All over the place at crunch time

PLDubs
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 7:13 pm

All over the place at crunch time

Postby PLDubs » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:50 am

So I'm prepping for the October test and I've been on a study regimen since June. I started out testing at 150 and have made some moves in a positive direction. However, my PTs are really inconsistent. I was getting either a 159 or a 160 on most tests up until about a month ago when I got a 164, 164, a 165, a 169, and then back to a 160. I really need to clear 163 (at the least) on test day and am looking to get into the upper 160s.

I'm not struggling in any areas in particular, which is somewhat problematic because I can't just buckle down and focus on one question type or section. Reading Comp is my strongest, but it can be hit or miss occasionally. With Games, I do what I can and usually end up -4 to -6 or so. I feel like I've come a long way with them, although I'm sort of having some time management issues with that section. As far as LR goes, the questions I miss vary from test to test. I struggle with parallel flaw and weaken questions on the whole, but other than that I'll miss random questions from all over the place. Also, Justify questions sort of boggle the mind sometimes. I'm trying to drill those questions, read LR Bible, but I'm still not totally getting it. I suppose my main problem, in a nutshell, is that I'm just not grasping the formulaic approach to the test in all areas.

I also seem to be stuck in the lower 160 range on more recent PTs than on earlier ones where I tend to do a bit better.

It's late in the game and I'm on the precipice of panic. What should I be doing in my last month of study before the exam? More PTs, more drilling certain areas? More of everything? At the risk of burning out, and knowing that cramming isn't effective, does anyone have any effective strategies for getting me over the hurdle here in the final stretch. Any help would be appreciated and good luck to all you folks taking the test in October.

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Samara
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: All over the place at crunch time

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:58 am

Have you identified certain game types or certain game questions that you tend to struggle with? Have you used the LG Bible or any other source to develop strategies? Just learning some basic strategies from TLS and SuperPrep worked wonders for me.

Are you reviewing the questions you got wrong? This is very helpful for me on LR. Consider reviewing previous missed questions again and fully articulating why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Most importantly, don't take this one dip as an indicator of disaster. I just took one where I tied for my worst raw score ever. Sometimes it just happens; it doesn't mean that it's indicative of a trend. This dip may just be a product of being burned out, so consider taking a day off or something to recharge.

PLDubs
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 7:13 pm

Re: All over the place at crunch time

Postby PLDubs » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:06 am

To answer your first question, sort of. There isn't any particular game type that give me trouble, at least not one that I can identify. "Could be true..." on LG is something that really gets me turned around. I've used the LG Bible but plan on re-reading it to refresh. I struggle with making inferences quickly, which I realize later costs me a lot of time.

I do review the LR questions I get wrong. Some of them are just "Duh!" questions which I realize that if I had read closer or paid more attention to the stimulus I would've gotten correct. I've been trying to rectify that in my practice (I often finish LR sections with 7-8 minutes to spare). However, there are some that I simply don't get. But that does sound like a strategy that I need to further employ.

Burnout is a definite possibility. I appreciate the advice.

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Samara
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: All over the place at crunch time

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:53 pm

Sounds like you're having a lot of the same struggles I've been having. For LG, I'm not so great at making inferences, but I'm pretty quick at plugging and chugging hypos. So, I don't spend much time making inferences; I basically get the low-hanging fruit and move on. When I'm plugging and chugging though, I keep an eye out for things that seem like they might be an inference and sometimes I verify it and add it to my diagram. Other times, I can look back at inferences to see if they fit. This is especially useful on the could be true questions. Often, I will have written out a hypo that satisfies one of the answers and that's a question I solved in practically no time! Usually, by the time I've done the first two or three questions (which are often easier anyway) I've figured out enough inferences to complete the game in a reasonable amount of time. I usually finish with 1-2 minutes left.

On LR, I also finish with 7+ minutes left and often make "dumb" mistakes. What has been helping me is going over the ones I missed with someone else who isn't taking the LSAT. (I use my wife.) I have her answer the question and explain her reasoning and we go over the right answer together. This is helpful because I will tend to get focused on one line of thinking and be unable to see the logic clearly. Getting another person's perspective (it seems to be especially helpful to me if the perspective is more "natural" and isn't cluttered by logic terms) has really helped me to analyze difficult passages in different ways.

Burnout is also a definite possibility. I tried doing two tests in one weekend in an attempt to free up more weekday evening time, but I was scoring significantly lower on the second one, so I don't do two in a row anymore. You have to maximize your studying efforts and sometimes that actually means spending some time not studying.




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