Advice for those who're prepping

die Zauberflote
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Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:05 pm

Hi:

I took the LSAT last Oct. and scored a 171 despite leaving to use the restroom in the middle of a scored section (nervous bowels). On my last 15 PTs I averaged 178 under strict, timed conditions. When studying I did something that TLS generally rails against as a waste of time: used two different sets of study materials. I first used the Powerscore material and then used the Manhattan LSAT (formerly known as Atlas LSAT, when I was studying) and I found that this approach helped me tremendously.

I'll be attending Michigan with a good scholarship. I was also admitted to Chicago, Virginia, and Vanderbilt.

If anyone has questions about prepping, applications, or has any other questions at all, I'll try to help out.
Last edited by die Zauberflote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sloth Hero
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby Sloth Hero » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:54 pm

die Zauberflote wrote:Hi:

When studying I did something that TLS generally rails against as a waste of time: used two different sets of study materials. I first used the Powerscore material and then used the Manhattan LSAT (formerly known as Atlas LSAT, when I was studying) and I found that this approach helped me tremendously.


You need to develop this.

Grats on the score.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:34 pm

Someone asked me via private message:

Congrats on your score and acceptances. I would really appreciate your advice. As it stands now, I've read the LGB and LRB and have taken three timed practice tests. I got a 165 on all of them. Here's the thing, I'm missing like 10 or so on the games section while getting about -3 to -1 on the rest of the sections.

I guess what I'm asking is should I just keep drilling practice tests and hope that the game performance gets better? I feel like the LGB gave me a solid foundation but the time pressure gets to my head. For example, when I go back and casually review the section I tend to get -2 for the games section.

This is a problem. The logic games section is the only part of the test that seems to be 100% formulaic. When I was 2/3rds through with my studying I was -0 on every games section and you should be too. Even the curveball games are just slight variants of well-worn games. Here is how I studied for games.

1.) I purchased GROUPED by Game Type: LSAT Analytical Reasoning, PowerScore Games Bible, The PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Ultimate Setups Guide, and The PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Bible Workbook. The last two weren’t absolutely necessary, but it was nice to have them around for variety and reference. (Note: I would recommend buying the PowerScore LSAT Game Type Training over GROUPED by Game Type: LSAT Analytical Reasoning. In the Grouped by Game Type, some games were misclassified…it’s also cheaper and, I suspect, of higher quality.)

2.) I then worked through the Games Bible and did the corresponding games from tests 1-20. I never worked directly in the book though; I purchased a copy machine so that I could easily rework problems. Any game I didn’t ace, I would three-hole-punched and put in a binder and redo on scrap paper. I would work under timed conditions after the first few problems for each game type. I would time myself with this watch, which I found to be the best men’s watch for LSAT: Japanese quartz movement, large chronograph, chronograph limit exceeds test section length, comfortable, looks professional, high quality,, will last through law school, etc.

3). After doing the Games from 1-20 I did the LR for 1-20 in much the same manner. However, whenever I got bored with LR I would return to the binder of the games I missed and re-work these problems.

4). I took test 21-30 under timed conditions. This time, if I missed a problem I would save the ENTIRE SECTION in my binder. At this point you should be worried about perfect sections as well as perfect games. I always pushed myself with time limits, trying to finish sections with 5+ minutes remaining, then reworking entire games from scratch while the excess time ran out.

5). I re-read the LG Bible (as well as the LR bible) and re-worked all the exercises on scrap paper. Then took 31-40 under timed conditions, continuing to review and re-review old missed problems, and continuing to save are re-work entire sections when I had missed problems under timed conditions . Around this time I began to get a few -0 and -1 games, but I was still inconsistent.

5). Here is where I diverged from the TLS pack. Instead of continuing to press ahead as I had been doing, I decided to take an Atlas LSAT (now Manhattan LSAT) class. I think that taking the class was a mistake. What I should have done is ordered their books and perhaps purchased and listened to the pre-recorded lectures. The Atlas materials teach you to approach the games in new ways. They cause you to think about the problems differently. They also make many keen insights that PowerScore materials seemed to lack; perhaps this is because the PowerScore material has not been updated in a long time.

I am glad I didn’t start with the Atlas material. You should start with the PowerScore because it’s an excellent foundation. If PowerScore is undergraduate LSAT preparation then Atlas is graduate level. The benefits of learning two systems are that you can pick-and-choose which strategies from which system you will employ based on their results in your PTs, and you have the added benefit of two perspective. I rejected the Atlas system at first, because it was not what I was used to, but once I gave it a chance I saw that most of their methods were much more efficient than PowerScore’s. Even so, I still had the luxury of using the PowerScore methods when I preferred.

So, as I worked my way through the Atlas Material I continued to take timed PTs (41-present) up until test time. After I began working through the new material my scores became higher and more consistent.

6). I continued to save missed problems and re-work them. But my strategy for the LG section shifted during the two months before the test. I realized that to ace every, single LG section, you had to be able to do the easy and mid-level games incredibly fast (3-4 min.) so that you could take your time with the harder problems. So, instead of spending ALL my time reviewing hard sections that I had previously missed and taking/scoring new PTs, I set aside some time to do things like this: in 50 min. complete 16 easy and mid level sequencing games. I started to get creative with my practice and really started enjoying logic games, they became so fun for me that I had to make myself limit my time practicing them. I got to the point where I would be upset if I missed even one on a section.


That was how I approached games. If you have a more specific question or would like clarification I’d be happy to provide it. On test day I got -0 on my games section and finished with 7 minutes to spare.
Last edited by die Zauberflote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:28 pm

Someone asked me via private message:

Congrats on UMich (I'm originally from Ann Arbor, very envious)!

I am really interested in applying to Chicago as my number one choice. I have a 3.6 UGpa and I'm already enrolled in a Master's program there. Any advice on the LSAT or admissions process in general? What were your numbers and credentials if you don't mind sharing? I'm enrolled in a Testmasters course starting next Monday.

My numbers are 171/3.71. I have softs, but they are not impressive. I dropped out freshman year, transferred two times, and took summer classes at a really crappy school. I have a criminal record. I think excellent numbers (according to this, a polished application, and good recommendations can get you in to any school, despite wimpy softs or your checkered background.

I applied to Chicago ED and didn’t get in until regular decision. I’m glad that I didn’t get admitted during ED because when I visited the school I didn’t like it.

In your application I would be completely candid, but read the instructions closely so that you don’t reveal any negative information needlessly. I would treat Anna Ivey’s book like the Bible. Anything I could say about putting together your application would be a inadequate plagiarism of Ivey; she’s really great. There are lots of books on law school admissions and I’ve read them all, but I would only get Ivey’s.

As far as general LSAT advice, I would say:

(1) Know thyself

(2) You should probably cancel the testmasters course and order some self study material

You’re a graduate student and you probably thought that a course would save you time. I think that a course takes more time, because you can only move as fast as the slowest student. I would order the newest editions of the material I mentioned above, plus the logical reasoning bible, PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning: Question Type Training, this, and this. Prep for logical reasoning much the same way that you do for the games, but start LR after your games training. Start reading comprehension last of all and do not use the PowerScore material as it is junk. Only use the Manhattan LSAT reading comprehension material.

However, you know yourself better than I know you. If you are convinced that a class is truly the best decision for yourself then don’t let me tell you otherwise.

If you have any more questions or need me to clarify anything please let me know.
Last edited by die Zauberflote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:33 pm

Sloth Hero wrote:
die Zauberflote wrote:Hi:

When studying I did something that TLS generally rails against as a waste of time: used two different sets of study materials. I first used the Powerscore material and then used the Manhattan LSAT (formerly known as Atlas LSAT, when I was studying) and I found that this approach helped me tremendously.


You need to develop this.

Grats on the score.


Did my first response answer your question?

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SoPro
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby SoPro » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:42 pm

Logical reasoning -- how did you prep for it, and do you have any wisdom or insight about the section that you'd care to share?

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:44 pm

SoPro wrote:Logical reasoning -- how did you prep for it, and do you have any wisdom or insight about the section that you'd care to share?

Sure. The Logical Reasoning section gets really fun toward the end of prep., when you are answering these questions quickly with a high degree of accuracy. I think that studying for LR is the only preparation that you will do which will help you out in your day to day existence...learning to identify shoddy arguments is an awesome skill to have. I prepped for logical reasoning in much the same manner as I prepped for the logic games with only two differences.

(1) Before I began studying the LR section I took a week-long break (only studied games for 30 min. per day and took no PTs) to read a book by Douglas Walton titled Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach. It goes into much more depth than what you will need to know for the LR section, but it is invaluable. The LR bible will seem remedial after reading Walton's book.

(2) When I got a question wrong I saved only that one question, not the whole section as I had done with the games.

Since the first questions are invariably easier, I tracked my progress by seeing how far I could get with 1 min per question. When I started I would shoot to answer the first 5 in the first 5 minutes. Eventually I got up to 10 in 10 min, then 15 in 15, and sometimes 20 in 20. Be sure that you never, never, never miss one of the first 15...these are easy, you should be getting them every time. If you get to the point where you are finishing the first 15 problems in 15 minutes or under, you will have plenty of time to spend with the rest of the questions, which is what you need to attain a high score on this section. I got -1 on the first LR section, but unfortunately I had to run to the restroom during the second LR section, so I didn't get to finish. However, on that section I got every question correct except for the ones where I guessed.

If you have any more questions or you would like me to clarify, please let me know.

TMC116
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby TMC116 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:00 pm

This thread is a great idea.

1. What RC diagramming do you prefer? Powerscore, Manhattan (Atlas), or your own method?

2. What did you score on your first diagnostic?

3. What was the biggest help in getting from the 160s to 170s? (Assuming you didn't start in the 170s already....)

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:08 pm

More general LSAT advice:

Your health and mental attitude are very important.

My guess is that someone who studies 6 hours per day will generally score lower than someone who studies four hours per day AND then exercises for two hours. I was slightly overweight when I started to study. I put myself on the "flat belly diet" and got down to my ideal weight, and then I started to run for 1 hour and lift weights for 1 hour, five days per week. I also made sure to eat lots of brain healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, blueberries, salmon, spinach, walnuts, flax seed) and avoided unhealthy foods like soda and processed stuff. I replaced coffee with (unsweetened) green tea and made sure to drink 8 glasses of water per day. After I began doing these things I slept better, had more energy, and studied more efficiently. I also felt good about myself and gained confidence, which is absolutely crucial for LSAT/Law School success. I'm not sure how much of this was physiological and how much was psychological, but it ultimately doesn't matter if it helps you get a higher score.

When you are studying, study. When you aren't, don't. I studied for two, two-hour chunks per day, taking Sunday off. When I began to study I would take miniature 5 min. breaks to check Reddit or TLS or watch an episode of something on Hulu. I found that at the end of the day I had "studied" for ten hours, but only accomplished 2 or 3 hours worth of work. It is much more efficient and beneficial to study for two solid hours, twice per day, completely deprived of any and all breaks (coffee, internet, etc.), than to do the on-and-off studying routine. You will learn more in less time and you will feel better about your study habits. And when you are relaxing, don't spend your time on TLS or talking about prep. Go out with friends, read fun (non-law-school related) books, watch movies...just don't thumb through law related material or you'll lose the benefits of your study breaks and free time.

I have a hundred, little half-completed tasks around my house. I would spend free time accomplishing little things like cleaning out the coffee maker, taking old close to good-will, etc. This way I felt like I was getting things done, taking care of business, I generally felt like I was organized and I had my shit together....this gave me a positive, winning mindset that helped me tremendously. Lots of this stuff is just mind games.

I found it particularly fun to spend free time with my wife watching the ABA's 25 Greatest Legal Movies of All Time. And while it didn't help prep. me for law school or the LSAT, it was fun and kept me excited and interested in becoming a lawyer.

So think about LSAT prep as a positive, healthy lifestyle, not some terrible punishment to which you must subject yourself for a few hours each day in order to gain admittance to law school. Establishing healthy habits will help you on the LSAT, during law school, and in your social/professional life.
Last edited by die Zauberflote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:24 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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cinephile
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby cinephile » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:11 pm

I thought the original title was intriguing.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:17 pm

TMC116 wrote:This thread is a great idea.

1. What RC diagramming do you prefer? Powerscore, Manhattan (Atlas), or your own method?

2. What did you score on your first diagnostic?

3. What was the biggest help in getting from the 160s to 170s? (Assuming you didn't start in the 170s already....)

1. Manhattan. Manhattan. Manhattan. Do not even buy the Powerscore RC materials, they are an absolute waste. I regret two things: going through the powerscore RC bible and purchasing the LR flashcards. Manhattan is the only company (that I am aware of) whose materials have a lucid philosophy and an actual method for approaching RC problems. I think, though, that RC is the most personal of all the sections. Analyzing the patterns of your own performance will help you the substantially. For instance, I found that I did much better on the RCs with two passages if I:

1). read one passage
2). answered every question and eliminated every wrong answer I could
3). read the other passage
4). answered the remaining questions

However, I never spoke with anyone else who found this helpful.

2. 161

3. At the risk of sounding like a salesman: the Manhattan LSAT materials. Also, beginning a health and exercise routine and taking time to pleasure-read every day.
Last edited by die Zauberflote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:18 pm

cinephile wrote:I thought the original title was intriguing.


I never changed the title? I don't follow you.

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Shammis
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Re: Advice for those whore prepping

Postby Shammis » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:19 pm

Throwing out my 2 cents as well. I split materials also. There are pros and cons to different approaches and you have to find out what works best for you. The Atlas approach to some types of games worked for me, where as the whole Map thing with the arrows was confusing as hell and wasted way more time than I had to devote to it. I took a PS course and relied heavily on their methods, but filled in the gaps with Atlas. Each person looks at things differently and will process information differently, take the time to learn the different methods.

Also, I know it doesnt seem like it at first, but be proactive with your timing strategy. Realize that it is ok if you don't finish a section so long as what you did complete was accurate. This pushed me over the 160 mark b/c of my LG timing. I did the games with the most questions first since I knew I wasnt going to complete the games accurately if I finished them all. On test day I nailed 3/4 games with high accuracy and only had a 5 question game left with 4 mins to spare. I did what I could, took educated guesses and wound up getting one of my best scores on LG ever (- like 4 total). Good luck and I promise if it isn't clicking yet, be diligent and it will.

imjustjoking22
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby imjustjoking22 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:41 pm

Pleased to read this. I just bought/started with the manhattan books. I've only done LG so far but I went mostly through PS and then switched and I think that was the way to go. PS gives you a great foundation but MLSAT seems to have the better methods overall. I like that switching over has also forced me to be flexible in my methods, which I think will help me overall- it pays to be adaptable. I am signed up for a blueprint course, which hopefully won't be a waste of time for me- I've been powering through the logic games books, but it will probably be good to be forced to slow down a bit and be really thorough.

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cinephile
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby cinephile » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:43 pm

die Zauberflote wrote:
cinephile wrote:I thought the original title was intriguing.


I never changed the title? I don't follow you.


Really? I thought the original title lacked an apostrophe. Or maybe my mind was just in the gutter.

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glucose101
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby glucose101 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:00 pm

If you have time, of course you should synthesize what you have to suit your weaknesses and strengths. But I think TLSers usually recommend one book when you're on a tight schedule, and don't have time to figure what works in some instances or another--so they give advice on the whole, like "LGB works the best."

die Zauberflote
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Re: Advice for those who're prepping

Postby die Zauberflote » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:42 pm

glucose101 wrote:If you have time, of course you should synthesize what you have to suit your weaknesses and strengths. But I think TLSers usually recommend one book when you're on a tight schedule, and don't have time to figure what works in some instances or another--so they give advice on the whole, like "LGB works the best."


Yes. Studying like I did is only a good idea if you have not procrastinated by putting off your study until the last month or two.

I'd say if you can't find the extra 30 hours to go through the additional material, you are probably too rushed anyways, and should seriously consider putting off the test until the next cycle.




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