When is it too early to think you're not ready?

notaznguy
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When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby notaznguy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:27 am

My original plan was to take the October 1st test and apply for law school this upcoming year so I can start law school as soon as I graduated from undergrad. I ended school in around mid-late June and started studying for the LSAT.

Prior to the past month of studying, I had no idea how to methodically solve LSAT problems (i.e. I didn't know what a contrapositive, or anti-block or deduction was). I started and went over most of the LR Bible from June 22 - July 11. Then my Testmasters course started on July 11 and I just finished attending the 3rd class this past Wednesday.

On my 1st diagnostic, I scored a 142, with LG being my weakest section (did 1 game and literally guessed on everything else). I want to get at LEAST a 163 by October.

I know I still have all of August and September to prepare, but I'm constantly feeling despaired and hopeless. I just completed a bunch of "drills" UNTIMED and I am certainly not getting 90-100% of them correct. From doing 40 conditional reasoning Must Be True questions, I got 28 correct. When I did 100 Must Be True questions, I got 70 correct. When I did about 8 reading comp articles, my scores were erratic. Sometimes I'd get 4/5, 4/6, and sometimes I'd get something like 2/7, though I averaged something like 4/7. Lastly, on LG games, if I did them slow as hell, I'd get them all (or -1) correct.

Note that doing all these drills were UNTIMED. When I did attempt to time myself by doing a game, LR question, or reading comp, my accuracy drastically decreased due to the pressure and strains of time. For instance, when I tried to do a LG in 9 minutes, I totally freaked out and got ALL of them wrong *facepalm*

I've been posting a lot on TLS recently because, well, I'm a HUGE WORRIER (and even though some of TLSers are cynical, it's really appreciative to have at least some people understand what I'm going through). I know I still have 2 months and a week until test day, but dayum, I can't believe I feel so beat down =( I really have no idea if I'm being too hard on myself or if I really should be worried. The main reason I'm asking if it's too early or not to think I'm not ready is because, well, if I don't think I have a chance of breaking 160 by late September, I don't want to waste $139 to sign up for the LSAT and then cancel it. I'd rather just take a year off and try again next summer.

And what point did you realize, "Okay, I think if I keep this pace up, I'll definitely reach my target score." Or when did you realize, "Oh crap...looks like I've underestimated this LSAT thing...hmm...I might have to postpone my plans for a year and take the LSAT another time cause 3 months is just not enough."

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Sloth Hero
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby Sloth Hero » Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:20 am

Stop, and take a deep breath. Ok, now continue. :)

It's definitely doable. But if you are going to go for it, you need to go 100%

But it's probably going to take around 5+ hours of studying per day.

The study plan I'd recommend for you would involve this: EXTENSIVE PREP TEST REVIEW

Divide the number of days you have left by the number of prep tests you have left, thats how often you should be taking a prep test. I'd recommend doing them UNtimed until you are getting 5-6 points above the score you want. When taking the untimed test, star answer choices that were heavy contenders, even if you didn't end up picking them.

After EVERY test you need to do an extensive review, preferably that same day. The review should involve doing write-ups for every question you got correct, literally write (or type) out why each question you got correct is necessarily correct, and why the starred choices are not correct. I don't mean like "It's correct because it supports the stimi", but rather "It is correct because it exposes a flawed assumption that the author has made"

And for questions you got wrong, especially for LR, make sure to write out why EVERY wrong answer choice is wrong, and why the correct answer choice is correct. Make sure you understand the reasoning so well that you could explain it to people in a nursing home.

For LG you need to make copies of your games prior to attempting them. Then you need to go back, under untimed circumstances, and find out the BEST possible way to work through the game. The most efficient diagram, etc. If you are losing points to untimed LG, you need to slow down and make sure you are reading carefully-- because untimed your LG should not be less than 100%.

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ElvisAaron
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby ElvisAaron » Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:42 am

When I hit a stone wall and couldn't figure out what was going wrong I paid a well-referred tutor to sit there for an hour watching me do games and LR. He identified a couple very simple(but not obvious to me) approach issues I had, and the fix led to a big jump for me in the few weeks leading up to the test. I suddenly was hitting 175+ on PTs and even tagged 180 a couple times. Underperformed on the real deal but that was a diff issue.
Highly recommend sitting down with someone to analyze what you do.

notaznguy
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby notaznguy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:53 pm

It's hard to simply just take prep tests right now since I do have a lot of homework from my prep course that I also need to complete. Furthermore, I haven't been taught everything on how to do logic games. I only know how to do simple linear games and don't know how to do complex ones yet, so I'm not really sure how much doing an untimed test at this point can help me if I still haven't learned the methods. Keep in mind, I just finished my 3rd day of class (out of 15 total).

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Sloth Hero
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby Sloth Hero » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:02 pm

That's expensive -- but I guess if you are taking a class you can probably afford a few sessions.

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suspicious android
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby suspicious android » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:05 pm

You say you're at about 70% accuracy untimed on the practice LR questions? That's not terrible, but obviously needs to be much higher to get to the low 160's like you're aiming. But the overall accuracy isn't the most important thing right now. The number one thing is whether you think you are learning from those 30% of LR questions that you're missing. Are you able to come to terms with the mistakes you're making, recognize why you thought X was the right answer, but that's absolutely wrong; figure out why you eliminated the right answer? That's the process you should be working through, just answering the questions and checking the results is a trivial exercise.

And I don't want to be a downer, but a 20 point improvement from a prep class is possible, but atypical. I'd say fewer than 5% of students accomplish this; typical results for people who do most/all of the work are 10-15 points. Now, I'm telling you this because you need to realize you've got a really tough hill to climb. You're going to have to work smart and hard on this.

notaznguy
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby notaznguy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:30 pm

suspicious android wrote:You say you're at about 70% accuracy untimed on the practice LR questions? That's not terrible, but obviously needs to be much higher to get to the low 160's like you're aiming. But the overall accuracy isn't the most important thing right now. The number one thing is whether you think you are learning from those 30% of LR questions that you're missing. Are you able to come to terms with the mistakes you're making, recognize why you thought X was the right answer, but that's absolutely wrong; figure out why you eliminated the right answer? That's the process you should be working through, just answering the questions and checking the results is a trivial exercise.

And I don't want to be a downer, but a 20 point improvement from a prep class is possible, but atypical. I'd say fewer than 5% of students accomplish this; typical results for people who do most/all of the work are 10-15 points. Now, I'm telling you this because you need to realize you've got a really tough hill to climb. You're going to have to work smart and hard on this.


So what you might also be suggesting is, "It's very unlikely you'll reach your goal of breaking 160+ by October given your starting part and considering how the average person does not make a 20 point improvement in 3 months. You may have to postpone the test until December or even next year or simply another time."

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annyong
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby annyong » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 pm

suspicious android wrote:You say you're at about 70% accuracy untimed on the practice LR questions? That's not terrible, but obviously needs to be much higher to get to the low 160's like you're aiming. But the overall accuracy isn't the most important thing right now. The number one thing is whether you think you are learning from those 30% of LR questions that you're missing. Are you able to come to terms with the mistakes you're making, recognize why you thought X was the right answer, but that's absolutely wrong; figure out why you eliminated the right answer? That's the process you should be working through, just answering the questions and checking the results is a trivial exercise.

I think this is the biggest thing - just doing drill after drill isn't going to improve anythhing unless you know WHY you're missing things, and figuring that out is going to unlock consistent and accuracy in the long term. I made my most improvement in the last month of my studying, but I wasn't trying for a 20+ gain, so I can't gauge that - but try keeping track of what you're getting wrong AND WHY, find patterns, and then see how you're doing.

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soj
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby soj » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:44 pm

annyong wrote:
suspicious android wrote:You say you're at about 70% accuracy untimed on the practice LR questions? That's not terrible, but obviously needs to be much higher to get to the low 160's like you're aiming. But the overall accuracy isn't the most important thing right now. The number one thing is whether you think you are learning from those 30% of LR questions that you're missing. Are you able to come to terms with the mistakes you're making, recognize why you thought X was the right answer, but that's absolutely wrong; figure out why you eliminated the right answer? That's the process you should be working through, just answering the questions and checking the results is a trivial exercise.

I think this is the biggest thing - just doing drill after drill isn't going to improve anythhing unless you know WHY you're missing things, and figuring that out is going to unlock consistent and accuracy in the long term. I made my most improvement in the last month of my studying, but I wasn't trying for a 20+ gain, so I can't gauge that - but try keeping track of what you're getting wrong AND WHY, find patterns, and then see how you're doing.

+1. Familiarity alone will give you only a few points. Most of your improvement will come from rigorously analyzing your mistakes and self-prescribing solutions to avoid making the same ones again.

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loomstate
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Re: When is it too early to think you're not ready?

Postby loomstate » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:29 am

annyong wrote:
suspicious android wrote:You say you're at about 70% accuracy untimed on the practice LR questions? That's not terrible, but obviously needs to be much higher to get to the low 160's like you're aiming. But the overall accuracy isn't the most important thing right now. The number one thing is whether you think you are learning from those 30% of LR questions that you're missing. Are you able to come to terms with the mistakes you're making, recognize why you thought X was the right answer, but that's absolutely wrong; figure out why you eliminated the right answer? That's the process you should be working through, just answering the questions and checking the results is a trivial exercise.

I think this is the biggest thing - just doing drill after drill isn't going to improve anythhing unless you know WHY you're missing things, and figuring that out is going to unlock consistent and accuracy in the long term. I made my most improvement in the last month of my studying, but I wasn't trying for a 20+ gain, so I can't gauge that - but try keeping track of what you're getting wrong AND WHY, find patterns, and then see how you're doing.


One thing that worked for me was focussing on a particular LR type I was having trouble with and rereading the corresponding LRB chapter. Once you have a pretty good understanding of the question type then you drill to make sure it sticks.

Also, if I was in your shoes, OP, I would slow it down and soak up the concepts from the course you're in. If you're doing your homework and it's not enough, do more on your own, make sure you're grasping everything, not just achieving a satisfactory score on whatever drill your doing. Once you have the basics down then you should be taking lots of PTs. Don't be too overly focussed on Oct right now - if you're ready in Oct, great, if you're not, take it in Dec. In the long run it's worth slowing down and living up to your potential on this test. Turning your life upside down to meet a quasi-deadline is overrated IMO.




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