Timing and getting over the hump

jonnyrolfe
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:22 am

Timing and getting over the hump

Postby jonnyrolfe » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:48 am

Hey Everyone,

So I've been studying for the Oct. LSAT since Mid July and have really come a long way. I started off at an abysmal 142 and caught myself wondering if law school was even a realistic possibility for me. After talking myself into it and challenging myself a minimum of 5 hours a day everyday for what is a little more than 2 months now, I am up to a 157. I know this isn't too impressive for a lot of the people on this board as half of you seem to be scoring in the 170's, but for me it really is an accomplishment. I am not satisfied though. My original goal when I started was 165 and although that may be too out of reach for me at this point, I do think the low 160's is a realistic possibility. That's because the only thing really keeping me back right now is timing.

As of right now, my sections line up as follows...

LG: Only section I can completely finish under 35 mins. Currently scoring -1.

RC: I can't even get close to finishing this section. I tend to finish 3 of the readings and skim the last part for detail Q's if I'm lucky. Avg about 17/21 of what I get to and guess on the rest.

LR: I usually get to around 20 or so questions. Usually getting 16/20. Whenever I go over the unanswered questions, I tend to get only one wrong. I have done many things trying to improve my speed here, but whenever I attempt to go faster, I get a lower % correct and stay at around the same score. It's starting to get very frustrating because all of the answers seem rather obvious to me when I have the time for them.

I was just wondering if anyone here has some last minute advice that could possibly push me over the hump when it comes to time. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby JJDancer » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:09 am

LR: the most credited thing is to try to do the first 10 questions in 10 minutes. This leaves you more time for the last 15 questions.
My tip is to do 4 warm up LR questions before you start the test (start it with LR this time) and see if you improve.

RC varies so much per test (topics could throw you off, or science terms could slow you down) also keep in mind that now one passage is actually 2 smaller ones with all comparative questions - this could take more time.
Just drill RC - (check out the bible?). I spend 2-3 mins reading the passage and then focus more time on the questions. But for others it helps more to write a few notes like MAIN POINT and a few words for each paragraph that indicate the STRUCTURE.
For examply
paragraph 1 (p1) - author presents 2 theories
p2 - positives of theory 1
p3 - how theory 2 is even better than theory 1
p4 - experiment proving theory 2 as better

Also note author's tone. are they neutral? enthusiastically supporting? skeptical?

LR: dont be afraid of long questions -usually parallel reasoning, generally they are just long and not really any "harder"
watch out for EXCEPT questions.

HTH

fosterp
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:09 am

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby fosterp » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:43 am

The first 10 questions in LR are generally easy. With enough practice, you should be able to plow through that part of the section. Generally the answers don't start getting tricky till later on. If your time is on par or behind and you come across a parallel question in the 20s that takes up half the page, skip it and finish the rest of the section, and then come back.

Unless you are aiming for a 180, its ok to accept the fact you are going to get a few wrong. It sucks spending 30 seconds or a minute reading a question and then feeling like you need to get an answer for it. However, if you feel that you can't get an answer in a decent amount of time, just take your best guess, mark it, and move on. When I was running out of time, it was generally because I got hung up on one question in the teens and wouldn't allow myself to continue until I was confident in an answer. This ended up wasting a huge amount of time, and usually had a domino effect on the rest of the section, getting more wrong because I had to rush through them. Even if I got it right, it usually cost me points later because of time. And half the time I didn't even get it right anyway, because I just couldn't figure it out, and then the panic mode kicked in which clouds your thinking. I have found if I usually don't have a good idea of what the answer will be from the get go, spending another minute on it doesn't help me figure it out. In fact, often times when I skipped it and got to the end with time left over, upon going back and re-reading the stim the answer just instantly became obvious.

hijodehombre
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:29 pm

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby hijodehombre » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:27 am

fosterp wrote:The first 10 questions in LR are generally easy. With enough practice, you should be able to plow through that part of the section. Generally the answers don't start getting tricky till later on. If your time is on par or behind and you come across a parallel question in the 20s that takes up half the page, skip it and finish the rest of the section, and then come back.

Unless you are aiming for a 180, its ok to accept the fact you are going to get a few wrong. It sucks spending 30 seconds or a minute reading a question and then feeling like you need to get an answer for it. However, if you feel that you can't get an answer in a decent amount of time, just take your best guess, mark it, and move on. When I was running out of time, it was generally because I got hung up on one question in the teens and wouldn't allow myself to continue until I was confident in an answer. This ended up wasting a huge amount of time, and usually had a domino effect on the rest of the section, getting more wrong because I had to rush through them. Even if I got it right, it usually cost me points later because of time. And half the time I didn't even get it right anyway, because I just couldn't figure it out, and then the panic mode kicked in which clouds your thinking. I have found if I usually don't have a good idea of what the answer will be from the get go, spending another minute on it doesn't help me figure it out. In fact, often times when I skipped it and got to the end with time left over, upon going back and re-reading the stim the answer just instantly became obvious.


This is excellent advice. The best way to make time a non-factor on LR is by not allowing any one question to consume you. I'll allow myself a little more time on questions 15 to 20 (approximately) because they tend to be the harder ones and I inevitably come back to at least two of them, but I never let them eat up too much of my time because I know the last few will generally not be as challenging. When I first started taking PTs, I would sometimes spend way too much time on a single question and then move on to the next one still thinking about my answer. Now I simply tell myself that I'll probably get it wrong and that it's not worth investing too much time in it. If turns out that I did in fact get it wrong, as is usually the case, I am at least satisfied that I didn't dwell on it and that I left enough time to answer the ones that came after, which I mostly answer correctly.

Sandro
Posts: 2526
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:12 am

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby Sandro » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:34 am

^^^ I just realized this. Seems to be now in the recent PTs a question around 10-18 or two will majorly stump me and ill spend wayyy too much time on them, causing me to have less than 1 minute or so for the last ~5 questions. So not only will I run the risk of missing the ones I had trouble with but I probably end up missing some in 20-25 that I normally would have gotten.

I think I am going to figure out an acceptable # of questions I can "skip". Id rather miss 2 each LR than stick with the hard two and end up missing 5....

fosterp
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:09 am

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby fosterp » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:51 am

More practice will help you identify your weakness. While you definitely want to try to work on getting better at your weak points, always keep it in mind as you go through the questions. When you come across one that you usually get wrong, it would be a time to judge if its really worth your time dwelling on it if you don't know the answer quickly. For example, I'm pretty bad at quickly translating conditional statements for parallel reasoning statements, and just going through all the answers takes a ridiculous amount of time, and I've resolved to just skip them and do them last. I'm also pretty bad at formal logic inference questions that involve "some" and "most" and if I go through all the answer choices and really can't eliminate more than a couple, I will just do the one that looks best, and come back if I have time. This means I am rarely going to get a perfect score on any LR section, but I can be confident that the questions I do answer will be correct because I have a comfortable time cushion.

sjlawand88
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:33 pm

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby sjlawand88 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:22 pm

I'm in the EXACT same boat as you....

Same scores, same problems, same scores....

I am never able to miss less than 10-14 RC questions. I tried a new strategy today and it allowed me to consistently only miss 10. Read the passage extremely slowly. Mark all symbolize all the main point, examples, and write a small 5 word summary next to each paragraph. I'm also consistently scoring 155-157 and aiming for 165 (161 realistically).

ajtdq
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby ajtdq » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:40 pm

OP, you mentioned that RC was a difficult section for you. This is my advice (taken in part from a friend who teaches an LSAT course):
1. If you struggle with timing, do the comparative reading passage last. Because the sections are shorter, they can't go into as much detail. So you can skim it pretty quickly and still understand the big picture, which is what you'll need to answer the more general questions that come with the CR passage.
2. Use the PS RC bible! I have found their notation system to be extremely helpful! When I follow it (i.e., I don't underline stuff just because I think it's 'important'), I get perfect scores.
3. Split the time evenly between reading and answering the questions. This means that you can spend more than four minutes just reading. Hopefully this will help.
4. Also, it may help for you to summarize the passage at different points throughout it (say after each paragraph break, ask yourself, "What was the MP of that paragraph?" Go through what PS tells you to look for.) And then re-summarize before you get to the questions. Don't just jump into the questions after reading. Instead, think about what you just read.

Good luck!

313D313
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:52 pm

Re: Timing and getting over the hump

Postby 313D313 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:51 pm

Sandro777 wrote:^^^ I just realized this. Seems to be now in the recent PTs a question around 10-18 or two will majorly stump me and ill spend wayyy too much time on them, causing me to have less than 1 minute or so for the last ~5 questions. So not only will I run the risk of missing the ones I had trouble with but I probably end up missing some in 20-25 that I normally would have gotten.

I think I am going to figure out an acceptable # of questions I can "skip". Id rather miss 2 each LR than stick with the hard two and end up missing 5....


This is so true. I also noticed that there always seems to be 1-3 questions in that range that are HAAARD! I end up wasting time on them and then i have less time at the end.




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