circumvent it by taking a good prep course, it would quickly lose its clout.


+1, agreed, and although most will disagree with me I believe the LSAT is possible to beat, and by beating it I mean almost anyone should be able to get a 165+. The LSAT seems designed in a way where (almost) everyone with enough practice should be able to "get it" untimed. Getting it means getting into the mid 170's without the clock. However, the ability to focus under pressure seems to be what will ultimately seperate great test takers from good ones.


I doubt this. If it were that possible for everyone, I just doubt that it would be the 90th percentile.

jason8821
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:55 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
jason8821 wrote:Haha thanks for chiming in. I never understood why I was not a great standardized test taker. at a young age I could do very large math problems in my head no problem, and had a strong vocabulary, but for some reason I am unable to perform well with standardize tests, I definitely have trouble focusing for any extended period of time. I have also heard some people say that the GRE reading is harder than the LSAT, when the GRE reading for me is a complete joke, the LSAT is quite difficult. Perhaps it has to do with the short passages, and the fact that one only need be able to concentrate on reading for 5 minutes where as on the LSAT it takes 35.


Not being able to focus for extended periods of time would do you in. When I want to be focused, I can be for many hours on end.


Somehow, there must be a way to augment my own abilities, to what extent I don't know but Imagine forcing myself to focus harder would help. I also notice that certain types of though are more conducive with successful test takers. I would wager that most people who tend to do well on tests like the LSAT are neat, and orderly as this indicates more linear thought, where as the crazy creative, artsy types rarely do as well. Not everyone can be Da Vinci.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:57 pm

jason8821 wrote:
Somehow, there must be a way to augment my own abilities, to what extent I don't know but Imagine forcing myself to focus harder would help. I also notice that certain types of though are more conducive with successful test takers. I would wager that most people who tend to do well on tests like the LSAT are neat, and orderly as this indicates more linear thought, where as the crazy creative, artsy types rarely do as well. Not everyone can be Da Vinci.


My dorm room is a disaster zone. I'm def. not the artsy type and more linear, yes, I'll give you that. That kind of thinking lends itself better to law in general though...

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:58 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
jason8821 wrote:
lawgod wrote:I'm slightly confused by the attitude people seem to have that high LSAT scores are correlated with "good test taking skills", good preparation, good tutoring, etc.
Seems to me that if the adcomms are so concerned with the LSAT, it must have some serious objective measuring capability. If you could circumvent it by taking a good prep course, it would quickly lose its clout.


+1, agreed, and although most will disagree with me I believe the LSAT is possible to beat, and by beating it I mean almost anyone should be able to get a 165+. The LSAT seems designed in a way where (almost) everyone with enough practice should be able to "get it" untimed. Getting it means getting into the mid 170's without the clock. However, the ability to focus under pressure seems to be what will ultimately seperate great test takers from good ones.


I doubt this. If it were that possible for everyone, I just doubt that it would be the 90th percentile.


When I say "everyone" I don't mean "everyone" I should elaborate by saying far less than half of people. I would say the average person taking the LSAT was in some sort of Gifted program, or special schooling when they were younger, or at least was considered "intelligent", so for the sake of discussion everyone who was able to pull a 3.0 at a reasonable school, or at least had the potential to do so without killing themselves.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:59 pm

jason8821 wrote:
When I say "everyone" I don't mean "everyone" I should elaborate by saying far less than half of people. I would say the average person taking the LSAT was in some sort of Gifted program, or special schooling when they were younger, or at least was considered "intelligent", so for the sake of discussion everyone who was able to pull a 3.0 at a reasonable school, or at least had the potential to do so without killing themselves.


I disagree. Why would that be?

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:12 am

It's certainly not something I can prove, it just seems to be the natural order. If at no point in your life did express a greater intellectual capacity than most of those around you, you probably would not be interested in going to law school. For those who did poorly in school, they were probably told that they were "not meeting their potential" otherwise, it is doubtful that they would look toward a career that challenged them in a way that law does. There seems to be only two real indicators that you have the potential for higher learning. Either grades or some sort of indication from peers, teachers, etc. in other words if none of these conditions took place, you probably wouldn't think that you had the "potential" for law school, and people rarely go after something where there is no indication of potential, conversely people can be mislead by a parent, or someone else who has no clue as to what skills are necessary for becoming a lawyer. In reality reading ability is near the top of the list, and many clueless observers think a loquacious person who loves to argue would be a "good attorney"

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:20 am

jason8821 wrote:It's certainly not something I can prove, it just seems to be the natural order. If at no point in your life did express a greater intellectual capacity than most of those around you, you probably would not be interested in going to law school. For those who did poorly in school, they were probably told that they were "not meeting their potential" otherwise, it is doubtful that they would look toward a career that challenged them in a way that law does. There seems to be only two real indicators that you have the potential for higher learning. Either grades or some sort of indication from peers, teachers, etc. in other words if none of these conditions took place, you probably wouldn't think that you had the "potential" for law school, and people rarely go after something where there is no indication of potential, conversely people can be mislead by a parent, or someone else who has no clue as to what skills are necessary for becoming a lawyer. In reality reading ability is near the top of the list, and many clueless observers think a loquacious person who loves to argue would be a "good attorney"


A lot of people think they're better than average. It's a natural psychological effect that everyone is prone to, even when they're not better than average. A lot of people trying to go into the law profession will not succeed (see: hordes of jobless graduates). I agree that most going into law school probably weren't people who grew up being told they sucked at life, but I also highly doubt the majority were in gifted programs at some point. Entrance to a fair number of gifted programs involves standardized testing--for the ones I know the cutoff is usually scoring into the 99th percentile. People I know who did well in those programs as kids went on to 99th percentile every other standardized test they encountered that wasn't a subject knowledge test.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:53 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
jason8821 wrote:It's certainly not something I can prove, it just seems to be the natural order. If at no point in your life did express a greater intellectual capacity than most of those around you, you probably would not be interested in going to law school. For those who did poorly in school, they were probably told that they were "not meeting their potential" otherwise, it is doubtful that they would look toward a career that challenged them in a way that law does. There seems to be only two real indicators that you have the potential for higher learning. Either grades or some sort of indication from peers, teachers, etc. in other words if none of these conditions took place, you probably wouldn't think that you had the "potential" for law school, and people rarely go after something where there is no indication of potential, conversely people can be mislead by a parent, or someone else who has no clue as to what skills are necessary for becoming a lawyer. In reality reading ability is near the top of the list, and many clueless observers think a loquacious person who loves to argue would be a "good attorney"


A lot of people think they're better than average. It's a natural psychological effect that everyone is prone to, even when they're not better than average. A lot of people trying to go into the law profession will not succeed (see: hordes of jobless graduates). I agree that most going into law school probably weren't people who grew up being told they sucked at life, but I also highly doubt the majority were in gifted programs at some point. Entrance to a fair number of gifted programs involves standardized testing--for the ones I know the cutoff is usually scoring into the 99th percentile. People I know who did well in those programs as kids went on to 99th percentile every other standardized test they encountered that wasn't a subject knowledge test.


That would be vastly different from my experience. Depending on the IQ test, the standard cut off has always been (somewhat arbitrarily set) at 130 or 132 for the Stanford Binet. If I remember correctly, the WISC tests are a little lower. As in you may only need to get say a 125. By arbitrarily, I mean that somewhat set the number at the upper 2% of people. I don't know why it's 2% and not 1% or 5%, but this seems to be pretty uniform, or at least I have heard. As far as standardized tests go, I do not believe that IQ is nearly as well correlated as some may think. For instance, I remember shredding problems in Gifted when I was younger, in fact I remember being the person all of the other kids went to watch do 3 or 4 digit multiplication/division problems in their head, when it came to algebra, I can remember trying to do it in my head, failing, and never trying it again. In fact, I was actually pulled out of the gifted program because I never did my homework, and to be honest when I didn't get it once, I just sort of gave up. I was also a fairly strong reader, but stopped reading in high school, traded it for sports and being a jackass with friends. In fact I read one book cover to cover all through high school, homework included! I am not the only example as I also knew others who scored as low as 1000 on the old SAT in the gifted program, sure most scored at least 1300, but it was not even close to a "sure thing", Lastly, the kid who was rumored (school psych blew her cover) to have the highest IQ in the school scored a 150 on the LSAT (w/prep). Admittedly, I went to a shit high school, I just think we view this "standardized test taking skill" with a shitty lens, and there is likely something else to it. Of course for those who naturally score 175 with a month or so of prep, I would prefer to think that I had some sort innate advantage that seperated me or made me special, as it would be much more humbling to think it was a result of my upbringing. If I'm 6'6 and girls love tall guys, I don't want everyone to get a harmless surgery that makes them taller, and If I got a nice set of C or D tits, I don't want girls to get boob jobs. I digress.

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vespertiliovir
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby vespertiliovir » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:01 pm

because you touch yourself at night.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:28 pm

jason8821 wrote:That would be vastly different from my experience. Depending on the IQ test, the standard cut off has always been (somewhat arbitrarily set) at 130 or 132 for the Stanford Binet. If I remember correctly, the WISC tests are a little lower. As in you may only need to get say a 125. By arbitrarily, I mean that somewhat set the number at the upper 2% of people. I don't know why it's 2% and not 1% or 5%, but this seems to be pretty uniform, or at least I have heard. As far as standardized tests go, I do not believe that IQ is nearly as well correlated as some may think. For instance, I remember shredding problems in Gifted when I was younger, in fact I remember being the person all of the other kids went to watch do 3 or 4 digit multiplication/division problems in their head, when it came to algebra, I can remember trying to do it in my head, failing, and never trying it again. In fact, I was actually pulled out of the gifted program because I never did my homework, and to be honest when I didn't get it once, I just sort of gave up. I was also a fairly strong reader, but stopped reading in high school, traded it for sports and being a jackass with friends. In fact I read one book cover to cover all through high school, homework included! I am not the only example as I also knew others who scored as low as 1000 on the old SAT in the gifted program, sure most scored at least 1300, but it was not even close to a "sure thing", Lastly, the kid who was rumored (school psych blew her cover) to have the highest IQ in the school scored a 150 on the LSAT (w/prep). Admittedly, I went to a shit high school, I just think we view this "standardized test taking skill" with a shitty lens, and there is likely something else to it. Of course for those who naturally score 175 with a month or so of prep, I would prefer to think that I had some sort innate advantage that seperated me or made me special, as it would be much more humbling to think it was a result of my upbringing. If I'm 6'6 and girls love tall guys, I don't want everyone to get a harmless surgery that makes them taller, and If I got a nice set of C or D tits, I don't want girls to get boob jobs. I digress.


What are you suggesting causes it then? I haven't seen any research, nor am I sure where one would find it, on this. The psych research world abandoned looking at IQ in the 70s or so and it was a controversial topic at the time. Nobody really wants to touch it anymore. In terms of stumbling across it, I've read about correlations between infant looking time and tested IQs over a decade down the line, as well as some correlation between working memory and IQ, but it's a sticky topic in the research world. Cut-offs for gifted programs vary widely from program to program. Ours was a 144, but I've heard of other places using 130-135 as you say. My situation was a combination of "talent" and "privilege"---we were all rather bright from a young age, and we also received top-notch K-12 educations. 1300+(old-scale, not newscale) on the SATs was a sure thing and everyone I was still in touch with took the exam cold. Only two of us did the LSAT, but had 170+ diagnostic and 170+ actual scores with minimal prep for one and about 1-2 month practice for the other. Is it because we're, as boo put it with an awesome meme, "cognitive ninjas" or because of our great education and privileged upbringing? Dunno, probably both.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:41 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
jason8821 wrote:That would be vastly different from my experience. Depending on the IQ test, the standard cut off has always been (somewhat arbitrarily set) at 130 or 132 for the Stanford Binet. If I remember correctly, the WISC tests are a little lower. As in you may only need to get say a 125. By arbitrarily, I mean that somewhat set the number at the upper 2% of people. I don't know why it's 2% and not 1% or 5%, but this seems to be pretty uniform, or at least I have heard. As far as standardized tests go, I do not believe that IQ is nearly as well correlated as some may think. For instance, I remember shredding problems in Gifted when I was younger, in fact I remember being the person all of the other kids went to watch do 3 or 4 digit multiplication/division problems in their head, when it came to algebra, I can remember trying to do it in my head, failing, and never trying it again. In fact, I was actually pulled out of the gifted program because I never did my homework, and to be honest when I didn't get it once, I just sort of gave up. I was also a fairly strong reader, but stopped reading in high school, traded it for sports and being a jackass with friends. In fact I read one book cover to cover all through high school, homework included! I am not the only example as I also knew others who scored as low as 1000 on the old SAT in the gifted program, sure most scored at least 1300, but it was not even close to a "sure thing", Lastly, the kid who was rumored (school psych blew her cover) to have the highest IQ in the school scored a 150 on the LSAT (w/prep). Admittedly, I went to a shit high school, I just think we view this "standardized test taking skill" with a shitty lens, and there is likely something else to it. Of course for those who naturally score 175 with a month or so of prep, I would prefer to think that I had some sort innate advantage that seperated me or made me special, as it would be much more humbling to think it was a result of my upbringing. If I'm 6'6 and girls love tall guys, I don't want everyone to get a harmless surgery that makes them taller, and If I got a nice set of C or D tits, I don't want girls to get boob jobs. I digress.


What are you suggesting causes it then? I haven't seen any research, nor am I sure where one would find it, on this. The psych research world abandoned looking at IQ in the 70s or so and it was a controversial topic at the time. Nobody really wants to touch it anymore. In terms of stumbling across it, I've read about correlations between infant looking time and tested IQs over a decade down the line, as well as some correlation between working memory and IQ, but it's a sticky topic in the research world. Cut-offs for gifted programs vary widely from program to program. Ours was a 144, but I've heard of other places using 130-135 as you say. My situation was a combination of "talent" and "privilege"---we were all rather bright from a young age, and we also received top-notch K-12 educations. 1300+(old-scale, not newscale) on the SATs was a sure thing and everyone I was still in touch with took the exam cold. Only two of us did the LSAT, but had 170+ diagnostic and 170+ actual scores with minimal prep for one and about 1-2 month practice for the other. Is it because we're, as boo put it with an awesome meme, "cognitive ninjas" or because of our great education and privileged upbringing? Dunno, probably both.


Genetics is probably a huge factor.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:44 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
jason8821 wrote:That would be vastly different from my experience. Depending on the IQ test, the standard cut off has always been (somewhat arbitrarily set) at 130 or 132 for the Stanford Binet. If I remember correctly, the WISC tests are a little lower. As in you may only need to get say a 125. By arbitrarily, I mean that somewhat set the number at the upper 2% of people. I don't know why it's 2% and not 1% or 5%, but this seems to be pretty uniform, or at least I have heard. As far as standardized tests go, I do not believe that IQ is nearly as well correlated as some may think. For instance, I remember shredding problems in Gifted when I was younger, in fact I remember being the person all of the other kids went to watch do 3 or 4 digit multiplication/division problems in their head, when it came to algebra, I can remember trying to do it in my head, failing, and never trying it again. In fact, I was actually pulled out of the gifted program because I never did my homework, and to be honest when I didn't get it once, I just sort of gave up. I was also a fairly strong reader, but stopped reading in high school, traded it for sports and being a jackass with friends. In fact I read one book cover to cover all through high school, homework included! I am not the only example as I also knew others who scored as low as 1000 on the old SAT in the gifted program, sure most scored at least 1300, but it was not even close to a "sure thing", Lastly, the kid who was rumored (school psych blew her cover) to have the highest IQ in the school scored a 150 on the LSAT (w/prep). Admittedly, I went to a shit high school, I just think we view this "standardized test taking skill" with a shitty lens, and there is likely something else to it. Of course for those who naturally score 175 with a month or so of prep, I would prefer to think that I had some sort innate advantage that seperated me or made me special, as it would be much more humbling to think it was a result of my upbringing. If I'm 6'6 and girls love tall guys, I don't want everyone to get a harmless surgery that makes them taller, and If I got a nice set of C or D tits, I don't want girls to get boob jobs. I digress.


What are you suggesting causes it then? I haven't seen any research, nor am I sure where one would find it, on this. The psych research world abandoned looking at IQ in the 70s or so and it was a controversial topic at the time. Nobody really wants to touch it anymore. In terms of stumbling across it, I've read about correlations between infant looking time and tested IQs over a decade down the line, as well as some correlation between working memory and IQ, but it's a sticky topic in the research world. Cut-offs for gifted programs vary widely from program to program. Ours was a 144, but I've heard of other places using 130-135 as you say. My situation was a combination of "talent" and "privilege"---we were all rather bright from a young age, and we also received top-notch K-12 educations. 1300+(old-scale, not newscale) on the SATs was a sure thing and everyone I was still in touch with took the exam cold. Only two of us did the LSAT, but had 170+ diagnostic and 170+ actual scores with minimal prep for one and about 1-2 month practice for the other. Is it because we're, as boo put it with an awesome meme, "cognitive ninjas" or because of our great education and privileged upbringing? Dunno, probably both.


I am not a psychologist, neuroscientist, psychiatrist etc. All I can really state are my own observations, and I am just one person. I find it interesting that you had a cut off at 144. 144 is an extremely high IQ, and even on the more liberal Stanford-Binet, I believe that would be noticeably lower than 1% of people. That said if by "top notch" education you are saying that you went to a private school, than I do agree that the combination of an atmosphere where knowledge is viewed as a virtue, (and being able to chug Milwaukees best is not as big of a concern), and an extremely high IQ would almost guarantee a 1300, the same way that a 130 IQ essentially precludes one from scoring say an 800 no matter. Of course if you are "extremely intelligent" you will master tests such as the SAT with or without a good education, and once you get to a certain level, you may be there, but for those people in the 120's and 130's who still score really high on the lsat, and I believe they are out there, I think there are other defining factors. An example of this is "how much did you read in high school? are you a really detailed note taker? are your parents extremely organized?" again, I'm not a psych guy, just think other things play a role. In your case a diagnostic of 170 almost certainly proves that you have a great deal of aptitude for the test no matter where you went to school, but what would be incredible is to see someone who maybe did not grow up in an area where education was cherished, and maybe didn't read a lot, than the LSAT would be more "Innate" IMO.

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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:03 pm

jason8821 wrote:
I am not a psychologist, neuroscientist, psychiatrist etc. All I can really state are my own observations, and I am just one person. I find it interesting that you had a cut off at 144. 144 is an extremely high IQ, and even on the more liberal Stanford-Binet, I believe that would be noticeably lower than 1% of people. That said if by "top notch" education you are saying that you went to a private school, than I do agree that the combination of an atmosphere where knowledge is viewed as a virtue, (and being able to chug Milwaukees best is not as big of a concern), and an extremely high IQ would almost guarantee a 1300, the same way that a 130 IQ essentially precludes one from scoring say an 800 no matter. Of course if you are "extremely intelligent" you will master tests such as the SAT with or without a good education, and once you get to a certain level, you may be there, but for those people in the 120's and 130's who still score really high on the lsat, and I believe they are out there, I think there are other defining factors. An example of this is "how much did you read in high school? are you a really detailed note taker? are your parents extremely organized?" again, I'm not a psych guy, just think other things play a role. In your case a diagnostic of 170 almost certainly proves that you have a great deal of aptitude for the test no matter where you went to school, but what would be incredible is to see someone who maybe did not grow up in an area where education was cherished, and maybe didn't read a lot, than the LSAT would be more "Innate" IMO.


I mean the LSAT is testing reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical reasoning. These are cognitive skills. You can come to possess a high degree of cognitive skill through both talent and experience. Being "gifted" basically meant that one learned and acquired cognitive skills more easily and quicker. You'd expect that someone bright with a reasonable education will come to the table with those skills developed enough to do well naturally. Being able to do well naturally on the LSAT comes from three roads: 1) Being a natural-born cognitive ninja. 2) Training to become a cognitive ninja through upbringing. 3) Both. The less you have of one, the more you need of the other. The other things you're talking about (did you read a lot as a kid) is path 2.

They defined the cut-off at top 1% and then adjusted what IQ cut-off that would be from year to year, which happened to be 144 my year. The exam was being done on children, which is less accurate the younger they are, so yeah some of the kids who had been admitted at like...age 6/7 didn't necessarily do as well by age 12, while everyone admitted at age 10/11 ended up in the top half by the end of the program(age 13/14). I don't mean a private school education---this was a public school system. However, we're basically kids of computer programmers, doctors, lawyers, successful business people, etc. so combination of bright parents and a well-educated household.
Last edited by acrossthelake on Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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underachiever
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby underachiever » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:04 pm

So many variables its really not even worth getting into.

I just tear up standardized tests, but I am a lazy student (always have been) I never do homework, I barely take notes, I never read (unless I like the subject). But I do have a great memory and I just "get things", even in law school I can pick up ideas quickly and apply them easily. Really its dumb luck to a certain extent as I have non-college educated parents and lived in the worst school district in my state.

However, I know people who SUCK at standardized test and take hours to process ideas but through hard work they have gotten high LSAT scores and now attend T14 law schools. I think they are all better for it

Natural ability only gets you so far. It is work ethic that really matters.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:07 pm

underachiever wrote:So many variables its really not even worth getting into.

I just tear up standardized tests, but I am a lazy student (always have been) I never do homework, I barely take notes, I never read (unless I like the subject). But I do have a great memory and I just "get things", even in law school I can pick up ideas quickly and apply them easily. Really its dumb luck to a certain extent as I have non-college educated parents and lived in the worst school district in my state.

However, I know people who SUCK at standardized test and take hours to process ideas but through hard work they have gotten high LSAT scores and now attend T14 law schools. I think they are all better for it

Natural ability only gets you so far. It is work ethic that really matters.


This.

The really successful people my age I know are, indeed, very very smart, but also match this with working very very hard.

jason8821
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby jason8821 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:27 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
underachiever wrote:So many variables its really not even worth getting into.

I just tear up standardized tests, but I am a lazy student (always have been) I never do homework, I barely take notes, I never read (unless I like the subject). But I do have a great memory and I just "get things", even in law school I can pick up ideas quickly and apply them easily. Really its dumb luck to a certain extent as I have non-college educated parents and lived in the worst school district in my state.

However, I know people who SUCK at standardized test and take hours to process ideas but through hard work they have gotten high LSAT scores and now attend T14 law schools. I think they are all better for it

Natural ability only gets you so far. It is work ethic that really matters.


This.

The really successful people my age I know are, indeed, very very smart, but also match this with working very very hard.


I completely agree. I think that a lot of people think that some people just do extremely well on standardized tests because they are "naturals" but without a doubt many smart people who have graduated with high GPA's from top schools, weren't natural enough, so they had to either bust their ass to get into the 170's or accept a lower score. However, there are select few probably less than 1/1000 lsat takers that just seem to get it all from the very beginning

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are some people really good at standardized testing?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:33 pm

jason8821 wrote:
I completely agree. I think that a lot of people think that some people just do extremely well on standardized tests because they are "naturals" but without a doubt many smart people who have graduated with high GPA's from top schools, weren't natural enough, so they had to either bust their ass to get into the 170's or accept a lower score. However, there are select few probably less than 1/1000 lsat takers that just seem to get it all from the very beginning


Yeah I agree with that. Though who knows how many of them there are.




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