Working full-time/December goal

bric12
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:42 pm

Working full-time/December goal

Postby bric12 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Hi everyone,

I finally decided to register on this site to ask for a general opinion. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent and have never experienced such an issue achieving improvement in something that I have worked so hard on. I was enrolled in the Kaplan course that will be coming to an end next Monday, and had all intentions of taking the October LSAT until my third practice test came back with the exact same score as the diagnostic. For whatever reason, I have worked tirelessly to understand the games and feel that I've made great improvement, but I have not yet experienced my "surge," or "click" when it comes to specific types of LR questions (Flaw, S&W namely). I tested with a 148 three times in a row during the course, and I am now dealing with an extreme confidence issue. Being that my GPA is just average, certainly nothing to write home about, I was aiming for a 160+. I never thought in a million years that I would have such difficulty getting there.

The biggest problem for me is that I gave myself a little over a month to prepare, and I work a full time job during the week. When I get home, I am exhausted. I feel completely overloaded with stress and all the work I've put in simply has not helped. I feel that I have not had enough time to fully grasp exactly what it takes to understand certain types of questions. Because of this, I have decided to take the test now in December and my main question for all of you is: Do you think it is possible for me to get there by then? I am open to any suggestions regarding materials or specific study habits that could help my progress on top of working this full time job. Working from 9-5 and then coming home and studying from 6-10 simply has not done the trick.

Thank you in advance :)

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LSAT Blog
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:24 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:01 pm

I did a post for TLS a while ago about how balance your LSAT prep with work and school:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/lsat-pre ... chool.html

Hope it helps!

bric12
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:42 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby bric12 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:06 pm

I did see your article! I actually planned to fashion my studying from next week forward with your model. Thank you!

caminante
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby caminante » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:46 pm

I found the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible to be quite helpful. I went through the entire book and took notes on each chapter. Now I just go over my notes before practice tests to refresh my memory on certain common logical fallacies, etc. I haven't tried any of the other books, so I can't compare, but this really improved my score!

(Caveat- I wasn't having too much trouble to begin with).

shheriii
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:51 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby shheriii » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:54 pm

thanks, this def. helps me!

loisaida
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:04 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby loisaida » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:06 pm

I feel your pain.

I work 10-6 (slightly better than you) and took a Kaplan course at night this past winter to prep for June and ended up postponing to October. I was absolutely drained from my job by 6:30 and couldn't manage to keep my attention span up for the remaining 3 hours. Frankly, I also think that the Kaplan course didn't explain some of the methods too well. Additionally, taking a PT at night is not indicative of your performance could be.

Here's what I did (and what I would recommend):

After I finished the course, I bought the Powerscore LR and LG bible and started with the LR bible. My brain is always MUCH fresher in the morning (plus I work at 10) so I would get up, read the bible, read it during my lunch break, and then after work. With both of the bibles, I could finish a chapter a day usually (read the intro in the first hour, do the problems at the end in the next). For me, personally, reading the LR bible was really helpful before I got to the LG. I made flashcards of the different LR problem types and read them on the subway to work. I would re-read a section when having trouble. Remember all those books they gave you at Kaplan? After you finish the LR bible figure out your weaknesses and strengths and do the corresponding sections in the Mastery for drills.

The LR bible is longer than the LG bible, and I felt it cleared up a lot of those "mysteries" that Kaplan never seemed to explain (ie Assumptions aka the bane of my existence). My LG scores were abysmal after Kaplan, and after I did the LG Bible (same method as LR), and then I did all of the Kaplan mastery LG games and started getting perfect scores on LG.

I haven't done as much for RC (and it shows) simply because I'm a bit burnt out from studying since March and having a full-time job. I found it was important to try to take a day off during the week since juggling all my work-related matters and test prep was causing my brain to shut down. Some people may disagree with that, but that was what I found. Taking a couple days off would help me get back into the groove more than if I kept pushing myself.

So to answer your question: yes, I think it is entirely possible for you to get better by December. I would print out a calendar, put some tentative goals on it: finish LR by this date, LG by this date, RC by this date, do drills on these days, PTs, section timing, and leave some days to let your brain rest.

Good luck!

bric12
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:42 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby bric12 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:41 pm

Loisaida, that was very helpful. After convincing myself I'm borderline incompetent with this material, it's nice to hear someone who understands how you feel. I feel that more time is what I need. "Bible's" will definitely be purchased this upcoming weekend. Thanks!

loisaida
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:04 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby loisaida » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:06 pm

No problem!!

It IS a learnable test and it's all about patterns. It may take a while to see it. Another tip: I just read superprep by LSAC (complete with their explanations) and it helped a lot to see how and why the testmakers think they way they do. They also have a mini-guide to the sections.

Try to get a positive outlook, and tell yourself you can conquer the test. It is not indicative of who you are as a person.

sfamor
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:27 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby sfamor » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:12 pm

I've been in the same boat with working full-time at a very challenging job that is quite draining. I'm exhausted by the time that I come home. Honestly, I've gotten by on a lot more coffee than I normally consume! I too am in a prep course and it's been quite intense to be doing 12 hours in class a week on top of my job. I was hardly getting any of the homework from the class done and I finally realized I needed to make some changes half way through. I couldn't change the fact that I have to work, but I do have control over what I do in my free time, mainly my social life. I told my partner and my friends that I was basically going into hiding for the next month and a half and I would see them after October 1. My weekends have been devoted entirely to the LSAT ever since. I try to get some study time in at night after work, but often it's just not happening. That said, with cramming on the weekends, I have improved my practice score over 20 points. I started in the 140's and now consistently hit the upper 160's, which was my goal. So I guess my advice is figure out what changes are possible considering you have to hold a job and consume lots of coffee :D

NightmanCometh
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:03 pm

Re: Working full-time/December goal

Postby NightmanCometh » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:47 pm

Had the same problem. Was working crazy OT hours too (like 70-80 a week at least) and used to wake up at 5:30 or so to get it done. But I realized this was not enough. What I did was asked for a leave of absence for this month (I had to put in some vacation days in there), and since I work in a law firm everyone was pretty supportive. Not sure if that's an option for you, but at the very least consider lumping some vacation days together and spend a week or so doing nothing but LSAT. I improved so much this month just by nonstop practice (and being a hermit).

For Logical Reasoning, here are some of the things that led to my improvement:
1. Get your conditional logic down solid; I use the Powerscore LR Bible method and after practice have no problem diagramming any sentence into a conditional if there is a relationship. Certain question types like Must be True are all about conditional, so those are easy points when all you have to do is diagram it and find your answer from the diagram.
2. Practice by question type at first rather than do full sections. Go to Cambridge LSAT website and you can purchase all LR questions by type (Weaken, Strengthen, Must be True, etc). I find this is good because you train yourself to approach different question types differently. For example, for Must be True questions I don't care about the structure of the argument or whether the logic is sound, I just read every single word very carefully and diagram the conditionals. On the other hand, for Weaken questions I think more carefully about the author's argument and the way he tries to prove it (link between conclusion and premises), and don't worry about conditional diagramming. For Method of Reasoning question, I focus on the structure of the argument rather than the content or the strength of logic. For Flaw, they are almost always recycled from previous questions, so once you do ALL flaw questions together you should be in good shape to recognize a recurring flaw in new questions. Etc etc. Another benefit to this approach is that you can do some questions throughout the day, like at a lunch break, down time, etc.

I think doing those two things will at least get you to understand the way the questions work, and you should be able to get any given question right without a time constraint. The hard part after that is time management and finesse, which just takes a lot of practice and pacing experimentation.




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