Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

kertz
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:02 am

Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby kertz » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:47 pm

.
Last edited by kertz on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:59 am, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Campagnolo
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:49 pm

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby Campagnolo » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:58 pm

kertz wrote:I took the LSAT in October 2010 and scored a 166. I went -8 on LR, -7 on LG, and -1 on RC. All I did to prepare was take Testmasters, which raised my diagnostic up from a 160. I took a total of about 9 PTs. My practice test scores were all over the place, although I did notice that my performance on the game section pretty much predicted my score. Unfortunately, I was terrible at games. Still, I moved up to 167-172, although admittedly I wasn't taking some of those PTs in conditions that properly mirrored the test environment. On one isolated PT, I scored a 178. In retrospect, my 166 was not very surprising. I screwed up the third game, panicked, moved onto the fourth game, and ended up doing only half of each.

At the time, I didn't really appreciate the weight the LSAT has in the admissions process, but nonetheless I applied to some lower schools in an effort to see if I could get any money, even with my low LSAT score (my GPA is a 3.9 from a middle Ivy). I sent my apps in on December 31st, mainly because I was depressed from the LSAT and lazy and didn't get my LORs and personal statement together until very late in the game. I only applied to the lower schools because I didn't want to waste my first attempt at T-14s with a January app. I ended up getting into UCLA, and UT-Austin, both without any merit scholarship, and GW with $75,000. (Included this just to show all you 166'ers not to lose all hope, you can still apparently get into pretty good schools).

In May I wrestled with whether to take UCLA or UT or take some years off and try again with the LSAT. It was very clear that my test score was holding back the success of my application. So I started from scratch in July. I bought the PowerScore bibles and began rigorous self-study, doing several games every day, and working through the LGB and LRB. I repeated games a lot and did drills where I would do 10 easy/medium games in 50 minutes or 5 hard games in 30 minutes.

When I started doing PTs in October, I did much better. I practiced PTs by doing them back-to-back (two four-section tests, without break). I never really felt fatigue from it. I took a total of about 20 preptests. I made sure these tests were taken under a very strict time environment (in fact, I only gave myself 33 minutes per section). I figured if I practiced the LSAT as if it were harder, then the real test would be easier. I also signed up for four free proctored tests. My range of scores was 172-180, with a mean, median, and mode of 175. I did these PTs on the weekend (I work full-time now) and did drills and review throughout the week. In the worst games section I faced I missed three questions, and this was quite early on in my prep. Every other games section was -2 max.

I sat the December 2011 LSAT and did terribly. I blew through the first three games in less than 20 minutes, but then somehow froze up on the fourth game. To be dreadfully honest, I don't even remember what happened. In the end, I guessed D on four questions on that last game. Now I'm looking at somewhere between a -4 and (assuming regular variability) a -7 on the game section of that test. The game section was the second section, and my terrible performance on the games after so many months of prep got to me and stuck in my mind for the rest of the test. I felt awful, but now I feel more awful that I didn't just suck it up and keep moving with confidence. I didn't run out of time or guess on the rest of the test, but nonetheless I feel like since I was so mentally destabilized, I probably didn't do as well as I normally would on the other sections.

I've registered for February. And honestly (sorry this is the part where I indulge in my cathartic needs, so I apologize) I feel burnt out, tired, disappointed, insecure, and sick of the LSAT. I put in so much work for December. My room and office are covered in logic games that I've done a million times.

I feel like there's no more room for me to improve, but I think that might just be because I don't know how to improve. When I started studying in July, I spent about a week putting together a well-thought out study schedule based on TLS1776's guide and his compilation of people that did well on the LSAT. Until the real deal, it seemed to be working. I've been a long-time TLS lurker, and this is my first post. I've seen you guys do great things, and was wondering if anyone could help me figure out how to prepare for February and kill this very pesky test. I feel like a lot of this might just be due to my state of mind, and if you have any questions please ask. Perhaps a discussion could one day help someone else too.

Thanks,
Kertz


Sounds like you're prepared and gots the skillz. Now it's just a matter of confidence. That's the only thing holding you back. Don't think of the LSAT as a bar to admissions. Think of it as the chance to own that damned test and shove it in the testwriters' faces. You know what you can do. The 175+ diags show it. Now prove it.

User avatar
Sh@keNb@ke
Posts: 287
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:54 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:05 pm

For how to go about retaking, I can't help with that but I know there is a wealth of information on these forums to help you out. My advice would be to not retake in February. I've dealt with extreme burnout before and the best way to address it isn't to push yourself and take an undisclosed test for your 3rd and last opportunity. Take some time off until maybe January or February, clear your mind, and then get back to studying for June.

User avatar
kennethellenparcell
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:02 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:12 pm

OP - I understand how you feel. Not too long ago, I was in your same situation. I have retaken the test more than once and I'm very familiar with the emotional ups and downs you are feeling now. But first thing - don't retake in February. You really need some time to recharge and regroup.

I think you need to wait until you get your score back from December. Sometimes, we feel like we did terribly but the actual score isn't so bad. For example, I sat for the October 2011 administration and test day felt ok but not amazing (I also thought I bombed LG). As time passed, my projected test score became worse and worse. At one point, I remember thinking that I would be happy if I scored in the 160s. I ended up with a 177. So, you never know. The LSAT plays terrible mind games with us and one of them is making us question ourselves even though we were very well prepared. But, get used to it! Being a lawyer is all about this feeling.

If your test score (when you get it back) is not what you wanted, I think the questions to ask yourself are: (a) Did I do everything in my power to get the score I wanted? (b) Do I have it in me to take this test again? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then go for it. Also, the anxiety was always there for me. It's terrible and I feel your pain. I think it's the worst with LG, because you have the capability and you know it but test day anxiety hindered me the most with that section. The only way around it is to stop thinking that the test is the only thing holding you back from OMGZ SUCESSS GALORE AND T-14 AWESOMENESS and focus on executing your learning. Look, you already got acceptances to some really good schools. Think of the LSAT as a challenge you know you can take on.

As far as improvement goes, it would help to know what sections you are doing poorly on, if any of them. After a while, things just became about patterns for me. I understood and recognized the patterns. But, I think it's really about conquering the anxiety for you. Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

kertz
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:02 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby kertz » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:44 pm

I really appreciate your guys' posts. I think the hardest thing about figuring out what steps to take next is that I don't really have a section in which I consistently perform poorly. On my preptests, it would generally go back and forth between RC and LR without much of a trend. I think my natural ability, though, is definitely lowest with LG.

Your remark about patterns is extremely important, Kenneth. I've noticed these patterns as well, and they allow you to destroy LSAT questions quite quickly. The game I messed up on in December didn't have a good past analogous game, which I think partially threw me off. I couldn't fit it into a pattern I had seen before.

Anyways, I feel like there's not much I can do about test anxiety (I didn't really even feel that anxious about the test until after I had messed up the game). Do y'all have any suggestions of what I should perhaps be doing between now and February? I did the Preptests from 30-40 and 59-64 (with some extras thrown in) this time around and I did Preptests 50-58 last year.

By the way Shake, your advice is helpful, I might rethink this plan and do June instead, but I also don't want to lose the experience of the actual test from my recent memory before I retake, so we shall see.

User avatar
kennethellenparcell
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:02 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:08 pm

Here's what I suggest for improvement in each section based on your post (if you have not done these things already):

Generally: Aim for a 180. Go big or go home. This WILL be your last retake, and I think it helps to have the mentality that you are aiming for perfection. Doesn't mean you will achieve it, but having the mentality that I was aiming for perfection helped me. Also, please don't take it in February. I speak from personal experience.

LR: Go over each preptest and type up the questions you got wrong or had trouble with. Sit down with each question and type out explanations for why the right answers were right, the wrong answers were wrong, and why you picked the wrong answer (if you got it wrong). For uncertain questions, type up why you were tempted by a particular answer. Remember these "traps." Capturing your thought process upon approaching these tough questions is important. As an aside, someone told me once that even Robin Singh (the world record holder for 180s and the founder of Testmasters) has trouble getting -0 on LR sections. In any case, this review method takes a long time. One question could take me 25-30 minutes. It paid off though. I went -2 total in LR on test day.

LG: What I think helped me with the anxiety and mini panic attack I experienced on test day at Game 3/4 was learning how to do games by mapping out hypotheticals quickly and figuring out right answers based on previous work. Many people on TLS like the Powerscore LG Bible (which I'm sure you went through already). I actually think it does not provide an adequate basis for people who are not naturally good at the games. I liked Ace the Logic Games for it's more hypothetical driven approach. Also the games are harder in that book (despite not being real LSAT games).

RC: I posted some stuff in this forum about the things I did for RC. I hope it's helpful to you. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=169722&p=4918517#p4918517

User avatar
toddly76
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:12 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby toddly76 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:08 am

This sounds oddly like my previous situation. I took a powerscore course and 20 or so PTs and bombed the October 2011 LSAT - 160. PT'd around 169-174. I never had a handle on the games and that games section: Bikes, Ambassadors, Conferences, just murdered me and I bombed the rest of the test as well. I also had to travel out of town and stay at a motel 6 to take the test, got no sleep, ate an enormous breakfast, and went in with my head all fuzzy and couldn't concentrate.

I stupidly didn't cancel my score, even though I knew I bombed it--I kept telling myself otherwise though. The day after the Oct test, I registered for the December test and took Velocity's online course - 2 month schedule. Finally started to get the games with that system. Long story short I sat for the December LSAT and feel like I killed it. I'd recommend Velocity if you need help on the games, and take a break from PTs. I only did 1-5 section a week on my second go round to keep my stamina up, much better to follow a course of study wherein you break down questions by type and learn to attack each question type, previously I had been relying on my intuition to solve questions rather than systematically breaking them down--a huge jump for my confidence and consistency then.

User avatar
DonnaDraper
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:30 am

Re: Retake Advice Please (for free narrative of my recent life!)

Postby DonnaDraper » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:40 am

1. Maybe you did not do as poorly as you think in December. I thought I bombed in October but was pleasantly surprised.

2. Do not take Feb. Maybe don't even take in June (but don't take later than October). Aside from the fact that Feb is undisclosed, taking time off will benefit you. I know you are afraid of losing the memory of test day, but test day is always going to be unpredictable and you just have to go in with a positive attitude. Also, if you take time away from studying, you will not remember questions when you return and will be able to retake PTs without it being an inflated score (at least that is what happened to me....I took 6 months off and I didn't remember a single question).

3. I recommend the Ace the Logic Games book as well. As far as Games advice goes, yes it's important to see patterns but never underestimate the power of brute force hypotheticals. Coming from someone who sat both stained glass and bikes, expect the worst of test day games and be ready for anything. Take entire PTs of just games back to back with no break so that you get to the point where you can just mindlessly get through it with hypos if you have to. Have a good guessing strategy for games that you can fall back on when you are running out of time so that you don't have to blind guess.

4. Go in with an attitude that you are doing it for the $$. Yes my true goal was T14, but if I thought about that too much when I retook I would have gone crazy. Instead think to yourself that you already have a decent score under your belt, and you are just retaking it to get more money from the schools you can already get into. Also think about it more in terms of being able to show off what you can do and that you have nothing to lose. Good luck! I hope everything works out.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest