On the plateau, and on reaching break-through

katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

On the plateau, and on reaching break-through

Postby katesearches » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:42 am

I keep reading about people hitting a wall, and just a plateau on their PTs... as well as people reaching some kind of breakthrough. I thought it'd be helpful/interesting to chronicle people's experiences in reaching these phases, and to see where they are in relation to where others were while studying.

1. Plateau
For LG, LR, RC... describe when you felt like you hit a wall, roughly how many questions you were getting wrong on each section, the general frustrations you had, the improvements you had been noticing right before reaching the plateau, anything else you can think of.

2. The breakthrough
For LG, LR, RC... describe the point you reached some kind of breakthrough, roughly how many questions you were getting wrong on each section, the major difference between this phase and the plateau, anything else you want to include.

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rabbitrun
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: On the plateau, and on reaching break-through

Postby rabbitrun » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:00 am

For me at least, hitting a plateau isn't just about starting to miss X number on a section. Sure, all of a sudden I went from missing -1/2 per LR section to -6, but I could tell it was happening as I was doing the section. I absolutely could not read a LR question and I ran out of time. They were disgusting. If you have to read a LR question 2-3 times, then you probably are hitting a wall. However, when my LR and RC were at their lowest, I was RIDICULOUS at LG. So I think I was burnt out from the actual reading portion, probably because I sometimes took two LSATS in one day to help with endurance or something (I guess thats how I justified obsession?)

I hit the wall about 1 week out from my LSAT. I took the advice of everyone who has posted on previous threads about burnout and took 2 days off. Then I took 1 last LSAT about 4 days out before the test and scored my personal highest. I just casually reviewed and watched PIXAR movies for the next few days.

Breakthroughs for me: when I stopped over-caffeinating myself and learned how to breathe while taking a test. Also, how to move on from a question and when I learned to take PTs in noisy environments. I learned to stop second guessing myself. Finally, when I stopped looking at LawSchoolNumbers etc. Once I stopped connecting my score with what it was going to mean, everything increased.

katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: On the plateau, and on reaching break-through

Postby katesearches » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:19 am

rabbitrun wrote:For me at least, hitting a plateau isn't just about starting to miss X number on a section. Sure, all of a sudden I went from missing -1/2 per LR section to -6, but I could tell it was happening as I was doing the section. I absolutely could not read a LR question and I ran out of time. They were disgusting. If you have to read a LR question 2-3 times, then you probably are hitting a wall. However, when my LR and RC were at their lowest, I was RIDICULOUS at LG. So I think I was burnt out from the actual reading portion, probably because I sometimes took two LSATS in one day to help with endurance or something (I guess thats how I justified obsession?)

I hit the wall about 1 week out from my LSAT. I took the advice of everyone who has posted on previous threads about burnout and took 2 days off. Then I took 1 last LSAT about 4 days out before the test and scored my personal highest. I just casually reviewed and watched PIXAR movies for the next few days.

Breakthroughs for me: when I stopped over-caffeinating myself and learned how to breathe while taking a test. Also, how to move on from a question and when I learned to take PTs in noisy environments. I learned to stop second guessing myself. Finally, when I stopped looking at LawSchoolNumbers etc. Once I stopped connecting my score with what it was going to mean, everything increased.


Thanks for posting! No, I agree with you in - it wasn't about getting X wrong for me either that defined the plateau or breakthrough.

However, in terms of sharing our experiences with others, I thought it would be helpful to give a general idea along with some kind of quantifiable measures. Since a lot of people are likely to have different goals, I thought having the "X wrong" would give people an idea of what exactly each poster was talking about when they referred to their personal plateau/breakthrough.

Just wanted to clarify that for future posters, too!

katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: On the plateau, and on reaching break-through

Postby katesearches » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:40 am

Plateaus
Overall, when I started prepping, I was getting an average of ~7 wrong on LR/RC sections. On LG, I would take ridiculously long, and if lucky, I'd get a general sense of what the set-up should be, but I remember at that time my set-ups weren't that great and I'd use the LGB to get an idea of a better set-up.

By the time, I hit my plateau though, I noticed the most improvement in LG. I was getting an average of -0 or -1 on about half the games. The other half of the games I was struggling with were the more difficult ones (pattern, mapping, miscellaneous) that really threw me off. I'd get stuck just trying different set-ups, figuring out inferences, and just organizing things, that I'd have trouble with ALL the problems on those games.

For LR/RC, I noticed some improvement (to give you an idea, for RC, I was getting some sections completely right, while missing most of the inference/analogy questions that ask us to infer based on what we do know; generally about -1 to -4 depending on passage difficulty.) For LR, I could answer some questions very quickly. I'd identify what Type they were, and either eliminate wrong choices quickly OR pre-formulate a right answer choice to look for. I got all those questions right, but in every LR section, there were always about 4 problems I always struggled with between 2 similar choices, and constantly got those wrong.

When I felt like I was hitting a wall, I just didn't improve at all, and almost felt like I was taking more steps back. I did include the points above, but more as an observation as the outcome of the plateau I've reached (so LG was usually 50/50 depending on if I got the set-up, RC depended on if I got the inference questions right, and LR was on average ~4 wrong).

Breakthroughs
For LG: after a lot of practice, I could now quickly identify what type of game it was, and I'd do a quick mental review of various set-ups I've chosen for similar games/and select the best one based on the information I do have available in the rules. I'd also recognize that some games couldn't be set-up the way I was taught by LGB (so I'd stop spending a lot of time forcing a set-up, and focus on visualizing the rules on paper, but not worry so much about a proper set-up).

I don't have an exact "moment" but I know my breakthroughs came with understanding the set-up and getting inferences by looking at the set-up without having to write down everything (although I think writing down everything out at first helped). I started getting -0 on all games, spending about ~4-5 minutes per game. I actually kept an Excel sheet to track my average times. However, there are always the occasional question that comes up that completely throws me off and I end up spending a LOT of time on it (which is ok, because I've cut down on the time spent on the other games).

LG is pretty much the only break through I've had. I completely suck at LR and RC, and I honestly don't know what more I can do. So other TLSers, please post about your breakthroughs too!




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