Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

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SA1928
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Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby SA1928 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:10 pm

Hello! I have been studying since July following the LSAT Blog schedule, although more seriously (about 6 hours each day) since the start of August. I went through the Logic Games Bible and have been able to get my logic games down to -0 with no timing issues. I have also used the LR Bible and the Manhattan LSAT RC book, but have actually started to get more questions wrong than before I used these books. I have taken 6 practice tests and am now performing worse than my initial diagnostic score. I have started using the Manhattan LR book now in hopes of maybe trying a new approach. I am also taking a PT approximately every other day, typically 3-4 a week.

One of my major issues is timing, but I used to be able to get almost all of the questions that I was actually answering correct. Now I am getting any where from -3 to -7 out of only about 20 questions in the 35 minute limit. When there is no time limit, I perform much better and typically only get about -2 per LR and RC section wrong.

Has this happened to anyone else (the decrease from diagnostic after studying)? If so, were you able to overcome it and how?

Or any tips on ways to start moving in the positive direction instead of the negative? Does it sound like more of a timing issue to you or like maybe it would be best to stop doing PTs and return back to only learning the material?

Thank you!

Obelisk18
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby Obelisk18 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:40 pm

Something similar, but less severe, is happening to me. When I started, I'd get typically 3-4 wrong on LR and I typically finished with 8 or 9 minutes to spare (which I used to look again at tougher questions). A few weeks later, I'm getting 2-5 wrong on LR and finishing with only 3-4 minutes to spare. I think that as you go through these prep books, you're being given more things to consciously consider, which in the short term can slow you down and possibly even decrease your accuracy. I was getting some tough questions right before without quite knowing why- no doubt, a function of my general experience with standardized testing (the SAT, the GRE) which has given me a decent radar for "bad" answer choices. When I got something wrong, it was usually a question I didn't understand that I didn't understand (if that makes sense). Now, I know what I ought to be looking for, but I'm not yet to the point where it comes naturally. So I frequently end up dwelling too long on questions I would have answered without hesitation in the past, and the questions I'm getting wrong actually feel really difficult as I'm doing them. Which I'm trying to take as progress. Sure, I feel a lot worse while I'm doing LR sections, but I think I'm seeing a lot more. Which, in the long-run (and granted, with only 3 weeks left, I don't have much long-run) should pay dividends. I got a 168 on a PT today, which is the same place I was 2 weeks ago, but it was a painful 168. I felt like I was trying to unlock the secrets of the universe. Two weeks ago, I'd get a 168 (or 167 or 169) and feel like I'd maybe gotten a 178. Odd though it might sound, I feel better about where I am now. When you're getting 10-20% of questions wrong, you shouldn't feel that the test's a breeze. If you do, you probably don't quite know what you're doing.

So maybe you're where I hope I am? In the gap between knowing what you need to know and actually knowing it? Which could be a good place to be. Just keep at it. I'm going to finish up the Manhattan LR book tomorrow or Tuesday, run through some games in the bible, and see if things start clicking. 19 days may not seem like a lot of time but there's still plenty of time for things to come together.

SpiteFence
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby SpiteFence » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:54 pm

I used to teach the for one of the test prep companies, and probably 70-80% of students did worse on their second test than their diagnostic. Most saw an increase over their diagnostic on their next test.

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tehrocstar
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby tehrocstar » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:43 am

Didn't read the entire posts above, but often you have to get worse to get better. Often when adopting a new technique you have to practice it until you master that technique and then you'll see an improvement. Happens in sports often.

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SA1928
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby SA1928 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:10 pm

Thanks for the responses!

I hope that I am just at the awkward point of putting what I have learned actually into practice. I think I am mostly frustrated with the fact that after learning a strategy and then drilling about 25 specific questions, I can get them all right. Then, when taking a PT with all the questions mixed up I can't seem to remember any of the strategies that I studied, at least for LR and RC. I wish there were more LG sections!

I am taking another PT in the morning and did a really intense review today for about 6 hours trying to analyze every single answer on the June 2007 exam (especially after bombing it). I feel that if I don't start seeing improvements in the next week or so, being that the LSAT is two weeks from Saturday, I think I am going to stop taking PTs and return to the books and drill the methods more, in hopes of identifying the patterns and getting a firm grasp on what to look for on the LSAT. I have also plugged my PT information into the LSAT tracker, so I have a better idea as to exactly where I am going wrong.

However, at this point, being that I am still at least 10 points away from my target, I should probably start focusing on December regardless of what my practice test tomorrow says...right?

bp shinners
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby bp shinners » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Just wanted to add that I usually see the same pattern in my classes - a dip when learning the new material, then gains when mastering it. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as they say.

That being said, you also might be suffering burnout. 6 hours a day is a LOT of time to be studying - I'd take a day or two away from the material to let your brain rest.

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SA1928
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Re: Losing Points Instead of Gaining After Studying...

Postby SA1928 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:50 am

bp shinners wrote:Just wanted to add that I usually see the same pattern in my classes - a dip when learning the new material, then gains when mastering it. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as they say.

That being said, you also might be suffering burnout. 6 hours a day is a LOT of time to be studying - I'd take a day or two away from the material to let your brain rest.


I definitely agree with you that it was trying to use the new material - also trying to do too many things at one time and then getting the methods confused on each problems. My original diagnostic was 158 and most recently scored a 166, so I hope that I will be able to get into the 170s by December.

I have also started to cut back to more like 4 hours a day of solid studying, instead of 6, although it does kind of make me nervous! I also am moving my test back to December.




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