Do high scores depend on natural ability?

MLBrandow
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby MLBrandow » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:35 pm

Adonai,

Although this is certainly not as vetted as a real LSAT question, I do think it would be a bit more on the difficult side than most. In fact there are numerous flaws in your argument, and in this case, the credited response (B) encapsulates only one of them (just as the question stem asks). (E) is a jargonated trap that prays upon pre-phrasing an earlier fallacy. In fact, (B) only requires the second half of the second sentence.

You assume that because it's possible that some people are studying incorrectly, that this is actually the case, and therefore proves your conclusion. In fact, the possibility of something occurring does not guarantee that it must occur. What PARTY and others are claiming is that it is/was possible for you and most others to reach 170. Because you didn't doesn't mean you can't (or couldn't).

The reason I phrased this in an LR question is because this flaw is common the LSAT, and could have been a question you missed on one of the tests you took. Here are a few questions that test this same fallacy from earlier preptests:

PT20 S1 Q14
PT25 S4 Q8
PT27 S4 Q10
PT28 S1 Q19
PT29 S4 Q18
PT32 S1 Q10

I understand that you are either in law school or have graduated, but just because you were unaware of this fallacy doesn't mean you couldn't learn it. Does that mean you are smarter now or were dumber then? If you define "smart" as just knowing more things, then sure. But the point is that this isn't a test of intelligence, it's a test of learned sets of information and then applying those sets of information. And while certain individuals have experiences in life that allow them to start from a higher knowledge base or improve more rapidly doesn't mean that they are the only ones who can break 170.

As with all things in life, it takes work. For some it might take much more work. For what it's worth, I agree with you that certain people will never break 170. Some people have mental deficiencies; some don't have a mastery of English due to it being a second (or third) language; some are simply content with a lower score. Whatever the reason though, most of the people who fail to break into that plane are simply prepping inadequately or unwilling/unable to commit the necessary time that they personally require.

I strongly feel that the average law school hopeful can break 170 (and perhaps even 175) with sufficient prep. It's a matter of removing these preconceptions about intelligence and natural ability and all the other stigmas and obstacles in the way of actually putting in that required time.

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Kobaine51
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:02 pm

MLBrandow wrote:As with all things in life, it takes work. For some it might take much more work. For what it's worth, I agree with you that certain people will never break 170. Some people have mental deficiencies; some don't have a mastery of English due to it being a second (or third) language; some are simply content with a lower score. Whatever the reason though, most of the people who fail to break into that plane are simply prepping inadequately or unwilling/unable to commit the necessary time that they personally require.

I strongly feel that the average law school hopeful can break 170 (and perhaps even 175) with sufficient prep. It's a matter of removing these preconceptions about intelligence and natural ability and all the other stigmas and obstacles in the way of actually putting in that required time.


I think that you are missing something important. It's easy to say that nearly anyone can learn the test given enough effort. Effort, however, is as much a limiting factor as intelligence. It seems pretty common for people to assume that while intelligence is fixed, effort is just a matter of "trying harder." Neither of these things are true, however. Intelligence and effort are both mutable, but neither can be changed that much.

In the words of a great poet "check out my sway, yo I walk like a ballplayer/ no matter where you go you are who you are player/ and you can try to change but thats just the top layer/ man, you was who you was fore you got here"

Only the top 1% of LSAT takers will ever score in the top 1%, you can check my numbers all you want I don't think you will find anything different. The only way someone with less mental ability (for this sort of thinking) to score higher than people with more natural ability, is to work harder than all the people who are naturally better than him/her. The more people between you and your desired score the harder you have to work. Some people, many people, will never be able to break into the 1% because their combined faculties of intelligence and hard work are not in the 1% of test takers.

Granted motivation plays into this as well, by driving people to use their natural ability. But even motivation is limited, and thus the vast majority of people - maybe not the vast majority of people taking the LSAT but probably a majority - are not capable of scoring above a 173.

Other factors can come into play, like nerves, but these things probably even out through different cohorts and so don't benefit any one over the other. The only group that would likely benefit from less nerves is the very bottom cohort because of the Dunning-Kruger effect. But that group is not the subject of this thread.

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marlo45
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby marlo45 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:48 pm

High scores do depend to an extent on natural ability. It's a known fact that we all aren't created equally; some people are more talented than others, whether physical or mental abilities.

IMO some will never score 170+ no matter how 'hard' they try. However, i would restrict that group to people with learning disabilities, and those who can't give the required effort. The LSAT is not rocket science, and though some will need to work a hell-of-a-lot-harder (and maybe take the exam x more times) to score the same as others, i believe it is possible for all [without learning disabilities or mental retardation] to score a 170. That said, most wont because [based on past scores] only a few don't find the exam extremely difficult. The level of dedication, patience, convenience, motivation, and determination it would take for the majority to score anywhere near those that find the exam less than difficult will falter for a multitude of reasons aside from intellectual capacity.

The real problem is that if one needs 2 years of hardcore prep to score the same on the LSAT as those who need only 3-6 months, that's an indication that s/he will likely find it just as difficult to keep up in law school or any environment that requires improving and utilizing the same set of skills.

Just remember that the LSAT is suppose to measure the skills needed to succeed in law school and a legal career, so if you find it too difficult to 'get it', you're going to have to work a lot harder than those who don't.

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mountaintime
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby mountaintime » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:47 pm

marlo45 wrote:IMO some will never score 170+ no matter how 'hard' they try. However, i would restrict that group to people with learning disabilities, and those who can't give the required effort. The LSAT is not rocket science, and though some will need to work a hell-of-a-lot-harder (and maybe take the exam x more times) to score the same as others, i believe it is possible for all [without learning disabilities or mental retardation] to score a 170.



That is simply ridiculous. A 170 takes a lot. Not just a lot of prep, but a lot of natural ability (far beyond simply being free of a learning disability). This board overestimates the power of prep. People who test cold at 140 are basically never going to score 170+ no matter how much/hard/correctly they prep.

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LexLeon
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby LexLeon » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:58 pm

MLBrandow wrote:Adonai,

Although this is certainly not as vetted as a real LSAT question, I do think it would be a bit more on the difficult side than most. In fact there are numerous flaws in your argument, and in this case, the credited response (B) encapsulates only one of them (just as the question stem asks). (E) is a jargonated trap that prays upon pre-phrasing an earlier fallacy. In fact, (B) only requires the second half of the second sentence.

You assume that because it's possible that some people are studying incorrectly, that this is actually the case, and therefore proves your conclusion. In fact, the possibility of something occurring does not guarantee that it must occur. What PARTY and others are claiming is that it is/was possible for you and most others to reach 170. Because you didn't doesn't mean you can't (or couldn't).

The reason I phrased this in an LR question is because this flaw is common the LSAT, and could have been a question you missed on one of the tests you took. Here are a few questions that test this same fallacy from earlier preptests:

PT20 S1 Q14
PT25 S4 Q8
PT27 S4 Q10
PT28 S1 Q19
PT29 S4 Q18
PT32 S1 Q10

I understand that you are either in law school or have graduated, but just because you were unaware of this fallacy doesn't mean you couldn't learn it. Does that mean you are smarter now or were dumber then? If you define "smart" as just knowing more things, then sure. But the point is that this isn't a test of intelligence, it's a test of learned sets of information and then applying those sets of information. And while certain individuals have experiences in life that allow them to start from a higher knowledge base or improve more rapidly doesn't mean that they are the only ones who can break 170.

As with all things in life, it takes work. For some it might take much more work. For what it's worth, I agree with you that certain people will never break 170. Some people have mental deficiencies; some don't have a mastery of English due to it being a second (or third) language; some are simply content with a lower score. Whatever the reason though, most of the people who fail to break into that plane are simply prepping inadequately or unwilling/unable to commit the necessary time that they personally require.

I strongly feel that the average law school hopeful can break 170 (and perhaps even 175) with sufficient prep. It's a matter of removing these preconceptions about intelligence and natural ability and all the other stigmas and obstacles in the way of actually putting in that required time.


That question was solid and this was a great lesson. Thanks.

law2015
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby law2015 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:07 pm

Everybody has a maximum score they can reach based on their potential. Practicing only helps in doing best that a particular individual is capable of. Most people simply can not score a 170, regardless of effort. I do believe that with studying people become more familiar with the questions and ways the test makers trick you and can improve enormously from the time they begin prepping, however there are aspects that are not learnable.

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Kobaine51
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:13 pm

law2015 wrote:Everybody has a maximum score they can reach based on their potential. Practicing only helps in doing best that a particular individual is capable of. Most people simply can not score a 170, regardless of effort. I do believe that with studying people become more familiar with the questions and ways the test makers trick you and can improve enormously from the time they begin prepping, however there are aspects that are not learnable.


You are confusing can not with will not.

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marlo45
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby marlo45 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:47 pm

mountaintime wrote:
marlo45 wrote:IMO some will never score 170+ no matter how 'hard' they try. However, i would restrict that group to people with learning disabilities, and those who can't give the required effort. The LSAT is not rocket science, and though some will need to work a hell-of-a-lot-harder (and maybe take the exam x more times) to score the same as others, i believe it is possible for all [without learning disabilities or mental retardation] to score a 170.



That is simply ridiculous. A 170 takes a lot. Not just a lot of prep, but a lot of natural ability (far beyond simply being free of a learning disability). This board overestimates the power of prep. People who test cold at 140 are basically never going to score 170+ no matter how much/hard/correctly they prep.


You do realize that the polar opposite of possible is impossible, right? If i had a penny for the amazing things i've seen/read people do that i would have thought impossible, well...

The point is, it is unreasonable to conclude that because someone [without a disability] who appears to be least sharp on the LSAT isn't capable of 'ever' getting 90 correct answers out of 101 standardized, learnable questions. The questions are, can they do it in less than 4 or 5 tries (or before it becomes laughably pointless)? Would it even be reasonable to dedicate 5 [or more] years of hardcore prep and multiple fails to the point where law schools [and others] will ridicule you? I don't think anyone would say yes to those. Hence, the reason most wont ever crack 170. It does take a lot, but not enough to outright say it is impossible. I will agree that it may not be possible in a meaningful, applicable way, though.

People reading this should understand that although i believe it is 'possible' for almost anyone to get a 170 (just my opinion), they should gauge their own intellectual abilities to develop and exercise the relevant skills. They should also understand that spending the better part of a decade trying to score a 170 makes no sense (assuming too many LSAT attempts).

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mountaintime
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby mountaintime » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:39 pm

lol, you are insufferable. you will enjoy law school.

cfrob14
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby cfrob14 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:57 pm

156 diagnostic; 177 real deal.

1. don't ask people for advice outside the generics of the test.
2. study smart, not long.
3. give yourself enough time to prep.
4. Exhaust all (3) attempts if necessary.

tnasser
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby tnasser » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:32 pm

I found that learning how the test is constructed made it much easier to score really high. I started in the 160's, and got a 174 my first go after about 7 months of intermittent studying. My roommate out of curiosity and boredom took a sample test without even knowing what to expect and scored a 169, so there are people who do have a natural ability. But then again, he's the smartest person I've met to date...

I'd recommend buying the PowerScore study guide. Less than ten practice tests later I was in the 99th percentile.

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LSATsmasher
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby LSATsmasher » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:53 am

I'll get a 175+ because I'm not wasting time arguing with you people....then again, I did read it all. Shit.

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PARTY
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby PARTY » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:29 am

LSATsmasher wrote:I'll get a 175+ because I'm not wasting time arguing with you people....then again, I did read it all. Shit.


i hope you enjoyed all of the nonsense.

seanPtheB
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby seanPtheB » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:42 am

bp shinners wrote: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+.


This is so well said.

NYCLSATTutor
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby NYCLSATTutor » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:44 am

Building off of what Jeffort and Shinners said: The LSAT is a learnable test, its just that much of the learning is from long-term improvements in reading ability and critical thinking ability. So anyone can learn enough to score in the 170's...it just might take years and involve doing work that, on its face, has nothing at all to do with the LSAT.

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

Postby bp shinners » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:19 pm

NYCLSATTutor wrote:So anyone can learn enough to score in the 170's...it just might take years and involve doing work that, on its face, has nothing at all to do with the LSAT.


A perfect, one-sentence summation of my diatribe :)

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LSATsmasher
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby LSATsmasher » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:49 pm

bp shinners wrote:
NYCLSATTutor wrote:So anyone can learn enough to score in the 170's...it just might take years and involve doing work that, on its face, has nothing at all to do with the LSAT.


A perfect, one-sentence summation of my diatribe :)



How do I speed up that process?

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Jeffort
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Jeffort » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:56 am

LSATsmasher wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
NYCLSATTutor wrote:So anyone can learn enough to score in the 170's...it just might take years and involve doing work that, on its face, has nothing at all to do with the LSAT.


A perfect, one-sentence summation of my diatribe :)



How do I speed up that process?


There is a way to do it.

Spend some study time refreshing your memory about the rules of English grammar, parts of speech, sentence types and expand your vocabulary by looking up words in a quality dictionary.

Review the basics about parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. as well as the basic definitions of simple sentences, complex sentences, compound and also compound-complex sentences. Also, buy a paper copy of a current/recently published and updated collegiate dictionary such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary.

Get both the big fat hard copy for home and also a soft cover pocket version you can carry around easily. Don't rely too much on many of the available online dictionaries. Some of them suck, are inaccurate and/or incomplete. I've found many errors and discrepancies when comparing the offered definition of many words I've looked up on several different free online dictionaries.

For a grammar refresher, there are many sites online with free audio/video tutorials of the basics. Poke around and try to find a few that are from a reputable University, they are out there just a few google searches and mouse clicks away.

I must warn you though, it could turn you into a grammar nazi for a while and drive your friends nuts, plus it will make it really hard to tweet and TxT message given the character limits per message that don't allow enough space for complete sentences beyond simple declarative ones.

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

Postby bp shinners » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:06 pm

Jeffort wrote:plus it will make it really hard to tweet and TxT message given the character limits per message that don't allow enough space for complete sentences beyond simple declarative ones.


It's those constraints that force creativity!

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Jeffort
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Jeffort » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:37 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Jeffort wrote:plus it will make it really hard to tweet and TxT message given the character limits per message that don't allow enough space for complete sentences beyond simple declarative ones.


It's those constraints that force creativity!


...and mobile phone posts of naked body parts that end up on Facebook and in google picture archives...

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

Postby bp shinners » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:52 pm

Jeffort wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
Jeffort wrote:plus it will make it really hard to tweet and TxT message given the character limits per message that don't allow enough space for complete sentences beyond simple declarative ones.


It's those constraints that force creativity!


...and mobile phone posts of naked body parts that end up on Facebook and in google picture archives...


Wait, does that prove my point, or yours?

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Jeffort
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Re: Do high scores depend on natural ability?

Postby Jeffort » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:53 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Jeffort wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
Jeffort wrote:plus it will make it really hard to tweet and TxT message given the character limits per message that don't allow enough space for complete sentences beyond simple declarative ones.


It's those constraints that force creativity!


...and mobile phone posts of naked body parts that end up on Facebook and in google picture archives...


Wait, does that prove my point, or yours?


I think both, depending on which points and principles we are talking about and compare to each other.

We must distinguish the premises/evidence, claims and principles from the conclusions to figure it out, and perhaps make some diagrams in the process. :)




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