Obligatory Prep Journal

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Kabuo
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Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:04 am

I'm a longtime lurker who has benefited a lot in the past month from the journals and general community, so I figured I'd contribute some in case it helps anyone. I took the test in June after taking 4 prep tests (161 diagnostic with a yikes 6\24 on games, 170, 170, 171) and thinking that was enough prep. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I got a 165 on the real thing. RC, which had been my strength in my preptests, ended up killing me to the tune of a -6. I was bad at games back then, so I was happy with the -4 on that, but the 5 wrong on LR was a little more than usual and also hurt a lot. Since then, I've been mostly following adjudicator, eit, yzero, and 3link's journals because they've seemed most similar to my situation.

Over the last month and half, I took 15 preptests from the first 10 and last 10 series, with an average of 173. I also read through the LGB, which is the best money I've spent on LSAT prep. My games have gone from my weakness to my only consistent -1 to -0. I'm slowly going through the LRB, but not too intently since my LR is pretty good already and I'm leery of making major changes. For example, I've always read the stem and then stimulus, which LRB strongly advises against. Their biggest reason seems to be that students who do this end up having to read the stem again anyway, which wastes time, but this isn't a problem for me, so I think I'll stick to my own way.

RC has continued to be my Achilles heel, averaging a -3 or so. I recently picked up PT 49-59 from Cambridge, along with their spreadsheet to track my question trends, and will be posting the updates from that whenever I take a new PT.

Free 2007 Test proctored by PR last Sat = 94 raw, 172 (stupid curve). -2 AR, -1 LR, -3 RC. This was my best LR performance in a awhile though. Finished both sections with > 10 mins remaining and got to change 2 questions to the right answer.

PT 50 last Sunday, 94 raw, 175. -3 LR, -3 RC. This was a career high until today.

PT 51 tonight, 95 raw, 177 (career high!) -3 RC, -2 LR. Almost ran out of time on the games on this one, fwiw. Feels good to be going up; I had been stuck between 171-174 for the 9 tests before this.

As far as trends go, through these 3 tests, I'm only getting 78% of my "Most Strongly Supported" questions right, which is easily the most alarming red number. Only 75% of Except questions, but the sample size is pretty small still, so I think I'll hold off drilling those and hit the strongly supported ones before my next test tomorrow, PT52.

Any advice from you people struggling with RC is appreciated. I graduated last December, and I think that being out of school is what's causing the decline in my RC sections. I think I'll start trying to read for an hour or more a day until the test, but I really don't want to go reread the Critique of Pure Reason or something similarly dense. I know Eit said Harry Potter might be why she's good at RC, but I'm afraid she was joking. Which is a major bummer because I'd love an excuse to revisit my childhood without thinking it was detracting from my LSAT prep.

Until tomorrow fellow LSAT preppers.

Hedwig
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Hedwig » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:10 am

Lol, well, I don't entirely attribute my success in RC to Harry Potter. However, I DO think the amount I read/have read since I was little has something to do with it. And I've been reading Harry Potter since I was nine years old :).

I just don't think you necessarily have to read a bunch of difficult books or articles in order to improve your reading comprehension. So go for the Harry Potter!!

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:22 am

Haha, I started when I was 11 and read and reread up til book 6 an embarrassing number of times. To be fair, I was living in London with my dad for 2 years of that and it just seemed that much cooler because of it. 6 and 7 I only read once because I just felt too old to be rereading a Harry Potter book. Anyway, I only needed a slight nudge to do it, I guess, so thanks, Eit! I may not be improving my LSAT score, but I'll be enjoying reading again for a week or so at least.

Hedwig
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Hedwig » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:14 pm

LOL WHAT TOO OLD TO BE READING HARRY POTTER NO SUCH THING. My friends and I were 15 and 17 when we waited in line at midnight to buy the 6th and 7th books.

I really don't think age should prevent you from reading ANYTHING (although picture books might be going a little far). For example, when I was 9, I collected this series called THOROUGHBRED (about horses, little girls like horses), and then when I was older I bought the rest. I own all 72 and I definitely re-read all 72 this summer :).

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:25 pm

Just finished PT 52 and went over it briefly with my study buddy. Went -0 LR, -3 AR, -2 LR, and -1 RC, which equates to a 93 raw and 174 scaled (Thought I had a 94 and 176, but one question was removed from scoring, =\). It was probably somewhat unrealistic to expect to stay at 177 or above after only breaking 175 once, but I was pretty disappointed in myself today.

This is the first games section I haven't aced in 4 PTs, and missing 3 is a big deal. (179 if I had gotten them all) The last sequencing game really screwed me up. I thought I had mapped out all 4 of the conditional possibilities, but I messed up something involving F and H on one of them, which was tested on 2 questions. I knew I had messed it up as soon as I saw a "must be true" that I couldn't find, but I didn't have time to go back and re-do it all, so just eliminated 2 of the answers and picked one that looked likely for the 2 questions it affected. I'll tackle it again tomorrow and print out Cambridge's solution to help go over it if I'm still making the same mistakes. The other question I missed was just a careless mistake; a "could be true" list with B as the correct answer. I got to B and didn't see anything wrong with it, but decided to check the rest anyway and couldn't figure out what was wrong with D. I ended up seeing it right away when I was grading it, but I wasted something like 4 minutes just having it down to B and D and ended up guessing the wrong one after all of that. This certainly didn't help my timing issues when I got to the last game and diagrammed one of the templates wrong.

Also had a yikes -5 on the experimental RC from PT 8 or something, but fortunately came back strong for the scored RC. This is the third comparative reading I've done, with the first 2 being the June 2010 and June 2007 tests, respectively. I'm really not sure how to feel about it yet. I aced it on the June 2007 test, missed 2\5 questions about it on the June 2010 test, and today, the only RC question I missed was in the comparative reading. I understand why the right answer was right; I had misread the way the term had been used in both passages, but I'm really spending a lot of time on these comparative reading passages.

LR is still pretty consistent. I'm somewhat worried that after acing the first LR and speeding through the first 20 in 17 mins on the second LR, I ended up missing 23 and 24 of the last section. I usually go through the whole thing as fast as I can, circling the ~8 or so questions I'm not absolutely positive about to go back to in the 10 mins I have left at the end. Well, I had about 13 questions circled on this one and ended up not getting to double check 23 and 24. I think I will have to just accept that I'll struggle with some LRs more than others and maybe end up missing between 0-3 on the real thing if something throws me out of sync.

And Eit, I was 17 and 19 for 6 and 7 and was also out there at midnight with my sister to pick up our copies. And I am a chronic re-reader, but not of picture books. I'm getting excited about rereading Potter though, because if this next LSAT is 173 or higher and everything goes according to plan, when is the next time I'll get a chance to read ~4000 pages of pleasure reading? In fact, I'll go get started on that now to detox from this 174.

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:02 pm

Just took PT 53 and got my lowest score in weeks, 90 raw, 171 scaled. My study buddy and I did a bit of role reversal for this one. Usually, he is taking the test after being at work all day, and I'm taking it after only being up for 3 hours or so. Unsurprisingly, he scored higher than his average and I scored lower after being awake for 20 hours. I finished LR in the same amount of time as usual and was feeling normal about it, but I ended up missing 7 total LR, which is about 5 more than I average. My RC was -1, which was amazing, because I spent 14 minutes on the last passage and was really uncomfortable with it. Games was -2, which was weird because I finished with 3 minutes left and gave most answers a quick once over. No doubt my mistakes were careless ones.

Anyway, I'm beat, so I'm going to go to bed. I'm spinning this into a positive by saying I won't be this tired on the day of the test (hopefully). I'll go over my specific mistakes in this one later, along with my mistakes in PT 51, my best PT ever that I haven't gone over yet for some reason.

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:17 pm

Tried something new with PT 54 this morning and woke up at 5 am. On the day of the test, my buddy and I will be driving about an hour and a half to get to the test center, so this is about when we'd be waking up. Realistically, I won't be taking the test til 830, but whatever; 6 am will have to do for now.

Breakdown goes like this: RC Exp -2, RC -4, LR1 -0, LG -0, LR2 -1. -5 total which equates to a 176.

First section was experimental RC, and it definitely was affecting how I approached it. I noticed the first 2 passages were super easy, so I checked the last 2 and saw no comparative reading. After that, I couldn't take it seriously enough and didn't bother checking my answers when I finished at the 27 minute mark. Not very realistic at all and probably a terrible thing to do, so I'll have to work on that.

2nd section was the real RC and I could tell my mind was wandering. I think I need to get more caffeine in me for these early morning tests. I tried to do this morning all natural because I was feeling wide awake when I woke up, but that feeling had left me by the time I started taking the test. I missed 3 questions on the passage about the cakewalk. You could say that this passage was not a cakewalk for me (har har). It's pretty obnoxious to go 4\7 on one passage, especially considering that if I had gotten 3 more questions right I would have had my first 180. I expect I'll find this section will be full of stupid, fatigue induced mistakes when I go over it later.

LR1 and LR2 both seemed pretty easy to me. I was wide awake by the time I got to these and finished both sections with 10 minutes remaining. I ended up changing one of my answers from incorrect to correct when I went over it, so that's good.

LG struck me as very easy until the last game. I HATE these sequencing games with conditionals. I don't remember seeing many of these in the LG Bible, but I think I'm starting to figure out how to attack them. Fortunately, I had about 15 minutes to work on this last game, so even though I at first missed the MAJOR deductions that almost completely outlined the 2 basic templates, I noticed them after reading Q 21 and had time to fix everything. I think from now on I'll start looking to see if these more recent sequencing games have limited solutions before I attack them.

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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:45 am

Haven't updated this in awhile, mostly because everything LSAT related has just been too depressing to write about, but I guess I could use input now. Took PT 55 and 56 back to back at Kent State, which is where I'll be taking the Oct test. My friend and I left home at 6 am and got there at 730. The building we'll be testing in was closed, and there was construction going on outside it (yikes), so we took our tests in the student center. Fortunately, Kent's student center is a lot quieter than I'm used to, but that didn't do a lot for my scores.

First test I got a 170 on a slightly annoying -9 curve. I missed 4 on LG which is obviously unacceptable and had been the worst I had done in ages. The LR and RC mistakes were pretty fixable and I can live with missing 5 in those sections as long as I ace LG. After going over this, we got lunch and then went back to hit PT 56. This one was grueling, and netted me a 169, my first relapse into the 160s since the real thing in June. The experimental was games, which I aced, but it was followed by real games, which I missed 3 on. Way too many easy points to lose on games again. I'm happy with all my diagrams, and had one careless mistake, but just didn't have time for the last two questions. I hadn't had timing issues in weeks until these two tests. I don't think the games were particularly hard; I think I just have gotten out of the habit of drilling games because I thought I would just keep acing them once I started. Oddly, I finished very strong, going -1 and -1 in LRB and RC (or, as I liked to think of them, sections 9 and 10). My friend averages around a 161, and he tied his career high with a 167 on PT 55, but on this back to back, he dropped to a 156. I couldn't even comprehend how someone could vary by that large of a raw score from test to test (~18 or so). Then, I took PT 57 today and got a 165, which ties my June score and is the lowest I've seen since then.

PT 57 has me freaking out. I knew I was struggling on the first LR, which thankfully turned out to be the experimental, and a -3. The second LR I flew through the first 20, then went scatterbrained apparently, because I missed 5 from 19 on. This was my worst LR section since the real test in June. After this was games, and I was about 1 minute behind when I got to game 3 and saw the mauve dinosaurs. I tried not to let it intimidate me, because on the real thing I won't be recognizing games as infamous, but the temptation to just go to the last game was very strong. I ended up keeping to the order though, and finished this game with 1 mistake at the 29 minute mark. With 6 minutes for the last game, I somehow managed to miss a key deduction or something, because the 3 questions I did answer were wrong, and 1 of the 3 I guessed on was right. I honestly have been too mopey to even go look at what happened so far. -6 on this LG which is even worse than I did in June, and about as bad as I used to PT before the June test. Next LR was -2. Bleh, but better than everything else today, and RC was -4, which I have also yet to go over.

I'm really at a loss here. I think the conventional wisdom is that I have burnout, because people complaining about the 50s being harder typically refer to all the 50s, and the early 50s were some of my highest scores (175-177). The conventional remedy for burnout though, of taking a couple days off, seems super risky with the test a little over a week away. I don't even know if I could keep myself from thinking about it if I did try to take 3 days off. I'm on my lunch break right now, and all I could think about at work was how devastating it would be to get another freaking 165 after averaging a 174 over 20 tests and putting in all that effort. I feel like I've improved so much over where I was in June, but here on PT 57, the most recent test, I'm right where I was then. I have professors waiting to hear that I broke 170 and will be going to a good school, parents who don't understand why I'm freaking out over 1 "outlier," and friends who will probably not be amused that I've been a hermit for 3 months only to tread water. Honestly, my parents assessment of this test as an outlier seems reasonable enough, but now I'm wondering if that's what I really am and I've just convinced myself I can do better based on easy practice tests and a sense of entitlement.

Hedwig
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Hedwig » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:23 am

PT 57 is horrid. For serious. Try not to worry about it. My raw score and scaled score dropped from my average as well.

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:53 pm

Spent the last 3 days after my PT 57 disaster trying to think about anything but the LSAT by playing Civ V and re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A couple observations about both:

I love the Potter series to death, and have noticed on this read-through that in the earlier books magic was a lot more random. Things always seem to happen in unpredictable ways and no one really thinks anything of it. I was just thinking that the argument I just typed seems a bit circular, and that made me wonder if Wittgenstein's thingy about all truth being tautological means that any sound argument is circular in reasoning, just varying by degrees of subtlety. I think it does.

On Civ V: I love the game. I think it's my favorite since Civ 2, and possibly my favorite overall. One thing was bothering me as I tried to not think of the LSAT at all though. Doesn't the fact that building the Pyramids makes workers work 50% faster seem like a classic mistaken reversal of cause and effect? I think workers working 50% harder probably enabled the Pyramids, not the other way around.

Anyway, on to the test. Breakdown was as follows: -3 LR (ew), -3 RC (meh), -1 LR Exp (just my luck), -1 LG (could have easily been -2 or -0, ran out of time on the last 2 and had both down to 2 choices) -2 LR (almost ok). 92 Raw, 171 scaled. I was really hoping for a 177 or something to completely calm me down, but this will have to do. At least it isn't another 165.

I'll post a few quick observations now and come back to this later if I think anything bears mentioning after I've gone over my mistakes. I was much happier with games today. Lately I'd been missing 3 or so on them, which had me really stressing because I need games to be a -0 or -1 on test day to have any shot at 175 or higher. Today I felt really comfortable with how I attacked every game, and even got to the last game with 10 minutes to go before I realized I messed something up on a previous one and had to go back. Ended up only having 7 minutes for the last game which turned out to not quite be enough. RC I felt pretty good about as I was doing. I didn't bomb any passages and missed 1 in 3 of them. I had 4 minutes left over at the end to refine my answers and ended up changing one incorrect to a correct and one correct to an incorrect, which is kind of a bummer. LR still has me a little worried because it used to be a guaranteed -3 or less for both sections. I'm worried that reading the LR bible is messing me up. I had a good system, and I thought the bible was improving it, but the questions I needed the most help on, "most strongly supported," have still been all over the place, while "justify," which I never had a problem with, has suddenly become annoying for me.

All in all, I'm glad I have more evidence to support that last test was an outlier and I didn't become dumber or something. I was really hoping for a 173 on test day to compensate for my terrible 3.2, but I think I can be content with a 171.

*Edited to clarify that this was PT 58*

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Kabuo
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Re: Obligatory Prep Journal

Postby Kabuo » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:05 pm

Just took PT 59 and got my first 180!!!!!! Honestly, this could not have come at a better time (except perhaps on the real thing). I've been freaking out for the last week or so, and really unsure about taking time off due to burnout this close to the test. It seems to have really helped though, and I just can't stop smiling. First section was RC experimental from PT4, ended up missing 3 on this, but as always recognized it as experimental because of no comp reading. Aced the games pretty comfortably, then missed 18 and 23 on the first LR section. I had 18 down to C and D and am still not convinced of why it's D and not C, but I just made a silly mistake on 23. Next LR was a breeze; I finished with 15 mins left and leisurely went over my work without changing anything. The RC I thought was pretty hard. I liked 3 of the passages, but I still felt I may have messed up a few things on the parallel computing passage and the maritime law one. Turns out I didn't though, which is a nice change. Maybe HP is really helping. Or maybe just relaxing has been. Breakdown was -3 RC XP, -0 LG, -2 LRA, -0 LRB, -0 RC. 99 raw, 180 scaled. Hopefully, I am peaking at just the right time.




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