170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

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kennethellenparcell
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170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:34 pm

Question for all you 170+ scorers out there: do you think doing well on the LSAT is the result of natural ability, or can it be acquired? I'm curious to see how many of you 170+ scorers started with an initial high score. Anyone ever scored in the low 160s initially and improved to a 170+? If so, how? If you could point me to any threads out there that talk about this, I would appreciate it too.

kaihidasaki
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kaihidasaki » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:36 pm

It's a mix of both natural and acquired ability.

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kkklick
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kkklick » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:39 pm

Recipe for 170 = Skill, acquired learning capabilities, adaptation abilities, calm under pressure, good time management skills, and a bit of luck doesn't hurt.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:41 pm

also, if you're wondering between acquired vs. innate ability, see how much they've studied as well lol

a person who gets 177 after a few weeks of studying...im more inclined to say natural ability

a person who gets 177 after a yr of studying...im more inclined to say a mix of both, assuming his cold test was 160ish

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NYC_7911
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby NYC_7911 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:42 pm

Agreed. On the acquired ability side, you can increase your speed and learn how to approach the variety of "types" of problems. On the natural ability side, you have to be able to read and understand dense material quickly. More important than either is your willingness to put a LOT of time into this, and to be able to recognize and focus on your weaknesses. My diagnostic was a 157, I think.

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starrydreamz3
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby starrydreamz3 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:45 pm

My initial diag was a 168.

The fact that I underpreformed on test day and only got a 170 kinda sucks, since I did study for a few months learning how to perfect my test taking abilities.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby tng11 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:46 pm

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Last edited by tng11 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Ok. Say you have a year to prepare for the LSAT. Say you don't have the natural ability. What skills would you hone to make a 170+ realistic?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:00 pm

kennethellenparcell wrote:Ok. Say you have a year to prepare for the LSAT. Say you don't have the natural ability. What skills would you hone to make a 170+ realistic?


tng11 wrote:People with diagnostics in the 150s or 160s often are crushed by logic games, once you learn how to setup the games, there can be an easy 10 point or more jump. I personally did Sudoku puzzles way before I even thought about the LSAT and LG just made sense to me at the start. RC is the hardest to improve and takes a lot of time (by reading dense articles like the Scientific American or the Economist), LR is also part natural ability although you need to adjust your mind to think the way LSAC does. If you prep a lot and are really dedicated, people do jump from diagnostics in the 140s to the 170s.


also practice, practice, practice w/ the preptests..and i hear powerscore bibles, esp. for logic games, are super useful

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Fresh
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Fresh » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:00 pm

kennethellenparcell wrote:Ok. Say you have a year to prepare for the LSAT. Say you don't have the natural ability. What skills would you hone to make a 170+ realistic?


Personally I would try to boost my reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning skills.
Others?

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Nonok » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:05 pm

My diagnostic was 158. I average 173 on PTs now. A bit of natural ability but mostly acquired.

Also, I agree with what one of the above poster said about LG. I can attribute most of my increase to mastering logic games.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:10 pm

Nonok wrote:My diagnostic was 158. I average 173 on PTs now. A bit of natural ability but mostly acquired.

Also, I agree with what one of the above poster said about LG. I can attribute most of my increase to mastering logic games.


couldn't you still argue that starting at a 158 (above median score) cold is part of natural ability?

couldn't you further argue that the rate at which you 'learned' the LSAT is also partially attributed to your natural ability? even ppl who start at the same diagnostic score and take the same prep course w/ no outside help do not necessarily score the same avg. PT, much less on the real thing (i.e. isnt test taking ability [calm under test taking situations] part of natural ability as well?)

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby nosaj123 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:13 pm

For me, I think it was having the natural ability, but studying to make sure I was able to apply that ability most effectively.

I'll agree with earlier people that logic games is the easiest to improve. I took my first PT and got a 155 (mostly this low due to logic games). I then read the logic games bible and did all the practice questions, which took about 2 hrs a day for 2 weeks, and on my second PT got 165.

The only other studying I did was 5 practice tests (the 5 most recent), and I improved the most in reading comprehension during these tests. This was primarily due to me working on reading the passages more carefully so that, when I got to the questions, I immediately knew the relevant part of the passage to reference for each question.

I was naturally good at the logical reasoning, but still reviewed the LR questions I got wrong on each practice test, as well as the ones I was uncertain about while taking the test. Maybe this helped me get one or 2 more questions right on the actual exam. But, for people that aren't as good at this section, I imagine you could make similar improvements to what I dd on the logic games, though it will probably take more practice (since there are many more patterns you need to be prepared for)

Edit: Depending on the person, staying calm during the test could be very helpful. To calm my nerves, I did no studying for the two days before the test (it's not a memorization test, so how much could it really help to study right up to the test?). Also, I made sure to go on a pretty awesome date the night before (I highly recommend taking girls out for margaritas), and set up another date that night to celebrate finishing the LSAT. It helped keep me from freaking out by focusing too much on the LSAT. Even during the breaks I wasn't thinking about the LSAT or worrying about which questions I may have answered wrong, and for someone who gets as nervous/anxious as me, that was a great thing.
Last edited by nosaj123 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Adjudicator
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Adjudicator » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:14 pm

I believe it typically takes both natural intelligence and dedicated practice to reach the 170s.

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2014
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby 2014 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:27 pm

Natural ability is necessary but not sufficient for a 170.
I don't think everyone can get 170 (without years of reconditioning your mind I suppose), to many the LSAT is a foreign language that their minds just do not grasp.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:29 pm

I guess I'll get a little personal here - need the help of LSAT smarties. The first time I took the test, I didn't study much, and I got a 161. After studying quite a bit, I took the recent December test. Not sure I scored better although I understand the test better, but probably didn't get into the 170s. I've always been lucky enough to be a good test taker, but with this test, no dice. I'm probably going to take the test again in a year if I don't score 170+, because I figure a high score really trumps all, even multiple re-takes. But given the way the legal profession is now and the economy - I think it's either T14 or fat scholly at a lower tier school, or you're in a little trouble employment-wise. Plus I work in a big law firm now and I dislike almost everything about it, so I want to have options besides big law after school.

But I think I'll have to take a different approach, studying not just the basics of the test, but also what makes people good at the test so I can improve there. I think with the LSAT, you can get to the point where you see it - but how to get there? Why do some people study yet stay in the 160s, and others study but get into the high 170s? Can I acquire whatever the heck that is?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:32 pm

kennethellenparcell wrote:I guess I'll get a little personal here - need the help of LSAT smarties. The first time I took the test, I didn't study much, and I got a 161. After studying quite a bit, I took the recent December test. Not sure I scored better although I understand the test better, but probably didn't get into the 170s. I've always been lucky enough to be a good test taker, but with this test, no dice. I'm probably going to take the test again in a year if I don't score 170+, because I figure a high score really trumps all, even multiple re-takes. But given the way the legal profession is now and the economy - I think it's either T14 or fat scholly at a lower tier school, or you're in a little trouble employment-wise. Plus I work in a big law firm now and I dislike almost everything about it, so I want to have options besides big law after school.

But I think I'll have to take a different approach, studying not just the basics of the test, but also what makes people good at the test so I can improve there. I think with the LSAT, you can get to the point where you see it - but how to get there? Why do some people study yet stay in the 160s, and others study but get into the high 170s? Can I acquire whatever the heck that is?


iunno, where are you losing most of your points? if the answer is LG, thats prob the easiest fix haha

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iphone7
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby iphone7 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:34 pm

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=396

This thread has a lot of stories from people who pted in the 150s and ended up with 170s on the real thing. They give descriptions of what they did that helped them and I pretty much formulated how I am going to study based on this thread. I hope it is helpful to you.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:39 pm

Its knowing how to study. Its honing in on what you are good at and what you are bad at. Some people take PT after PT and all they get good at is solidifying that they will definitely get a 160. Some people study, find what they suck at and climb the ladder.

Others are innately good at doing the things the LSAT tests for. Others were taught the skills needed at a younger age or picked up on it early during UG or even late high school, and have been practicing those skills (probably without even knowing it) since that time and now think they are "innately" good at the LSAT.

Also, test anxiety plays a role - If luck plays a factor at all, its probably how well you control your test anxiety. This can be practiced to an extent as well.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:47 pm

@Doublechecks: Unfortunately, LG isn't a huge problem for me anymore. That's definitely the easiest to improve on - because practice actually helped. I lose points in RC and LR. RC isn't a huge problem, went -3 on the first test I ever took, but haven't improved at all since then. LR is my Achilles heel.

I mean, what do I gotta do? Read dense articles about dinosaur extinction theories, heart disease, smoking, and auto accidents/fatalities for a year?

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Nulli Secundus » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:52 pm

I scored 178 on my first timed practice test ever. Then I went and scored a 170 in Oct' 10, so I now retook it in December. We'll see how that goes. From my "progression" you can say its an ability lost with studying. (i.e. minus acquired)

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kkklick
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kkklick » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:54 pm

nullisecundus wrote:I scored 178 on my first timed practice test ever. Then I went and scored a 170 in Oct' 10, so I now retook it in December. We'll see how that goes. From my "progression" you can say its an ability lost with studying. (i.e. minus acquired)

How do you think december went? 178 to 170 is a pretty big drop relatively.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Nulli Secundus » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:57 pm

kkklick wrote:
nullisecundus wrote:I scored 178 on my first timed practice test ever. Then I went and scored a 170 in Oct' 10, so I now retook it in December. We'll see how that goes. From my "progression" you can say its an ability lost with studying. (i.e. minus acquired)

How do you think december went? 178 to 170 is a pretty big drop relatively.


Well it was better than October, but cannot say how much better.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Attorney » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:01 pm

From my perspective, the 2 LR sections are totally natural ability. I've never studied 1 second for them and almost always get -0 or -1 while finishing with an average of 8-10 minutes to spare. In fact, when preparing for the December 2010 LSAT I completely skipped LR (and RC) and just did LG. RC is mostly natural ability, but in this day and age, some people just don't read much. So even people with natural ability can lose some points there. (It's also the section that is most prone to concentration lapses. Unfortunately, I know that cost me a few points on Saturday when my proctors were whispering loudly.)

Logic Games, to me, is a unique section that has very little to do with natural ability. It's something that high scorers on this section have either honed over years (with Soduku and such) or they have put quite a bit of time into studying for the section specifically. I consider myself to be pretty darned naturally "smart" (see LR prowess) but have a lot of trouble finishing LG in time and finishing it correctly. I actually bought the LG Bible and did some practice games... never once did I finish a PT with -0 in 35 minutes or less (and on the real thing Saturday I fear a result of something like a -8). This I chalk up to not enough time devoted to what basically amounts to a new way of thinking not regularly seen in anyone's day-to-day life.

So, my opinion may be skewed toward my own experience, but I feel that 50% to 75% of the test is almost entirely natural ability, whereas that last 25% is the opposite: mostly a measure of how much time people have put into mastering it in one form or another.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Attorney » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:21 pm

nullisecundus wrote:I scored 178 on my first timed practice test ever. Then I went and scored a 170 in Oct' 10, so I now retook it in December. We'll see how that goes. From my "progression" you can say its an ability lost with studying. (i.e. minus acquired)


I think I'm in your boat. I scored 174 on my first time practice test with -0 and -0 on LR, -0 on RC, and -8 on LG (time issues). After cancelling the October 2010 LSAT because nervousness on the LG section blew me up to around -12, I studied LG between October and December and think I went about -0 to -2 on LR, -3 on RC (whispering proctors during that dense dental caries section), and... -8 on LG. An improvement of around 4 on LG but not as much as it could have been because stained glass and conferences were harder than artifacts. AND, I gave back the 4 on the RC lapse most likely!

In other words, I very well may have gone from -8 on diagnostic to about -12 (canceled) in October to about -13 (real) in December. For my "progression" as well, ability/points lost with studying.




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