Studying To A 180

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VictrixRapax
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Studying To A 180

Postby VictrixRapax » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:20 pm

Is it possible? Or do you guys think scoring that high is just natural talent?


SupraVln180
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby SupraVln180 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:34 pm

I think anyone can essentially really learn the test, it is a long uphill battle though and some people may take longer than others. However, actually getting a 180 is alot of luck. You have to consistently be a 175+ scorer and have the chips fall your way on test day.

That being said, some people would need years of training their mind to get to that point. Some people need a week. Both ends of the spectrum are extreme, but I feel like the LSAT is learnable and although a 180 has alot to do with luck, I think it is possible for everyone.

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EarlCat
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby EarlCat » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:42 am

SupraVln180 wrote:actually getting a 180 is alot of luck. You have to consistently be a 175+ scorer and have the chips fall your way on test day.


What chips? It's a friggin standardized test, not poker. There's no luck to it unless you're random guessing your way to a 180.

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:46 am

EarlCat wrote:
SupraVln180 wrote:actually getting a 180 is alot of luck. You have to consistently be a 175+ scorer and have the chips fall your way on test day.


What chips? It's a friggin standardized test, not poker. There's no luck to it unless you're random guessing your way to a 180.

Well, luck is involved in the sense that you could get RC passages on topics you know, or they could be topics you hate. For me, familiarity with the RC topics always played a significant role in my score. I suppose that same principle could apply to games or arguments. Ideally, you'd be so good that it wouldn't matter, but I suspect few people reach that point.

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suspicious android
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby suspicious android » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:05 am

EarlCat wrote:What chips? It's a friggin standardized test, not poker. There's no luck to it unless you're random guessing your way to a 180.


Sure there is. Everyone has something that they are better or worse at. I think there's definitely an element of luck in scoring at the top of your range. Some people may be so awesome that they don't need to rely on luck, but for the rest of us, we hope for material that fits our strengths.

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EarlCat
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby EarlCat » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:38 am

I would agree if taking the LSAT involved randomly selecting the content. But each administration of the LSAT is a fixed challenge.* Absent random guessing, the fact that person A got a 180 on a particular administration of the LSAT when person B did not is not because person A is luckier than person B. If person A is already familiar with sea turtles and multi-tiered in/out games, he's better prepared.



*maybe you could argue that the order of sections and the content of the experimental section might affect someone's performance.

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:52 am

EarlCat wrote:I would agree if taking the LSAT involved randomly selecting the content. But each administration of the LSAT is a fixed challenge.* Absent random guessing, the fact that person A got a 180 on a particular administration of the LSAT when person B did not is not because person A is luckier than person B. If person A is already familiar with sea turtles and multi-tiered in/out games, he's better prepared.



*maybe you could argue that the order of sections and the content of the experimental section might affect someone's performance.

The content is not randomly selected, but it might as well be as far as the test taker is concerned. Your argument is akin to saying, "There's no luck in heads-up blackjack because the order of the deck is determined before the cards are dealt." So what? You still don't know what's coming next. It would be impossible to familiarize yourself with every single potential RC topic.

Perhaps we're using different definitions of luck. I wouldn't say that luck is a quality of an individual. People are not inherently lucky. However, events can happen that are fortuitous for some people and not for others. For example, I have been a jazz musician for about 20 years. There is an old RC passage about jazz history and the musical innovations of the beboppers. I've read so much about that topic that when I encountered it during a PT, I was able to answer the questions without even reading the passage (I kind of skimmed it, but I was already familiar with all the ideas). I completed all the questions with 100% accuracy in about 2.5 minutes. If that passage had showed up on my actual administration, it would have been extremely fortuitous for me. It doesn't matter that it was a fixed test. Would you say that I was better prepared for the LSAT because I played jazz for 20 years? That seems like a stretch to me, especially since I could not hope to retain the same advantage on the next test.

Don't get me wrong; the score isn't entirely random, and I do believe it correlates roughly with certain skills. But there is a margin for error, and while that margin is probably small on average, it could be significant in individual cases.

Also, do you remember the Chinese talk stories RC passage? I had a Chinese student in my class right before that administration. She had majored in literature and was familiar with the Chinese talk stories. She did very well on that passage despite the difficulty that others reported. You don't think that was a bit lucky?

IvanFK
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby IvanFK » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:58 am

there are also other luck factors impacting your LSAT score that has nothing to do with the test taker's potential.
He/she could wake up in the morning feeling sick. Maybe the neighbors decided to party loud til 4am the night before. Maybe the person taking the test next to you smells really bad or doing something else to distract you the whole time. The room you're taking the test in is really hot.

If two people, A and B, were both averaging 178 with the same study methods and all, and A got a 180 and B got a 176, it's most likely that A got a lil more lucky on the test day than B.

OP, you could definitely study the LSAT to death and bring you range up to that level, but after a certain point, I think you should make peace with that you may never get a 180 no matter how much you studied for it. HTH

bp colin
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby bp colin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:02 am

EarlCat wrote:*maybe you could argue that the order of sections and the content of the experimental section might affect someone's performance.


I think this is definitely a factor. Getting experimental RC in section 1 and then real RC in section 2 is something that nobody should have to go through.

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EarlCat
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby EarlCat » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:31 am

JazzOne wrote:The content is not randomly selected, but it might as well be as far as the test taker is concerned. Your argument is akin to saying, "There's no luck in heads-up blackjack because the order of the deck is determined before the cards are dealt." So what? You still don't know what's coming next. It would be impossible to familiarize yourself with every single potential RC topic.

I think a better analogy is an opponent's opening in chess, which you also didn't know was coming, but is still not a matter of random chance like playing cards--as with the selection of LSAT questions, a human actor deliberately chooses that action as part of the challenge he is presenting you. Also, blackjack cards have an inherently and objectively good or bad effect on the outcome of a hand. On the other hand, the effect of a chess opening (as with the effect of certain logic games) is largely determined by the player's (or test taker's) preparedness for and reaction to them. I wouldn't consider winning a chess match to be a matter of luck, even though it might be beneficial that you had previously studied the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

IvanFK wrote:there are also other luck factors impacting your LSAT score that has nothing to do with the test taker's potential.
He/she could wake up in the morning feeling sick. Maybe the neighbors decided to party loud til 4am the night before. Maybe the person taking the test next to you smells really bad or doing something else to distract you the whole time. The room you're taking the test in is really hot.

By that logic, my making this post was a matter of luck because my computer didn't catch fire. In fact, every human achievement would be a matter of luck by virtue of the fact that the earth (luckily) wasn't destroyed by a meteor right beforehand. Such a broad view of luck renders it useless to describe anything.
Last edited by EarlCat on Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

deathviaboredom
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby deathviaboredom » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:37 am

..
Last edited by deathviaboredom on Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dooood
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby dooood » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:41 am

SupraVln180 wrote:I think anyone can essentially really learn the test, it is a long uphill battle though and some people may take longer than others. However, actually getting a 180 is alot of luck. You have to consistently be a 175+ scorer and have the chips fall your way on test day.

That being said, some people would need years of training their mind to get to that point. Some people need a week. Both ends of the spectrum are extreme, but I feel like the LSAT is learnable and although a 180 has alot to do with luck, I think it is possible for everyone.


haha no

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EarlCat
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby EarlCat » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:46 am

deathviaboredom wrote:Nah. I think everything has a bit of luck in it. Like, let's say your computer did catch fire. That would be a pretty bad turn of luck, wouldn't it?


Colloquially, yes. But that doesn't answer the problem that everything then becomes "luck," and "luck" ceases to have any descriptive meaning.

It certainly wouldn't be premeditated or controllable? It's kind of the way that I view 3.9s and 4.0s of the same major and same courseload in the same light: how easy/hard the prof is can totally be a factor, and both 4.0s and 3.9s are high achievers who might be very bright. But I know some 3.9s that are brilliant and are smarter than 4.0s. Luck. Other factors.


But that's the point of the LSAT being a standardized test. If one professor is objectively harsher in his grades than another (assuming the selection of professor wasn't up to the student) that would be luck in the vein of drawing a better blackjack card. But unlike differences in grading within a major, single administrations of the LSAT are, for all practical purposes, exactly the same.

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suspicious android
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby suspicious android » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:56 am

EarlCat wrote:But that's the point of the LSAT being a standardized test. If one professor is objectively harsher in his grades than another (assuming the selection of professor wasn't up to the student) that would be luck in the vein of drawing a better blackjack card. But unlike differences in grading within a major, single administrations of the LSAT are, for all practical purposes, exactly the same.


Yet people's scores vary widely from test to test. There's a scoring band, so even the test makers don't think 1-2 point differences are attributable to skill. You're holding to a peculiar definition of luck here.

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Adjudicator
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby Adjudicator » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:57 am

Personally I feel that almost everyone experiences slight variability within a certain range. I hit 180 a couple of times on PTs while I was averaging 177, just like I hit 174 a couple of times. If you are scoring in the 99th percentile consistently, then sooner or later you are likely to get a 180.

Show me someone who can consistently score 180 after 180, and I'll show you someone who is clearly more smart than I am. (And I know these people exist.)

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:13 pm

EarlCat wrote:
JazzOne wrote:The content is not randomly selected, but it might as well be as far as the test taker is concerned. Your argument is akin to saying, "There's no luck in heads-up blackjack because the order of the deck is determined before the cards are dealt." So what? You still don't know what's coming next. It would be impossible to familiarize yourself with every single potential RC topic.

I think a better analogy is an opponent's opening in chess, which you also didn't know was coming, but is still not a matter of random chance like playing cards--as with the selection of LSAT questions, a human actor deliberately chooses that action as part of the challenge he is presenting you. Also, blackjack cards have an inherently and objectively good or bad effect on the outcome of a hand. On the other hand, the effect of a chess opening (as with the effect of certain logic games) is largely determined by the player's (or test taker's) preparedness for and reaction to them. I wouldn't consider winning a chess match to be a matter of luck, even though it might be beneficial that you had previously studied the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

OK, let's go with the chess analogy. I surely think the opening my opponent chooses is a matter of luck. Suppose you and I were scheduled to play a game in one week. I have the opportunity to study in depth five openings before we play. I have never played you before, so I might study the five most popular openings, but it would be purely a matter of luck if you chose to play one of the openings I studied. That doesn't mean the outcome of the game is preordained. However, it can be influenced by things that are not in my control. I'll define that as luck, and I think it's perfectly analogous to the LSAT. Your score can depend on factors beyond your control. If that were not true, you'd expect someone to get the exact same score test after test (assuming the person tries his hardest every time). But you don't see that. People sometimes score well below (or above) their average without any deviation in their effort.

EarlCat wrote:
IvanFK wrote:there are also other luck factors impacting your LSAT score that has nothing to do with the test taker's potential.
He/she could wake up in the morning feeling sick. Maybe the neighbors decided to party loud til 4am the night before. Maybe the person taking the test next to you smells really bad or doing something else to distract you the whole time. The room you're taking the test in is really hot.

By that logic, my making this post was a matter of luck because my computer didn't catch fire. In fact, every human achievement would be a matter of luck by virtue of the fact that the earth (luckily) wasn't destroyed by a meteor right beforehand. Such a broad view of luck renders it useless to describe anything.

I don't think this definition renders the term useless because there are still degrees of probability. Is it lucky that your computer didn't catch fire? Not really because computers don't typically catch on fire. On the other hand, if it did catch on fire, it would be incredibly unlucky (assuming you did nothing overt to cause it) because it happens so infrequently. So, yes, every human action is affected by luck, but to greater or lesser degrees, and when we say, "that was lucky," what we really mean is that something unlikely happened that was beyond our control and was fortuitous for us. Most of the time, the LSAT topics will have the same level of obscurity to a particular test taker. But once in a while, a particular test will contain a topic/game/argument/whatever that is more or less obscure to the test taker than usual. Those rare events will be lucky or unlucky, and they will have a tangible effect on that student's score. The standardization of the test just means those effects will average out. One chap gets lucky, while another gets unlucky. The standardization of the exam doesn't change that. Because it's rare for a passage to correspond perfectly to an area of my expertise, I would say that's incredibly lucky.

Just because something is ubiquitous does not mean that it has no meaning. However, I take your point that we normally don't think of deliberate acts as luck. But to the extent that the acts of others occur outside our knowledge and control, I don't see why it's logically inconsistent to think of those decisions as lucky or unlucky for us.

Edited multiple times for grammar.
Last edited by JazzOne on Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:14 pm

Adjudicator wrote:Personally I feel that almost everyone experiences slight variability within a certain range. I hit 180 a couple of times on PTs while I was averaging 177, just like I hit 174 a couple of times. If you are scoring in the 99th percentile consistently, then sooner or later you are likely to get a 180.

Show me someone who can consistently score 180 after 180, and I'll show you someone who is clearly more smart than I am. (And I know these people exist.)

I think your point is valid. Even Robin Singh doesn't get a 180 every single time. He's got a few 179s and 178s sprinkled in there.

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:22 pm

Just for reference, I thought I'd post this:

Merriam-Webster wrote:luck noun \ˈlək\
a : a force that brings good fortune or adversity
b : the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

That corresponds perfectly to my description. Luck is a very general concept, and I think EarlCat's definition is more restrictive than the way the term is ordinarily used.

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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby tomwatts » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:42 pm

Is it possible to study to a 180? Yes. Is it possible to study to a consistent 180? Probably not. There's a reason for the score bands: even LSAC acknowledges that luck plays a small role.

But does it make a difference in apps (which is why we're doing this, right?)? No. A 180 and a 178 are still both above everyone's 75th percentile LSAT score. Those two scores will perform identically in the admission process. And it is possible to be a consistent high 170's/180 person, even if it's probably not possible always to nail the 180.

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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby PhiloLogicGames » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:12 pm

I won't normally cite Malcom Gladwell or Radiolab's reasoning as something to abide by,but their discussion on "natural talent" was pretty damn good.

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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby fosterp » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:46 pm

I think the luck part OP was referring to was the fact that nobody gets the exact same score from test to test and everyone has a band of variation. Even lsac acknowledges this with their "score band." What factor determines whether you score in the high part versus low part of that band? Maybe environment conditions, maybe how well rested we were, maybe the kinds of questions on the test, etc....I would say you could sum that all up with luck. You might say the test is designed to have the same composition of questions across administrations but the fact is no two tests are the same and people are going to miss problems that they "should" have gotten as well as the opposite. I'm sure everyone here has been stumped on a 5 level parallel reasoning, and I'm sure everyone has probably gotten a 5 level parallel reasoning without a sweat. So how do you explain this difference? They are supposed to be the same question type, of same difficulty, yet sometimes you get it and sometimes you dont.

I'm sure there exists someone out there that can do a perfect score every time, but I don't think this is the type of person we are talking about in this tread.

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:26 pm

fosterp wrote:I think the luck part OP was referring to was the fact that nobody gets the exact same score from test to test and everyone has a band of variation. Even lsac acknowledges this with their "score band." What factor determines whether you score in the high part versus low part of that band? Maybe environment conditions, maybe how well rested we were, maybe the kinds of questions on the test, etc....I would say you could sum that all up with luck. You might say the test is designed to have the same composition of questions across administrations but the fact is no two tests are the same and people are going to miss problems that they "should" have gotten as well as the opposite. I'm sure everyone here has been stumped on a 5 level parallel reasoning, and I'm sure everyone has probably gotten a 5 level parallel reasoning without a sweat. So how do you explain this difference? They are supposed to be the same question type, of same difficulty, yet sometimes you get it and sometimes you dont.

I'm sure there exists someone out there that can do a perfect score every time, but I don't think this is the type of person we are talking about in this tread.

People keep mentioning the score band. I agree that the score band is evidence of the luck factor. However, I believe the luck factor is even greater than the score band. The score band represents the average deviation in scores that a particular individual might be expected to see. But as I've argued above, the results of one particular test can deviate substantially more than the average deviation. A series of unfamiliar themes could render the test much more difficult for me, even though experimentally it was no more difficult than any other.

I am starting to agree more and more with a poster in another thread who suggested that all LS applicants should be required to take the LSAT three times. That would eliminate the luck factor a little more than the present arrangement.

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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby EarlCat » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:27 pm

I don't think the score band is an indication of luck. The test supposedly is a measure of a test-taker's proficiency in a number of areas which allegedly predicts success in one's first year of law school. The bands result from the inexactness of the test in measuring those proficiencies from test to test.

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JazzOne
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Re: Studying To A 180

Postby JazzOne » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:55 pm

EarlCat wrote:I don't think the score band is an indication of luck. The test supposedly is a measure of a test-taker's proficiency in a number of areas which allegedly predicts success in one's first year of law school. The bands result from the inexactness of the test in measuring those proficiencies from test to test.

I'm honestly shocked that you would even argue this point. If there is no luck involved, why would a person's score fluctuate up and down if he puts equal effort every time? You cannot become less prepared overnight. If you're unwilling to accept the dictionary definition of luck, how would you define it? If you accidentally found a buried treasure, would you claim that it wasn't luck since someone deliberately put it there?




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