Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

student
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:31 pm

Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

Postby student » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:35 pm

I am just starting to study for the LSAT. Should I read the Powerscore books first and then do practice tests? Or should I do them at the same time?

Also, is the Powerscore Reading Comp. book helpful? If not, how do we improve our score for reading comp?

Thanks!

jwgraves2
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:52 pm

Re: Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

Postby jwgraves2 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:28 pm

One disadvantage of taking ptests before you've trained is that you may score far below your expectations and get into the "if I am scoring 147 can I make it to 170?" panic. Prep Centers have an interest in testing you on day one so they can demonstrate progress in the course, but the independently-prepared student needn't worry about establishing an initial pre-prep value. You have to manage emotions on this exam...don't instill fears of <150 before you have even begun training.

I added several books to the powerscore materials for an adequate self-prep library. Here are a few thoughts on prep:

Do lots of pre-reading. Master the Powerscore LR and LG Bibles and read Walton's "Informal Logic", Gensler's "An Introduction to Logic", and maybe Copi & Cohen "Intro to Logic w/eLogic CD".

For RC, read Economist and NYT articles as quickly as you can for 10 minutes, then set the article out of sight and write down EVERY detail you can remember...this trains you to be an alert reader, which is all you should need for RC. I didn't get anything out of the PS RC Bible.

For Logic Games, find pithypike's post and divide games by group type and do them over-and-over.

For LG, you may eventually reach a plateau with skills based soley on the PS Bible. If you feel you are applying all of the techniques and still taking too much time or missing key inferences, explore other approaches like the Atlas, Conquer the LSAT(3rd Ed), Ace the LSAT books and blogs like zenof180.com and lsatblog. Also, with the money you've saved on prep centers, you might consider getting a tutor to take a look at what you're doing wrong. It is a lot of work, but I have developed "best practices" on the games setups that come from a great variety of sources...despite powerscore's use of the name "Bible", they are far from the last word.

In short, first develop the underying argumentation skills required for the LSAT, then preptest with the discipline of a marathon runner to develop stamina...

Some on this board think that this level of background preparation is unecessary. Perhaps it is, but determined study of argument using the books listed above was the only thing that allowed me to move from 165+ to 175+ on ptests. I still have to ace the real one on October 9, but I am pleased with my progress to date. Seldom am I intimidated by anything I encounter on the ptests.

Sorry for long post (probable threadjack)...just things I've learned in my three months of prep. Best of luck.

LSU Undergrad
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:13 am

Re: Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

Postby LSU Undergrad » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:58 pm

Hmm that's quite a post to follow, but I'll give you a mere simpleton's approach.

I found the PS LG Bible and Examkrackers LR book as good places to start.

Try the LG games on your own first, then read how they approach it. Without having a basic strategy, practicing LG on preptests is pointless. You can probably improve on your own, but there's no real advantage to developing your own approach because the LG Bible concepts are probably stronger.

The reason I preferred starting with Examkrackers LR is because they have 15 question topic specific quizzes. Using something like EK might be taboo by mainstream message board standards, but I think it gives you a good basic overview before getting to the LR Bible. I found the LR Bible more useful in refining my approach than developing it. 500+ pages is a lot of reading, and you are going to want to get some practice in before finishing that. I know the EK ?s are not official LSAT ones for the most part, but they are the best imitations I have come across, not like Barrons. Also, I didn't like that all the LR Bible questions were from real preptests, so you know the answer once you take it and it inflates your score.

As for the Reading Comprehension Bible, I think it's worth a look, but I do not think it's as helpful as the other ones. I like the STAMP approach, but once I get onto real sections, it just doesn't seem practical. I found a cheap used copy on Amazon. No need to brand new one if you can find it cheaper. It might help, but it won't turn on lightbulbs the way the LG bible does.

I've been scoring in the 168-173 range the past few weeks. Not as great as some of the people on here, but then again the people on here are not representative of the general population.

You will find what approach works for you. If some book isn't helping you or seems to confuse you more, I say toss it and look for a new one. There are some people who swear by books other than the LG Bible for logic games.

Hope that made some sense to somebody.

Hedwig
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

Postby Hedwig » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:28 am

I haven't used the RC Bible, so I don't have a solid answer for you on how that helps, but I have managed several -1 sections, down from -4, so I can describe how my improvement occurred.

Early on I vacillated between marking passages up (ev for evidence, circling key names, etc), and not marking them up at all. I have settled for the simplest method of marking - underlining sentences and very occasionally circling a name or name of a theory. I don't actually refer back to my underlining ever. It's more of a tool to slow me down because I read quite quickly. I also don't have a system for WHAT I underline - some things that come up are descriptions/definitions/explanations. If there are two opposing groups, I'll probably underline where it says the main idea of each group is for/against, and maybe circle the names of the groups. I also underline words where the author shows his hand - i.e., "However, the accusations of the politicians are ludicrous because..." and similar. This is mostly to make me pay attention to the words as I'm reading them, not to reference back to.

Other than that, I've also developed a bit more of an instinctual habit of answering questions, especially for questions that ask for main point, tone, attitude, or what the author is doing in the paragraph. Of course, this method can occasionally steer you wrong, and I don't advocate it for detail questions, and I do check back to the text to eliminate answers I don't like, but I mean, you read the passage, go with what you think.

For detail questions I refer back to the passage. There isn't a point (in my opinion) of trying to memorize details while you're reading the passage in case one of those details is questioned. There was the easiest question on an RC section I was doing the other day that asked "Which one of these Aztec symbols does So and So NOT use in her work?" and the answers were something like skeletons, bleeding hearts, serpents, etc etc. I referenced back with the passage and crossed off all the ones I could find, and bingo, serpents. Sometimes it takes a lot more digging than that, but if you've got time, passage checking is essential. If you're lacking on time and don't think you have enough time to reference back, make your best guess, circle the question, and come back to it later if possible.

Above all, go with what works for you. Everyone has a slightly different style as a reader, you know yours best.

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Sh@keNb@ke
Posts: 287
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:54 am

Re: Studying: read books first and then do practice tests?

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:16 am

eit wrote:I haven't used the RC Bible, so I don't have a solid answer for you on how that helps, but I have managed several -1 sections, down from -4, so I can describe how my improvement occurred.

Early on I vacillated between marking passages up (ev for evidence, circling key names, etc), and not marking them up at all. I have settled for the simplest method of marking - underlining sentences and very occasionally circling a name or name of a theory. I don't actually refer back to my underlining ever. It's more of a tool to slow me down because I read quite quickly. I also don't have a system for WHAT I underline - some things that come up are descriptions/definitions/explanations. If there are two opposing groups, I'll probably underline where it says the main idea of each group is for/against, and maybe circle the names of the groups. I also underline words where the author shows his hand - i.e., "However, the accusations of the politicians are ludicrous because..." and similar. This is mostly to make me pay attention to the words as I'm reading them, not to reference back to.

Other than that, I've also developed a bit more of an instinctual habit of answering questions, especially for questions that ask for main point, tone, attitude, or what the author is doing in the paragraph. Of course, this method can occasionally steer you wrong, and I don't advocate it for detail questions, and I do check back to the text to eliminate answers I don't like, but I mean, you read the passage, go with what you think.

For detail questions I refer back to the passage. There isn't a point (in my opinion) of trying to memorize details while you're reading the passage in case one of those details is questioned. There was the easiest question on an RC section I was doing the other day that asked "Which one of these Aztec symbols does So and So NOT use in her work?" and the answers were something like skeletons, bleeding hearts, serpents, etc etc. I referenced back with the passage and crossed off all the ones I could find, and bingo, serpents. Sometimes it takes a lot more digging than that, but if you've got time, passage checking is essential. If you're lacking on time and don't think you have enough time to reference back, make your best guess, circle the question, and come back to it later if possible.

Above all, go with what works for you. Everyone has a slightly different style as a reader, you know yours best.


HAHAHA I remember this RC passage. If I'm not mistaken the answer was bleeding hearts.




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