Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

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Ocean64
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Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby Ocean64 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:25 pm

this is my first time posting here and I'm hoping you guys can help me with some questions I have. I've been prepping for at least 4 months now, I've done the Powerscore LR and LG bibles a couple times each, and I believe I have a good grasp on the material, my untimed preptests are 170+, however, my problem is with timing where I've taken 2 preptests the past couple of weeks and I'm ending up with about 150, I feel like even though I understand games well i tend to take too long on them, something like 12-13 minutes each, I'm also struggling with RC where i get crushed by the time not even getting to last passage. I even don't finish LR, leaving 5-7 questions. My questions are:

1) How long does it usually take to optimize timing? because i wish to know if i'll be able to achieve that before the June test
2) Should i dedicate certain days to specific sections where i perfect each section before i embark on taking full-length tests? or should i just try to attack all 3 sections everyday with a preptest? (given that i only have less than 6 weeks till June test)
3) Do you guys recommend reading the stimulus or the question stem first? i know it's a debate, but any opinions are appreciated!
4) Finally, How big of an advantage is it to take the lsat in June and apply early and how many points increase would justify taking it in October instead?

If some of you guys can answer just one or 2 of my questions I'd be very thankful!

skippyn8
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby skippyn8 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:03 pm

Take it in June.

I practiced in the 160's but ended up in the low 150's. Only took the October test. I did not practice as much as I should have or planned on during the summer. I applied late (December-February) to most of my schools.

The earlier you take the test the earlier you know how you did and the earlier you know where you stand as far as acceptance, school range, and scholarship possibilities. Applying late can cost you $100K in possible scholarships.

In my situation a few weeks of extra study would not have done much maybe improved score a few points.

Take it in June. If nothing else you will know where you stand and will still have the ability to take it in October or December again. Taking it in June and getting 160's with a good gpa can get you scholarships at some schools if you apply early.

It depends on the type of school you want to get into and why you are going to law school.

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Ocean64
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby Ocean64 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:08 pm

thank you for the reply skippy, you raise a very important point...money is an issue for me, any scholarships would make a big difference!

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incompetentia
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby incompetentia » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:22 pm

Ocean64 wrote:this is my first time posting here and I'm hoping you guys can help me with some questions I have. I've been prepping for at least 4 months now, I've done the Powerscore LR and LG bibles a couple times each, and I believe I have a good grasp on the material, my untimed preptests are 170+, however, my problem is with timing where I've taken 2 preptests the past couple of weeks and I'm ending up with about 150, I feel like even though I understand games well i tend to take too long on them, something like 12-13 minutes each, I'm also struggling with RC where i get crushed by the time not even getting to last passage. I even don't finish LR, leaving 5-7 questions.


Before we get to your questions, it sounds like you can answer the questions correctly, but simply need to work on speed. This is much MUCH better position than many people are working with. It seems like you're not taking, say, 70 minutes on each untimed section, so ramping down may not be as difficult as you think.

1) How long does it usually take to optimize timing? because i wish to know if i'll be able to achieve that before the June test

You should be able to get to the point where you can confidently score upwards of 165, if we can find the root of this issue with time.
2) Should i dedicate certain days to specific sections where i perfect each section before i embark on taking full-length tests? or should i just try to attack all 3 sections everyday with a preptest? (given that i only have less than 6 weeks till June test)

I would recommend finding the amount of time you're comfortable with for each section, and starting there, ramp down the amount of time until you get under 35.

However, some questions that I'd ask before you figure out how much time you need:
a) How long do you take for reading the passage in RC? What pattern do you normally follow?
b) How long do you take to diagram the game and make inferences? How do you diagram?
c) Which LR questions take up the most time, or do they all take roughly 90-120 seconds?

I have my own methods, as everybody should, but there are sometimes things like these that form major time sinks within a section and can be very easily corrected.

4) Finally, How big of an advantage is it to take the lsat in June and apply early and how many points increase would justify taking it in October instead?

I took the test in October, and based on the way that peoples' cycles went, I'd qualify my applications (submitted in October so that I could go complete right when test scores were released at the end of the month) as being sufficiently early to not differentiate them significantly from the September 1 applications. Depending on where you're aiming, most places take the highest LSAT score rather than an average, so you could always register to take both and hope for a bump of a few points in October.

For what it's worth, the schools where I was accepted did not send out any financial aid offers until after their applications had been closed. Do your research if you're worried about those sorts of things.

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Ocean64
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby Ocean64 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:16 pm

However, some questions that I'd ask before you figure out how much time you need:
a) How long do you take for reading the passage in RC? What pattern do you normally follow?
b) How long do you take to diagram the game and make inferences? How do you diagram?
c) Which LR questions take up the most time, or do they all take roughly 90-120 seconds?



thanks for your response incomp, to answer your questions:
a) it takes me between 4-5.5 minutes to read an RC passage well and take notes on margins of ideas that i think are important, then it takes me about a minute per question, so an RC passage takes about 12-13 minutes and usually theres a question that i'm not sure about and sometimes it comes out wrong in fact.

b) diagramming a game takes me about 3-4 minutes with all the rules for the main diagram, and everytime i get a local "if" question, i make a skeletal diagram next to that question and work it out. I diagram relatively efficiently and my method is closest to powerscore, as opposed to kaplan. however i do tend to make deductions in the middle of the game sometimes and create more rules as i move along and as the questions i do clarify additional things for me that were not originally clear. depending on the game type, a question could take anywhere between 10 seconds and 1.5 min. (depending on difficulty). my slowest game type is hybrids, and ones that have too large of a diagram to be repeated quickly next to local questions. some games flow with ease, but lately i've been getting stumped by games in preptests like 25 and 26. idk if its just me or maybe 1998 was in fact a tough year lol. i can do them, but it takes too long.

c) theres no particular type of LR that i take longest on, but i think the longer the stimulus, the longer it takes me, so parallel questions in the teens and 20's would take really long, in addition to ones with 2 speakers. some weird and unusual questions gave me hard time in earlier preptests, but i think those are phazed out in the new tests, since some of those don't even fall under a catagory in the LR bible...to my knowledge at least. It takes anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to do a question, and if i dont get it i just move on (when timed). my pace seems to be slow and i get the urge to stop the timer and to destroy a question that bothers me, but i force myself not to and i move on, and also rushing through the questions forces me to make carless mistakes, and when i'm calm and composed i can easily eliminate all wrong answers for that same questions. time has an unnerving effect on me for the time being, but maybe that's because i haven't practiced all that much with it.

i know i can improve my time, i just hope it can be done before june. I'm able to study up to 8 hours a day or even more, so perhaps i'll manage that. I will try the method of starting with more time and bringing myself down to 35, hopefully i'll be able to report improvements soon.

i hope i answered your questions incomp and thank you for the feedback, its much appreciated!!

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incompetentia
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby incompetentia » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:52 pm

Ocean64 wrote:
thanks for your response incomp, to answer your questions:
a) it takes me between 4-5.5 minutes to read an RC passage well and take notes on margins of ideas that i think are important, then it takes me about a minute per question, so an RC passage takes about 12-13 minutes and usually theres a question that i'm not sure about and sometimes it comes out wrong in fact.

I'd say that you're spending much too long reading the question. Remember that you have 8.5-9 minutes per passage, and you're spending half of that time reading, you need to cut down on your reading time. How much of your notes do you end up using? (Also, just a shot in the dark, is it possible that the main-point questions are tripping you up? You may be taking in a LOT of details.)

This doesn't work for everybody, but I spent 60 seconds skimming the article, banged out the main-point questions, and then referenced back for each question. This gives you your 1 minute per question, and although there may be extra reading involved, it may get you closer to that 35-minute mark.
b) diagramming a game takes me about 3-4 minutes with all the rules for the main diagram, and everytime i get a local "if" question, i make a skeletal diagram next to that question and work it out. I diagram relatively efficiently and my method is closest to powerscore, as opposed to kaplan. however i do tend to make deductions in the middle of the game sometimes and create more rules as i move along and as the questions i do clarify additional things for me that were not originally clear. depending on the game type, a question could take anywhere between 10 seconds and 1.5 min. (depending on difficulty). my slowest game type is hybrids, and ones that have too large of a diagram to be repeated quickly next to local questions. some games flow with ease, but lately i've been getting stumped by games in preptests like 25 and 26. idk if its just me or maybe 1998 was in fact a tough year lol. i can do them, but it takes too long.

Again, I feel that this is a bit too long for the diagram. With once again 8.5-9 minutes per game, I'd say that at the very most diagramming should be 150 seconds. If you don't have time to make hypothetical diagrams, start with the basics and work from there. A lot of the inferences should come up anyway through the course of answering questions, as you seem to be finding.
c) theres no particular type of LR that i take longest on, but i think the longer the stimulus, the longer it takes me, so parallel questions in the teens and 20's would take really long, in addition to ones with 2 speakers. some weird and unusual questions gave me hard time in earlier preptests, but i think those are phazed out in the new tests, since some of those don't even fall under a catagory in the LR bible...to my knowledge at least. It takes anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to do a question, and if i dont get it i just move on (when timed). my pace seems to be slow and i get the urge to stop the timer and to destroy a question that bothers me, but i force myself not to and i move on, and also rushing through the questions forces me to make carless mistakes, and when i'm calm and composed i can easily eliminate all wrong answers for that same questions. time has an unnerving effect on me for the time being, but maybe that's because i haven't practiced all that much with it.

LR you seem to be having less problems with - I'd just stick to the reasonable-time rule here (say, 150 seconds or more with a question, move on and come back to it at the end). If you practice more with time, you should start to get quicker with the easier ones, freeing up more time.

i know i can improve my time, i just hope it can be done before june. I'm able to study up to 8 hours a day or even more, so perhaps i'll manage that. I will try the method of starting with more time and bringing myself down to 35, hopefully i'll be able to report improvements soon.

Do NOT study that much each day. You need enough time away from the test to not burn yourself out with excessive abstraction.
Some people can handle it better than others, but no matter how much you manage to take, I would always recommend at least 2 days off/week + at least 12 days off/month.

It sounds like you're not having too much trouble untimed, so at this point, I think there is no reason to do anything but timed PTs and timed sections/drills.

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Ocean64
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby Ocean64 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:12 am

thanks! i will work on the tips you gave me. i also was wondering if i should time myself per game and per passage first and then work my way up to full section. you think that will help me to get faster quicker? or should i stick to section by section?

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incompetentia
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby incompetentia » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:23 am

Making note of game times is useful, but I think psychologically a full section doesn't compare to 4 games/passages. I'd say start with the full sections as minimum chunks, and then drill individual games/passages once you fully know where you stand.

goatness
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby goatness » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:35 pm

I am having the same issues as you, and what I have been trying to work on is changing my mindset.

Rather than thinking "I really want to get each question right", I think "Just score points."

If I spend more than 60 seconds on a question in LR/RC, I make a quick guess, mark it, and move on. This will allow me (hopefully) time to go back and check it. Even if I run out of time and can't go back and check it, at least I went with my gut instinct which usually is right (as long as you read carefully).

Force yourself to read the stimulus only once in LR, so you don't get stuck on details.

JUST SCORE POINTS!

hurldes
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby hurldes » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:50 pm

here's what i suggest on the LG: somebody else on tls suggested this so it's not my idea, but make three copies of your logic games section. Do the first game in a section timed and try to get it done in 8-9 mins. Then go back over it and see what you did wrong or where you lost time. Then do it again, timed... i bet it'll only take you 4-5 mins the second time around. Do that for each game in a section. Then wait one or two days, and take the whole section over again (for the third time). Even though you'll know what the questions are, your brain will be conditioning itself to do the proper setup, make the proper inferences, etc. It's like muscle memory. You learn through repetition, and you'll gain confidence when you can breeze through a whole LG section in 20 mins.

For the LR... i always tried to answer the first 10 questions in the first 10 minutes. I never read the question stem first.

And the the RC... i dunno. I would say to spend as much time as you are now (4-5 mins) reading the passage, but then spend less time on the questions. If you understand the passage some questions can be answered in like 10 seconds.

Good luck!

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Ocean64
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Re: Question on Timing and other issues...please help!

Postby Ocean64 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:16 am

thank you, i do agree that repetition is key for games, i will try the method...they say three is a charm, practice that is, hopefully i wont have to take the real deal three times to score well lol.




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