What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

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minnbills
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What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby minnbills » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:15 pm

Ok, so I'm disappointed with my progress so far. Not having taken a course, and not knowing anyone personally who's scored high on this test, I wanted to outline my study method and open it for criticism.

Diag (Last march) 159.
Oct. LSAT 162.
PT Avg: 165
Range: 159-172

My usual MO is to either taken 2-3 sections in a row at the library between classes, then finish the last section when I can; or take 2 sections, a 10 minute break, and then finish.

After I take the test, I review the questions I got wrong. I write down why the answer I chose was wrong, and why the right answer is right. Most of the time (90% or so) I can see immediately what I did wrong.

As far as review goes, that's usually the end of it for RC and LR. For LG, I'll always go back at least two more times and re-take the game on a blank piece of paper. Or I'll use a prior photocopy.

I also took the LG bible twice, and stopped about 1/3 of the way through the LR bible, it didn't seem terribly helpful to me.

Before the Oct. LSAT I took about 35 PTs. I suspect that the way I'm revewing isn't very helpful. Going into June, I'm planning on reviewing all my former PTs, taking 2 fresh PTs a week, and drilling older PT sections still available through Cambridge.
Any and all criticism is welcome- thanks.


EDIT: I also don't much problem finishing on time. I usually finish with about 3-5 minutes to spare.

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northwood
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby northwood » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:21 pm

you need to be taking the test in timed test like conditions. that means- do 3 sections in a row- give yourself a break( 10 minutes) then do the last 2 sections. Otherwise, you wont get a decent timed score.( unless i read it wrong and you are doing it correctly- then i apologise)

See what question types trip you up, and take note where they come in during the section. Drill accordingly. if you notice a pattern, do those queestions last( so you have more time).

with your actual october lsat being 3 points lower than your pt range- its not that unusual. a lot of people score lower on the real test than their pt averages.

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ajcollege
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby ajcollege » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:36 pm

You don't list which sections are your problem sections, which makes it difficult to offer anything beyond generic, cross-section advice.

Where are you losing points? Early sections indicate you might want to use a warm-up set of LR questions or LG game or RC passage to get the blood flowing. Late sections indicate that you need to build up your endurance. If you're missing points in a specific section, analyze for commonalities across missed questions, and drill on those commonalities. (Cambridge LSAT offers question packages that target specific types.)

Your usual MO is not the best: other than being in a library, with a similar ambient noise profile to a testing room, it doesn't prep you for an actual test situation. Instead take three sections, then a 10 minute break, then the fourth section, and test with a fifth section after that every now and then for endurance.

Finally, recognize that the LSAT is not a completely "learnable" test. Not everyone scores, or even approaches, a 180. I do not say this in an attempt to belittle you, but rather to point out that the best thing to do may simply be to relax, take a few days off, and focus on doing the best you can without being disappointed at your past year of testing.

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mac35352
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby mac35352 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:41 pm

minnbills wrote:Ok, so I'm disappointed with my progress so far. Not having taken a course, and not knowing anyone personally who's scored high on this test, I wanted to outline my study method and open it for criticism.

Diag (Last march) 159.
Oct. LSAT 162.
PT Avg: 165
Range: 159-172

My usual MO is to either taken 2-3 sections in a row at the library between classes, then finish the last section when I can; or take 2 sections, a 10 minute break, and then finish.

After I take the test, I review the questions I got wrong. I write down why the answer I chose was wrong, and why the right answer is right. Most of the time (90% or so) I can see immediately what I did wrong.

As far as review goes, that's usually the end of it for RC and LR. For LG, I'll always go back at least two more times and re-take the game on a blank piece of paper. Or I'll use a prior photocopy.

I also took the LG bible twice, and stopped about 1/3 of the way through the LR bible, it didn't seem terribly helpful to me.
Before the Oct. LSAT I took about 35 PTs. I suspect that the way I'm revewing isn't very helpful. Going into June, I'm planning on reviewing all my former PTs, taking 2 fresh PTs a week, and drilling older PT sections still available through Cambridge.
Any and all criticism is welcome- thanks.


EDIT: I also don't much problem finishing on time. I usually finish with about 3-5 minutes to spare.

If LR is your weakest section you might need to reinforce basic concepts here. Maybe the LR bible didn't do it for you and you need to look for another method. I think the LR Bible is helpful but not enough. I haven't found other alternative yet but some people recommend the Manhattan LSAT or Atlas LR book?
Also, if you are finishing with time to spare you might need to read a little more carefully and spend those extra minutes in questions you are missing because you were not reading closely enough.

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minnbills
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby minnbills » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:24 pm

You don't list which sections are your problem sections, which makes it difficult to offer anything beyond generic, cross-section advice.

Where are you losing points? Early sections indicate you might want to use a warm-up set of LR questions or LG game or RC passage to get the blood flowing. Late sections indicate that you need to build up your endurance. If you're missing points in a specific section, analyze for commonalities across missed questions, and drill on those commonalities. (Cambridge LSAT offers question packages that target specific types.)

Your usual MO is not the best: other than being in a library, with a similar ambient noise profile to a testing room, it doesn't prep you for an actual test situation. Instead take three sections, then a 10 minute break, then the fourth section, and test with a fifth section after that every now and then for endurance.

Finally, recognize that the LSAT is not a completely "learnable" test. Not everyone scores, or even approaches, a 180. I do not say this in an attempt to belittle you, but rather to point out that the best thing to do may simply be to relax, take a few days off, and focus on doing the best you can without being disappointed at your past year of testing.


No offense taken, I'm fully aware of this.

A typical breakdown is very even. My most recent PT went like this:

LG -4
LR -5
RC -4
LR -5

This is a pretty ordinary PT. There's some variation of course, particularly with the LG. I can go from -1 on a PT to -10 on the next. But more often than not, it's right around a -4. What annoys me with my PTing are the recurring, simple mistakes I make in LR. On any given test, there are only 1-2 LR questions that are truly difficult enough that I'm hardpressed to get them right; or at least that's how I feel after review. I've tried going back over all my PTs and tracking which types of questions I miss, and they're evenly distributed. This is why it's frustrating- there's no quick fix.

On occasion, I'll get a -1/-2 on the LG and then drive down my LR and RC a bit, that's when I peak scorewise. My goal is to have a day like this come the June test.

On the Oct. Test I had a lot of anxiety the night before, and didn't sleep much. By the third section, I was fighting off sleep. I went -9 on that one. I had two bad PTs the week before, and I psyched myself out, which was probably the culprit.

BrianOz1
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby BrianOz1 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:42 pm

Your LG should be a lot more consistent. Aside from that I agree that being comfortable on test day can add a few points to your score.

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mottainai
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 12:17 am

Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby mottainai » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:09 pm

It looks like the problem might be that you are not identifying the specific types of questions and games that you are missing. Doing practice tests is a good thing, but if you don't figure out your weaknesses I doubt you'll improve.

If your LG is not consistent, then there are probably certain game types that are throwing you off. Figure out which types of games are giving you difficulty, and drill those multiple times (individually). There ought to be some game types that are taking you longer to complete, or that don't register automatically. Drill these multiple times, then start back on the tests.

Also, try identifying which type of LR problems you are missing, and go through the types that are giving you trouble. Review the ones you miss, and see if you can find a pattern. After doing a bunch of the same type of problem in a row, you should start to pick up on where you are making the errors in reasoning.

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OnlyLivingBoyinNY
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby OnlyLivingBoyinNY » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:05 pm

BrianOz1 wrote:It looks like the problem might be that you are not identifying the specific types of questions and games that you are missing.


+1. LG is a section where you should be able to know with certainty whether you missed questions or not. If you can't do this, than you aren't familiar enough with what you are looking at in the sections.

SanDiegoJake
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby SanDiegoJake » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:40 pm

It's one thing to analyze your results, but what you need to be doing is turning your mistakes into learning points. Follow up each analysis with a short list of 3-5 Action Items - things to remember for next time.

If you truly recognize your error 90% of the time, and you truly have 3-5 minutes to spare at the end of the section, then I'd recommend the following:
1) Understand that 5 minutes is almost 15% of the alotted time. Use it.
2) How? During the test, put a star next to questions that either seemed "very difficult", "very easy" or "just plain weird" as you are taking the test. Then use those 5 minutes to go back to those starred items and put your action items into effect BEFORE you make the same mistakes again.

In fact, in your post-test analysis, categorize your misses by these criteria. For example, if you only make mistakes on the ones you did very quickly and called "very easy", then only star those items during the test and spend your extra time proofing those.

That's my two cents. Best of luck to you!

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mottainai
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby mottainai » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:39 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:It's one thing to analyze your results, but what you need to be doing is turning your mistakes into learning points. Follow up each analysis with a short list of 3-5 Action Items - things to remember for next time.

If you truly recognize your error 90% of the time, and you truly have 3-5 minutes to spare at the end of the section, then I'd recommend the following:
1) Understand that 5 minutes is almost 15% of the alotted time. Use it.
2) How? During the test, put a star next to questions that either seemed "very difficult", "very easy" or "just plain weird" as you are taking the test. Then use those 5 minutes to go back to those starred items and put your action items into effect BEFORE you make the same mistakes again.

In fact, in your post-test analysis, categorize your misses by these criteria. For example, if you only make mistakes on the ones you did very quickly and called "very easy", then only star those items during the test and spend your extra time proofing those.

That's my two cents. Best of luck to you!


I would add that you should mark any question you feel unsure about on practice tests. If you're doing it right, you should feel confident about every answer you get right, so the number of marks should not be overwhelming. If you find yourself unsure about over a quarter of the problems, it's likely you haven't mastered a particular concept and you need more practice to make the process more automatic.

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minnbills
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby minnbills » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:42 pm

Appreciate it guys- I'm taking a PT tomorrow afternoon, I'll post an update after that.

liro4310
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Re: What am I doing wrong? (habits, practice etc.)

Postby liro4310 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:00 pm

I personally think that figuring out what techniques work best for you, through trial and error, is half of the battle. I found that i was getting really inconsistent scores on the LR and a friend who scored very high had this suggestion: make a spreadsheet after every single timed section you take. For every single question, right or wrong, put what type of question it was, correct or incorrect. For the correct ones, jot down a sentence describing why it was right. For the incorrect, summarize why you thought the answer was right, what was wrong that you didn't see, and why the correct answer is correct. After every 5 or so, go back and go over the problems. Spend time comparing your mistakes and note similarities. Read over your correct answers and see if any of them are right for similar reasons, and note why you got one right and another wrong. Its not a fun way to study, and its not particularly exciting, but it has made me 100% more confident in a section that used to be a nightmare. I had previously taken about 13 practice tests and barely went up 5 points. After using this method on just 4 practice tests, adding an extra LR for my 5th section, i shot up 10 more solid points. What works for some people may not work for others, but once you find what works it just starts making sense.




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