finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

dchangd
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:54 am

finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby dchangd » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:35 am

And it's driving me insane. I feel like most of my LSAT "learning" is complete. I've been studying since October and I haven't improved time-wise in anything but Logic Games.

Check out my preptest log. If I can eliminate the guesses I'm positive I could be a 170 scorer. But how?

(guesses are defined as "I didn't have time to read a single word of the question and had to bubble in a random answer choice.")

Image

a couple things I don't understand:

1.) everyone says skip the harder questions and come back... but I usually don't recognize that they're harder questions until I've devoted a full 30 seconds to reading the stimulus and question stem. If I skip and come back, I'll have to waste another precious 30 seconds rereading everything just to spend the exact amount of time I would have spent had I not skipped it (usually 2 min 30 seconds for the tough questions).

2.) If I force myself to get to every question in the alloted time, it means there are 6-7 questions that I have to narrow down to 2-3 answer choices, guess, and then move on. This cannot be a sound strategy. I'd rather spend an inordinate amount of time on three of those questions, and then randomly guess the other four.

When I force myself to go faster, it comes at the cost of missing more questions. If I impose a stricter time limit on myself (say 32 minutes per section) in order to build up the "stamina" to finish in 35, all this would make me do is narrow down and guess on more questions, which would inevitably mean more wrong answers.

3.) I've tried every possible tip I've read on here. Read question stem first; don't read question stem first; spend less time on the easy ones in order to devote more time to the harder ones; finish the first 10 LR questions in 10 minutes; finish the first 15 LR questions in 15 minutes - harder for me to do. I usually get hung up on a question around #12 or #13; do questions 1-15 first, then backtrack starting from the last question; save parallel reasoning for last.


I'm so close to just giving up. If in 3 months I haven't improved on finishing each section faster, I doubt I will in the next five weeks.

EDIT: The part that kills me is when I look at that spreadsheet, I know I could be a 172 scorer if I could eliminate guesses. It's the only thing holding me back. But I cannot eliminate guesses. No matter how hard I try.

akikaze
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:06 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby akikaze » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:45 am

If you're missing up to 10 LR in a section, you really should be focusing on improving your accuracy until you are getting no more than 1 or 2 wrong in a section when untimed (within reason). Then start working on the timed tests. If you're already at that stage, then you may have reached your natural limit for your LSAT. Based on what you're saying, though, that seems unlikely.

Also, there is never any reason to guess on an LSAT question. After careful examination, and having gone through all 61 PTs, some twice, I can tell you that there is a reason why every AC is wrong and the TCR is right. If you're not seeing it right away, then you haven't yet mastered the structure of the LSAT. It takes a great deal of time to become familiar with the LSAT and innately understand the way it works. And often you'll know the right answer even before you're done reading the stimulus because you're sufficiently immersed in the LSAT way of thinking.

At this stage, I'd do some more untimed tests, and then move on to the timed tests when you're getting virtually none wrong on LR. And then take as many PTs as possible to gain perfect mastery of the techniques in a realistic setting.

Edit: Actually there are maybe 2 questions that I found truly mind-bending and that for the life of me couldn't figure out. But over 61 tests, that's so few that what I said above applies.

Edit II: Also, you seem to have a knack for spreadsheets -- do you think you can break down the tests by question type and focus on each individual one (in the method recommended by the LR Bible?) so that you can drill those until your accuracy is >90%? It may be that you're missing all your points on just a few question types...
Last edited by akikaze on Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

dchangd
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:54 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby dchangd » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:51 am

to be fair, the -10 happened once on an incredibly hard section. The -7's you see occur as a result of guessing on 5 questions.

But you think untimed tests will help me? I've thought about this. The only reason I don't want to do it is I only have about 15 PT's left at my disposal (before I have to start re-using old ones) and felt the rest of my time would be better spent on improving speed.

akikaze
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:06 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby akikaze » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:54 am

dchangd wrote:to be fair, the -10 happened once on an incredibly hard section. The -7's you see occur as a result of guessing on 5 questions.

But you think untimed tests will help me? I've thought about this. The only reason I don't want to do it is I only have about 15 PT's left at my disposal (before I have to start re-using old ones) and felt the rest of my time would be better spent on improving speed.


Your accuracy should be >90% in every section (except possibly RC) before you start taking timed tests. After mastering speed though, you have the additional challenge of endurance. (I found that last part the most difficult, missing almost nothing over the first 4 sections in October, and then uncharacteristically losing nine points in section 5. I didn't drill for endurance enough...)

dchangd
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:54 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby dchangd » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:57 am

akikaze wrote:Your accuracy should be >90% in every section before you start taking timed tests. After mastering speed though, you have the additional challenge of endurance. (I found that last part the most difficult, missing almost nothing over the first 4 sections in October, and then uncharacteristically losing nine points in section 5. I didn't drill for endurance enough...)


hhmm. maybe that's been my problem all along. I just jumped right into timed test (36-38 minutes for my first ones). I guess I'll try an untimed test later this week. But if I get a 180 on it I'm not going to be happy.

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TLSanders
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:24 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby TLSanders » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:13 am

dchangd wrote:3.) I've tried every possible tip I've read on here. Read question stem first; don't read question stem first; spend less time on the easy ones in order to devote more time to the harder ones; finish the first 10 LR questions in 10 minutes; finish the first 15 LR questions in 15 minutes - harder for me to do. I usually get hung up on a question around #12 or #13; do questions 1-15 first, then backtrack starting from the last question; save parallel reasoning for last.


I strongly suspect that this is the root of your problem. Timing is never the problem itself; it's always indicative that something else is going wrong. The way to fix it is generally to:

-make sure you know the methodology cold
-apply it every single time, over and over again until it becomes automatic
-keep practicing

when you do the same thing over and over and over, and you're executing it properly, it gets faster on its own. In that sense, it's no different from something like typing. But since you're not feeling like you've found a method that works for you, you're changing gears all the time and never reaching that groove.

Pick something and do it religiously.

Side note about skipping the hard questions and coming back to them: remember that it's a numbers game. If a question takes 2:30 for you to get through, you could have answered two other questions in that time--and questions you might have been more likely to get right. By attacking the easier questions first, you could immediately cut down the number of questions you have to guess on, and make the guessing questions the ones you would have struggled with anyway. Ideally, as you practice one method without deviation, the timing problem will disappear and this won't be an issue, but it could help and can't hurt.

xmrmckenziex
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:26 pm

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby xmrmckenziex » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:32 pm

Also, take note of why certain answers are consistently right for specific LR types of questions. For instance, you will notice on "Must be True" questions the answers is most commonly a "weak" answer choice (in terms of logical force) and the incorrect answers are commonly "strong" answer choices. For example, in a lot of must be true questions incorrect answers will contain words such as "All, None, Always", etc. Obviously this isn't always a hard a fast rule, but it is good to know when you have narrowed answers down and need to make an educated guess.

Each question type has a solid rule that will help you blow by them quicker. In flaw questions, my speed jumped through the roof once I memorized a list of common logical flaws. After that, half-way through the stimulus I was able to name the flaw and then immediately find the answer choice that best fit that one to two word description.

I definitely understand your pain though, I never understood how people ended each LR section with 10-15 minutes to spare; but at least accurately getting 32-33 questions and guessing on the last one or two is possible if you can hammer out a concrete strategy.

dchangd
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:54 am

Re: finding it impossible to finish LR and RC sections in 35 min

Postby dchangd » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:45 pm

thanks xmrmck. Now that's the stuff I've been looking for.


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