Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

asuusa
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Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby asuusa » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:37 pm

I have a question about a strategy. I've lately been putting in 2-3 hours a night in LSAT Prep. I've been doing this for months. My cold diagnostic (didn't know I was supposed to map out the games, didn't finish LR, etc.) was a 152, but it jumped over a month to around 164.

I've hit a very hard wall at 166- it's actually easy for me to get a 166, and I rarely, if ever, dip below. I've tried throwing brute force at it, learning new strategies, analyzing my mistakes, etc. But I haven't improved a single point over the past two weeks. I don't know what to do, but I planned to just hit it harder until Oct. 9.

I spoke to my dad, who recommended I take a week or even 10 days off. He thinks it will clear my mind and allow me to get past that wall. He says the technique works when he's working on difficult papers (he's in academia), but I don't know if that correlates to the LSAT, or if it's a person by person thing.

Is this a wise course of action? I know a mental break can help in situations, but is the LSAT a use it or lose it thing? I'm really worreied that I'll take 2-3 days off, not clear my head, and end up wasting time I could have been studying.

What do you think?

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Day2Daze
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby Day2Daze » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:45 pm

Well, I just took a forced week off from LSAT because of travelling and its really wiggin me out right now. However, I hadnt planned for it. If your schedule looks like you can afford 2-3 days off then I would definitely try that. I got seriously burned out after my first month of prep because I was doing too much every day (think 5 hrs 7 days a week). I took 4 days off, didnt even read anything (that wasnt online :P) and it really helped.

Burn out is a bitch, mostly because your mind has had it but youre still ready to go a couple more rounds. Take the break now if you have the time, cuz you wont be able to after this...Oct 9th is coming, fast.

JJDancer
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby JJDancer » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:47 pm

Since you are close to exam day, I wouldn't recommend 10 days but taking a few days off is a good idea/can be useful and at least won't hurt.

I think it's truly useful when you stop worrying about LSAT during those days off. So the first day plan an outing with friends (where you won't be thinking "man should i be studying right now??" the next day you can laze around more in the 2-3 hours you normally study and read for pleasure instead or watch a good movie.. just relax. Do this for about 3-4 days and dont take a PT on your first day back. Start with 1 timed LR and LG section together. Don't grade it that night. Grade it your second day back and review. Do an RC section that day and grade it too. Wait 1-2 more days and take a timed PT.

Good luck. Let us know if it helps.

asuusa
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby asuusa » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:36 pm

Thanks, JJ Dancer. I think that's a great idea. I'm not going to lie- it's going to be really hard for me to NOT think about the LSAT. It's all I've been thinking about for a couple of months now. I'm going to try, though.

kpuc
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby kpuc » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:05 pm

What's causing your mistakes? Misreading? Timing?

asuusa
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby asuusa » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:25 pm

I don't struggle with timing at all- I can complete all the sections and devote the time necessary to each question. I'm able to always finish 10 LR questions in 10 minutes and mostly 15 in 15 minutes. I typically miss around 4 per section- one per game and 1-2 per RC passage. The one I'm missing in the game is typically one of the later questions, but never the last. My games weakness is Grouping 3+ groups, non-partition, I'll typically miss more but balance it out with the other games.

On LR, I'm consistently missing Assumption, Must Be True, and Weaken. I know the strategies, I'm just struggling to apply them. I'll also miss one or two based on misreading.

I've worked through the LR Bible, but I'm struggling to put it into practice. The thing that blows me away is my consistency. A 166 seems to be almost second-nature at this point, and I don't quite know how to put into practice the strategies, which is what I think I need to push past it. But it's hard, because I'm getting a lot of those questions right- so again, I'm just hitting a wall.

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longdaysjourney
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby longdaysjourney » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:36 pm

From my experience, burnout doesn't come after 2-3 hours of studying per day. However, I find that two days is enough to recover from burnout if, and only if you completely refrain from studying, thinking about the lsat, thinking about law school, visiting tls, etc. Take a two day break by completely taking a break from the lsat mindset...not just from studying. With less than 30 days until the test a ten day break would be unwise. However, a day or two won't hurt. Also...remember to pace yourself one you start again. You can't afford to take frequent breaks this late in the game...it's crunch time.

asuusa
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby asuusa » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:41 pm

I should clarify- 2-3 hrs a night during the week, which has slowly inched up to 4 some of the time, and then 6-8 on Sat. and Sun. I should also clarify- I'm not planning on a 10 day break (that was just my dad's suggestion), I'm considering a 3-4 day break where I see a movie, play video games and leave the personal statement and LSAT far behind. And then, when I return, work smarter, by applying the Bible strategies, instead of just throwing hours into PTs. I'm just curious if people think it's a wise idea when the test feels like it's right next door, lurking. In other words- did I miss my chance to take a hiatus?

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oshberg28
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby oshberg28 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:43 pm

I took a week and a half off right before I took the LSAT and my actual score jumped 4 points from my average PT scores.

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St.Remy
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby St.Remy » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:58 pm

asuusa wrote:I don't struggle with timing at all- I can complete all the sections and devote the time necessary to each question. I'm able to always finish 10 LR questions in 10 minutes and mostly 15 in 15 minutes. I typically miss around 4 per section- one per game and 1-2 per RC passage. The one I'm missing in the game is typically one of the later questions, but never the last. My games weakness is Grouping 3+ groups, non-partition, I'll typically miss more but balance it out with the other games.

On LR, I'm consistently missing Assumption, Must Be True, and Weaken. I know the strategies, I'm just struggling to apply them. I'll also miss one or two based on misreading.

I've worked through the LR Bible, but I'm struggling to put it into practice. The thing that blows me away is my consistency. A 166 seems to be almost second-nature at this point, and I don't quite know how to put into practice the strategies, which is what I think I need to push past it. But it's hard, because I'm getting a lot of those questions right- so again, I'm just hitting a wall.


Based on this I don't think taking a few days off will solve your problem, because I don't think you're suffering from burnout. You enumerate in your post numerous specific question types that account for a large chunk of your incorrect answers and so these are what you should be focusing on. My advice is that maybe buying a new book with different strategies for these types of questions will help you. The bibles are great, but they aren't the be-all-end-all. It is possible that the way they deal with the question types you listed just aren't methods that work for you. Try buying a new book that has a different approach to assumptions, must be true, weaken, and grouping games, even if the approaches are only slightly different. Maybe a new perspective will make it click, and if it does you will break that 166 wall.

millanda
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby millanda » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:37 pm

It's probably a good idea, but I'd still be cautious. I took five days off (because work and school pretty much made me), and my scores decreased when I started prepping again. I didn't have have the same momentum, and I'm still struggling to get back on track. I find the longer I stop answering questions, the more likely I am to forget how I used to get them correct. That probably differs from person to person, though, and it may be worth trying taking a day off at a time, but spread out over the next month. I can't see how a day would make TOO much of a difference.

crispy13
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby crispy13 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:38 pm

10 days seems extreme, especially this close to the test, but I would highly recommend taking a day or two off. I was getting burned out, but after destressing and not thinking about the test for a couple days last week, when I returned to taking timed tests my scores jumped up. Give your mind a break and go get a massage or something.

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oshberg28
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby oshberg28 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:51 pm

Simple answer: everyone's different. My prep instructor cautioned against taking days off before the test. I took about 10 days off and went over basic material for 2 hours the night before the test. I scored 4 points higher on the actual LSAT than my PT average. Other people will have the opposite experience. If you think your mind needs a break, maybe it does, and maybe that would help.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:58 pm

So basically the advice is to stop studying.

By all means, if that is what works for you!

cowgirl_bebop
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby cowgirl_bebop » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:45 pm

I took a break. I was studying myself into lower scores and took a few days off. I picked it back up today and did much better.

At this juncture a week to 10 days is too long, but a weekend off may be just what you need to refocus.

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Jeffort
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby Jeffort » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:01 pm

cowgirl_bebop wrote:I took a break. I was studying myself into lower scores and took a few days off. I picked it back up today and did much better.

At this juncture a week to 10 days is too long, but a weekend off may be just what you need to refocus.


Image

A day or two off to decompress, give your brain a little recovery/relax to stay sane time is important and very helpful. Your brain and body needs occasional recharge time/breaks when you keep operating at full throttle, otherwise it starts to break down and your performance suffers due to fatigue, stress, lack of perspective, etc.

Take a day off, go to a park, lay down in the grass and stare at the clouds for a while or something. Active overused brains need quiet time to recuperate.

asuusa
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby asuusa » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:48 pm

I decided to take a 3 day break, Mon-Wed. I'm now on Tuesday. It already feels like enough, but I think if I go til Wed. it will function as a vacation, and I'll be able to come back swinging. It's been nice to just laze around, but it feels weird not to study, as I've studied literally every day for months now. It's also weird to not talk about law school (I'm trying to just forget it all for 3 days, before I hit it again) with my wife, as that's all we've been obsessing about for months. I think this is a much-needed break, and I'll report back on my score after I take my next PT, which will be Sat, as I'm going to study strategies and games on Thursday and Friday.

I really hope I get over that 166 wall. Thanks for all your help, guys.

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sundance95
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Re: Controversial Advice on LSAT- What do you think?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:10 pm

nullisecundus wrote:So basically the advice is to stop studying.

By all means, if that is what works for you!


Worked for me. I think it gives your brain a chance to transfer what you've been pulling from short term memory re test strategies into long term memory, where it will feel more natural to utilize. Just a theory, but anyway, I did it and finally broke into the 170s.




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