In need of some guidance.

UofO
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:17 pm

In need of some guidance.

Postby UofO » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:47 am

Hello TLS:

First of all, thanks to all of you for the wonderful advice that you have provided on this site; you have all made my LSAT experience a bit more pleasant.

As you can see from the title of this discussion, I am looking for further guidance on how to continue my prep.

I started off with a 136 (diagnostic) a few years ago, studied for a few months, and then decided to post-pone the LSAT.

I didn't look at another LSAT question until recently - May 2011 - when I took another diagnostic (if you can call it that...) and scored a 150.

After that, I enrolled in the PS full length course; I used their material to create a modified version of the PP study guide.

My study method is as follows:

For LR, I used my PS course books to drill questions by type; shortly after, I used the Kaplan mastery (only doing level 3 and 4 questions).

For LG, I am currently doing the PP method for the games from Pts 1-39 (although I am only repeating the games that i have a tough time with 3 times).

And for RC, I started off doing sections un-timed, then did timed sections.

After following this schedule for a month and half, I recently took 4 tests, with SPA being the first and PT 40 being the last.

1) SPA - 164: LR1 ~4, LR2 ~3, LG ~6 and RC ~ 4.

2) SPB - 157: LR1 ~7, LR2 ~5, LG ~ 14 and RC ~ 8.

3) SPC - 159: LR1 ~ 8, LR2 ~6, LG ~ 11, and RC ~ 6.

4) PT 40 - 160: LR1 ~ 5, LR2 ~7, LG ~6, RC ~ 8.

I am really disappointed with my progress thus far. My target score is a 167-168 and, to be perfectly honest, I am a little discouraged.

I am not sure what to do next...

I am still have to get through the LGs from 1-40 a second and third time, so I am hoping that my score in that section will continue to rise.

However, I am not sure how to approach LR and RC.

I think my biggest problem at this point is timing. I generally understand why I get the answers wrong when I review the test, but during the exam I feel really rushed. As a result, I sometimes miss key words, or overlook certain phrases.

How do I improve my timing without losing accuracy?

Also, I am not sure if I should continue to drill questions un-timed?

Maybe more untimed drilling will improve my understanding of the question types, thereby improving my speed?

Or should I just focus on doing timed sections/ pts and then thoroughly review all the wrong answers/ questions i was unsure about?

Thanks for your help.

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JamMasterJ
Posts: 6688
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: In need of some guidance.

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:52 am

If you're still missing 6+ LGs you still have a lot of room for improvement. Many people are incapable of scoring a 168 and a 160-162 is a realistic cap, but with you scoring in the low 160s with that many misses on LG, you can really go up from here a bit. Work through the LGs until you have a clear approach to every game type, and work through the LR by question type so you can get even more familiar with the differences in what you need to look for on each type of question. If you're planning on October, you need to put a lot of hours in, but it's plausible. However, December might be a better idea

pcwcecac
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:32 am

Re: In need of some guidance.

Postby pcwcecac » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:13 am

I liken the LSAT to practicing music.

When you learn a piece, you learn measure by measure. Some measures are more difficult than others, hence would initially require patience. As long as you remain focused and aggressive, initially spending an indefinite amount of time on it is still more justified than spending an arbitrary number of minutes to only pass the measure by luck. In music, we use the metronome to improve speed while maintaining accuracy.

The analogy leads to my personal strategy

1. identify the question types that you're weak in. This need not follow the categories given in the prep courses. It could simply be a type of sentence structure or argument structure.

2. Then make sure to understand why each of the wrong answer choices is wrong.

3. Now do 10 more of the same type of questions (this is where a prep course or tutor comes in handy: they can identify these questions for you), giving yourself 5 minutes each. Do 10 more using 4 minutes each. So on so forth, until you can get at least 9 out of 10 correct using less than 1.5 minutes each.

4. After you've mastered the timing of individual questions, then practice by section, initially give yourself 40 minutes per section, and then decrease down to 35 minutes.

The trickiest part in all of this is identifying the same type of question to practice on.

I did not have a tutor for LSAT, but I had a fantastic music teacher who taught me how to practice. While not necessary, I think a good tutor might help you systematically attack your weakness. And perhaps even more importantly, he or she may give you the confidence needed to be persistent.

Don't panic. Anyone can learn any piece of music, given the right methodology and endurance. LSAT is no different.

I hope this helps.

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emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: In need of some guidance.

Postby emciosn » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:24 am

First off going from a 136 to a 160 is pretty impressive. Also, its good to see how seriously you are taking your LSAT prep. My best advice is that just putting in a lot of time and drilling through PT's over and over will help to increase your score. Just becoming more comfortable with the test and the question types you struggle with will help to increase your score.

Like the poster said above it is "good" that you are missing so many on LG because that is the easiest to improve. I don't know how the PS course works but have you gone through the PS bibles? The games bible helped me a ton. A lot of people end up with -0/1/2 on games. That would be a couple point increase for you right there.

Also is timing an issue for you? Do you have questions left at the end of each section? If so then there is another relatively easy area to improve. Just taking more PT's can help get your time down.

Do you notice you are missing the sames types of questions over and over? If so when you are taking a PT be cognizant of question type and if it is one you struggle with think about your common mistakes and try to correct your thinking. It is easy to get in a zone and not stop to think "hey I always get these wrong, I should be more careful."

Just keep logging the hours, it will get better. Improving the first dozen or so points from a 136 is easier than getting over the 165 hump from a 160. Just keep at it.

Also if you are at sort of a plateau that Dave guy form the "three 180s and taking questions thread" does give some kind of creative advice. Sometimes changing your thinking can help you get over the hump.

UofO
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:17 pm

Re: In need of some guidance.

Postby UofO » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:34 am

Thanks, folks! I appreciate all the advice.

The PS course includes all 3 bibles. The things is, when I do these questions untimed, i usually get most, if not all, correct. I understand the concept... for the most part. However, during the actual test, I feel rushed (especially during LR), leading to stupid errors.

Sometimes, I am unsure btw 2 answer choices, so I take my best guess because I cannot afford to lose any more time on the question. And, sadly, I often do not have time at the end of the section to go back and review the questions I am unsure about.

I'll keep drilling the LG's; as for LR, I have typed out each question that I have gotten wrong from my drills and I plan on reviewing them sometime soon. Hoping that will help with pattern recognition.

Quick question: do most of you draw out conditional reasoning when you see it on LR?




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