December LSAT Study Diary (formerly October)

ly2010
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby ly2010 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:56 pm

Sh@keNb@ke wrote:I completely know how you feel on those RC sections. I took PT 55 for my testmasters about 3 weeks ago and on the 1st section I was 5/7 I think, then 5/6, then 1/6!!!! This 1/6 came on the horrible "talk story" passage". Then I ultimately had to guess on the last passage because I ran out of time due to the third passage. Talk about tragedy...


TM did not prepare us for the RC at all. The best advice they gave me was to read it like you're geniunely interested in what the author is trying to say.

I am either all in or all out. I get -0 on most passages (80%) and then once in a while I get one that I don't understand at all... :(

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:36 pm

Just took PT 37 - timed.

-RC was so fucking hard, especially the last passage on risk and foreign relations. WTF was that about? I'm guessing I bombed it (-10 to -12) I did good on the first two passages, but I'm pretty sure the last 2 really did me in.

-LR was not too bad but I made it a lot tougher than it needed to be. The first section was hard and I had trouble focusing because I was demoralized about RC (I probably gave myself 5 extra minutes because I simply couldn't even attempt the first problem for the first 5 minutes). I'm guessing I got about a -15 combined on LR, since I guessed on like 3 questions (all justify questions) and several others were complete tossups. The justify questions on this test were ridiculously complex. I also think I messed up some of the easier questions. Yuck.

-The first two logic games were a breeze, finished them in less than 10 minutes. The third game was easy but time-consuming and tedious. I had 12 minutes for the last game, and it was hard! I probably got a -3 or -4 on the games, probably all of them from the last game.

A -25 on this test is a 159, so my prospects of getting a 160 on this one aren't too good. :(

I seem to struggle when RC is first. I need a good LR section to get me into the RC groove. I also tend to do much better on the 2nd LR section since my mind gets into the LR mode. I think I'll consider doing a bunch of warmup passages/questions on the morning of the exam.

Going to redo all 4 section untimed after lunch.

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Gemini
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Gemini » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:31 pm

When you redo RC untimed, I would recommend to reread each entire passage, taking your time. I think this is really useful. I'm only beginning to do this but I feel like it's really helpful.

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:53 pm

My predictions were almost spot on:

RC: -10
LR1: -7
LG: -5
LR2: -5

159 (Raw Score 74)

On my untimed review:

RC: -5
LR1: -3
LG: -0
LR2: -2

170 (Raw Score 91)

My improvements untimed were significant, especially in LG and LR, RC still caused many problems on the last passage on risk and international affairs. I'm proud to see that my fundamentals are [apparently] strong (to paraphrase John McCain). My raw score improved 17 whole points, that's really solid. And most importantly, I totally resisted the urge to grade before I retook the sections untimed (I think grading after each section you retake is a fair compromise).

What upsets me is that on RC the Risk passage wasn't even my worst passage - the second one about Ralph Ellison was (got a -4 on that). When I redid it, I realized I just botched a lot of the questions - they weren't bad at all. I should have gotten a -1 on that one. Uggghhh.

I really think at this point the time factor is absolutely destroying me. I simply can't get into a comfort zone on any of the sections. If I took a PT blind and untimed, I have little doubt I'd hit a 170 or close to it. When I time myself, I tend to make stupid mistakes (several of the questions I missed in LR were gimmes), and whenever I approach a question that requires deep critical thinking or is a little abstract, everything goes to Hell. For LR, when I re-did it untimed, I used a very effective process of elimination strategy that scrutinizes every single answer choice and -5 combined isn't at all a bad result! But when I do the test timed, I'm not employing the same strategy because I'm rushing through it.

This problem is now magnified in RC. So now I am kind of thinking - the last RC passage had 5 questions. Let's say I totally skipped that one. Had I gotten a -4 on the other 3 sections, and guessed on the last (maybe getting one right) I would have had a -8 or -9 depending if one of my guesses were right. I really don't want to resort to this, but if I concede I'll be -5 at best on RC, it might be worth it to focus on 100% accuracy for 3 passages. The danger is that I run into a hard passage with 8 questions and end up with a -16. :(

My LR score wasn't all that bad - I'm more upset about RC and LG. Had I performed up to my potential, I'm guessing I could have gotten a -6 in RC and a -1/-0 in LG, which would have easily put me in the mid 160's.

But instead, I continue to break the mid-160's and am now back in the 150's.

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:04 pm

Gemini Hopeful wrote:When you redo RC untimed, I would recommend to reread each entire passage, taking your time. I think this is really useful. I'm only beginning to do this but I feel like it's really helpful.


I've definitely been doing this, hasn't produced result yet but it seems like it is effective.

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Gemini
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Gemini » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:14 pm

I think the only way to truly improve on timing is to do more timing lol.

Keep going. Review your mistakes and soon you will begin to recognize them.

Time for me is often a big problem on RC. LG it really depends on the games. LR I've recently been able to get like 24-26 problems within 30 minutes.

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Non-Chalant1
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Non-Chalant1 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:39 pm

Hey you want to take 38 timed? And compare?

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:52 pm

Worked the past two days, and touched absolutely zero LSAT material.

My psychological state these past 3 days has been "interesting."

I basically resigned myself to the point where I would give up on the October LSAT and take it in December or June (or next October) and simply apply in the 2011 cycle. This doesn't bother me very much, other than the fact I want it to be on MY terms and not dictated by my score. I've kind of been depressed the past few days thinking about the LSAT and my PT average of 160 (and high score of only 162). I've kicked ass throughout college, and although I've never been a very good standardized test taker, I've mastered every subject in college regardless of whether it's chemistry, history, or an pretty freaking hard advanced logic class (HOW IRONIC). The fact I haven't been able to master the LSAT is making me depressed.

Although I'm not where I want to be, tonight I thought that I'm at a 159-160 now, and I've only taken so far. There's no way I'll be at 160 ten PT's from now if I continue to review my mistakes and review the LRB and do my best to improve RC. My main problem, unlike a month ago is not that I don't grasp the material, but rather I can't put everything together in timed and constrained testing conditions. This really shouldn't be a surprise to me either - whenever I take a test most of the time I use the entire time allotted, even if I finish it super early. I like to go slow and steady when I take tests, which is why the LSAT has me so outside my element. The fact is, I have a fairly good understanding of the material. I have no doubt I'd get a 170 if I could take the test untimed. I just need to work on putting everything together and not freaking out during the test, and improving my concentration.

I'm also going to make some lifestyle changes - I'm going to be eating healthier, go to bed earlier, and start to regularly exercise. I feel that my body is sluggish, and my mind reflects that.

If I'm not where I need to be by October, I'm not taking the October LSAT it's that simple.

I'm seriously considering the possibility of taking the LSAT next June or October. Taking it in December would be way to hectic with finals in the same week, and I need some time to focus on academics (Studying for the LSAT from sept to Dec would be insane). By June/October 2011, I would hopefully have forgotten most of the material and questions, so I could basically start from scratch and have 60 PTs to work with more or less. I regret using up so many PTs for drilling.

Anyways, this is the end of my self-reflection.

---

Tomorrow and Monday will be study days. Going to re-do a few old LG games, do a little LR drilling, read a few chapters in the LRB, read the Superprep section on LR, and most importantly do several RC sections in an attempt to get my mojo back.

I'll take either PT 38 or 39 on Tuesday, and if all's well take the other of the two PTs on Thursday.

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Gemini
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Gemini » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:06 pm

Anaconda wrote:Worked the past two days, and touched absolutely zero LSAT material.

My psychological state these past 3 days has been "interesting."

I basically resigned myself to the point where I would give up on the October LSAT and take it in December or June (or next October) and simply apply in the 2011 cycle. This doesn't bother me very much, other than the fact I want it to be on MY terms and not dictated by my score. I've kind of been depressed the past few days thinking about the LSAT and my PT average of 160 (and high score of only 162). I've kicked ass throughout college, and although I've never been a very good standardized test taker, I've mastered every subject in college regardless of whether it's chemistry, history, or an pretty freaking hard advanced logic class (HOW IRONIC). The fact I haven't been able to master the LSAT is making me depressed.

Although I'm not where I want to be, tonight I thought that I'm at a 159-160 now, and I've only taken so far. There's no way I'll be at 160 ten PT's from now if I continue to review my mistakes and review the LRB and do my best to improve RC. My main problem, unlike a month ago is not that I don't grasp the material, but rather I can't put everything together in timed and constrained testing conditions. This really shouldn't be a surprise to me either - whenever I take a test most of the time I use the entire time allotted, even if I finish it super early. I like to go slow and steady when I take tests, which is why the LSAT has me so outside my element. The fact is, I have a fairly good understanding of the material. I have no doubt I'd get a 170 if I could take the test untimed. I just need to work on putting everything together and not freaking out during the test, and improving my concentration.

I'm also going to make some lifestyle changes - I'm going to be eating healthier, go to bed earlier, and start to regularly exercise. I feel that my body is sluggish, and my mind reflects that.

If I'm not where I need to be by October, I'm not taking the October LSAT it's that simple.

I'm seriously considering the possibility of taking the LSAT next June or October. Taking it in December would be way to hectic with finals in the same week, and I need some time to focus on academics (Studying for the LSAT from sept to Dec would be insane). By June/October 2011, I would hopefully have forgotten most of the material and questions, so I could basically start from scratch and have 60 PTs to work with more or less. I regret using up so many PTs for drilling.

Anyways, this is the end of my self-reflection.

---

Tomorrow and Monday will be study days. Going to re-do a few old LG games, do a little LR drilling, read a few chapters in the LRB, read the Superprep section on LR, and most importantly do several RC sections in an attempt to get my mojo back.

I'll take either PT 38 or 39 on Tuesday, and if all's well take the other of the two PTs on Thursday.


I wish I had the intelligence to make these types of decisions. I took the test twice before and squandered both of them. (158/163). Do what you need to do. If you need a year, take a year. Theoretically, I have been knee deep in LSAT since April 2009. I've taken breaks MONTHS long, but regardless, I've been doing this over a year. I wish I hadn't taken the test the first two times.

I would only tell you to not stop working. Don't tell yourself that you'll have more time so you don't need to study today. Keep going.

And if you don't take it in October, and I get above 170, then I'll make it my personal mission to get you there, too, lol.

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gdane
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby gdane » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:17 pm

Anaconda,

Im glad to see that you did a little introspection. Thats always helpful. However, Im sad and disappointed to hear you talk so negative. I dont see any reason why you would tell yourself that you cant hit a 160+ in your next 10 PT's. Thats ridiculous. Of course you can. If you think it wont happen, then it wont. Be a little more positive. Sure you arent where you thought you'd be, but things take time. I think we all expect things to come easily and quickly. Thats not always the case. Keep working at it and you'll improve. Possibly shift away from the PT every day or every 2 days approach. Its clear that this isnt getting you where you want to be.

Also, where are your expectations? Where do you want to go to school? What do you want to do? One of the biggest problems on TLS is that people put themselves into "do or die" extreme situations. Either you go to a top 14 or dont go to law school at all, either you get a 175 or youre a complete failure, etc, etc, I'm sure youve seen it. We dont need to do this all the time. Of course its great to have high expectations and to always aim high. However, one has to be realistic. I would love to go to Harvard or Yale, but I know that I wont get a 175+ on the LSAT. I know it. This doesnt mean that I cant get a 160 or a 165. Granted those scores wont get me into a "top 14", but I can still get into some pretty damn good schools. What I'm trying to say is dont get sucked into the elitist, "top 14 or youre a failure" mentality that gets thrown around here. There are a lot of really freaking good schools outside the top 14. Im not advocating going to a TTT or TTTT, not at all, I'm simply saying that there are many great options outside of the top 14, contrary to what people on here say.

One last thing, definitely start working out and eating right. I cant stress how important this is. You need to take care of your body. Your brain is a part of your body and if your body isnt in good shape, then neither is your brain. You need your brain to be at its best for this test and eating junk food and not working out isnt going to help. Work out at least 3 times a week for at least an hour. Get your heart racing and your blood pumpingl Not only is it good for you physiologically, its also good for you mentally and emotionally. I feel so good after lifting weights or running on a treadmill. Theres no doubt this can help you during your LSAT prep and the LSAT itself.

Good luck!

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:55 pm

Going to take PT 38 tomorrow. This will occur after my dentist appointment, so at least I have something to look forward to while my teeth are being violently examined. :D

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LLB2JD
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby LLB2JD » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:46 pm

Anaconda wrote:Going to take PT 38 tomorrow. This will occur after my dentist appointment, so at least I have something to look forward to while my teeth are being violently examined. :D


LoL. I guess that is enough motivation to violently attack the PT tomorrow. :lol:

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beachbum
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby beachbum » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:09 am

It sounds like you're nearing burnout. Maybe take it easy for a day or two and get yourself in a better place mentally. Remember, gains can be gradual or sudden. I remember being stuck at a certain score, taking a few days off, and coming back to it and scoring 4+ points higher. The LSAT can be funny sometimes; don't let it get to you.

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:30 am

beachbum wrote:It sounds like you're nearing burnout. Maybe take it easy for a day or two and get yourself in a better place mentally. Remember, gains can be gradual or sudden. I remember being stuck at a certain score, taking a few days off, and coming back to it and scoring 4+ points higher. The LSAT can be funny sometimes; don't let it get to you.


I took Friday and Saturday off, and only did 3 logic games today and read 15 pages of Superprep, so I've basically had 3 straight off-days. This week I go back to school, so I'm sure I'll get another 2-3 days off pretty soon.

I'm very concerned about balancing LSAT prep, school work and my social life (more concerned about the first two since it's only going to last a month). Taking PTs is really time consuming, so I'm going to have to be smart with my time management and not burn out due to too much work.

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:51 pm

PT 38 - thoughts/feelings

Section 1: LR - I felt really confident, didn't think this section was all that difficult though. Time wasn't an issue - helped by the fact there were only 24 questions. This might end up being the LR section I've done best on - I'm feeling a -4.

Section 2: LG - games were also fairly easy. None gave me two much trouble, although I might have made a few stupid mistakes. The last game was definitely the hardest, but I think I might have gotten points off elsewhere. I'd guess I got a -2/-3

Section 3: RC- RC was a DISASTER. I had no strategy and was unable to focus on most of the passages. I had to guess on probably half of the questions. RC went really, really, really, really badly. Spent almost 12 minutes on the first passage (which I probably got a -3 on) and was totally rushed for the next 3. I totally bombed. I'd be lucky to get a -13, I'm guessing I got a -15. I don't know why the fuck i'm getting WORSE with each successive RC.

Section 4: LR - this section was A LOT harder than the first. Lots of tough questions, I totally guessed on 4 or 5. 25 question on this one, and I ran out of time at the end to legitimately attempt a few of the questions I was struggling with. Guessing I got a -8 or -9 on this one :(
---

I started off soooo well, only to get destroyed in the last two sections. This really, really sucks. If I don't improve RC soon, I have little/no shot at a mid 160 score. I need to improve RC. I don't understand how I started off poorly in RC, progressed to the point of a -3 to -5 average, and then regress to consistently getting -10+ on sections. WTF?

If I got a -4, -2, -15, -9 for my section, I'd have a raw score of 70 on this test which would be a 157...

Going to re-do the test shortly and I'll post my timed and untimed scores. Feeling my untimed score will once again be dramatically better. Sigh...

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:44 pm

Wow. My -15 RC prediction was a little off. I got a -6 (21/26) I got the first 13 questions right too! :) Turns out all my "guesses" were fairly educated ones.

I've only graded RC so far, but something tells me this might be my highest score to date, I think this could be the mini-breakthrough I've been working so hard for! :D

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beachbum
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby beachbum » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:53 pm

Anaconda wrote:Wow. My -15 RC prediction was a little off. I got a -6 (21/26) I got the first 13 questions right too! :) Turns out all my "guesses" were fairly educated ones.

I've only graded RC so far, but something tells me this might be my highest score to date, I think this could be the mini-breakthrough I've been working so hard for! :D


Nice job, and congrats on the breakthrough. I guess this just goes to show that if you get hit by a difficult section near the beginning of the test, don't let it drag you down. Strong guesses and forgiving curves could mean a much better score than previously anticipated.

(Also, I'm definitely pullin for you at this point. Keep us updated).

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:10 pm

Well PT 38 results are in:

LR1: -5 - I got three 1 star questions wrong!!! Can't believe it, especially since I felt so confident on this section.
LG: -3 - Not too bad, but I shouldn't have gotten more than -1 on this section - it was pretty darn easy.
RC: -6 - This is a total fluke. Took so many educated guesses, included the last 3 questions which I got all right. This score should really be a -8 to -10, but I'll take it. The third passage was absolutely brutal.
LR2: -5 - did better than I thought. Most of the questions I got wrong were fairly tough, so all in all, not too bad.

Score: 164 (Raw Score: 81)

I'm pretty concerned about RC. It's definitely my weakest section, and it's so inconsistent. The fact that I couldn't even tell how I did on it and felt so uneasy don't feel good. The entire RC section was a total blur, and the third passage in particular was so dense I didn't even understand a lot of the main points and structure. Have to find a way to become consistent at RC, even if it's -5 or -6 - I'd take that score.

Given I made some stupid mistakes on LG and LR1, it probably mitigates the lucky guesswork on RC. 164 is pretty good, but still not where I want to be. I'm praying this score isn't a fluke or outlier. I hope it's an indication that I'm actually improving. Considering I just got a 159 on my last PT, this is a significant improvement. It's crazy to think I was only 3 questions away from a 167 - a score I'd be very happy with.

I think LR is stabilizing somewhat at -5 to -6 a section, and my LG seem to be in the -2 to -5 range depending on how hard they are. I seriously need to improve RC - a -9 or -10 or higher would be devastating and keep me from a score I want.

---

As for the untimed redo, I only did the last 3 sections (too tired to do the 1st LR section).

Got a -5 on RC, -3 on LR2, and -0 on LG, so already 6 raw score points higher. I'll redo LR1 tomorrow. I'm on track for 170+.

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3|ink
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby 3|ink » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:51 pm

Anaconda wrote:Well PT 38 results are in:

LR1: -5 - I got three 1 star questions wrong!!! Can't believe it, especially since I felt so confident on this section.
LG: -3 - Not too bad, but I shouldn't have gotten more than -1 on this section - it was pretty darn easy.
RC: -6 - This is a total fluke. Took so many educated guesses, included the last 3 questions which I got all right. This score should really be a -8 to -10, but I'll take it. The third passage was absolutely brutal.
LR2: -5 - did better than I thought. Most of the questions I got wrong were fairly tough, so all in all, not too bad.

Score: 164 (Raw Score: 81)

I'm pretty concerned about RC. It's definitely my weakest section, and it's so inconsistent. The fact that I couldn't even tell how I did on it and felt so uneasy don't feel good. The entire RC section was a total blur, and the third passage in particular was so dense I didn't even understand a lot of the main points and structure. Have to find a way to become consistent at RC, even if it's -5 or -6 - I'd take that score.

Given I made some stupid mistakes on LG and LR1, it probably mitigates the lucky guesswork on RC. 164 is pretty good, but still not where I want to be. I'm praying this score isn't a fluke or outlier. I hope it's an indication that I'm actually improving. Considering I just got a 159 on my last PT, this is a significant improvement. It's crazy to think I was only 3 questions away from a 167 - a score I'd be very happy with.

I think LR is stabilizing somewhat at -5 to -6 a section, and my LG seem to be in the -2 to -5 range depending on how hard they are. I seriously need to improve RC - a -9 or -10 or higher would be devastating and keep me from a score I want.

---

As for the untimed redo, I only did the last 3 sections (too tired to do the 1st LR section).

Got a -5 on RC, -3 on LR2, and -0 on LG, so already 6 raw score points higher. I'll redo LR1 tomorrow. I'm on track for 170+.


Wow. Great score! That's significantly better than your prediction. Is that a new high?

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:15 pm

3|ink wrote:
Anaconda wrote:Wow. Great score! That's significantly better than your prediction. Is that a new high?


It is. Previous high was a 162, took 5 agonizing PT's to beat that score! Feels good to finally get out of the 159-161 purgatory. A little bizarre I went from a 159 to 164 over the weekend though. Maybe the 3 days of rest were needed.

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yzero1
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby yzero1 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:32 pm

Anaconda wrote:
3|ink wrote:
Anaconda wrote:Wow. Great score! That's significantly better than your prediction. Is that a new high?


It is. Previous high was a 162, took 5 agonizing PT's to beat that score! Feels good to finally get out of the 159-161 purgatory. A little bizarre I went from a 159 to 164 over the weekend though. Maybe the 3 days of rest were needed.


You'll be breaking 165 on your next PT :) congrats!

Hedwig
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Hedwig » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:39 pm

Congrats on the jump!

What's your current technique for RC?

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Anaconda
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby Anaconda » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:49 pm

eit wrote:Congrats on the jump!

What's your current technique for RC?


Ehh there really is no technique. No formal notation system, just read to understand with some underlining and circling. Lately it hasn't been doing too well for me, this -6 was my best RC score in weeks.

Not sure if I should try to limit notation or do more. I think just focusing on key terms and names could be helpful since I seem to miss a lot of them right now. Sometimes I underline way too much. My main problem on PT 38 though seemed to be a general lack of understanding of passage 3, and being very shaky on the confidence of a majority of my answers - can't pinpoint the reason why RC has been so awful for me besides time. Yuck.

pattymac
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby pattymac » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:50 pm

I'm jealous Anaconda :evil: lol. I've been following your progress and I was stuck in the high 150's as well, with a previous high of 161. I had to take a break for a quick vacation out of town and now I'm studying for what should be my last final in UG so the LSAT has been on the back burner for the last three days...this makes me want to get right back at it though. Great job !

pattymac
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Re: October LSAT Study Diary

Postby pattymac » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:53 pm

Oh and ps. I know how you feel about RC. I was always -12, but Ive been pretty steadily around -7 lately. Sometimes I feel like I kill that bastard, other times its like I dont know what happened...worse yet, when I feel well, I suck and when I think I tank, I do okay.

I think the trick to RC is analyzing every single word in each answer. Its really a test of vocabulary. It seems as though when I review, its always one word that makes an answer wrong. I try and agree with every single word in the answer. Try that out!




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