Realistic Expectations?

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ThreeRivers
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Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:57 pm

I was extremely busy and could not really prepare for the LSAT’s until about August 22. I scheduled minimal responsibilities from then until October 1 so I could be in “LSAT overdrive” until the test.

I decided to take an “original diagnostic test” on August 22 and was EXTREMLEY frustrated / was not even coming close to doing anything correctly on the test and I just quit in the middle of it. I went to the “Google machine” and read a lot of information on here for advice. I basically came across that PowerScore Bibles could be my savior (especially LR / LG).

In the last 2 weeks, I went through cover to cover the LR / LG Bibles and felt I was making a lot of progress. Tonight I took another prep test, under strict time conditions and received:

-2 on 1st LR sections
-12 on Reading comp
-7 on Logic Games
-5 on 2nd LR section
Raw score 75/ Reported score 159

I had enough time on the 2 LR sections, on the Reading comp section I just “guessed” on the last 7 and the same situation occurred on the last 4 Logic game question. I missed every single question I randomly guessed on. So of the 26 questions I missed, 11 were from time issues and 12 were from Reading comp (7 of those because of time issue).

I figured I should probably now go through the RC Bible since although it is not generally recommended on here it seems to be holding me back.

Anyways, I plan to take 32 more prep tests before Oct 1 (I’m spending a TON of time on LSAT a day) and also probably going through the RC Bible now.

What could be a realistic improvement from this 1st test until Oct. 1… I want at least a 165, is this realistic? I would prefer closer to a 169, is this realistic?

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minnbills
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:10 pm

A timed diag of 159 is very good, no reason to be dejected. I started at 159 and finished with a 168.

Just keep hammering PTs, making sure to thoroughly review each and don't skimp on studying the LG and LR bibles.

EDIT: how much you can improve before Oct. 1 is really a personal thing. Some people take 3 PTs and end up in the 170s, others study their asses off and never break 165.

Bottom line is that your best bet is to study study study and see how it goes.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:17 pm

minnbills wrote:A timed diag of 159 is very good, no reason to be dejected. I started at 159 and finished with a 168.

Just keep hammering PTs, making sure to thoroughly review each and don't skimp on studying the LG and LR bibles.

EDIT: how much you can improve before Oct. 1 is really a personal thing. Some people take 3 PTs and end up in the 170s, others study their asses off and never break 165.

Bottom line is that your best bet is to study study study and see how it goes.

Thanks, and I plan on the studying my ass off approach. I was just wondering if 159 was that good because that was my score after going through the LG / LR Bible and since RC appears to be my main issue (which supposedly is the hardest section to improve upon).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:25 pm

-7 LR is pretty good already. Drill a lot of RC, but really drill games. You can get that -7 down to -0 pretty quickly if you put in the effort.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:59 am

I realized that the LR sections (particularly the first one), I finished with a ton of time to spare, so I really didn't consider the "time element" in the RC section which came 2nd (had an invalid sense of cockiness when it came to time after the 1st section), which resulted in me not coming close to finishing it.

I just took another RC section and attempted to read faster / just work at a quicker pace and finished in time, missing 7 (at one point I got completely confused and missed 4 out 5 though...

I don't want to accept -7 on the RC, but hopefully the 5 raw point increase from my original diag. just by paying more attention to time is not a fluke and I can build upon it...

That would mean my raw score would go up to 81 / reported score on this test would be 163. Hopefully I can knock a point or 2 more off the RC / have the logic games become "Free points" as many have suggested.

I'm trying to read the RC Bible, but unlike the other 2 it appears it doesn't have much that can help me... any thoughts by others on if the book will help?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:03 am

The Manhattan RC book has gotten good reviews from others around here.

I'm not sure there are a whole lot of tricks to RC. You just have to practice a lot and get comfortable with what to look for. I'm exhibit A in the case for doing well without mastering RC. I just tried to improve my speed, like you said, so that when the time came to bear down and compare two answer choices I could still do that and finish everything.

Overall it looks like you have a pretty strong aptitude for this test. Get after it for the next four weeks and I bet you'll be happy with the results.

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minnbills
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:05 am

The RC bible isn't that great.

RC is the most personal section in terms of how you approach it.

I would actually sprint through the questions first and for any really specific ones that keyed in on a particular word or topic, I would jot that down in the margin between the passage and questions, and then make a note of it on the passage when I saw it.

Develop a system of marking up the passage for relevant information. I would always make a "/" mark at the end of a sentence which could help me parse through it later on at a higher rate.

Making other notes like: "AV" for Author's view or "CP" for contrasting point are other ones.

In the end, you might want to experiment and see what you prefer. Some people don't make any marks and do very well. Part of why RC is difficult is because there is no really good generic advice to give.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:20 am

minnbills wrote:The RC bible isn't that great.

RC is the most personal section in terms of how you approach it.

I would actually sprint through the questions first and for any really specific ones that keyed in on a particular word or topic, I would jot that down in the margin between the passage and questions, and then make a note of it on the passage when I saw it.

Develop a system of marking up the passage for relevant information. I would always make a "/" mark at the end of a sentence which could help me parse through it later on at a higher rate.

Making other notes like: "AV" for Author's view or "CP" for contrasting point are other ones.

In the end, you might want to experiment and see what you prefer. Some people don't make any marks and do very well. Part of why RC is difficult is because there is no really good generic advice to give.

I have not made any marks at all partly because it feels "awkward" for me. Since as long as I have read I have hated "annotating," I remember dreading 10th grade English assignments because I have felt it was pointless lol. So my natural tendency was not to do so. I will probably experiment with different types of strategies though in the next couple RC sections I take (try annotating / reading questions first, etc).

I'm interested in if I can really knock down my LG's to -1 or -0. It caused me to quit in my first "cold test" when I received a similar score as if I just randomly guessed. After going through the bible like I said I missed 7 (last 4 because ran out of time). Hopefully I can learn to crush that section.

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minnbills
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:23 am

ThreeRivers wrote:I'm interested in if I can really knock down my LG's to -1 or -0. It caused me to quit in my first "cold test" when I received a similar score as if I just randomly guessed. After going through the bible like I said I missed 7 (last 4 because ran out of time). Hopefully I can learn to crush that section.


You can and it's totally worth the effort to do so.

Make sure to photocopy each LG section and hold on to one unmarked copy. Take one section per day under timed conditions. By the time I retook the LSAT I had taken nearly every LG section 2+ times. I ended up going -1 and it was a huge boost for me.

LG as a section responds better than LR or RC to drilling, in my experience. Keep hammering, but also don't be afraid to back off for a bit if things aren't going well.

iski1080
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby iski1080 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:48 pm

what really helped me out on RC was familiarizing myself with the vocab the test makers employ. words like dearth, eschew, etc. were foreign, but after taking about 15 pts and using a dictionary AFTER each RC section can really help.

i mean, if the RC was dr seuss see spot run, spot runs fast, nobody would have a problem. the content is formidable but the vocab seems to be a common difficulty for everyone.

case in point, learn the vocab and from that alone you will see at least 1 point improvement on RC, and 1 point after 160 is a big deal

good luck

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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:25 pm

ThreeRivers wrote:I have not made any marks at all partly because it feels "awkward" for me.


It feels awkward for nearly everyone. However, most people do much better after figuring out an annotation method that works for them. And, if you do it enough, it will stop feeling awkward.

Also, 32 prep tests in under a month? That's overkill. You won't spend enough time reviewing them at that pace, and you're likely to seriously burn out. Definitely focus, definitely take a lot of practice tests, but more than 1 a day is overkill; hell, more than a few a week is overkill.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:57 am

bp shinners wrote:
ThreeRivers wrote:I have not made any marks at all partly because it feels "awkward" for me.


It feels awkward for nearly everyone. However, most people do much better after figuring out an annotation method that works for them. And, if you do it enough, it will stop feeling awkward.

Also, 32 prep tests in under a month? That's overkill. You won't spend enough time reviewing them at that pace, and you're likely to seriously burn out. Definitely focus, definitely take a lot of practice tests, but more than 1 a day is overkill; hell, more than a few a week is overkill.

Yes, I plan to experiment with annotating (make an honest attempt) and see how it goes. I've set aside a lot to have a ton of free time this month since the duration I have to study is relatively small. I don't really believe in "burn out" to be honest. I've achieved a high GPA in college through mostly pulling all-nighters / cramming, etc... I excel greatly in that situation. Obviously I am aware I must change this habit for law-school, but I still believe I am less likely of a "burn-out" than most. I plan to still be aware of a burn-out though, and if my scores start slipping I'll back off.

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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:06 am

Sooo I took my 2nd prep-test today, and I'm PRAYING it is not a fluke (although I have my doubts). My results:

-4 on 1st LR
-5 on RC
-3 on LG
-1 on 2nd LR
Raw Score 88
Reported score 169 (PT 20)

I kind of got lucky on the logic games, I skipped 4 questions that were taking so long, then with about 2 minutes left I went back and I suddenly just "noticed" the answers for 2 of them at the last second. I could have easily missed both of those and been -5 on LG. I continue to finish LR with tons of time to spare, the others is still a bit of a race

I'm guessing the 10 point jump in 1 day is probably not reliable (all I did was review my mistakes / practice better pacing for RC). I'm interested in seeing if I can match this 169 score for my next PT. Imo I think the - 5 on LR / RC might be representative, but that I'm not actually at a -3 on LG at this point.

I also admittedly haven't been taken these practice tests in ideal situations. I have never once cheated on time but some things that differ:
I've taken both on my bed, in my quiet room with no background noise
I'm using my IPhone stopwatch (on airplane mode so no texts/ calls come in)
I've taken mini-breaks in between sections / went downstairs, grabbed some snack, etc..

I plan on testing at a library desk with some background noise and no mini-breaks to ensure those aren't factoring in my score. Within the next week or so I'll get a watch I can use on the LSAT

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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:10 am

Nice job! Your study conditions sound pretty good, unless you respond poorly to white noise I don't think you'll see much of a drop off. I would recommend switching to a wristwatch though, you want to get used to using it.

Also, start to put in an experimental. You can pull an old section from your last test and just take it again. So go: 3 sections (one experimental) in a row and then take a 15 minute break, then finish your next 2.

I wouldn't think your score is a fluke either. Keep your nose to the grindstone!

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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:52 pm

Well, my fears today were realized. I have no clue how I did so well on 2nd PT

I took my 3rd PT today.

The LR I was a -5
On the logic games I was -12, when just yesterday I was a -3? The games on this test just seemed overly complicated. Even when reviewing the test I thought this
I started the RC and was about half way done (1st passage made NO sense and I was struggling through the 2nd). I became frustrated and just quit. I graded the 18 questions I had completed and 9 were wrong (and I wasn't on pace to finish).

I'm almost completely confident I have LR down (I always finish this with about 4-5 minutes to spare and always with the same score. RC / LG appears I'm extremly rushed and it appears almost "luck of the draw." Some of them I can completely destroy, while the others turn me into their bitch.

IDK, I think tommorrow I'm going to get up early and finally start drilling that RC bible I haven't cracked (even though it isn't highly reccomended, maybe some background can help me?).

I'm becoming frustrated on the LGs... I went through the entire LGB and I feel I understand it, but sometimes I'll get a question that just makes 0 sense to me.... I guess I should just start drilling them? Although I feel there will always be questions that will destroy me...

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:56 pm

For the longest time I was afraid of the games section because it seemed like one tough-to-crack game would destroy the whole test. Do every game you can find, more than once if necessary, and you won't feel this way.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:06 pm

Basically I'd bet my raw score today was probably 69

Test 1 : Raw Score 75
Test 2: Raw Score 88
Test 3: Raw Score 69ish (maybe lower)...

I think I'm going to minimally focus on LR from now on (just make sure I at least maintain my scores on PTs)... its time to start studying the RC Bible to at least get some ideas on annotating I guess, and trying to gain some confidence...

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:08 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:For the longest time I was afraid of the games section because it seemed like one tough-to-crack game would destroy the whole test. Do every game you can find, more than once if necessary, and you won't feel this way.

Yes, that is my plan.. hopefully I can do all of this before October test to extent I feel comfortable. I'd really like to apply for next fall, and understand its a huge advantage if can take the test in October rather than December....

Just like I felt "lucky" yesterday (and my skills really weren't on par with a 169, I felt my LSAT skills aren't as low as the PT today went. Its just currently too much "luck" of the test I'm getting though... have to start becoming consistent

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:13 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:For the longest time I was afraid of the games section because it seemed like one tough-to-crack game would destroy the whole test. Do every game you can find, more than once if necessary, and you won't feel this way.

I have 33 PTs, would these be enough logic games or should I invest in more?

I'd also like to save some logic games for "full" PT tests, would just working again and again on the ones I already took while continuing to take full PT's be sufficient? For example, after every PT adding a new "used" logic game to my pile of "practice ones." Only problem with that would be I currently only have 3 "used" LG's....

Would this be a good strategy for LG's?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:27 pm

ThreeRivers wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:For the longest time I was afraid of the games section because it seemed like one tough-to-crack game would destroy the whole test. Do every game you can find, more than once if necessary, and you won't feel this way.

I have 33 PTs, would these be enough logic games or should I invest in more?

I'd also like to save some logic games for "full" PT tests, would just working again and again on the ones I already took while continuing to take full PT's be sufficient? For example, after every PT adding a new "used" logic game to my pile of "practice ones." Only problem with that would be I currently only have 3 "used" LG's....

Would this be a good strategy for LG's?


Save a dozen or so of the most recent practice tests so you can use them closer to test time.

I have to believe there is a place to buy most if not all of the games, but others can probably shed more light on this than me.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:31 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
ThreeRivers wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:For the longest time I was afraid of the games section because it seemed like one tough-to-crack game would destroy the whole test. Do every game you can find, more than once if necessary, and you won't feel this way.

I have 33 PTs, would these be enough logic games or should I invest in more?

I'd also like to save some logic games for "full" PT tests, would just working again and again on the ones I already took while continuing to take full PT's be sufficient? For example, after every PT adding a new "used" logic game to my pile of "practice ones." Only problem with that would be I currently only have 3 "used" LG's....

Would this be a good strategy for LG's?


Save a dozen or so of the most recent practice tests so you can use them closer to test time.

I have to believe there is a place to buy most if not all of the games, but others can probably shed more light on this than me.

For now I'm going to put my completed LG's in a random "pool" (add 4 every day to this pool by doing new ones) and re-do at least 4 of these "completed ones" a day until test day (at bare minimum). I'll do this on top of my other regular scheduled plan until test day. That way I'll have brand new ones to judge my progress, but old ones to continue practicing on...

Crunch time I guess...

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:33 pm

PS i really appreciate all of yours (Tiago) and Minnbills help, have definitely already assisted me and my constant questions lol

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minnbills
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:38 pm

try cambridgelsat.com

I think they sell a bundled LG packet or something

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby ThreeRivers » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:06 pm

Bump on this / need some advice from when I last posted.

I was originally planning to take 33 practice tests since when I posted this originally / DRILL on the LG's insanely.

My last 4 PT's I've scored a 164 with LG's sections varying from -10 to -12. Its pretty obvious I can jump my score up if I could just improve this section.

Since I'm not doing much, I've been able to take 2 PT's a day on certain days, but then I have minimal time to drill LG's.

I've taken 12 PT's so far (and finally getting a consistent score). Should I continue on my schedule and take 21 more PT's and attempt to "squeeze in" LG drilling or should I only do 10 more LSATs (have the recent book of 10 LSATS) and spend more time LG drilling?

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minnbills
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:09 pm

Cut down the number of PTs to 3/week or so. Focus on drilling LGs in the interim days but make sure to take at least 1 day off per week to recharge.

At this stage burnout can be a factor, taking more than one PT per day is a quick road to mental exhaustion, so watch out for that as well.

Also, try doing more old LGs.




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