170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

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kkklick
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kkklick » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:24 pm

Terrible, it always seems there's stories like that with different issues hindering people from scoring their PT average. In June LG set me back from what I wanted, and in October RC hurt my chances. The funny thing is, if I don't get near the score I want, it will be LR this time that will do me in.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:26 pm

Attorney 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)


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.


i think you're kind of unique in being unable to master LG after practice, while still dominating the rest of the test

for me, progression was probably a mix of both...and kind of straightforward; cold diag in low 160s...slowly progressed as i studied for about a month and a half...avg around mid 170s, test day mid 170s; pretty predictable.

ill say LG was one of my weaker sections and def where i improved the most. could hit -0 on PTs near the end, though not consistently (usually -2)...actual test day -3 T-T, kind of wish i had a bit more time/practice w/ LG -- it really feels like something that one could master through experience

tomwatts
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby tomwatts » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:31 pm

I scored 154 on my first practice test. I scored 180 on the February LSAT this year. The LSAT can be learned. Very few people score 170+ on an initial diag. Some do, but not very many. Almost everyone who hits 170+ on test day studied pretty hard to do so. And yes, there's a reason that a lot of people here talk about doing 60+ practice tests. It just takes practice. Sometimes months and months of repetition and review, repetition and review.

LR takes a while to improve, because you have to get comfortable with finding conclusions, identifying premises, determining assumptions/flaws, recognizing regular patterns of assumptions/flaws on the LSAT, etc. Luckily, there are twice as many released LR question as anything else, so you have 3000+ LR questions to practice on.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Nonok » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:52 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
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?)

Thats why I said a bit of natural ability came into play in my case. I scored high on my diagnostic and was able to improve quickly. I think almost anyone can improve to 170+ though with enough prep.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:56 pm

Nonok wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
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?)

Thats why I said a bit of natural ability came into play in my case. I scored high on my diagnostic and was able to improve quickly. I think almost anyone can improve to 170+ though with enough prep.


i somewhat disagree if by "enough prep" you mean "realistic prep" and not some infinite amount that is possible. i mean, i dont think "almost anyone" could improve to 170+ if they started below median. some of them certainly would, but most of them, given "realistic prep" will not. by realistic i mean given whatever x realistic circumstance, not just pure will power. not everyone will go through all 60 prep tests, learn the basic strategies, utilize it all accordingly, AND put that into whatever timetable they were going to apply to the exam.

but i mean, if we're just talking on purely theoretical terms, then yeah maybe. isnt that true for almost every test?

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:25 pm

Kudos to you sir, major kudos. I've studied quite a bit, but I haven't done 60+ preptests. Honestly, I took two prepcourses after my 161 - Testmasters and Blueprint which did not help me as much as I thought they would. If 60+ preptests is what it takes, then 60+ preptests I will do. How quickly did you improve to the 170s during your prep though? I stagnated at 168, but decided to take the test anyway.
tomwatts wrote:I scored 154 on my first practice test. I scored 180 on the February LSAT this year. The LSAT can be learned. Very few people score 170+ on an initial diag. Some do, but not very many. Almost everyone who hits 170+ on test day studied pretty hard to do so. And yes, there's a reason that a lot of people here talk about doing 60+ practice tests. It just takes practice. Sometimes months and months of repetition and review, repetition and review.

LR takes a while to improve, because you have to get comfortable with finding conclusions, identifying premises, determining assumptions/flaws, recognizing regular patterns of assumptions/flaws on the LSAT, etc. Luckily, there are twice as many released LR question as anything else, so you have 3000+ LR questions to practice on.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Nonok » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:28 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
Nonok wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
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?)

Thats why I said a bit of natural ability came into play in my case. I scored high on my diagnostic and was able to improve quickly. I think almost anyone can improve to 170+ though with enough prep.


i somewhat disagree if by "enough prep" you mean "realistic prep" and not some infinite amount that is possible. i mean, i dont think "almost anyone" could improve to 170+ if they started below median. some of them certainly would, but most of them, given "realistic prep" will not. by realistic i mean given whatever x realistic circumstance, not just pure will power. not everyone will go through all 60 prep tests, learn the basic strategies, utilize it all accordingly, AND put that into whatever timetable they were going to apply to the exam.

but i mean, if we're just talking on purely theoretical terms, then yeah maybe. isnt that true for almost every test?

If you want to go to law school, take as much time as you need to score as high as you can. This career is too competitive to short yourself on the LSAT.

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bouakedojo
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby bouakedojo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:31 pm

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby fosterp » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:22 pm

I don't think a 170 is even remotely possible for the average person. The average person is pretty...stupid. However the average person that made it through UG with decent grades could probably do 165+ easily with 3 months of study.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:32 pm

Nonok wrote:If you want to go to law school, take as much time as you need to score as high as you can. This career is too competitive to short yourself on the LSAT.


not saying to short oneself, just be realistic. under an infinite amount of time and resources, of course anyone can score 170+ on the LSAT. that just isnt practical (or reality) however. like i said, under that argument, a high percentile would be achievable by EVERYONE regardless of their background or circumstances, and that just isnt true. but then this moves into nature v. nurture territory.

point is, i disagree that "almost anyone" can improve to 170+ with "enough prep" unless "enough prep" is some theoretical, possibly infinite amount.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Brock2010 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:36 pm

I think this question is a bit silly. It isn't one or the other. There is of course a baseline of intelligence you need to score a 170+. But I think it is pretty evident that you can make huge jumps in your score by just studying and taking PT tests.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:58 pm

Sigh. I'm just trying to make an educated decision - should I take again or not? Of course it differs from person to person. Of course both acquired and natural ability probably play a role for most people. But it would help me to see if any people were actually able to jump from low 160s to high 170s with hard work, versus just get 170s right off the bat. Or what sections people with high 170s had trouble with. LG is definitely the most learnable out of the three I think. If it's the case that most 170+ers start high already or their trouble section is LG, I don't want to think that I'm the exception to the rule. Maybe I just can't get a high 170s score, in fact I studied for a while and got stuck at 168. Maybe I should just go to a lower tier law school and deal with it. But before I resign myself to that, I want to see how others (if any exist) did it, and see if I can model their success. It's worth a try.

People on here say that they did 60+ practice tests, some did them more than once. I haven't done that. What I do fear is waiting another year, doing that, and then not getting the score I want again. Maybe it just boils down to me not having the natural ability to get 170+ on the test.

Brock2010 wrote:I think this question is a bit silly. It isn't one or the other. There is of course a baseline of intelligence you need to score a 170+. But I think it is pretty evident that you can make huge jumps in your score by just studying and taking PT tests.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:04 pm

Attorney wrote: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.



I'm in the same boat as well (two LSAT's with -8 on the LGs, ruining my 170's). I think it is scewed to our personal experiences.

I'm the kid who sucks at LG and then tells everyone it is not a result of my natural ability.

I gave a very smart Aussie a LSAT once. 164 first try, and only because he didn't time it right. Kid was fucking smart. He would have had a -0 on the LG but he ran out of time on the last one and got -2. This was totally cold, no suduku/whatever experience.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Brock2010 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:32 pm

,

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby fosterp » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:39 pm

After 6 months of good solid prep time using good study methods and utilizing a fair amount of resources available (classes/PS books/etc) I would say your probably at your soft limit of lsat potential. Sure "maybe" two more years would yield improvement but after diminishing returns, its safe to say 6 months is probably all the time you should be devoting till you accept the fact your performance then is the best you are going to do. Anyone who starts taking the test a fourth or fifth time after a year + of study is probably wasting time and money that is better spent just getting into a school (or pursuing other careers).

I think a lot of the people who go into such high prestige professions hate accepting that they have reached a limit that is measurably below someone else, because most of us have probably lived the first 20-30 years of our lives always being told we were "gifted." While the test isn't perfect and a lot can be taught, its probably the best indicator of aptitude that we have in the world right now.

I would also say that if you are correctly doing PTs right strictly timed and simulating test conditions, you shouldn't accept a score that is far below your potential indicated by those PTs either.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby cavebat2000 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:42 pm

diagnostic 147. First test 160. Two years later, second test 171.
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:50 pm

fosterp wrote:I think a lot of the people who go into such high prestige professions hate accepting that they have reached a limit that is measurably below someone else, because most of us have probably lived the first 20-30 years of our lives always being told we were "gifted." While the test isn't perfect and a lot can be taught, its probably the best indicator of aptitude that we have in the world right now.


This is absolutely spot on. Tis a bitter pill to swallow.

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2014
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby 2014 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:07 pm

Attorney wrote: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've been good at LG since taking my diagnostic. Even before I did the LGB and took a class, I was at -0/-2 LG within the time limits always. And I never did Sudoku's or other mind games. So I don't think you are right that it has little to do with natural ability, it is just a different part of your brain.

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Ragged
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Ragged » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:33 pm

Its a mix of both of course.

Its safe to say 170+ people are all smart, but not all smart people get 170+. It depends on how much work you put in and on things like luck, intuition and general test taking abilities.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kkklick » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:36 pm

Ragged wrote:Its a mix of both of course.

Its safe to say 170+ people are all smart, but not all smart people get 170+. It depends on how much work you put in and on things like luck, intuition and general test taking abilities.

What's with the formal logic brah :P

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:40 pm

kkklick wrote:
Ragged wrote:Its a mix of both of course.

Its safe to say 170+ people are all smart, but not all smart people get 170+. It depends on how much work you put in and on things like luck, intuition and general test taking abilities.

What's with the formal logic brah :P


Haha I love it. Honestly though, I like the test - it's a giant crazy puzzle. I just wish I could beast it.

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Ragged
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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby Ragged » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:47 pm

kkklick wrote:
Ragged wrote:Its a mix of both of course.

Its safe to say 170+ people are all smart, but not all smart people get 170+. It depends on how much work you put in and on things like luck, intuition and general test taking abilities.

What's with the formal logic brah :P


I thought it'd be in the spirit of this thread. :mrgreen:

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby tomwatts » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:21 pm

kennethellenparcell wrote:Kudos to you sir, major kudos. I've studied quite a bit, but I haven't done 60+ preptests. Honestly, I took two prepcourses after my 161 - Testmasters and Blueprint which did not help me as much as I thought they would. If 60+ preptests is what it takes, then 60+ preptests I will do. How quickly did you improve to the 170s during your prep though? I stagnated at 168, but decided to take the test anyway.

In practice, I got to the 170's from the 150's in a little over a month, I believe. It was pretty solid, though: 2-3 hours per day, 6 days per week (I credit the 6 days per week more than the 2-3 hours per day). And I already taught people how to take the SAT, so I was familiar with test prep and how to study for a big standardized test. I credit also my knowledge of how to study: reviewing questions the right way, etc.

kennethellenparcell wrote:Sigh. I'm just trying to make an educated decision - should I take again or not? Of course it differs from person to person. Of course both acquired and natural ability probably play a role for most people. But it would help me to see if any people were actually able to jump from low 160s to high 170s with hard work, versus just get 170s right off the bat. Or what sections people with high 170s had trouble with. LG is definitely the most learnable out of the three I think. If it's the case that most 170+ers start high already or their trouble section is LG, I don't want to think that I'm the exception to the rule. Maybe I just can't get a high 170s score, in fact I studied for a while and got stuck at 168. Maybe I should just go to a lower tier law school and deal with it. But before I resign myself to that, I want to see how others (if any exist) did it, and see if I can model their success. It's worth a try.

People on here say that they did 60+ practice tests, some did them more than once. I haven't done that. What I do fear is waiting another year, doing that, and then not getting the score I want again. Maybe it just boils down to me not having the natural ability to get 170+ on the test.

Well, doing well on the LSAT does require some combination of natural ability (which you're born with), long-term acquired reading and reasoning skills (which you've been developing in school for probably just shy of two decades), and short-term acquired LSAT skills (which you've been working on to some extent for a little while). Studying more will help with the last portion; the question is, is that the problem? Or is it one of the other two?

There's no way to know unless you try. If LR is the thing that's killing you, then you need to do more LR. You need to do enough of them that they all start to sound the same, and you could swear that you've done the question before and seen this exact flaw before, but in fact you haven't. You need to review the questions in the right way (looking for patterns, both in the test and in you: what does the test regularly do to make wrong answers that you think are right? What does the test regularly do to make right answers that you think are wrong? What do you need to do differently on your next section not to make the same sorts of mistakes over and over). Heck, it wouldn't hurt to try to teach someone else the LSAT (a sibling, significant other, or whoever you can get to listen to you); that was how I kept fresh from when I originally studied in summer '06 to when I took the test most recently this year.

There are plenty of things that you can try. It's just a question of whether it's worth it to put in that kind of effort for the chance — not the guarantee, but the chance — of a better score. There's know way to know whether it's more than a chance until you do it.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby vissidarte27 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:01 am

I think the ratio of acquired to natural ability is different for everyone.

For me, LG have always been the easiest. I just got them, practically from minute one. They make sense without a whole lot of thought or effort or preparation. I don't think I've ever missed more than 2. Most of the time, I'll get -0 or -1.

RC was the same way. Didn't have pacing issues, didn't have comprehension issues, didn't really have focus issues. I've always loved reading, though, and I imagine that contributes some to my success in that area (although I do not read dense passages like these, so maybe not). I miss a maximum of 3, most days.

But LR kills me. I can miss 4 or 5 or 6 wrong on a single section. It's improving and I'm doing a lot of focused, smart work, but I seem to lack natural ability in that area.

I think if I score 170+ on February's test, it will be because of my natural ability in LG and RC and my acquired ability in LR.

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Re: 170+ LSAT - Acquired or Natural Ability

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:55 am

I've always hated this question.

What's it matter? Work as hard as you can and get the best score you can. I guess that, of someone never breaks 170 during prep, it might be comforting for that person to say that he would have never been able to, no matter how hard he had tried. However, I just don't see why someone should enter the LSAT game believing that there is some arbitrary upper limit on the score he can get. I put up a good score and a good diagnostic, so maybe I just have my head in the clouds or something, but for people prepping for the test, I think it's best to just focus on your own tests. Look at what you're getting wrong, figure out why you're getting those questions wrong, try to fix it.

Saying that you can't get a 170 without innate ability, whether true or not, is an excuse.




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