Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Jerkovsky
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:13 pm

Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby Jerkovsky » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:33 am

I am borderline professional lurker on this website, and, after studying since last May, I scored a 178 (-1 LR, -1 RC, -3 LG) on the December LSAT. I realized, after taking over 40 past exams and going through all 3 PS bibles, that sadly a lot of my studying can be boiled down to a few lines. So I figure I may as well give back and share them. I am sure others have a similar feelings, so feel free to chip in!

Disclaimer: Please forgive any spelling and grammar mistakes I may make, I have been drinking/celebrating for a while now.

General:
- Others have mentioned it before, but I want to re-iterate that this was the most important lesson of my studying: Out of the 5 answer choices, one is 100% correct and the other four are 100% wrong. If you don't see this, you are doing it wrong. When reviewing, make sure you see this!
- Even if you are a high-scorer whose results can be ruined by skipping only a few questions, GET USED TO SKIPPING QUESTIONS! I never learned this, and if I had looked ahead at game 4 of LG instead of banging my head against the wall on the 3rd game, I would have done even better.
- Never look back: if you are unsure about a question, answer it or skip it, but don't keep thinking about it when you move on to the next one.

LR:
- In the test booklet, I crossed out every single wrong answer choice. It forced me to consider them all and made a huge difference.
- Parallel Reasoning questions suck and are time consuming.

RC:
- This is actually exactly like LR, except the setup of the question is a page long instead of a few sentences. Everything you practice for LR still applies here.
- READ FAST! It's fine to re-consult the passage if you forget something, but taking too long to read it can kill you.
- Unless explicitly stated, don't look past the words on the page for what the author may imply. Once you get past the smoke and mirrors, almost all answers can be found directly in the passage.

LG:
- Be flexible in your diagramming and answering of the questions. For example, some lend themselves to looking for the right answer, others are easier solved by eliminating the wrong.
- No matter how much of a natural knack you have for this section, go through the Powerscore bible. It will give you a steady framework to go back to in cases of panic (saved my life).
- Be aware which variable is the most constrained and which one is the most flexible. Not having to go back to make sure that X can go anywhere saves time, and keeping track of this helps in figuring out which answers to try first in cases where you simply have to try every one of them.

Thank you TLS!

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well-hello-there
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby well-hello-there » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:54 am

Jerkovsky wrote:I am borderline professional lurker on this website, and, after studying since last May, I scored a 178 (-1 LR, -1 RC, -3 LG) on the December LSAT. I realized, after taking over 40 past exams and going through all 3 PS bibles, that sadly a lot of my studying can be boiled down to a few lines. So I figure I may as well give back and share them. I am sure others have a similar feelings, so feel free to chip in!

Disclaimer: Please forgive any spelling and grammar mistakes I may make, I have been drinking/celebrating for a while now.

General:
- Others have mentioned it before, but I want to re-iterate that this was the most important lesson of my studying: Out of the 5 answer choices, one is 100% correct and the other four are 100% wrong. If you don't see this, you are doing it wrong. When reviewing, make sure you see this!
- Even if you are a high-scorer whose results can be ruined by skipping only a few questions, GET USED TO SKIPPING QUESTIONS! I never learned this, and if I had looked ahead at game 4 of LG instead of banging my head against the wall on the 3rd game, I would have done even better.
- Never look back: if you are unsure about a question, answer it or skip it, but don't keep thinking about it when you move on to the next one.

LR:
- In the test booklet, I crossed out every single wrong answer choice. It forced me to consider them all and made a huge difference.
- Parallel Reasoning questions suck and are time consuming.

RC:
- This is actually exactly like LR, except the setup of the question is a page long instead of a few sentences. Everything you practice for LR still applies here.
- READ FAST! It's fine to re-consult the passage if you forget something, but taking too long to read it can kill you.
- Unless explicitly stated, don't look past the words on the page for what the author may imply. Once you get past the smoke and mirrors, almost all answers can be found directly in the passage.

LG:
- Be flexible in your diagramming and answering of the questions. For example, some lend themselves to looking for the right answer, others are easier solved by eliminating the wrong.
- No matter how much of a natural knack you have for this section, go through the Powerscore bible. It will give you a steady framework to go back to in cases of panic (saved my life).
- Be aware which variable is the most constrained and which one is the most flexible. Not having to go back to make sure that X can go anywhere saves time, and keeping track of this helps in figuring out which answers to try first in cases where you simply have to try every one of them.

Thank you TLS!

This is all great advice. Allow me to elaborate on 2 points.

Thinking back about other questions while working on a new question definitely hurts your score. Each question requires absolute focus and thinking back is just as bad as someone talking in your ear about random things while you are trying to focus on the question at hand.

Sometimes, trying to prove one answer choice right on games can take a minute or more while proving the other 4 wrong might take 20 seconds total. Other times, answers A, B and C take 30 seconds each to prove wrong while the correct answer will be D or E and is so obviously right that you know it 2 seconds after reading it. Know when to scan the 5 answer choices for the obvious correct answer.

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

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby fosterp » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:07 am

Practice your test day routine ahead of time and do not change anything at all. If you can take PTs someplace other than home then do so. Take it easy on the liquids the morning of test. Holding in a piss during the third section really sucks.

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vttran9
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 3:30 pm

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby vttran9 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:51 pm

Anxiety is a major factor on test day. Be prepared to deal with it.

I was not nervous the first time I took the LSAT so I did not expect to feel nervous the second time, but I did. Missed 6 on the first section which cost me the 170's.

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well-hello-there
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby well-hello-there » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:57 pm

fosterp wrote:Practice your test day routine ahead of time and do not change anything at all. If you can take PTs someplace other than home then do so. Take it easy on the liquids the morning of test. Holding in a piss during the third section really sucks.

yep, it is extremely distracting and you will be unable to concentrate fully on the questions.

The Truth
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:07 pm

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby The Truth » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:02 pm

Dont be afraid to skip around in LG an RC. I previewed each game/passage before I completed it. Although you may lose a few seconds doing that, its ultimately helpful if you have problems with certain types of games or passages.

(-6 in those sections combined in Dec.)

rachellynne
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:49 am

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby rachellynne » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:55 pm

Jerkovsky wrote:Be aware which variable is the most constrained and which one is the most flexible. Not having to go back to make sure that X can go anywhere saves time, and keeping track of this helps in figuring out which answers to try first in cases where you simply have to try every one of them.


I think remembering to do this would have kept me from having to guess on a couple questions in the LG section. I was really kicking myself when I walked out and realized I had wasted a bunch of time on something I knew how to do better.

bartleby
Posts: 1315
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby bartleby » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:04 pm

LR: Keep telling yourself to "be flexible" - not everything will fit into the cookie cutter LRB designs...

RC: If you aren't doing well on it now, focus your time on LR and LG. I might be an idiot but I read a lot, powered through the Atlas RC Guide, and worked on / reviewed PT7 - PT60 RC sections. -11 this December (when I thought I did the best), -8 last December, -6 in October (when I thought I did the worst). Cancel the subscription to The Economist if you can.

LG: Review PT7 - PT60 LG sections. You already know what kind of questions they will ask (most of the time), so make proper inferences while you can. I don't like skipping around but Dec. scarred me into advocating spending 1 min. looking for the "easiest" game...

I'm actually sad I'm done with the LSAT. I really began to love studying/taking it.

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well-hello-there
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby well-hello-there » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:51 pm

bartleby wrote:I'm actually sad I'm done with the LSAT. I really began to love studying/taking it.

+1

I think i'll have to get a job teaching at a prep company just to feed my LSAT addiction

mala2
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:39 am

Re: Lessons Learned (December 2010)

Postby mala2 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:48 pm

vttran9 wrote:Anxiety is a major factor on test day. Be prepared to deal with it.

I was not nervous the first time I took the LSAT so I did not expect to feel nervous the second time, but I did. Missed 6 on the first section which cost me the 170's.


yeah I think that's true. In Dec I was super sick (flu, cold, gross) and only slept 4 hours, decided to go in the morning and was running late, figured I could always cancel who cares, and I did a little better than OCT




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