When you say your diagnostic score...

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bernaldiaz
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When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:49 pm

...how much preparation did you put in before you took your first one? Are these numbers from you sitting and taking it cold? Just wondering because I don't want to take my first one entirely cold and be discouraged if it is really low. Seems a little petty and I could obviously cure this by just hitting the books, but I am genuinely curious.

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incompetentia
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby incompetentia » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:00 pm

Diagnostics usually mean cold. (Sometimes the term 'cold diag' is used to emphasize this point.)


I would strongly recommend against just 'hitting the books', since you would have no idea what your strengths and weaknesses are to start. Take your cold diag, study intelligently, and expect that you will be able to improve at LEAST ten points, potentially more.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:32 pm

incompetentia wrote:Diagnostics usually mean cold. (Sometimes the term 'cold diag' is used to emphasize this point.)


I would strongly recommend against just 'hitting the books', since you would have no idea what your strengths and weaknesses are to start. Take your cold diag, study intelligently, and expect that you will be able to improve at LEAST ten points, potentially more.


Thanks. Is this the same for other users?

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby BlakcMajikc » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:34 pm

incompetentia wrote:Diagnostics usually mean cold. (Sometimes the term 'cold diag' is used to emphasize this point.)


yep
+1

tomwatts
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby tomwatts » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:39 am

I glanced through a description of the test, format, and timing. That was about it.

The importance of a pure cold diag can be overstated. However, the importance of regular, realistically timed tests cannot be. Even if you do some studying before you take a full-length practice test, you've got to take a test soon.

Oh, and the score doesn't matter as much as the reasons for the score. This can be breakdowns by subject (what percent right on games? what about RC?) as well as timing (how many wrong because of not getting to them? how many wrong because of just plain missing them, even though you got to them?) and a variety of other things.

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lakers3peat
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby lakers3peat » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:28 am

I disagree with people who think you should take a diagnostic "cold." I don't think you should study for a month then take a test and call it your original score/starting point, but I would highly recommend becoming vaguely familiar with what the test is made up of. When I took my first "diagnostic," through testmasters, I had gone through about half of a princeton review "Acing the lsat". Truthfully, I retained very little from the book and it certainly didn't help me score much higher on my diagnostic but at least when I was sitting down to take the test, I had a vague understanding of what I was going to be tested on. On a side note, when I first opened the princeton review book I was baffled. I had no idea what "analytical reasoning" was or even how to approach a question.

Analgously, why would you sit down and try to take a practice MCAT exam without any clue of what is on the MCAT? Is it math? science? biology? physics? logic? reading comprehension? Are you supposed to read the directions? How much time do you have? How many sections are there? These are all things you should be acquainted with before you decide to take a diagnostic and call it your "starting point."

I have yet to meet a person who, having done 0% studying, picks up a practice LSAT goes to the logic games section and just demolishes it. On a different note, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning are a different story. Especially with reading comp, you can sit down and do a RC section having never seen a passage before and have it be relatively indicative of how you are scoring. Some people are better with comprehension than others-- that doesn't mean you cant hone your skills with practice. On my first diagnostic I got like -16 on logic games and -8 on reading comp. While I can now knock logic games down to basically perfect score, I still get -3/4/5 on reading comp. I've gotten better at it by knowing what to read for and anticipating questions but thats one of the sections you can go into with no prior knowledge and have it be relatively indicative of where you are at in terms of scoring.

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YaSvoboden
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby YaSvoboden » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:45 am

lakers3peat wrote:I disagree with people who think you should take a diagnostic "cold." I don't think you should study for a month then take a test and call it your original score/starting point, but I would highly recommend becoming vaguely familiar with what the test is made up of. When I took my first "diagnostic," through testmasters, I had gone through about half of a princeton review "Acing the lsat". Truthfully, I retained very little from the book and it certainly didn't help me score much higher on my diagnostic but at least when I was sitting down to take the test, I had a vague understanding of what I was going to be tested on. On a side note, when I first opened the princeton review book I was baffled. I had no idea what "analytical reasoning" was or even how to approach a question.


I agree that you should have some familiarity before taking a diagnostic. The level you describe is pretty necessary if you are going to give yourself the test and call it a diagnostic. I, for example, knew that there are logic games and that drawing diagrams can help, but I had never seen one. But unless you wake up and accidentally end up in a Kaplan testing room you probably know that there are four timed sections and that they involve reading, reasoning, shorter word problems and something weird that people keep calling logic games.

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incompetentia
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby incompetentia » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:56 am

lakers3peat wrote:I have yet to meet a person who, having done 0% studying, picks up a practice LSAT goes to the logic games section and just demolishes it. On a different note, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning are a different story. Especially with reading comp, you can sit down and do a RC section having never seen a passage before and have it be relatively indicative of how you are scoring. Some people are better with comprehension than others-- that doesn't mean you cant hone your skills with practice. On my first diagnostic I got like -16 on logic games and -8 on reading comp. While I can now knock logic games down to basically perfect score, I still get -3/4/5 on reading comp. I've gotten better at it by knowing what to read for and anticipating questions but thats one of the sections you can go into with no prior knowledge and have it be relatively indicative of where you are at in terms of scoring.

My point was not that you go into the test blind, simply that you do not do any study beforehand (since it's impossible to target study). Not studying beforehand can be done both a) without being completely ignorant of the content of the test, and b) with detailed analysis to at least formulate a plan of attack for your study. There are obviously going to be question types that you will be weak with, and obviously sections that you won't finish, and I'm not sure how you're going to figure out what you can skip over without at least knowing what your timed sections look like.

(For what it's worth, I had -1 LG on my cold diag with some pretty massive problems in LR/RC.)

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99.9luft
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby 99.9luft » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:41 am

bernaldiaz wrote:...how much preparation did you put in before you took your first one? Are these numbers from you sitting and taking it cold? Just wondering because I don't want to take my first one entirely cold and be discouraged if it is really low. Seems a little petty and I could obviously cure this by just hitting the books, but I am genuinely curious.


Man up.

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tehrocstar
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby tehrocstar » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:36 am

If you don't have any previous knowledge in logic, I don't see the point of a cold diagnostic. The targeted study areas for the test are likely to be the entire test at this point. It can be discouraging for some people too. Really, the cold diagnostic is for test prep companies to prove to you, how much they improved your score. In my opinion, a better approach is to review all areas of the test, find out what you don't do well, and then focus on those areas. Then bottleneck approach to a higher score.

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rinkrat19
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:23 am

tehrocstar wrote:If you don't have any previous knowledge in logic, I don't see the point of a cold diagnostic. The targeted study areas for the test are likely to be the entire test at this point. It can be discouraging for some people too. Really, the cold diagnostic is for test prep companies to prove to you, how much they improved your score. In my opinion, a better approach is to review all areas of the test, find out what you don't do well, and then focus on those areas. Then bottleneck approach to a higher score.


I would hope that just by living in this world and knowing how to read, you'd have SOME basic knowledge of logic. Nothing on the test was actually foreign to me when I took it cold, I just wasn't very efficient or accurate at it yet, especially diagramming LG.

A cold diagnostic shows you where your natural weaknesses are. Can you read the RC passages fast enough? Do the LR questions make intuitive sense or are you going to have to start from scratch? Why would you waste time doing the RC Bible, for example, if you're a natural at it and just need a little polish? Without a cold diag, you wouldn't know that.

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incompetentia
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby incompetentia » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:11 am

You don't even need to score your diagnostic if you really feel like it's going to be counterproductive. You just want to know what you get wrong and what kind of timing issues you may have. I seriously don't understand how you can figure out what to study if you don't know how you would do under simulated test conditions.

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suspicious android
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby suspicious android » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:10 pm

incompetentia wrote:You don't even need to score your diagnostic if you really feel like it's going to be counterproductive. You just want to know what you get wrong and what kind of timing issues you may have. I seriously don't understand how you can figure out what to study if you don't know how you would do under simulated test conditions.


For the vast majority of people who start off below 160, they need to get better at absolutely everything, so I'm not convinced that a diagnostic is really of much help beyond letting a person know how challenging the test is.

06162014123
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Postby 06162014123 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:24 pm

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Last edited by 06162014123 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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westinghouse60
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby westinghouse60 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:10 pm

RedShift wrote:
lakers3peat wrote:I disagree with people who think you should take a diagnostic "cold." I don't think you should study for a month then take a test and call it your original score/starting point, but I would highly recommend becoming vaguely familiar with what the test is made up of. When I took my first "diagnostic," through testmasters, I had gone through about half of a princeton review "Acing the lsat". Truthfully, I retained very little from the book and it certainly didn't help me score much higher on my diagnostic but at least when I was sitting down to take the test, I had a vague understanding of what I was going to be tested on. On a side note, when I first opened the princeton review book I was baffled. I had no idea what "analytical reasoning" was or even how to approach a question.

Analgously, why would you sit down and try to take a practice MCAT exam without any clue of what is on the MCAT? Is it math? science? biology? physics? logic? reading comprehension? Are you supposed to read the directions? How much time do you have? How many sections are there? These are all things you should be acquainted with before you decide to take a diagnostic and call it your "starting point."

I have yet to meet a person who, having done 0% studying, picks up a practice LSAT goes to the logic games section and just demolishes it. On a different note, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning are a different story. Especially with reading comp, you can sit down and do a RC section having never seen a passage before and have it be relatively indicative of how you are scoring. Some people are better with comprehension than others-- that doesn't mean you cant hone your skills with practice. On my first diagnostic I got like -16 on logic games and -8 on reading comp. While I can now knock logic games down to basically perfect score, I still get -3/4/5 on reading comp. I've gotten better at it by knowing what to read for and anticipating questions but thats one of the sections you can go into with no prior knowledge and have it be relatively indicative of where you are at in terms of scoring.

You're just being pedantic. Going in cold doesn't imply having no previous knowledge of the existence of the test, it implies no directed effort for preparation. As for the bolded part, I don't see how a higher ability in LG is any less plausible than a higher ability in RC. I did very well on LG with no studying but sucked in RC.


My unsubstantiated opinions about the bolded part(s): IMO the reason that the LG have a reputation of being the most difficult section to do cold (and the one that gives a lot of people the most trouble period) is because of the sampling pool. The LG, I think (here's the assumptions on my part), are generally more accessible to people who are predisposed towards formal sciences (whether through innate ability or experience). Even though they may have never done a logic game before, there are things commonly done in the natural sciences disciplines which are analogous to LG. For example, someone in a mathematical disciple may be able to comprehend or remember the relationship between two variables better than the average LSAT taker, someone who's taken engineering courses would likely have better spatial reasoning skills, etc. Few of these people apply to law school, but IMO if they did, we would hear a lot more complaining about the difficulty of the RC section. Instead, most of the people who apply to law school are people who are already have extensive experience in college/are naturally better at reading comprehension.

Example: I know people who can think through problems like this in their heads (don't know about the relative difficulty of these problems):
http://chem.stthomas.edu/pages/ippoliti ... ce2ans.gif
I think someone who works with something variable and spatially based like that on a regular basis is going to have a distinct advantage doing LG cold. But, like I said, these people apply to law school with less frequency than do other undergraduate majors, so the sampling pool is biased towards suggesting that the LG are the most difficult. My 2 cents.
Last edited by westinghouse60 on Sun May 01, 2011 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoeFish
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby JoeFish » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:31 pm

westinghouse60 wrote:
RedShift wrote:
lakers3peat wrote:I have yet to meet a person who, having done 0% studying, picks up a practice LSAT goes to the logic games section and just demolishes it. On a different note, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning are a different story. Especially with reading comp, you can sit down and do a RC section having never seen a passage before and have it be relatively indicative of how you are scoring. Some people are better with comprehension than others-- that doesn't mean you cant hone your skills with practice. On my first diagnostic I got like -16 on logic games and -8 on reading comp. While I can now knock logic games down to basically perfect score, I still get -3/4/5 on reading comp. I've gotten better at it by knowing what to read for and anticipating questions but thats one of the sections you can go into with no prior knowledge and have it be relatively indicative of where you are at in terms of scoring.

You're just being pedantic. Going in cold doesn't imply having no previous knowledge of the existence of the test, it implies no directed effort for preparation. As for the bolded part, I don't see how a higher ability in LG is any less plausible than a higher ability in RC. I did very well on LG with no studying but sucked in RC.


My unsubstantiated opinions about the bolded part(s): IMO the reason that the LG have a reputation of being the most difficult section to do cold (and the one that gives a lot of people the most trouble period) is because of the sampling pool. The LG, I think (here's the assumptions on my part), are generally more accessible to people who are predisposed towards formal sciences (whether through innate ability or experience). Even though they may have never done a logic game before, there are things commonly done in the natural sciences disciplines which are analogous to LG. For example, someone in a mathematical disciple may be able to comprehend or remember the relationship between two variables better than the average LSAT taker, someone who's done taken engineering courses would likely have better spatial reasoning skills, etc. Few of these people apply to law school, but IMO if they did, we would hear a lot more complaining about the difficulty of the RC section. Instead, most of the people who apply to law school are people who are already have extensive experience in college/are naturally better at reading comprehension.


Exactly. I'm finishing my mathematics major, and so found LG to be the easiest from start to finish. I kind of actually did accidentally wake up in a Kaplan Testing Facility (I was teaching SATs, and a supervisor asked if I wanted to take an LSAT for the hell of it), and I think I got 22/25 right in the LG section. Having seen much more difficult logic in my studies, they were pretty straightforward. My RC was worse. I think westinghouse got it right, it's just that more people who are equipped for success on the RC take the test than people who are equipped for LG success.

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incompetentia
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby incompetentia » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:35 pm

Yeah, this sort of frames my earlier comment, I think. I did study chemistry in UG, and LG was by far the simplest section for me.

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dr123
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby dr123 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:36 pm

Diag = never looked at the LSAT before

At least for me it was

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YaSvoboden
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Re: When you say your diagnostic score...

Postby YaSvoboden » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:13 am

JoeFish wrote:Exactly. I'm finishing my mathematics major, and so found LG to be the easiest from start to finish. I kind of actually did accidentally wake up in a Kaplan Testing Facility (I was teaching SATs, and a supervisor asked if I wanted to take an LSAT for the hell of it), and I think I got 22/25 right in the LG section. Having seen much more difficult logic in my studies, they were pretty straightforward. My RC was worse. I think westinghouse got it right, it's just that more people who are equipped for success on the RC take the test than people who are equipped for LG success.


Ok then, that can happen. LG was also the easiest for me to start with as an accounting major, RC still is pissing me off, but I have til October, so hopefully I can correct that.




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