Frequency of Practice Tests?

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:19 pm

How many is too many, say per week? What is the most that people who have prepped in the past would do in a week? Is trying to do five a week unrealistic/ likely to lead to burnout?

The reason I ask is that I'm doing an online prep class that will end in about the middle of December, and am wondering how many practice tests I can do between then and the February test date? I was hoping for at least 20-30 in those two months.

What do you think?

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby gaud » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:23 pm

Five per week is likely going to be way too much. To prep properly you need to thoroughly review each test, and with five a week there will be little time for a comprehensive review of each test.

Three a week is a reasonable goal. You could schedule it like PT-Review-PT-Review-PT-Review-Off ... or something similar to that. Just make sure that you have 'off-days' otherwise you will likely experience burnout

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:36 pm

Yeah I was thinking that realistically 3 or 4 a week (every other day) would be the most I could do realistically. This will be during winter break though, so I won't have any other responsibilities, so maybe some weeks I could bear down and do an extra.

How many total do you think a person should do, say as a minimum, to a have a real familiarity and high comfort level with the test?

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby gaud » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:41 pm

Well for me personally (neurotic-ish) I felt comfortable after around 15...

Ultimately it will vary according to how much additional prep (drilling Q types, individual sections) you do.

With a fair amount of additional prep I would aim to have completed prep tests 50-64 (at least) under timed testing conditions and you could use the prep tests from 40ish-49 to add experiemental sections and do Q type drills.

Needless to say you can be quite flexible with those estimates depending on your level of progress and expertise

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:54 pm

Thanks for your input. Anyone out there who felt that more prep tests than that were necessary? I definitely think I've read some people who swear by taking every practice test out there. Is there anyone who can talk to that end?

User avatar
GirlStop
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:49 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby GirlStop » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:56 pm

How many weeks out from the test do you plan on attempting 3-4 tests a week?

sportgirl234
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 12:19 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby sportgirl234 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:01 pm

i have the exact same question. also in the week before the exam should you be taking one daily? do you take on the day before the exam? also i am getting about -3 to -5 on games all from stupid mistakes. any suggestions on how to cut this down?

tysm

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:03 pm

GirlStop wrote:How many weeks out from the test do you plan on attempting 3-4 tests a week?


For about the 5 weeks of winter break I hope to being prep tests intensively, and then when I get back to school for the last 3 weeks before the test I would tone it down to 1 or 2 a week. Is this a bad idea? Should I be peaking come test date in terms of frequency?

User avatar
JamMasterJ
Posts: 6688
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:08 pm

I felt best doing 2-3 tests per week, supplemented by question type drilling

User avatar
marlborofillet
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby marlborofillet » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:16 pm

I took five to six tests a week for four weeks; I arranged the tests to include five/six sections. After testing in the morning, I would review the test in the afternoon and work through my mistakes.

A little background: My diagnostic test was a 167. I figured a month of intensive prep would reveal any systemic weaknesses while also increasing my endurance (ability to think clearly) on the test. By my third week of prep, I was averaging 173; however, while my highs remained consistently in the 176 range, my lows were dropping from 171 to 168ish. This drop reflected two related things:

1) Apathy: as I was not seeing any upward trend in my results, I began to devalue individual tests. I figured that drifting through a few tests would not influence my overall trajectory. (You might ask, why I even bothered to take them: I'm stubborn, and wanted to know that I'd stuck to my guns.) In my opinion, giving your all on one test is more valuable than giving half on two. With that in mind, a day off between tests allows you to rebuild your excitement in a way that 20 hours never will.

2) Mental Burnout: after taking 20 tests in a relatively quick succession, things begin to blur. I found myself introducing material from previous tests/questions into other questions. (E.g. Is this the congested freeway with a new speed limit, or the freeway connecting two towns.) I don't know if this response was unique to my experience, but it certainly had me worried as I entered my final week.

My final week (week 5), I took two four section tests. The results on both tests fell into the lower end of my average. I rested for three days. On the big day, I managed a 168. Needless to say, I was pretty displeased that a month of intensive prep had yielded a one point bump.

Upon reflection, I don't attribute my relatively low score to burnout. At the same time, I think my testfest clearly yielded diminishing returns.

Effectively preparing for the LSAT is more than just doing as many questions as possible, though that can be a comforting way to prepare. You need to distinguish what methods are effective for you and what aren't. To do that does not require taking 50 tests. Indeed, ten thoroughly scrutinized tests can yield the same amount of information if not more.

Ultimately, my experience was exactly that - my experience. Any test regiment should reflect the individual's needs. If you find that endurance is an issue, you might do a week of one test everyday. But if your ultimate goal is to take every test available, you'd be better off spreading them out.

I hope that helps.

P.s. My December test prep schedule: one test a week.

User avatar
JamMasterJ
Posts: 6688
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:20 pm

marlborofillet wrote:I took five to six tests a week for four weeks; I arranged the tests to include five/six sections. After testing in the morning, I would review the test in the afternoon and work through my mistakes.

A little background: My diagnostic test was a 167. I figured a month of intensive prep would reveal any systemic weaknesses while also increasing my endurance (ability to think clearly) on the test. By my third week of prep, I was averaging 173; however, while my highs remained consistently in the 176 range, my lows were dropping from 171 to 168ish. This drop reflected two related things:

1) Apathy: as I was not seeing any upward trend in my results, I began to devalue individual tests. I figured that drifting through a few tests would not influence my overall trajectory. (You might ask, why I even bothered to take them: I'm stubborn, and wanted to know that I'd stuck to my guns.) In my opinion, giving your all on one test is more valuable than giving half on two. With that in mind, a day off between tests allows you to rebuild your excitement in a way that 20 hours never will.

2) Mental Burnout: after taking 20 tests in a relatively quick succession, things begin to blur. I found myself introducing material from previous tests/questions into other questions. (E.g. Is this the congested freeway with a new speed limit, or the freeway connecting two towns.) I don't know if this response was unique to my experience, but it certainly had me worried as I entered my final week.

My final week (week 5), I took two four section tests. The results on both tests fell into the lower end of my average. I rested for three days. On the big day, I managed a 168. Needless to say, I was pretty displeased that a month of intensive prep had yielded a one point bump.

Upon reflection, I don't attribute my relatively low score to burnout. At the same time, I think my testfest clearly yielded diminishing returns.

Effectively preparing for the LSAT is more than just doing as many questions as possible, though that can be a comforting way to prepare. You need to distinguish what methods are effective for you and what aren't. To do that does not require taking 50 tests. Indeed, ten thoroughly scrutinized tests can yield the same amount of information if not more.

Ultimately, my experience was exactly that - my experience. Any test regiment should reflect the individual's needs. If you find that endurance is an issue, you might do a week of one test everyday. But if your ultimate goal is to take every test available, you'd be better off spreading them out.

I hope that helps.

P.s. My December test prep schedule: one test a week.

yeah, you didn't control your peak very well. In the last 3 weeks I was probably doing about 10 hrs of prep total. 2 tests on the weekends and a few hours of stuff through the week. I was refreshed and ready to go for the real thing and scored a point below my PT average. Make sure you're wary of burnout. It can kill you

User avatar
20130312
Posts: 3842
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby 20130312 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:22 pm

I took 2-3 PTs a week. Went from 157 at beginning of August to 169 on the October LSAT. I think any more than 3 a week is overkill, but that could just be my short attention span.

Seneca
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby Seneca » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:33 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:I felt best doing 2-3 tests per week, supplemented by question type drilling


This. Specifically for your last six weeks (preferably much longer, so you're at a more reasonable pace) or so of studying. I don't think it makes much sense to do that from the start though - you don't really know what you're doing, and you're wasting valuable, complete PTs (especially if you're doing the recent ones - save those!) to learn things essentially by trial-and-error that you could learn more effectively from drilling individual question types and sections.

I recommend taking a diagnostic just to get a feel for the test. Then work on drilling question types, nailing down all the "theory," and drilling RC and LG. There's a lot you can and should do without taking a bunch of PTs first. You can pretty much nail down LG (I mean become near-perfect and even begin mastering timing) just from the LG Bible and the sections you should pull apart from the earlier exams. You should have a thorough working understanding of necessary/sufficient, etc and a feel for RC. This might take a few weeks, maybe more, depending on how much time you devote to studying.

Then take another PT or two (spaced out in a week or so, with thorough reviews of every question - this should take about as long as the test itself) to figure out exactly where your weaknesses lie. Work hard on those, until you see at least a 30% improvement in each area just based on your own drilling. Take another PT, review, repeat as needed. In my case, this put me in a position where I was in range for my top choices and within a few points of my target score within about four PTs (including the diagnostic).

I spent the last month or two of concerted studying doing exactly what JamMasterJ suggested, and if you put in the time up front, you'll likely see a pretty consistent rise in your scores during that time. Admittedly, I was taking about four each week for about two weeks there, and doing that too close to test day, although I took a few days off before the day. Of course, I also scored a several points below my median for that six weeks and towards my "low end" range, but it was enough to get me into my top choice, so take this for what it's worth. In hindsight, I probably crammed too much PTing into the last three weeks of prep and likely was hurt by that, but given my academic schedule and the importance of bringing up my GPA, it was what it was.

User avatar
Elston Gunn
Posts: 3444
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby Elston Gunn » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:38 pm

sportgirl234 wrote:i have the exact same question. also in the week before the exam should you be taking one daily? do you take on the day before the exam? also i am getting about -3 to -5 on games all from stupid mistakes. any suggestions on how to cut this down?

tysm


First question: DO NOT take a test a day the week before the test. Take maybe one, say Wednesday, and do a couple timed sections. The actual test is extremely draining, and you need to be rested going in.

Second question: If you haven't done the LGB, do it. If you have, do lots and lots of games. Look over them and understand the mistakes you make. Then redo them again. Then redo them again. You can definitely get to -0 to -2 on LG just by doing a ton of them.

User avatar
Take Two
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:30 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby Take Two » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:22 pm

For what its worth I took somewhere between 4 and 6 tests a week for the two months before the exam. FOR ME that proved to be extremely effective but that is because I also took the time to go over my mistakes after each test and learn from them. I also didnt begin taking the tests like that until I was fairly certain I had learned the principles behind the questions.

I also agree with what has been said here, cool it the week before and definitely dont do anything significant the day before. I just went over the notes I had made on my mistakes one last time.

really its all going to come down to personal preference, you have to find what works for you

upside11
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:22 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby upside11 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:10 pm

My own personal formula included: timed practice tests (the more the better/5 section minimum) + review (very very very important) + drilling. Leading up to the exam you don't want to overdo it. I would say 1-2 practice tests the week of the exam. The day of the exam do a couple of warm up questions. Be well rested, relaxed, and confident. Good luck. :)

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:31 pm

My diagnostic a couple weeks ago was 164. I had -2 total on Logical Reasoning (with one perfect section), -6 on Reading Comprehension, and -13 on Logic Games. Since then I have finished the LGB and still don't feel any more confident in games. I've ordered a book full of games, and am taking Velocity (just to give myself some structure), but still am really struggling in games. I have a very good GPA so I hope as long as I get rid of that abysmal -13 LG I can do pretty well. I'm scheduled to take another PT this Friday, and then as part of my Velocity schedule (I chose the 4 week syllabus) I'll be taking 2 PT's a week for the next four. Along with completing the rest of the Velocity, I've been trying to do an hour or two of additional games every night.

User avatar
Take Two
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:30 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby Take Two » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:01 pm

Yes absolutely drill the games! Like everything else you have to find what works for you and the only way to do that is practice I went from getting -10 or so on average to -3 on the real thing so its very doable! Good Luck!

User avatar
msblaw89
Posts: 2669
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:10 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby msblaw89 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:11 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:I felt best doing 2-3 tests per week, supplemented by question type drilling


+ 1 The last thing you want is to do so many PT that you get burnt out and the week before the LSAT have the mentality " screw the LSAT". I know friend who were PTing in the high 170's, got burnt out, and underperformed on test day

User avatar
Elston Gunn
Posts: 3444
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby Elston Gunn » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:23 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:My diagnostic a couple weeks ago was 164. I had -2 total on Logical Reasoning (with one perfect section), -6 on Reading Comprehension, and -13 on Logic Games. Since then I have finished the LGB and still don't feel any more confident in games. I've ordered a book full of games, and am taking Velocity (just to give myself some structure), but still am really struggling in games. I have a very good GPA so I hope as long as I get rid of that abysmal -13 LG I can do pretty well. I'm scheduled to take another PT this Friday, and then as part of my Velocity schedule (I chose the 4 week syllabus) I'll be taking 2 PT's a week for the next four. Along with completing the rest of the Velocity, I've been trying to do an hour or two of additional games every night.


This is a great place to be! Games are by far the easiest to improve. Trust me, do lots and lots of them (and review them thoughtfully and redo them), and you'll get much much better.

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:33 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:
bernaldiaz wrote:My diagnostic a couple weeks ago was 164. I had -2 total on Logical Reasoning (with one perfect section), -6 on Reading Comprehension, and -13 on Logic Games. Since then I have finished the LGB and still don't feel any more confident in games. I've ordered a book full of games, and am taking Velocity (just to give myself some structure), but still am really struggling in games. I have a very good GPA so I hope as long as I get rid of that abysmal -13 LG I can do pretty well. I'm scheduled to take another PT this Friday, and then as part of my Velocity schedule (I chose the 4 week syllabus) I'll be taking 2 PT's a week for the next four. Along with completing the rest of the Velocity, I've been trying to do an hour or two of additional games every night.


This is a great place to be! Games are by far the easiest to improve. Trust me, do lots and lots of them (and review them thoughtfully and redo them), and you'll get much much better.


Haha I keep hearing that they are easy to improve but after reading and completing the bible I really haven't made too many strides. I ordered a book with all the games from PT 1-20 in it so hopefully that will help.

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby gaud » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:36 pm

I am going to suggest you get some different games to practice with in addition to the ones from PT 1-20. There are some games within those tests that are quite unusual in comparison to the games on the more recent LSAT exams so you may get an unrealistic idea of what to expect.

Also, the games on the more recent exams seem to be much easier.

edited

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:42 pm

gaud wrote:I am going to suggest you get some different games to practice with in addition to the ones from PT 1-20. There are some games within those tests that are quite unusual in comparison to the games on the more recent LSAT exams so you may get an unrealistic idea of what to expect.

Also, the games on the more recent exams seem to be much easier.

edited


Thanks great advice. I'm wishing I just went with the package from Cambridge where you get a PDF of every published game. I'll probably end up getting it anyways.

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby gaud » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:44 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
gaud wrote:I am going to suggest you get some different games to practice with in addition to the ones from PT 1-20. There are some games within those tests that are quite unusual in comparison to the games on the more recent LSAT exams so you may get an unrealistic idea of what to expect.

Also, the games on the more recent exams seem to be much easier.

edited


Thanks great advice. I'm wishing I just went with the package from Cambridge where you get a PDF of every published game. I'll probably end up getting it anyways.



Probably for the best. Just to echo what others' have said, re-doing games is an effective tool for practice. It tends to help generate better speed in diagramming as well as increasing an understanding of the inferences that the testmakers are expecting you to make.

User avatar
bigtexmex
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Frequency of Practice Tests?

Postby bigtexmex » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:51 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
gaud wrote:I am going to suggest you get some different games to practice with in addition to the ones from PT 1-20. There are some games within those tests that are quite unusual in comparison to the games on the more recent LSAT exams so you may get an unrealistic idea of what to expect.

Also, the games on the more recent exams seem to be much easier.

edited


Thanks great advice. I'm wishing I just went with the package from Cambridge where you get a PDF of every published game. I'll probably end up getting it anyways.

Yeah, there are some tough ones in the early games. It's okay I guess to look at those at the beginning of your prep if you have 6-8 months before the exam. However, if you are taking the December LSAT, then you should be focusing on the more recent ones.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alexandros and 4 guests