LR regression?

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Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:04 pm

LR regression?

Postby sirphillup » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:30 pm

I do not know if this is possible, but I feel like I have seen a regression in my logical reasoning score. My original scores averaged about 4 or 5 questions wrong per lr section, with the occasional fluke here and there. I am now scoring a lot lower, sometimes nine or ten questions wrong. For instance, I took test 16 today and scored -7 on one and -11 on the other. I always find that when I review my test, there are at least 4 or 5 questions that I am answering incorrectly because of stupid mistakes. Usually reading errors. It is rarely the case that I do not understand the concept being tested or that I do not understand what is presented in the stimulus.

My original plan was to, instead of restricting the time to 35, set the timer to 40 minutes. Every question I starred or answered incorrectly, I redid, justifying why the correct answer was correct and the others weren't. I became aware of my mistakes, most of which were silly reading errors. Once I moved onto other questions, I noticed that I kept making the same errors. This week, I have tried to study all the older tests. I score really well on those when I retake them, but when I go onto a new test, I score poorly. I then decided that maybe I should return to taking tests without time to increase my accuracy. It has not worked. Today I took a test without time and did even worse than on the other ones I took with a timer running.

My guess is that, at least until recently, I was experiencing a burn out. I have been studying about 4-7 hours a day since I started with the LSAT; before that, I was studying daily for the GRE exam that I was going to use as a back up. Furthermore, I am seeing that the worse I do on the LR sections, the worse I continue to perform on the sections because I am worrying. The worse I do, the more discouraged I become, and all of this has just triggered a downward spiral, so much so that I am even considering putting the test on hold and maybe trying next year. Upon analyzing the way I approach the test it is clear to me that I have gone from focusing on the test itself to focusing on how poorly I am doing and how I want to get better at these sections.

I really need some advice. I take the test in October and am really scared this is going to ruin my overall performance on the test. At least it has done so thus far. For instance, on my first diagnostic (the June 2007 offered on I only got one wrong on the whole reading comprehension. The first few tests I took were in the 0-3. But now I am seeing 5 and sometimes 6 questions incorrect on the reading comprehension section. What can I do to help my scores? Should I take a few days off or keep trying, seeing as, at least according to some of you, having more tests under my belt will increase my familiarity with the test and thus raise my score? Have any of you seen your scores drop this way? What do you do for this? How do you get yourself concentrated on the questions themselves and not your performance?

I would really appreciate any advice. This whole thing is stressing me out. I am a stellar student and this whole thing has been really demoralizing. I do not know what to do anymore.

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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:15 am

Re: LR regression?

Postby lothsome » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:33 pm

The first thing to do is to calm down, take a deep breath, and relax. If you feel burned out, take a break for a few days. And make sure you aren't over-studying. If you do a PT every day, you might find it less beneficial than doing one every other day (MWF or such), reviewing wrong answers on off days, and taking the weekends off. A test every day, after all, quickly grows tiresome.

I vary on my reading comprehension too, usually between 0 and 3 mistakes. I usually get upset when I make a bunch of errors on that section too, but there's some variability from test to test, and it's probably something you can minimize. I've also found that my LR errors tend to fluctuate a little from test to test, usually increasing during June tests and falling during other seasons (idk why that happens though). So you're not alone with that kind of variation.

However, going from 4/5 questions wrong in an LR section, to 7-11 is a pretty big jump, and there might be something going on there. You've implied you recently went from untimed to timed? That might be the issue right there. When I started doing timed tests, I always felt pressured by the clock, and it took me a little while to build up sufficient speed to be able to finish a section accurately and quickly with consistency. If the pressure is getting to you, it'll distract you from the questions, and that will hurt your performance.

Fortunately, this can be dealt with, and you have plenty of time before October 1st to work on it. So, in the words of the Hitchhiker's Guide, don't worry. Set a clock for 10 minutes, and try to do the first ten problems in those 10 minutes as accurately as possible. Then finish the rest of the section as quickly as you can, but untimed. Once you've done that for 2 or 3 tests worth of LR sections, set a timer for 15 minutes, and try to do the first 15 questions in that time. Do this for two or three tests, and then 20 minutes, 20 questions (that'll be tough, btw). If you can get the first 15 done in roughly 15 minutes, you have 20 minutes to finish the last 10. Likewise, 10 in 10 minutes leaves you with 25 minutes to do 15 questions. Those blocks of time should be enough to, at least, practice and aim for. If you do it systematically, your speed and accuracy should both benefit, and when the test comes you'll do fine.

On that note, if you have time troubles in the other sections, I recommend trying to read the passage/summarize the rules and answer all the questions pertaining to a particular reading comp passage/logic game in 8 minutes, and do every game/passage with an 8 minute timer running.

Hope some of this helps or fits your situation.

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Re: LR regression?

Postby EarlCat » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:39 pm

First, take a couple days off and do something fun. Recharge. You're learning a skill, which takes time and practice, but right now it sounds like your frustration is getting in the way of your progress.

Second, lose the clock for a while. Just don't even think about time. Speed will come naturally as you get better at these. Work your problems (new and used alike) by forcing yourself to go through the motions. Take each one systematically step by step by step. Identify the question type, identify the premise, identify the conclusion, notice if there's a flaw, predict what the answer will do (not necessarily what it will say) and then articulate why each answer is right or wrong. Do it as if you were explaining it to someone else who came to you for help. You should be going slowly and carefully enough to get near 100% accuracy (I don't care if it takes you two days to get through a preptest). Think about whether the particular problem you're on resembles (structurally) another that you've worked. If you have a workbook that splits the questions up by type, that's even better because you can focus on each type until you're nailing it consistently.

In a couple weeks, take a new timed test and see how you're doing.

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