PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

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Shiraz
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PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:49 pm

Hey guys--

I've been studying since mid-July, taking PTs since mid-September. My scores have been steadily increasing over a period of time, and they peaked on November 19 on a 5-section timed test at 174. Typically my scores are -0 to -1 on LG, -0 to -2 on LR, and -2 to -5 on RC. The week before I was scoring anywhere between 170-173.

I took the week off work to fly back to my hometown and focus on the LSAT during the last week. Since I did that, my scores have been dropping with each PT (from November 24): 172, 170, 168, and today, 165.

I'm at a loss. I'm taking the test on Saturday and I won't be happy with a score like that if I know I'm capable of reaching the 170s. The question is, should I keep diligent and take a PT daily like I had planned, or ease up on the studying until test day and give myself a break? Or should I wait till February when I feel more prepared (again)?

Thanks in advance. Any advice is appreciated.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Scotusnerd » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:19 pm

Question: what practice tests are you taking that lower your score?

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Shiraz
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:26 pm

PT 36, 37, 48, 46, and 40 were all tests I scored 170-174 on.

On PTs 54 and 42 I scored 168 and 165, respectively. I completely botched the LG section of PT 42 (-6). Other sections were -3 (LR), -4 (RC) and -4 again (LR). Experimental RC was -3.

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glucose101
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby glucose101 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:33 pm

I say--take like 1 more PT, see how you do (see how you felt compares with how you did), take the Sat exam, gauge how you did, and cancel if need you think you tanked. Honestly, you can't really do much in less than a week before the exam. Doing more than you should will only hinder you.

Although others will say differently--if you don't have it now, you aren't magically going to be better come Sat.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby swtlilsoni » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:01 pm

I don't think its true that you dont "have" it now. You obviously are capable of getting 170+. Maybe you were distracted since youve been home? See if there has been a change in study habits, have you been more tired? less sleep? Maybe you were less focused. If none of those, maybe you burnt out? Have you been studying for more hours ever since you went home?

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glucose101
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby glucose101 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:21 pm

But I think a week before the exam is too little time to start figuring out optimal settings.

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Shiraz
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:51 pm

swtlilsoni: The major change since I arrived home is that I've had less distractions. No shifts at work, no social obligations. I've definitely studied more hours since I've been here, and now I'm beginning to worry that it's the lack of diversions that's killing my focus and making me more apt to making careless mistakes.

At this point I'm kind of stuck at home until after the day of the exam... So I'm not sure how I should switch up my regime in order to be able to test back at what I was ten days ago.

glucose101 wrote:But I think a week before the exam is too little time to start figuring out optimal settings.


True - that's why I came here for advice. I want to see if anyone else has experienced anything similar and if so, what they could tell me.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Scotusnerd » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:01 pm

There's a number of things that could be a problem. I have a few ideas.

1) You could be taking too many tests too quickly. Practicing too much will burn you out. Do you find it excessively difficult to take tests and have to force yourself to do so? If so, this might be it. A lighter schedule would be advisable.

2) You are into a specific set of tests that are challenging you in ways you aren't prepared on yet. This can happen with specific PTs, I've noticed. You might want to look up and see if anyone else has bad experiences with these specific tests.

3) You might be THINKING about the tests too much, and not giving your brain the breaks it had before from social interactions. I'm guilty of this. Thinking about things too much causes me to wind around and around myself and overthink stuff. Then I panic because I'm not so good at it. If this is the case, find an addictive video game or chat with people more to distract yourself.

4) It could be a nerves issue. Self-confidence is extremely important for athletes, and we're no different. This is a competition, and it's one that you have prepared for better than 90% of the people who are taking it. You have to know that you're going to kick their ass and that you're going to go to schools that they can only dream of.

Hopefully one of these helps. :)

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Shiraz
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:54 pm

Thanks for the tips, Scotusnerd. I think you could be right on all four points (though I hate to think that a particular set of tests is too challenging, it could be true). What I'm probably going to do is step away from PTs and just drill on my weakest areas... I think going in with a good attitude is the way to go, and I'm afraid that if I get anymore discouraging scores it might just throw me off on Saturday!

the_phoenix612
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:25 pm

Shiraz wrote:Hey guys--

I've been studying since mid-July, taking PTs since mid-September. My scores have been steadily increasing over a period of time, and they peaked on November 19 on a 5-section timed test at 174. Typically my scores are -0 to -1 on LG, -0 to -2 on LR, and -2 to -5 on RC. The week before I was scoring anywhere between 170-173.

I took the week off work to fly back to my hometown and focus on the LSAT during the last week. Since I did that, my scores have been dropping with each PT (from November 24): 172, 170, 168, and today, 165.

I'm at a loss. I'm taking the test on Saturday and I won't be happy with a score like that if I know I'm capable of reaching the 170s. The question is, should I keep diligent and take a PT daily like I had planned, or ease up on the studying until test day and give myself a break? Or should I wait till February when I feel more prepared (again)?

Thanks in advance. Any advice is appreciated.

The same thing happened to me. My diagnostic (Kaplan course) was 165, PTs went 170, 174, 171, 169, 165, 162, 160, and by test day I was shitting brix. The trend got into my head and I couldn't shake it.

I took the last week before the test off, and I told myself that I would take one more the night before the cancel deadline, and if I hit my target (170) I'd take it. If not, I'd cancel and take in October. Hit my target, got a 177 on the June test.

What I needed was a boost of confidence. Break the downward trend and take a few days off. Set a reachable goal for your next PT and go from there.

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Shiraz
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:34 pm

the_phoenix612 wrote:The same thing happened to me. My diagnostic (Kaplan course) was 165, PTs went 170, 174, 171, 169, 165, 162, 160, and by test day I was shitting brix. The trend got into my head and I couldn't shake it.

I took the last week before the test off, and I told myself that I would take one more the night before the cancel deadline, and if I hit my target (170) I'd take it. If not, I'd cancel and take in October. Hit my target, got a 177 on the June test.

What I needed was a boost of confidence. Break the downward trend and take a few days off. Set a reachable goal for your next PT and go from there.


Hah! Good to know someone had my problem and managed to bounce back. I think going in with a good mentality is half the game. I decided to take the October 2011 test yesterday and scored a 173, and though I did go slightly over time on two sections, it managed to restore my confidence. That'll be the last test I take - I want to go into the exam with a confident mentality...

the_phoenix612
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:39 pm

Shiraz wrote:
the_phoenix612 wrote:The same thing happened to me. My diagnostic (Kaplan course) was 165, PTs went 170, 174, 171, 169, 165, 162, 160, and by test day I was shitting brix. The trend got into my head and I couldn't shake it.

I took the last week before the test off, and I told myself that I would take one more the night before the cancel deadline, and if I hit my target (170) I'd take it. If not, I'd cancel and take in October. Hit my target, got a 177 on the June test.

What I needed was a boost of confidence. Break the downward trend and take a few days off. Set a reachable goal for your next PT and go from there.


Hah! Good to know someone had my problem and managed to bounce back. I think going in with a good mentality is half the game. I decided to take the October 2011 test yesterday and scored a 173, and though I did go slightly over time on two sections, it managed to restore my confidence. That'll be the last test I take - I want to go into the exam with a confident mentality...

Aw man, you're going to nail this test to the wall. A 173 should make you all sorts of giddy inside. You'll do amazingly well!

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lawschool899
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby lawschool899 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:45 pm

I PTed at a high of 168. The last week before the LSAT I was freaking out because I was dropping to the 164-165 range. I ended up pulling off a 171 on test day.

I think it's pretty normal to drop the week before. Nerves and such. Don't do anything tomorrow, just relax and think about something besides the exam. Do a logic game Saturday morning before you go in and everything will be fine!

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willwash
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby willwash » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:29 pm

Shiraz wrote:Hey guys--

I've been studying since mid-July, taking PTs since mid-September. My scores have been steadily increasing over a period of time, and they peaked on November 19 on a 5-section timed test at 174. Typically my scores are -0 to -1 on LG, -0 to -2 on LR, and -2 to -5 on RC. The week before I was scoring anywhere between 170-173.

I took the week off work to fly back to my hometown and focus on the LSAT during the last week. Since I did that, my scores have been dropping with each PT (from November 24): 172, 170, 168, and today, 165.

I'm at a loss. I'm taking the test on Saturday and I won't be happy with a score like that if I know I'm capable of reaching the 170s. The question is, should I keep diligent and take a PT daily like I had planned, or ease up on the studying until test day and give myself a break? Or should I wait till February when I feel more prepared (again)?

Thanks in advance. Any advice is appreciated.


You're experiencing burnout. I went through something similar a few years back, where the anger I felt at a bad PT performance made me want to jump right into another test. It clouded my judgment and prevented me from methodically going through each section, thorouoghly reviewing each missed and unsure answer. The result was an even lower score on the next PT, which led to yet more anger, and cycling into yet worse scores. I was hitting the LSAT for hours every day and experiencing negative returns.

I ended up tabling the idea of law school entirely for over a year (it's complicated). Only now am I revisiting the idea, and now that I'm hitting the LSAT again with a new maturity, I'm doing much better. If I miss a question, I think "Good, this is a chance for me to see something the test makers came up with that I haven't seen yet, so it's one less thing I'll have never seen before on test day. Let's figure ot out!" I'm also spacing out my PTs and pacing myself.

This is going to sound crazy, but you need to take a break. Take a good, solid 3 or 4 days (I know there's not much time til the December test!) and don't even THINK about the LSAT. Don't visit TLS. Just sit at a tiki bar and drink margaritas. Whether you realize it or not, you will be digesting all that test material that is currently overwhelming your brain, and when you come back to do a PT, and do it calmly, you will be back into the 170s.

Go ahead and register for Feb now so that you have it ready to go in the event you need to cancel.

nedzilla
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby nedzilla » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:40 pm

Look at PT 64 Sect. 3 Q24. Seems like the folks at LSAC are giving us clues!

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Shiraz
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby Shiraz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:57 pm

thephoenix612 wrote:A 173 should make you all sorts of giddy inside. You'll do amazingly well!

Not gonna lie, just seeing the 173 makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, haha. I'm looking forward to Saturday again, and I wanna keep it that way, so no more PTs.

@lawschool899: I think you just articulated my Friday/Saturday game plan perfectly :)

willwash wrote:You're experiencing burnout. I went through something similar a few years back, where the anger I felt at a bad PT performance made me want to jump right into another test. It clouded my judgment and prevented me from methodically going through each section, thorouoghly reviewing each missed and unsure answer. The result was an even lower score on the next PT, which led to yet more anger, and cycling into yet worse scores. I was hitting the LSAT for hours every day and experiencing negative returns..

That's almost exactly what I was feeling. Each time I got a lower score I'd think "okay, this sucks, but tomorrow I'm going to wake up and do better!" And lo and behold, I did worse every time. Every day just more frustrating and more discouraging until I was finally at such a loss that I came here. And moped. And stopped studying bloody so much. And hey, three days later, my score increased. Staying away from the books is hard though! I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow to keep myself busy. No tiki bars in my hometown, sadly...

nedzilla wrote:Look at PT 64 Sect. 3 Q24. Seems like the folks at LSAC are giving us clues!

Irony: I got that one wrong yesterday.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: PT scores dramatically dropping. What to do?

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:00 pm

Shiraz wrote:Hey guys--

I've been studying since mid-July, taking PTs since mid-September. My scores have been steadily increasing over a period of time, and they peaked on November 19 on a 5-section timed test at 174. Typically my scores are -0 to -1 on LG, -0 to -2 on LR, and -2 to -5 on RC. The week before I was scoring anywhere between 170-173.

I took the week off work to fly back to my hometown and focus on the LSAT during the last week. Since I did that, my scores have been dropping with each PT (from November 24): 172, 170, 168, and today, 165.

I'm at a loss. I'm taking the test on Saturday and I won't be happy with a score like that if I know I'm capable of reaching the 170s. The question is, should I keep diligent and take a PT daily like I had planned, or ease up on the studying until test day and give myself a break? Or should I wait till February when I feel more prepared (again)?

Thanks in advance. Any advice is appreciated.
you're burnt out. Stop taking PTs




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