To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

taxguy
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To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby taxguy » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:49 pm

I see a lot of folks who are very frustrated and saddened about their retake score and can't understand why they haven't increased their score. As a former SAT and GRE tutor and as someone who has examined the LSAT, let me give you my take on this. Obviously, this is my opinion and may differ from those of others here.
First, contrary to what most people are saying, the LSAT is only moderately coachable. Like the SAT, familiarity with the exam questions, especially that of the logical games section , can help
improve your score and speed up your time initially. HOWEVER, unless you have a specific skill set, your score probably won't increase significantly after you first become familar with the questions.

Understand, what the LSAT is. It is a combination of IQ test and speed reading test. The LSAT is not a bar exam, med board or CPA test. It doesn't test regurgitated information in some manner. You can study till you are green,but if you don't have the necessary speed reading skills, you aren't going to significantly improve.

This is NOT to say that studying test questions won't help you. Certainly, familiarity with the test is very helpful but only to a point and primarily for those with the necessary skills. I dont' think that these skills can be developed significantly by studying the tests again, with the possible exception of the games section. Even with that section, there is an element of speed reading.

I would bet that the majority of people who were already familiar with the exam didn't significantly improve their scores afterwards unless they were under some unusual conditions for the first test such as being sick, completely unprepared,unfamiliar with the test questions, etc..


Bottom line: Just review prior questions to the best of your ability. If you don't improve significantly, don't be forlorn. The test isn't easy to beat or to improve upon.
Last edited by taxguy on Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.

lsatmom
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby lsatmom » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:52 pm

I would agree with that. Thx.

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Adjudicator
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:54 pm

There is no doubt that some people are just more suited to this test than others, specifically people with a history of strong verbal ability, and specifically with the English language.

I know there are tales of people with poor English or poor reading skills doing well on the LSAT, but I think those are anomalies.

And if you don't have a very strong command of the English language, that isn't something that you can gain in a few months of study, or even in a few years, really.

taxguy
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby taxguy » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:59 pm

Adjudicator, I believe that there is a lot more to this test than having a good understanding of the English language. There is clearly a similarity with an IQ test in that the test requires a LOT of speed reading. I know writers who are quite competant in English who would have a tough time with this test primarily due to its strict time constrants.

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TommyK
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:03 pm

Props on using forlorn twice in three sentences. That's tough to do.

I don't think speed reading even factors in, though. You don't need to read quickly to score well on the LSAT. The RC section, the most reading-intensive section on the test, doesn't have more words in a passage than the average reader can read in 5 minutes.

I think people go overboard here saying that anybody can get a 170 with enough practice.

But to say that there's a stark line after you get familiar with the question type that you don't see substantial gain flies in the face what I have seen for myself and the people I know. I firmly believe and I think it is shown on a regular basis here that the skill sets tested on the LSAT are learnable.

mala2
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby mala2 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:10 pm

I studied on my own and went from a kaplan practice test of 157, to a 163 on the actual test.

I might retake in Dec and think I can get at least a 170. Need to get the LG down 100%, I missed about 1 question per game.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:11 pm

I agree that not everyone can score a 170. But I think everyone should try. If you're not committed to excelling on the LSAT, how committed are you going to be to excelling in law school? If you haven't scored a 170 and you haven't taken the test 3 times, you haven't tried hard enough.

I also don't think speed reading is the major thing tested by the LSAT. The LSAT tests careful reading and comprehension. My LSAT tutor was a self-described slow reader, and he killed the test. I am incredibly fast reader, but I think that occasionally worked against me (I am given to misreading rules on LG).

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby thegrayman » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:25 pm

I think this advice is especially applicable to the modern LSAT. The tougher RC is no joke, if English isn't your strong suit, that is a hell of an obstacle to overcome. I was reading The Economist religiously and improved on RC a little, but it was an uphill battle the whole time.

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby Sandro » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:45 pm

I think the speed/timing issue is the #1 element of the LSAT. Give me an untimed PT and I'd easily be in the mid/high 170s.

why on the real LSAT do I feel so confident about LR answers only to miss 9 total, which is more than I missed on any PT? Why did I miss 8 LG questions when I left the section thinking I maybe missed 2 or 3 max on top of my 2 guesses? Why were these two sections prediction's so far off when I accurately predicted a -3 on RC ?? I suspect timing had something to do with it....

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TommyK
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:41 pm

Sandro777 wrote:I think the speed/timing issue is the #1 element of the LSAT. Give me an untimed PT and I'd easily be in the mid/high 170s.

why on the real LSAT do I feel so confident about LR answers only to miss 9 total, which is more than I missed on any PT? Why did I miss 8 LG questions when I left the section thinking I maybe missed 2 or 3 max on top of my 2 guesses? Why were these two sections prediction's so far off when I accurately predicted a -3 on RC ?? I suspect timing had something to do with it....


Okay, maybe we just have a completely different definition of speed reading. What I'm trying to say is that to rock the LSAT, you don't need to be able to read more quickly than the average person. Would it help? uh, I guess, but so would being able to bubble more quickly. You can get through all the questions on the LSAT even at the rate at which you subvocalize the words.

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JazzOne
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby JazzOne » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:09 pm

TommyK wrote:
Sandro777 wrote:I think the speed/timing issue is the #1 element of the LSAT. Give me an untimed PT and I'd easily be in the mid/high 170s.

why on the real LSAT do I feel so confident about LR answers only to miss 9 total, which is more than I missed on any PT? Why did I miss 8 LG questions when I left the section thinking I maybe missed 2 or 3 max on top of my 2 guesses? Why were these two sections prediction's so far off when I accurately predicted a -3 on RC ?? I suspect timing had something to do with it....


Okay, maybe we just have a completely different definition of speed reading. What I'm trying to say is that to rock the LSAT, you don't need to be able to read more quickly than the average person. Would it help? uh, I guess, but so would being able to bubble more quickly. You can get through all the questions on the LSAT even at the rate at which you subvocalize the words.

-1

That might be true if you read each word only once, but I routinely re-read things to clarify or refresh my memory. There is no way I would have enough time to double check everything I want to if my reading speed was not faster than average.

I've been teaching LSAT for a few years. When I conduct timed drills with my class, I have noticed that the fastest readers are almost always the highest scorers.

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TommyK
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:18 pm

JazzOne wrote:
TommyK wrote:
Sandro777 wrote:I think the speed/timing issue is the #1 element of the LSAT. Give me an untimed PT and I'd easily be in the mid/high 170s.

why on the real LSAT do I feel so confident about LR answers only to miss 9 total, which is more than I missed on any PT? Why did I miss 8 LG questions when I left the section thinking I maybe missed 2 or 3 max on top of my 2 guesses? Why were these two sections prediction's so far off when I accurately predicted a -3 on RC ?? I suspect timing had something to do with it....


Okay, maybe we just have a completely different definition of speed reading. What I'm trying to say is that to rock the LSAT, you don't need to be able to read more quickly than the average person. Would it help? uh, I guess, but so would being able to bubble more quickly. You can get through all the questions on the LSAT even at the rate at which you subvocalize the words.

-1

That might be true if you read each word only once, but I routinely re-read things to clarify or refresh my memory. There is no way I would have enough time to double check everything I want to if my reading speed was not faster than average.

I've been teaching LSAT for a few years. When I conduct timed drills with my class, I have noticed that the fastest readers are almost always the highest scorers.


Okay, agree to disagree. I'd be interested to see how you are judging people's reading speed, though. What you see as somebody reading more quickly may be them just predicting the answer, scanning for it, answering it, and moving on to the next one.

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JazzOne
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby JazzOne » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:23 pm

TommyK wrote: What you see as somebody reading more quickly may be them just predicting the answer, scanning for it, answering it, and moving on to the next one.

Scanning the words and answering the questions is also known as reading.

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TommyK
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:36 pm

JazzOne wrote:
TommyK wrote: What you see as somebody reading more quickly may be them just predicting the answer, scanning for it, answering it, and moving on to the next one.

Scanning the words and answering the questions is also known as reading.


Ha, love it. Come on, you know what I meant - one is a general reading ability and one is more of a familiarity of how the question types work, frequent pitfalls to avoid, and fallacies to ignore. Being able to predict the right answer allows the test taker to skim the answers for what you predicted was a likely answer and save time. You end up reading fewer of the words, not the words more quickly. It may appear the same from an observer's point of view, but don't you think there's a substantial difference here?

Of course reading quickly is an advantage, but I don't think reading speed is one of the three most important competencies that the LSAT measures.

What the OP meant (I imagine) is that everybody has a natural ceiling, which is pretty difficult to break through and you probably shouldn't flip out if you're having trouble breaking through. What it came off as was providing people with an excuse of why it wasn't possible for them. Reading speed is something that is incredibly difficult to increase while maintaining comprehension and if you say the LSAT is largely a function of both that and IQ, it makes it seem like it's something that is incredibly difficult to coach past a certain point.
Last edited by TommyK on Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: .

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:36 pm

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Deep Trench
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby Deep Trench » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:21 pm

Just as running is a foundation for many sports, reading is a foundation for LSAT. Being able to read fast is definitely an asset. However, fortunately for the average-speed readers, there is no extra point for finishing the sections early. You just have to finish them in 35 minutes. And, that can be done while reading at a reasonable speed. I read at a mediocre speed at best, and I was able to finish all sections in time. You just need to be engaged and focused while reading so that you can understand passages and stimuli without having to read twice (except some extremely convoluted LR stimuli). Also, you need to be able spot flaws and pre-phrase answers while reading LR stimuli. Unless LSAC reduces the time limit for each section, slower readers can compete with fast readers.

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TommyK
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:04 pm

Deep Trench wrote:Just as running is a foundation for many sports, reading is a foundation for LSAT. Being able to read fast is definitely an asset. However, fortunately for the average-speed readers, there is no extra point for finishing the sections early. You just have to finish them in 35 minutes. And, that can be done while reading at a reasonable speed. I read at a mediocre speed at best, and I was able to finish all sections in time. You just need to be engaged and focused while reading so that you can understand passages and stimuli without having to read twice (except some extremely convoluted LR stimuli). Also, you need to be able spot flaws and pre-phrase answers while reading LR stimuli. Unless LSAC reduces the time limit for each section, slower readers can compete with fast readers.


Yeah, you probably said it better than me.

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tttlllsss
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby tttlllsss » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:48 pm

There is a natural ceiling for nearly everyone. For some, it might be 160, for others, it might be 175. I'm tired of seeing people say "I studied hard and went from 160 to 170. Therefore, anyone can go from 160 to 170." This is a logical error of the highest order and it makes me literally cringe.

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JazzOne
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby JazzOne » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:28 am

Deep Trench wrote:Just as running is a foundation for many sports, reading is a foundation for LSAT. Being able to read fast is definitely an asset. However, fortunately for the average-speed readers, there is no extra point for finishing the sections early. You just have to finish them in 35 minutes. And, that can be done while reading at a reasonable speed. I read at a mediocre speed at best, and I was able to finish all sections in time. You just need to be engaged and focused while reading so that you can understand passages and stimuli without having to read twice (except some extremely convoluted LR stimuli). Also, you need to be able spot flaws and pre-phrase answers while reading LR stimuli. Unless LSAC reduces the time limit for each section, slower readers can compete with fast readers.

I don't know anyone who scored above 170 who is a slow reader. I'd be happy to be proven wrong. It's just my anecdotal observation of my students over the past few years.

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby nStiver » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:41 am

My first diagnostic was 147. I have scored 170+ on multiple practice tests. I have improved in all 3 sections of the LSAT, including RC and LR (RC is the hardest to improve, I will grant you that). This improvement did not come about right after I developed a basic familiarity with the questions. It came about as the result of long, hard hours practicing the LSAT.

Prepping for the LSAT does not make you smarter. However, it can make you so familiar with the kind of mental processes that the LSAT tests to the point that you can see massive improvements in your score. Trust me, the test is learnable. Everyone does have an "upper limit", but that limit is much higher than many people give themselves credit for.

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby nStiver » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:45 am

taxguy wrote:First, contrary to what most people are saying, the LSAT is only moderately coachable.


No, the LSAT is highly coachable. Its just there are only a moderate amount of people who are willing and able to put in enough work to see massive improvement. Telling people to just kind of sort of skim over past questions and not to freak out if they don't improve is a recipe for failure. It is impossible to know your upper limit unless you put in tons of work.

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby downing » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:55 am

nStiver wrote:
taxguy wrote:First, contrary to what most people are saying, the LSAT is only moderately coachable.


No, the LSAT is highly coachable. Its just there are only a moderate amount of people who are willing and able to put in enough work to see massive improvement. Telling people to just kind of sort of skim over past questions and not to freak out if they don't improve is a recipe for failure. It is impossible to know your upper limit unless you put in tons of work.


yes

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby tttlllsss » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:20 am

nStiver wrote:My first diagnostic was 147. I have scored 170+ on multiple practice tests. I have improved in all 3 sections of the LSAT, including RC and LR (RC is the hardest to improve, I will grant you that). This improvement did not come about right after I developed a basic familiarity with the questions. It came about as the result of long, hard hours practicing the LSAT.

Prepping for the LSAT does not make you smarter. However, it can make you so familiar with the kind of mental processes that the LSAT tests to the point that you can see massive improvements in your score. Trust me, the test is learnable. Everyone does have an "upper limit", but that limit is much higher than many people give themselves credit for.


Just because you learned the test doesn't mean that the test is learnable.

Moreover, the argument that anyone can get an uncharacteristically high score if he or she puts in enough work doesn't hold water. This is based on nothing but your personal success and anecdotes from other people who have found success in this way.

There isn't a secret key to the LSAT. On this board, there are many who study "right" and it pays off. For the majority, however, they study "right" and still score low.

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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby nStiver » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:26 am

tttlllsss wrote:
nStiver wrote:My first diagnostic was 147. I have scored 170+ on multiple practice tests. I have improved in all 3 sections of the LSAT, including RC and LR (RC is the hardest to improve, I will grant you that). This improvement did not come about right after I developed a basic familiarity with the questions. It came about as the result of long, hard hours practicing the LSAT.

Prepping for the LSAT does not make you smarter. However, it can make you so familiar with the kind of mental processes that the LSAT tests to the point that you can see massive improvements in your score. Trust me, the test is learnable. Everyone does have an "upper limit", but that limit is much higher than many people give themselves credit for.


Just because you learned the test doesn't mean that the test is learnable.

Moreover, the argument that anyone can get an uncharacteristically high score if he or she puts in enough work doesn't hold water. This is based on nothing but your personal success and anecdotes from other people who have found success in this way.

There isn't a secret key to the LSAT. On this board, there are many who study "right" and it pays off. For the majority, however, they study "right" and still score low.


I really don't think so. I believe the low scorer's who claim to study "right" are really not doing so. Not everyone can get in the 160+ range, but I think most people are capable of raising their score at LEAST 5-8 points from their diagnostic. No, I have no statistics to back up my opinion, which is just that--an opinion. However, where is your evidence when you claim that most people study "right" and still score "low"?

taxguy
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Re: To all those who have fretted over their bad retake.....

Postby taxguy » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:42 am

nStiver, I have a real life example. I know someone who did everything right. He took two solid months plus an extra week or so to study for the LSAT. He took the Power Score course. He vigilently attended each lecture and did all the assignments. He did 15 real practice tests and did most of the bibles and ended up with a 144! Yes, I am sure that he did better than he would have done had he not studied as hard as he did,but he still did badly after practicing like a horse. Oh yes, he knows how to study. He graduated from grad school with highest distinction, number one in his class.

Since I was an SAT and GRE tutor , he asked me to critique him. His problem was obvious: he reads and comprehends much too slowly for the test. I think if he had unlimited time, he could answer almost every question correctly,but his comprehension speed was much too slow,which kills his score.

I do know that one person does not make a general rule;however, I would bet that this is a problem for thousands of test takers, which is why I believe that there is a natural ceiling for everyone and that studying for the test can only moderatly raise a score unless you have those necessary speed reading skills. Also, I am NOT talking about the games which I do believe is somewhat coachable.




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