Prioritizing Games?

bbsg
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Prioritizing Games?

Postby bbsg » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:49 am

A Princeton Review text I'm reading through says that it's "a rare test taker who can benefit from completing all four games" and then suggests the taker move forward with the assumption they'll not finish all four. The book recommends taking the first two minutes of the section reading the questions and prioritizing them so that you can do the easy ones first, thus leaving only the harder ones (which I suppose it presumes you'd complete incorrectly anyway) to be the ones left unfinished.

This strikes me as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course if you spend time deciding what games to skip you'll have less time left later to do them all. Is this actually good advice? Does anyone experienced with the LSAT out there actually suggest this approach?

pdeturk
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby pdeturk » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:41 am

bbsg wrote:A Princeton Review text I'm reading through says that it's "a rare test taker who can benefit from completing all four games" and then suggests the taker move forward with the assumption they'll not finish all four. The book recommends taking the first two minutes of the section reading the questions and prioritizing them so that you can do the easy ones first, thus leaving only the harder ones (which I suppose it presumes you'd complete incorrectly anyway) to be the ones left unfinished.

This strikes me as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course if you spend time deciding what games to skip you'll have less time left later to do them all. Is this actually good advice? Does anyone experienced with the LSAT out there actually suggest this approach?



Terrible advice. Stop using princeton review. Go get the Powerscore Logic Games bible or the Manhattan LG Book

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Jeffort
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Jeffort » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:44 am

That's typical crappy LSAT advice TPR has been advocating for many years.

If you go in with that mindset and approach you are selling yourself short and setting yourself up for achieving a lower score than you could probably otherwise achieve, pretty much admitting to yourself that you are not capable of achieving a high score. That sort of mindset can easily turn into a self fulfilling prophesy.

Trying to figure out which games and/or questions are easier or harder before you start working the games and associated questions is a fools errand.

Many games with a stimulus/rule set that looks relatively simple and easy on first glance can turn out to be difficult depending on the questions asked about it, and many games with an intimidating looking stimulus and set of rules can turn out to have easy, rather simple questions.

It's a bad strategy if you are seeking to achieve a high score. The difficulty of any individual game is not only determined by the apparent complexity of the set of rules, but also by the specific questions presented for you to answer. Plus, it would take more than two minutes to do a cursory evaluation of all four games and associated questions to form a reliable opinion about their difficulty levels. This strategy subtracts from your available time to actually get to work analyzing the games and solving the questions.

omegaomega
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby omegaomega » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:10 am

I noticed the hardest game in a section is usually not the first or the last one. So how's the strategy of doing the first and fourth game first?

shntn
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby shntn » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:25 am

Ditto what everyone else said. It is advisable to prioritize games by difficulty, just for the mental benefit of breezing through one or two before spending more time on the harder ones. But to go into the section with the (hopefully 100% false) assumption that you won't finish all four games seems like the exact opposite of what we should be doing. I think TPR might be aimed at a different LSAT-taking demographic than the one you're likely to find here on TLS. Maybe try one of the other companies or systems that folks here recommend (I'm a self-study kid, so I can't comment on those).

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Noblesse_Oblige
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Noblesse_Oblige » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:31 am

omegaomega wrote:I noticed the hardest game in a section is usually not the first or the last one. So how's the strategy of doing the first and fourth game first?


I actually like that idea.

However, this is a legitimate strategy. Though yes, TPR sucks, go with something better. (WHO tells their student "You probably won't finish and you shouldn't even try")

But it is useful to build confidence. And that is extremely important on test day. Just look at all the people who cancel their scores because they messed one game up too early, and that messed everything else up.

Finish the easy ones because you can quickly. Then you have more time for the difficult ones. And no matter what, at least you know you have 3 games right.

Imagine this scenario:

Game 1: Perfectly easy 5 mins - 30 mins left
Game 2: Easy....oh wait...why...THAT DOESN'T even make sense!!...Wait I got this....CRAP I have other games to do! *guess anyway due to stress* 15mins - 15mins left
Game 3: Ohno ohno, I can do this, crap this is harder than I thought! *rush* - 9 mins - 6 mins left
Game 4: Oh This is EASY!!!! :D "5 Minutes left" OH SHIT! *rush* done! (or maybe you don't rush and end up guessing.)

See now you are confident in one game, and the others are a crapshoot. Not only are you likely to have made some mistakes, now you are shaken up for the rest of the test.

ORRR you can do it like this:

Order them - 3 mins (that is a high estimate) 32 mins left
Game 1: Perfectly easy 5 mins - 27 mins left
Game 4: That was pretty easy 7 mins - 20 mins left
Game 3: This one is harder.....Oh wait I remember! 9 mins- 11 mins left
Game 2: Damn....I don't even know....shit...*work out each possibility* "Five minutes" Okay, only a few more...DONE! "Time"


See, now you are confident in 3 games, if not all 4. That is how you do a perfect games section. Time and composure are necessary for a perfect games section, while this ordering may not be. But for many people it is sufficient to bring about an increase in time and composure.

Hope this helps, and good luck

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Nova
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Nova » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:40 am

bbsg wrote:A Princeton Review text I'm reading through says that it's "a rare test taker who can benefit from completing all four games" and then suggests the taker move forward with the assumption they'll not finish all four. The book recommends taking the first two minutes of the section reading the questions and prioritizing them so that you can do the easy ones first, thus leaving only the harder ones (which I suppose it presumes you'd complete incorrectly anyway) to be the ones left unfinished.

This strikes me as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course if you spend time deciding what games to skip you'll have less time left later to do them all. Is this actually good advice? Does anyone experienced with the LSAT out there actually suggest this approach?


Um, no. Terrible advice. What Jeffort said.

If someone can not finish all 4 game in 35 minutes, I would advise them to not take the LSAT until they can. Throw that PR book away NOW, and get PSBs and Manhattan.

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Noblesse_Oblige
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Noblesse_Oblige » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:46 am

Nova wrote:
bbsg wrote:A Princeton Review text I'm reading through says that it's "a rare test taker who can benefit from completing all four games" and then suggests the taker move forward with the assumption they'll not finish all four. The book recommends taking the first two minutes of the section reading the questions and prioritizing them so that you can do the easy ones first, thus leaving only the harder ones (which I suppose it presumes you'd complete incorrectly anyway) to be the ones left unfinished.

This strikes me as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course if you spend time deciding what games to skip you'll have less time left later to do them all. Is this actually good advice? Does anyone experienced with the LSAT out there actually suggest this approach?


Um, no. Terrible advice. What Jeffort said.

If someone can not finish all 4 game in 35 minutes, I would advise them to not take the LSAT until they can. Throw that PR book away NOW, and get PSBs and Manhattan.


Or velocity. -10 to -0 in 10 seconds flat. lol but really, those methods make the games seem easier than Sudoku (Which I suppose they are)

bbsg
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby bbsg » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:51 pm

Thanks all. I had this book given to me for free and that was the first piece of advice I read in it. It immediately had me questioning the legitimacy of the book. I'll go get some of the other ones being recommended around here as I think I have a good shot at hitting the 170's if I study correctly.

Edit - Though in its defence I suppose if all the people in this TLS crowd tend to be realistically aiming for 98th percentile + scores, perhaps the point that it's a "rare test taker indeed" who should expecting to hit all the questions with accuracy has some merit. If you're shelling out for a study book, though, you'd hope it would aim to launch you into this "rare" group rather than dismissing your chances!

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Nova
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Nova » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:01 pm

It is not the case that only rare test takers finish all four games. Very average test takers do too. That line is really indefensible.

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TopHatToad
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby TopHatToad » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:10 pm

bbsg wrote:Thanks all. I had this book given to me for free and that was the first piece of advice I read in it. It immediately had me questioning the legitimacy of the book. I'll go get some of the other ones being recommended around here as I think I have a good shot at hitting the 170's if I study correctly.

Edit - Though in its defence I suppose if all the people in this TLS crowd tend to be realistically aiming for 98th percentile + scores, perhaps the point that it's a "rare test taker indeed" who should expecting to hit all the questions with accuracy has some merit. If you're shelling out for a study book, though, you'd hope it would aim to launch you into this "rare" group rather than dismissing your chances!


Don't question the legitimacy of the book, or take most of the asinine comments you've read to heart-- a taker aiming for 170+ is obviously going to be tackling all of the games, and statistically a score in that range is indeed "rare". However, many people make use of skipping games to their benefit.

Full disclosure: I am a teacher for TPR, and the method of doing only 2 or 3 games is a successful one. Don't confuse this strategy with the TLS wisdom of only going to law school with a great score; I happen to agree with that, but it isn't relevant to this strategy. I mean come on, would you advise a slower reader to tackle all 4 RC passages even if it meant a worse overall score than doing 3 meticulously? For people who seem to spout out LSAT wisdom, this thread is absolutely full of fail.

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby franklyscarlet » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:14 pm

TopHatToad wrote:would you advise a slower reader to tackle all 4 RC passages even if it meant a worse overall score than doing 3 meticulously? For people who seem to spout out LSAT wisdom, this thread is absolutely full of fail.


No... I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?

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TopHatToad
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby TopHatToad » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:32 pm

franklyscarlet wrote:
TopHatToad wrote:would you advise a slower reader to tackle all 4 RC passages even if it meant a worse overall score than doing 3 meticulously? For people who seem to spout out LSAT wisdom, this thread is absolutely full of fail.


No... I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?


A test prep company telling people not to test... that'll go over well.

Seriously though, just grabbing a book off the shelf for test prep means a lot of stuff gets lost in translation. I drill into my students that LSAT scores are do-or-die, and to retake if possible and always aim for the stars. However, like many TLS posters, many students are dead-set on testing now, entering law school now, and cannot be deterred. I'll ignore the obvious "many people are not capable of finishing 4 games or 4 passages" argument; someone else can take that one. Just look at it in terms of pragmatism:

Student signs up for test prep course and LSAT testing to be taken immediately after. Student does well in the course, and knows he or she has 2 more retakes if it turns out poorly. Student is weak in (pick section), and decides to cut out a game/passage/5 LR questions, thereby maximizing their score for that particular testing. Aside from testing when not perfectly ready, which was the student's decision, what better advice would you give in place of the PR strategy?

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby franklyscarlet » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:34 pm

TopHatToad wrote:
franklyscarlet wrote:
TopHatToad wrote:would you advise a slower reader to tackle all 4 RC passages even if it meant a worse overall score than doing 3 meticulously? For people who seem to spout out LSAT wisdom, this thread is absolutely full of fail.


No... I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?


A test prep company telling people not to test... that'll go over well.

Seriously though, just grabbing a book off the shelf for test prep means a lot of stuff gets lost in translation. I drill into my students that LSAT scores are do-or-die, and to retake if possible and always aim for the stars. However, like many TLS posters, many students are dead-set on testing now, entering law school now, and cannot be deterred. I'll ignore the obvious "many people are not capable of finishing 4 games or 4 passages" argument; someone else can take that one. Just look at it in terms of pragmatism:

Student signs up for test prep course and LSAT testing to be taken immediately after. Student does well in the course, and knows he or she has 2 more retakes if it turns out poorly. Student is weak in (pick section), and decides to cut out a game/passage/5 LR questions, thereby maximizing their score for that particular testing. Aside from testing when not perfectly ready, which was the student's decision, what better advice would you give in place of the PR strategy?


I think you mistake my point. Sure, a test prep company will give that advice. That doesn't make it good advice.

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TopHatToad
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby TopHatToad » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:51 pm

franklyscarlet wrote:
TopHatToad wrote:
franklyscarlet wrote:
TopHatToad wrote:would you advise a slower reader to tackle all 4 RC passages even if it meant a worse overall score than doing 3 meticulously? For people who seem to spout out LSAT wisdom, this thread is absolutely full of fail.


No... I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?


A test prep company telling people not to test... that'll go over well.

Seriously though, just grabbing a book off the shelf for test prep means a lot of stuff gets lost in translation. I drill into my students that LSAT scores are do-or-die, and to retake if possible and always aim for the stars. However, like many TLS posters, many students are dead-set on testing now, entering law school now, and cannot be deterred. I'll ignore the obvious "many people are not capable of finishing 4 games or 4 passages" argument; someone else can take that one. Just look at it in terms of pragmatism:

Student signs up for test prep course and LSAT testing to be taken immediately after. Student does well in the course, and knows he or she has 2 more retakes if it turns out poorly. Student is weak in (pick section), and decides to cut out a game/passage/5 LR questions, thereby maximizing their score for that particular testing. Aside from testing when not perfectly ready, which was the student's decision, what better advice would you give in place of the PR strategy?


I think you mistake my point. Sure, a test prep company will give that advice. That doesn't make it good advice.


I think you mistake my point. You're an idiot.

I've had many students who knocked 2 out of the 3 section types out of the park and had difficulties (not disabilities, but hey it's all relative) working fast enough through one section. To assume that "trying harder" is always the answer is toxic advice at best. The strategy is simply a pragmatic solution to a simple problem, and you are again confusing it with questions like "Is my score good enough for law school?" which is NOT the issue at hand.

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby SanDiegoJake » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:21 pm

Nova wrote:It is not the case that only rare test takers finish all four games. Very average test takers do too. That line is really indefensible.


That's not the line. The line is that relatively few benefit from that approach. First, understand that that the definition of "few", in this case, precludes ALL scorers scoring over 70% on the games section, so MOST of the posters on this board but considerably fewer of the readers of this board.

If you're already scoring over 70% on the Games section, then it is certainly a poor strategy to only attempt fewer games. But for most people, that's not the case.

Here's how the strategy goes - it's an improvement strategy.

Did you, like most people, go as fast as you can through the games section trying to complete every question? Did you, like most people, miss questions that you could have gotten right? Do you think those two things are related? (They are.)

Now, if you got over 70% of the questions right on that section, then great. Your path to improvement is to do all 4 games, but with greater accuracy.

HOWEVER, let's say you scored 55% on the Games section going as fast as you could and trying to do all 4 games. I'd say, slow down and only attempt 3. Do them more slowly and focus on accuracy. If you get those all right, you'll be at or near 75% (which is decidedly an improvement), and once you can do that consistently, you can re-adjust your strategy to then go for all 4 games.

Make sense? Disclaimer: I work for TPR.

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TopHatToad
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby TopHatToad » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:09 pm

Exactly my point, without the nasty language I regret. Frankly, I can't imagine a test prep program NOT recommending this strategy to those test takers who would benefit, though I'm careful as an instructor to encourage both faster and more accurate attacks on sections rather than letting these students rest at 3 parts.

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Noblesse_Oblige
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Noblesse_Oblige » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:16 pm

TopHatToad wrote:
franklyscarlet wrote:
TopHatToad wrote:A test prep company telling people not to test... that'll go over well.

Seriously though, just grabbing a book off the shelf for test prep means a lot of stuff gets lost in translation. I drill into my students that LSAT scores are do-or-die, and to retake if possible and always aim for the stars. However, like many TLS posters, many students are dead-set on testing now, entering law school now, and cannot be deterred. I'll ignore the obvious "many people are not capable of finishing 4 games or 4 passages" argument; someone else can take that one. Just look at it in terms of pragmatism:

Student signs up for test prep course and LSAT testing to be taken immediately after. Student does well in the course, and knows he or she has 2 more retakes if it turns out poorly. Student is weak in (pick section), and decides to cut out a game/passage/5 LR questions, thereby maximizing their score for that particular testing. Aside from testing when not perfectly ready, which was the student's decision, what better advice would you give in place of the PR strategy?


I think you mistake my point. Sure, a test prep company will give that advice. That doesn't make it good advice.


I think you mistake my point. You're an idiot.

I've had many students who knocked 2 out of the 3 section types out of the park and had difficulties (not disabilities, but hey it's all relative) working fast enough through one section. To assume that "trying harder" is always the answer is toxic advice at best. The strategy is simply a pragmatic solution to a simple problem, and you are again confusing it with questions like "Is my score good enough for law school?" which is NOT the issue at hand.


You sir, are an idiot, and I hope no one has to waste their money on your service. If they come to you only being able to finish 3 games, then it is YOUR JOB to teach them an efficient method to finish on time with most (if not all) of the questions correct. If you don't, then you are not teaching, you are just telling them to accept their failed methods and just manage their time. (A freaking 9 year old could give that advice) They PAY you to teach them the tricks of the test. So that they can achieve the best they possibly can. If they don't work hard enough, that is one thing, but you should not tell them to accept defeat. Yes some people are limited in the scope of their abilities (though games is the most learn-able section, so It should be easy to teach) if they just don't have the mental capacity to reach their goals, then you tell them individually that they should lower their goals, not tell everyone right off the bat.

Thank you though, whenever someone asks if they should use TPR, I will just link to this page so they can see the terrible methods you advocate.

Order is important, but not so you eliminate the hard one, but so you have more time and confidence for the hard one.

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Nova
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby Nova » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:51 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:
Nova wrote:It is not the case that only rare test takers finish all four games. Very average test takers do too. That line is really indefensible.


That's not the line. The line is that relatively few benefit from that approach. First, understand that that the definition of "few", in this case, precludes ALL scorers scoring over 70% on the games section, so MOST of the posters on this board but considerably fewer of the readers of this board.

If you're already scoring over 70% on the Games section, then it is certainly a poor strategy to only attempt fewer games. But for most people, that's not the case.

:| I was replying to,
bbsg wrote:Edit - Though in its defence I suppose if all the people in this TLS crowd tend to be realistically aiming for 98th percentile + scores, perhaps the point that it's a "rare test taker indeed" who should expecting to hit all the questions with accuracy has some merit. If you're shelling out for a study book, though, you'd hope it would aim to launch you into this "rare" group rather than dismissing your chances!

&
bbsg wrote:A Princeton Review text I'm reading through says that it's "a rare test taker who can benefit from completing all four games" and then suggests the taker move forward with the assumption they'll not finish all four. The book recommends taking the first two minutes of the section reading the questions and prioritizing them so that you can do the easy ones first, thus leaving only the harder ones

I think that most college grads are capable of finishing all four games effectively, given adequate pracitice. YOMV. Slowing down while learning the fundumentals is a great idea, for sure. Still,
franklyscarlet wrote:I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?

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TopHatToad
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Re: Prioritizing Games?

Postby TopHatToad » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:18 am

franklyscarlet wrote:I would advise them not to test until they can finish all the passages. :?


Of course that's the advice. I'm not surprised by the vitriol here, and I guess I deserve some of it for responding in kind. One of the big issues of law school applicants is that the applicant pool and the accepted pool are not the same, and an instructor teaches the former. My job as an instructor is to get everyone's scores as high as possible, and push them to achieve everything they can. My duty as someone aware of law schools and the legal market is to make future applicants as aware as possible of everything I know, which I do as well.

If a student asks me how to boost their low score, of course the answer is to maximize their score by any means possible, which for some (hopefully in the short term) is to tackle as many games/passages as befits their abilities at the time. I'm not defending the language of a prep book I don't have on hand, but based on an average score of 151, many test-takers are not helping themselves by tackling all 4 games, and this is the singular issue addressed by the OP. Of course this is not adequate for entry to a top law school, and every one of my students is made aware of this. To say that I don't push my students or that I accept their shortcomings is a terrible mischaracterization of TPR and my teaching methods.

There are two separate questions that still haven't been separated by people responding negatively: how to increase low scores in the short term, and how to achieve high scores in the long term. One does not preclude the other, and any halfway decent prep course tackles both simultaneously. As to the original question, many people benefit from this method, and some *gasp* become successful lawyers despite my advice to continue studying and retake. Again, I fail to see any issue with the above methods.




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