JammasterJ's retakers study guide

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JamMasterJ
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JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:28 pm

JammasterJ’s Official Study Guide for Retakers that Suck at RC.

Back story that no one cares about: skip paragraph one:

Ok, so I sorta put together a 4-month plan for myself for my retake. I talked to a few people in the Manhattan study group (October LSAT group) and we all were in a similar boat, so this is my attempt to create something that is coherent to more than just myself.
About me: I took my first LSAT with basically a month of prep in October, 2010. I scored a 166, which was two points below my original goal of 168. The reason that I thought I had underperformed was a fairly severe injury a few days before the test. The real reason was Reading Comp. My RC was -7 or -9 I think, and my LR and LG were strong enough to have a shot at the 170s. I really wanted to get into Illinois or IU-B, so i decided pretty close to the deadline, to take the February test. I studied for a month and took about 12 preptests, with scores mostly in the 172-174 range, with a 175 and a few in the high 160s/low 170s. I thought I did OK, maybe 168-170, but was shocked to get my score back: another damn 166. The thing that really pissed me off was that I found TLS forums about a week before the test and realized that I was vastly under-prepared. I’m not saying I had a shot a 180, but mid-170s was not out of the question. I decided to retake in October with 3 months of prep, which I changed to 4 months because of work, and focus on consistency and RC.
tldr; I found out I could have done much better than i actually did, and decided to put a lot more into the test than before. I focused on RC and consistency, my two biggest weaknesses, but with some attention to my weakest LG and LR question types.
This guide is pretty rough; I hope you can use it and modify it to meet your specific needs. It combines elements from pithy’s guide, some wisdom from Noah of Manhattan LSAT, KevinP, and a few others that I can’t quite remember.

Note: this assumes a decent comprehension of Powerscore or another basic strategy company’s method. It focuses on finding weak points, drilling them to perfection, and then practicing them. Most guides are a 3 step process: learning the methods, practicing the methods, then putting them to full tests. This assumes the first step - except with RC: if you want to use strategy books to brush up on your LG and LR methods, that’s cool, but I don’t really put a section in here on that.

Update: I scored a 176 in October

Materials:

LSAT Superprep - I only had the PTs, but I’ve heard reviewing the explanations is really great.
Manhattan LSAT LG, RC and LR
New 10 official preptests, next 10 official preptests, and as many new tests as you can afford. You need 2 + 4 + 8 + 12 = 26. However, you also need experimental sections, which is another 8 and 1/2 tests. I reused some of the older tests from drilling for experimental sections.
LSAT blog - hardest games and hardest questions.
Cambridge LR and LG 1-38
PS LG Bible - I had already done the Powerscore study guides, so I didn’t really use them. I’ll try to point out how to best use them in conjunction with the Manhattan books.

Month 1:
This month is for relearning and figuring out your weaknesses.
Relearn RC. I used the PS method, which, while not awful, wasn’t really helpful. I relearned Manhattan’s approach and mixed it with some advice I picked up in the October study thread (a shout out goes to KevinP). Use the Manhattan method on about 10 RC sections - mostly using the first two “10” books so you can save the newer tests for later. Review: After every full section of RC, grade yourself, then go back and reread the passages the way that you wish you had read them the first time. I got this tidbit from Noah - practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent (see footnote 1).

Identify LG and LR weaknesses. Work through some of Cambridge’s level 3 and level 4 questions to identify the question types that kill you. Using a guide to identify question types, figure out what your worst question types are. For instance, I suck at parallel reasoning and parallel flaw, and I’m not great at mapping games. So, I will note this for the next month, which is about drilling these question types much more than others. Make 3 photocopies of all the questions from the question types that you are having the most difficulty with. Do not copy the questions from the tests that you will take in full (or at least avoid the new 10 and the individual tests). You should also work through questions of every type so that your skills in these areas become sharpened. Noah mentions that you want to have as many “gimme” questions as possible. Do this by drilling everything, even if you’re not worried about missing it on the test, because four and a half minutes on an easy logic game instead of seven minutes gives you two and a half minutes to spend on tougher games.
Take a diagnostic at the beginning of the month, and take another test halfway through the month.

Month 2:
This month is for drilling the questions that trip you up on the real test.
RC - Continue to implement Manhattan’s guide in the same way as in month one. Find as much stuff to read on stuff that you don’t care about. for instance, I am awful on the science passages. Print off articles from the Economist, Scientific American etc. Print these so that you can read them as if they were LSAT passages. Notate them, spot the arguments, and find the conclusions. Be able to pick up any piece of dense material, read it quickly, and know the required information to answer any LSAT-esque question about it.
LR and LG - Start drilling the question types that you have problems with, as identified in month one. You need photocopies of the LG and LR question types that you ID’d in month one. (see, footnote 2)
Take one five section preptest every week during this month, a total of four.

Month 3:
Three and four are the months for practicing full tests. Month three, you can continue to drill other things, but since the last two weeks before the test are really light, month four is review and PTs only. I won’t get too specific; use your discretion, but I would mostly use my extra study time for review.
Take 2 five-section tests per week. Use the rest of the time to review. This can be done several ways. One way I have considered is notating every question that I miss, have to guess on, or spend a lot of time answering. I would then work through these questions individually, figuring out what about the stimulus needs to be determined, and what it is about the right answer completes it, as well as what it is about the wrong “contenders” that makes them wrong. Another method is geverett’s method - which I believe he got from another source. This is going through the PT timed, then going through again untimed, trying to answer every single question correctly. This part is really up to you, because the way that you review is really personal, as all of our weaknesses are so unique. I was kind of lazy about review. I only worked through the questions I missed or circled. It’s better to do something more comprehensive.

Month 4:
Month four is essentially a ramped up version of month three. take two five section tests and one six section test per week. If you are worried about burnout, you can pare it down some, especially about a twoweeks before the test. During both of these last two months, review the Bibles or Manhattan guides as necessary for specific question type needs.

Like I said, this plan is for me. It’s really tailored to what I need out of my prep; I’m really solid at LG and pretty good at LR, but consistent scores and RC in general are my definite weak points. Therefore, I chose to put a lot of time into learning to read like a law student/lawyer/LSAT taker, and then just doing a ton of full tests so that nothing on the real thing surprises me. This guide definitely isn’t for everyone, but maybe there’s something that you can find that makes reading it worthwhile.

Good luck
footnote 1:
RC approach: as you will find, Manhattan doesn’t exactly advocate a “tried and true” approach. There belief is that on RC, it’s very individualized; they can give you general ways of looking at things, but everyone reads and remembers differently. This is what I did; it may or may not help you. KevinP mentioned that there are a few things you need to look for in every passage: arguments between one or more parties, analogies, comparisons, and passage structure. There’s a ton of superfluous information, but this is what the vast majority of questions will ask. The other thing I did in RC was based on Manhattan’s advice to pause at the end of paragraphs to reflect on what you have just read. I took this a step further, writing a 1-4 word outline in the margin. Obviously, this does nothing to help you remember details, but it really helps understanding passage structure, and can be used to more easily draw comparisons in the comparative passage.

footnote 2: combining Manhattan LG with Powerscore LGB: each of these books does some things better than the other. Manhattan is amazing for in/out games, linear games, and a couple other game types. Powerscore is more comprehensive and has some game types that it does better than Manhattan. The best way to do this is to read the chapters that go together in conjunction while you’re drilling LG in month 1 and month 2. Figure out who’s approach you like better. Some are so similar that there seems to be no difference, but there will be certain game types where you read one and just go “damn, this is so much easier than the other book.” Like a lot of things on the LSAT, it’s about how you best approach it, not the way that everyone else tells you to.

Random note on LR: About a month or so before the test I was feeling like I was burning out at the end of LR sections. I decided that it might be better to hit the harder, middle and late, questions first. I decided to start LR sections with question 11 and work till the end, and then go back and do questions 1-10. It worked amazingly for me and several other people I told the strategy to. Again, it’s something that could or could not work for you, so I recommend trying it a few times and seeing how it feels.

guinness1547
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby guinness1547 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:01 pm

I'm just wondering how you were testing in the low-mid 170's and then received a 166? That's generally what I was getting on my pt's, and now you have me worried.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:25 pm

guinness1547 wrote:I'm just wondering how you were testing in the low-mid 170's and then received a 166? That's generally what I was getting on my pt's, and now you have me worried.

well, for one, I was taking tests in the 30s, so I hadn't completely mastered new questions. Even though the general format is very similar, there are differences between tests in the 30s and the 50s, and not studying the newer material is really bad, especially when your goal is to miss 10 questions or fewer. The other issue was that my RC could be anything from -3 to -8, and that kind of range can be a big issue.


The very biggest problem was that when you really understand the LSAT, you can have a plan of attack for every passage, every question type, and every game. I didn't have that, and the strategy I did have, I abandoned when I got into the test center.

guinness1547
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby guinness1547 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:35 pm

Ah okay. Thanks!

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Mr.Binks
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Mr.Binks » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:11 pm

I'm curious--which sections did you perform the worst (haha) when you scored 176? Silly mistakes or tough questions?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:14 pm

Mr.Binks wrote:I'm curious--which sections did you perform the worst (haha) when you scored 176? Silly mistakes or tough questions?

missed 3 on RC. Two stupid mistakes on LG (more than in the previous month combined and more than on all but one test). Missed a dumb LR as well. RC was par for the course for me, I'm perfectly happy with a -3. For the most part, all the questions I missed were silly

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JustE
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JustE » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:16 pm

tldr. :lol:

Wish I had this six months ago. Thanks for sharing, Jamz. Gonna pass this on to a few people.

E

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pizzabrosauce
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby pizzabrosauce » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:19 am

Bookmarked!

Really appreciate this JammasterJ, best of luck with your cycle :)

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Gail
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Gail » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:42 pm

Thanks a lot for this, JamMaster!

We had the same score (166) and things look brutal for me this year. I'm going to have to retake. I'm wondering though, what was your time commitment to studying a week? About how many hours could you devote?


I'm still in UG and I have a part time job + athletics, so my time is really limited. I'm looking to start early and just devote less time a day to it.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:44 pm

Gail wrote:Thanks a lot for this, JamMaster!

We had the same score (166) and things look brutal for me this year. I'm going to have to retake. I'm wondering though, what was your time commitment to studying a week? About how many hours could you devote?


I'm still in UG and I have a part time job + athletics, so my time is really limited. I'm looking to start early and just devote less time a day to it.

15 hours per week. I'd recommend more if you plan on studying for fewer months

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Gail
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Gail » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:04 am

I'm having a hell of a time getting back to this. Wow. I let my mind rot to hell.

When you say, "have a plan of attack." I don't know what that means exactly. That must have been why I did so poorly. I have no clue what having an attack plan means.

How did you develop that?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:23 am

Gail wrote:I'm having a hell of a time getting back to this. Wow. I let my mind rot to hell.

When you say, "have a plan of attack." I don't know what that means exactly. That must have been why I did so poorly. I have no clue what having an attack plan means.

How did you develop that?

I'm really just using it to refer to your strategy. How do you approach RC passages? How do you do X type of LR question? How do you pace yourself based on X game type? that kind of thing

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Gail
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Gail » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:34 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:
Gail wrote:I'm having a hell of a time getting back to this. Wow. I let my mind rot to hell.

When you say, "have a plan of attack." I don't know what that means exactly. That must have been why I did so poorly. I have no clue what having an attack plan means.

How did you develop that?

I'm really just using it to refer to your strategy. How do you approach RC passages? How do you do X type of LR question? How do you pace yourself based on X game type? that kind of thing



Yeah... That must be it. I had no strategy. I didn't freak out during the test and abandon everything I knew either though, I suppose I did have a plan for LR and LG and just made stupid mistakes on teh first LG. I did run up against the clock towards the end (should have done practice tests actually bubbling instead of just check marking).

But there was definitely no plan of attack for RC. I just sat there and did it. Only missed like 2 or 3 though. Weird. Because that's my weakest subject and I'm a slow ass reader. Trying to pick up speed reading. I don't know. I need to be smarter.

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Dr. Filth
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Dr. Filth » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:54 am

JMJ am I crazy to think that marking up a RC passage screws me up? I only tried it like twice, but I felt like I was doing worse and my RC scores were slightly lower. But then again it could just be a small sample size and a self-fulfilling mindset. Thanks for the help by the way

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:15 pm

Dr. Filth wrote:JMJ am I crazy to think that marking up a RC passage screws me up? I only tried it like twice, but I felt like I was doing worse and my RC scores were slightly lower. But then again it could just be a small sample size and a self-fulfilling mindset. Thanks for the help by the way

definitely not. I know a lot of people that read straight through. RC is more preference based than either of the other two0 sections, so you doing it way differently than other people isn't strange at all.

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john1990
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby john1990 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:42 pm

Identify LG and LR weaknesses. Work through some of Cambridge’s level 3 and level 4 questions to identify the question types that kill you


Do you think this pdf would be a sufficient resource for determining your LR weaknesses?
http://www.cambridgelsat.com/productdet ... stions/336
My only concern is that it is not organized by question type, but i am very tempted to make this my next purchase.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:25 am

john1990 wrote:
Identify LG and LR weaknesses. Work through some of Cambridge’s level 3 and level 4 questions to identify the question types that kill you


Do you think this pdf would be a sufficient resource for determining your LR weaknesses?
http://www.cambridgelsat.com/productdet ... stions/336
My only concern is that it is not organized by question type, but i am very tempted to make this my next purchase.

if you can find something that organizes it. otherwise, this is only good for drilling hard q's

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danitt
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby danitt » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:06 pm

Has anyone used the Cambridge LG Repetition Workbooks? Are they worth the money? I'm prepping for my retake and trying to sort of gather my forces before diving in.

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man_utd_4l
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby man_utd_4l » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:20 pm

danitt wrote:Has anyone used the Cambridge LG Repetition Workbooks? Are they worth the money? I'm prepping for my retake and trying to sort of gather my forces before diving in.


I bought Volumes two and three. I like using them. They help me stay organized. The one drawback in using them is that the games do not appear on the page exactly as they do on the actual tests. This means that you may have more or less space for your setups. However, this shouldn't detract you from making the purchase.

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Geetar Man
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby Geetar Man » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Great advice. Tag!

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby thelawschoolproject » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:17 pm

ITT Jam competes for most useful poaster of the year.

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dakure
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby dakure » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:19 pm

Just an fyi. The first sentence should be:
JammasterJ’s Official Study Guide for Retakers WHO Suck at RC.


TLSP pointed out the irony.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:39 pm

dakure wrote:Just an fyi. The first sentence should be:
JammasterJ’s Official Study Guide for Retakers WHO Suck at RC.


TLSP pointed out the irony.

:oops: :lol:

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby thelawschoolproject » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:39 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:
dakure wrote:Just an fyi. The first sentence should be:
JammasterJ’s Official Study Guide for Retakers WHO Suck at RC.


TLSP pointed out the irony.

:oops: :lol:



I want you to know, Jam, that this is blatantly false information. I do hope you knew that, though, prior to me having to say it. Dakure's a filthy liar.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JammasterJ's retakers study guide

Postby JamMasterJ » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:41 pm

thelawschoolproject wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
dakure wrote:Just an fyi. The first sentence should be:
JammasterJ’s Official Study Guide for Retakers WHO Suck at RC.


TLSP pointed out the irony.

:oops: :lol:



I want you to know, Jam, that this is blatantly false information. I do hope you knew that, though, prior to me having to say it. Dakure's a filthy liar.

this is news to no one




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