Do high scores depend on natural ability?

tomjennings
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Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby tomjennings » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:46 pm

Do people that score really high do so because they just have an innate understanding of the LSAT and "get it" automatically? I'm asking this because I've heard of so many people taking a diagnostic just for fun and missing only a few. Meanwhile, I have gotten so baffled by the test that I haven't even been able to finish a diagnostic. This could be because I am only a college freshman, but there are some people that take diagnostics around my age and seem to know how to do everything. I studied pretty intensely from about early October to late November last year, but then I got frustrated and stopped. I expect some of you to say that I shouldn't be worried about the LSAT right now and focus more on my schoolwork, but I still got A's in all my classes last semester despite prepping for the LSAT all that time. I know I can get the grades needed to compete for a spot at the top law schools. My main worry is the LSAT since I have never been good at standardized tests. Now I want to get back into studying for the LSAT, but I fear that it requires more than just intense prep. to reach my target score of 175. Is the LSAT really learnable?

Also, if you want, you can give me a little advice on how to study. I am a self-directed learner. I don't learn well socially. I would prefer to pick up all the best books and stare at them for hours rather than have someone teach me. I have at least three years to figure out this monster. Any advice?
Last edited by tomjennings on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:48 pm

tomjennings wrote:Do people that score really high do so because they just have an innate understanding of the LSAT and "get it" automatically? I'm asking this because I've heard of so many people taking a diagnostic just for fun and missing only a few. Meanwhile, I have gotten so baffled by the test that I haven't even been able to finish a diagnostic. This could be because I am only a college freshman, but there are some people that take diagnostics around my age and seem to know how to do everything. I studied pretty intensely from about early October to late November last year, but then I got frustrated and stopped. I expect some of you to say that I shouldn't be worried about the LSAT right now and focus more on my schoolwork, but I still got A's in all my classes last semester despite prepping for the LSAT all that time. I know I can get the grades needed to compete for a spot at the top law schools. My main worry is the LSAT since I have never been good at standardized tests. Now I want to get back into studying for the LSAT, but I fear that it requires more than just intense prep. to reach my target score of 175. Is the LSAT really learnable?


yes, it's learnable.

though, some people learn it faster.

stop worrying so much. ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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Kobaine51
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Kobaine51 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:54 pm

tomjennings wrote:Do people that score really high do so because they just have an innate understanding of the LSAT and "get it" automatically? I'm asking this because I've heard of so many people taking a diagnostic just for fun and missing only a few. Meanwhile, I have gotten so baffled by the test that I haven't even been able to finish a diagnostic. This could be because I am only a college freshman, but there are some people that take diagnostics around my age and seem to know how to do everything. I studied pretty intensely from about early October to late November last year, but then I got frustrated and stopped. I expect some of you to say that I shouldn't be worried about the LSAT right now and focus more on my schoolwork, but I still got A's in all my classes last semester despite prepping for the LSAT all that time. I know I can get the grades needed to compete for a spot at the top law schools. My main worry is the LSAT since I have never been good at standardized tests. Now I want to get back into studying for the LSAT, but I fear that it requires more than just intense prep. to reach my target score of 175. Is the LSAT really learnable?

Also, if you want, you can give me a little advice on how to study. I am a self-directed learner. I don't learn well socially. I would prefer to pick up all the best books and stare at them for hours rather than have someone teach me. I have at least three years to figure out 175 this monster. Any advice?


What problem do you have? Do you not understand the questions or do you get nervous or tired when trying to complete them? I read an article today, which basically talked about test taking nerves and how to counter them. Their suggestion was to write down your anxieties before taking the test. Which they say has the effect of unloading your working memory. I don't know the validity of that but it's an Idea.

As far "getting it automatically" I have never met anyone who says they did, but then I do not talk to many people about the LSAT. It is definitely true that it is possible to learn the test, but it would be silly to say there is no component of aptitude. If you are getting below a 150 to start, it is possible that you will someday reach a 175, but probably unlikely. That is an enormous increase in score. Games are easy - and can be learned, but LR is a tad harder to learn and RC too. If you want to make an improvement to a 175 you have to look at your test and look at the number of questions that you need to get correct to get that score. You have to find, in your test, a way to make up however many answers that would take.

This is possible. I, just yesterday, heard a story about a valedictorian from my home state, who had no ability at the LSAT at all when he started, scoring in the 140's. He took an LSAT prep course every year for his 4 years in college and eventually got around a 165 and a scholarship to the state law school. If you have time you can learn anything, but that is a huge amount of effort to devote to something that you may change your mind about. I am a sophomore, Ive changed my major 6 times, and I feel like im pretty representative.

Im not trying to dissuade you. If you want it, go after it and take it. But it is probably an enormous amount of work.

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bne
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby bne » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:20 am

The LSAT is a learnable test, but achieving a score of 175 is going to take a considerable amount of work. Pick a plan that works best for you, take your time studying, and put in some serious effort. If you feel that you aren't grasping the material, you may need some outside help. If your LSAT score is that important to you, you should be willing to do whatever it takes to get the score you desire, even if that means signing up for a class. Some learn the material quicker than others so don't be discouraged.

83947368
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby 83947368 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:30 am

.
Last edited by 83947368 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

adonai
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby adonai » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:46 am

Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years. I studied the LSAT for two years (one year full time, one year interspersed) and was never able to go higher than a 166.
Last edited by adonai on Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:47 am

adonai wrote:Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years.


false.

adonai
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby adonai » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:56 am

PARTY wrote:
adonai wrote:Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years.


false.

True.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:58 am

adonai wrote:
PARTY wrote:
adonai wrote:Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years.


false.

True.


"those" people are doing it wrong.

adonai
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby adonai » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:01 am

PARTY wrote:
adonai wrote:
PARTY wrote:
adonai wrote:Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years.


false.

True.


"those" people are doing it wrong.

The fact that they may be "doing it wrong" proves that some people will never get the LSAT. I'd say that's pretty intelligence related, wouldn't you?

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elterrible78
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby elterrible78 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:02 am

tomjennings wrote:Also, if you want, you can give me a little advice on how to study. I am a self-directed learner. I don't learn well socially. I would prefer to pick up all the best books and stare at them for hours rather than have someone teach me. I have at least three years to figure out this monster. Any advice?


Others have answered the questions from the first part of your post, so I won't bother with it. I am also a self-directed learner, and am prepping on my own for the June LSAT. Figure out where you are now, where you want to be, and identify your weaknesses. When I started out, mine was games (and, comparatively, still is). Some people find games incredibly easy. I personally can't see how anyone gets more than 1 wrong on an RC section, if that. Everyone seems to be a little different. The important thing is to figure out what you have the most difficulty with, and focus on that. By far the two best prep books I have come across are the Logic Games Bible and Logical Reasoning Bible from PowerScore. You'll find many people in these forums who echo that. It also is my experience that, at least once you're comfortable with the testing format, timed official prep tests are a must. I personally don't see the value in untimed tests once you have the format down...you can always go back over the questions you got wrong in depth once the test if finished, and doing untimed tests for too long runs the risk of developing bad time-management habits and isn't really giving you any kind of legitimate idea of how you are doing in terms of predicting your score on the "real thing."

You have plenty of time, and I am sure you'll do fine.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:04 am

adonai wrote:The fact that they may be "doing it wrong" proves that some people will never get the LSAT. I'd say that's pretty intelligence related, wouldn't you?


they're not precluded from scoring that high.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:10 am

fuck it, i'm just arguing with you.

most will never score that high.

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roaringeagle
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby roaringeagle » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:14 am

adonai wrote:
PARTY wrote:
adonai wrote:Yes, only because there are those who will never ever break a 170 even if they studied for years.


false.

True.


Wow God himself can't crack the LSAT. :twisted:

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suspicious android
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby suspicious android » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:20 am

PARTY wrote:
they're not precluded from scoring that high.


There's no law against them getting a 170, but most people don't have it in them to get to the 98th percentile. You have much experience with people scoring in below 150?

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:21 am

suspicious android wrote:
PARTY wrote:
they're not precluded from scoring that high.


There's no law against them getting a 170, but most people don't have it in them to get to the 98th percentile. You have much experience with people scoring in below 150?


0, actually.

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banjo
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby banjo » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:21 am

elterrible78 wrote:
tomjennings wrote:The important thing is to figure out what you have the most difficulty with, and focus on that.


This is good advice, but don't neglect your strengths either. It may be easier than you think to go from 44/50 to 48/50 on the LR. You don't want to miss those 4 points just because you spent all your prep time trying to improve your weak RC score.

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suspicious android
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby suspicious android » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:43 am

PARTY wrote:
0, actually.


Heh, you really were just arguing for the fuck of it, weren't you? That's cool, that's what late night posting is all about, I guess.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:47 am

:)

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Jeffort
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Jeffort » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:26 am

All achieved LSAT scores, whether high, middle or low on the scale, depend on acquired reading, verbal reasoning/logical reasoning and basic analytical skills as well as many other more specific skills relevant to performing well in law school.

This means that all the skills the LSAT measures are LEARNABLE!

Since it is a graduate level admission test, the specific set of skills tested is built on top of basic general academic abilities and knowledge everyone is taught and expected to have learned during their prior education in grade school through college. This includes English reading/grammar and vocabulary aptitude, basic reasoning, comprehension of text, and many other things.

People that blew of getting used to putting in the effort to develop their reading, writing, learning basic/decent English grammar skills/expanding their vocabulary, and critical thinking/problem solving skills during high school and college generally have a very difficult time achieving a high score on the LSAT because they miss many problems due to misinterpreting what some of the text means and/or just fail to understand what certain words/sentences mean that logic must be applied to.

The underlying logical relationships the LSAT tests are rudimentary logic/reasoning 101 level concepts disguised/masked by a veneer of what students sometimes call 'convoluted wording'.

Accurate critical reading and proper interpretation of the text of the questions is necessary to be able to then evaluate the SIMPLE logical relationships contained in the stimulus, question stem, and answer choices to solve the harder questions correctly. Basically, proper interpretation of the text is a necessary ability, but not itself sufficient. You have to understand what is written before you can apply valid logic and reasoning to it.

Many people have excellent reading/grammar skills, but poor logic skills/conceptual knowledge. That is the easiest type of student situation to fix in order to see a big score improvement.

The LSAT also tests very specific test taking and other skills that are crucial for success in law school. Time management, problem solving ability, ability to stay on task/on track and not get confused/distracted from the task at hand, ability to follow stated rules, etc., cognition ability, the list goes on.

So no, it is not a natural ability test.

Preparing for the LSAT to improve performance is in part about learning the specific format of the test, applying already acquired relevant skills to it, then figuring out which skills/conceptual knowledge areas are weak. As one figures that stuff out it is key to work to improve those areas, whether they are in the underlying abilities (critical reading, grammar vocabulary for instance), and/or mostly in learning the format of the test, section and question types and effective strategies to apply to it, or whatever combination.

Every student is different and starts preparing with a different set of already acquired skills.

That is why there is no 'one size fits all' LSAT prep approach/program that will work equally well for everyone, and why it is not just about figuring out which section type one has the most trouble with or which question types one has the most trouble with. You have to dig deeper than that to significantly improve your score and hit 170+ (or 160-169 from a much lower starting point) on test day.

The rumored 'LSAT naturals' are super rare.
In 10+ years of dealing with thousands of students I've only seen less than a handful of verified cases of people that busted out a 98th-99th% score (on an official administration) with ZERO prep or just a week or two/couple of days/hours familiarizing themselves with the basics of the test and a little bit of prep before showing up on test day.

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mountaintime
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby mountaintime » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:31 am

Of course high scores depend on natural ability. They also depend on preparation. Anyone you tells you "anyone can prep to a 170" is very mistaken. Yes, there are outliers. There are people who will get a 175+ cold. There are also people who could never prep up to a 140. Just prep your ass off and maximize your own potential. Try not to worry too much about others. There will always be someone better than your are. The sooner you accept that (not just with the LSAT, but with life), the happier you will be.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:45 am


MLBrandow
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby MLBrandow » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:08 am

Image

bp shinners
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby bp shinners » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:55 pm

Just because you still achieved straight A's while studying for the LSAT doesn't mean that you should be studying for the LSAT. Spend that free time reading, hanging out with friends, enjoying college, and developing yourself.

Honestly, students come out of high school thinking that they know everything they need to, and college is just teaching them facts. You're wrong. College is as much about an environment where intellectual curiosity is supposed to pay off more than anything else. If you're at a school where that's not true, you're at the wrong school.

Spend the next 2 years making friends. Read some stuff you never would have. Take courses in subjects that interest you. Go to office hours and get your ass kicked by your professors over an argument with a stance they took in class. In short, develop yourself into an intelligent adult.

Then, study for the LSAT. Those skills will help you more than learning to diagram. Diagramming is a tool to aid understanding - if you don't understand why you're diagramming, and just look at it as a mechanical thing, you'll never get a 175. You'll never see it as a means to understand if you spend the next 3 years trying to figure out the standardized test instead of trying to figure out how to think logically and then apply that to the test. This applies for everything on the LSAT - you can learn the methods and apply them; that will get you a 165. You can, instead, understand what's going on and use the methods to make it easier to get the correct answer - those people get the 170+.

adonai
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby adonai » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:11 pm

MLBrandow wrote:Image

I don't even know the correct answer to that. Does that mean I am limited in intelligence or I just need to work harder and I'm actually much smarter than I think I am? I do think I am really dumb though, so I feel like I am living proof of what I said. Anyway, if I had to guess the answer, it would probably be (e). You could make better LSAT questions out of PARTY's responses though. Good thing LS isn't as inflexble/anal as the LSAT is. You could make an argument without having kids go "ooo thats a red herring/straw man/circular reasoning!!" I should remember never to post in the LSAT forum again.




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