My Situation & My Solution: lsat prep these next 3 months

rshehadeh9091
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:05 am

My Situation & My Solution: lsat prep these next 3 months

Postby rshehadeh9091 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:03 am

Hi everyone,

I decided back in the Navy that I was going to go to law school and eventually run for political office later on. After the Navy I came to Tufts University and just graduated this year. In terms of I want to do now that I've graduated, nothing has changed. I am still going to law school, and as soon as I graduate, whatever law career I begin, I will eventually look to set up my base and start my political career.

I was tipped off about this website at the beginning of my senior year and toward the end of last semester, up until tonight, I've checked up on it at least three times a week. In short, I understand and appreciate the wisdom/advice the members of TLS offer one another. From here on out I want to both pose questions as well as contribute my own advice to others' posts . I plan on enlisting TLS to guide me through the lsat and beyond.

I have an interesting situation so I wanted to begin by first asking a few questions under this section about my lsat preparations which, for me, begin Monday (I'm taking the October exam). I will try as best I can to order my questions in their correct forums (as I realize how annoying it is to get "what are my chances" type questions under, for example, say this forum. Moreover, keeping with the theme of annoying--I know this post is long, and I really appreciate people taking the time to read it:)

Lsat questions:

1) I came home to live with my parents till after the exam in October. I plan on taking these next three months to study fulltime. My plan: Monday - Saturday I am at UCI's library studying from 9am - 4pm (I'll take little rests here and there). After that I go workout then come home, eat, hang out with the family and sleep. Sunday I don't do any lsat studying at all. So, that's 42 hours a week during the month of July. Then come August and September I am not sure what "fulltime" will be like because I have the opinion of taking either a Powerscore or Testmasters prep course that run during those two months, up until a week before the test. Frankly, I was planning on changing nothing in August and September, other then just going to the prep classes at night, still studying all day Monday - Saturday, and on the nights the classes meet, perhaps going to the gym after they end, say 9:00ish, or even working out early on those mornings. Question: Does this plan seem reasonable so far?

2) I have the option of not doing either of the two classes that start in August, and instead taking either a Manhattans prep or Testmaster's prep, both of which start this month. The only problem is that I having had time to study yet and going into those classes knowing nothing, to me seems like a bad idea. Do you think I should stick with my abovementioned plan, or perhaps just spend these three months entirely in a prep course.

3) I have the three powerscore bibles, which one should I start with on Monday? Logic Games perhaps?

4) Should I read the Manhattan's books after the powerscore ones, then start PTing, or just start PTing after the powerscores? Also, are powerscore bibles superior in all three sections?

5) I want to go through at least 40 practice tests during the course of these three months, is this a reasonable number, or should I increase it to 50-60 (or decrease it to 30)? I know I need at least 30 under my belt.

6) When I eventually take the practice tests I plan on taking them all timed, in some sort of semi-distracting setting, and will train myself to take them under less time than I will actually have on test day. Is this the right move or is this not necessary?

7) What should I do when I start to get discouraged one day, or I am having one of those disappointing days... take a couple hours off, a day off, or a couple days off?

6) Anything I missed, or perhaps other lsat prep advice you could offer right now?

I am devoting three months of fulltime studying because I know how important this test is to me. Aside from a few things I did in the Navy, and perhaps getting into Tufts, the lsat is one of the most important things for me. I've had both ADD & ADHD (before they were combined under ADHD) my whole life, I grew out of the hyperness, i think hah, but the distractions are sometimes still there. At Tufts I struggled for sure. I have one D, five W's, and a 3.1 gpa. Granted it is Tufts, but still, that looks terrible, especially when law school admissions are arguing to themselves, "look, we like this guy but we are afraid he cannot handle our level of academic rigor etc." I mean it's clear as day, I totally see that happening, but right now I don't care about any of it--I only care about destroying this lsat. In fact, come mid October when I am applying I probably still won't care. I know come application time I'll be fighting all three of those factors working against me, and I look forward to the fight. Mistakes were made during my undergraduate career, but I will not let those mistakes stop me from getting to where I want to go in life. I don't need to go to a T-14 to become a success attorney. I don't need to go to a T-14 to get elected into office and start fixing the plight that is Washington politics. I know what my talents are. I need a good law and order background to continue to learn and improve on who I am, and I can only get this kind of background from a good law school where I am taught well. This is why I need a high lsat. Can I brake 170? I don't know yet. I'll find out soon enough though. I know getting above 165 will serve me quite well. Getting above 170 will serve me even better. Worst case scenario, there are several good schools that offer part time programs. Maybe I could make a good argument to them for why they should accept me in their part time program so I can prove to them after 1L that I am ready for full time. Idk. All I know right now is that this test is the most important thing in my life these next three months, and the fun begins monday morning!

I know this is long; they will not all be like this, I promise. In any case I really appreciate you guys reading this and advising me right now. Thank you.

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cc.celina
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: My Situation & My Solution: lsat prep these next 3 months

Postby cc.celina » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:21 am

Haha, I will try to answer thoroughly

1 - Taking a prep course after approx. 160 hours of studying does not seem necessary. (Disclaimer - I didn't take a prep course.) General wisdom is that, if you do not have the self-discipline to self-study, you should take a prep course. You seem to have a lot of self discipline. It's impressive that you're willing to dedicate this much time (and wake up early! Yikes!), and for most people, self-study seems to deliver the best results. From what I've heard of those who took prep courses, a lot of what they got out of it was just the structure of the course, not necessarily the content. You might want to think about that when deciding whether or not to register - if, by the third week of July, you have seen a lot of improvement and are scoring within a reasonable distance of your target score, I'd advise not to spend the 1k+.
2 - Advice from above stands. If you want to take a prep course though, it's perfectly OK to go in without having prepared much. Maybe a diagnostic test is appropriate. But it is my understanding that prep courses start off as if you know nothing about the test, which means that if you've already been studying for it for a while, you're probably going to be bored. If you really want the structure and instruction, and you have the money, you'd probably be better off getting a tutor, so you're not stuck paying to learn the basics again.
3 - Yeah. Easiest to improve (and most fun to do imo)
4 - I didn't read any manhattan, and I only used the LG bible, so I can't really give you anything here
6 - Take a handful untimed to begin with. You first need to work on accuracy, because if you start off timed, you are going to get killed (especially on LG) and you're just not going to get that much value from rushing through and guessing wildly. Once you can get almost a perfect score untimed, start doing them timed. Semi distracting setting is definitely the right way to go. Only try to do them in less time if you are scoring where you want to score at 35 min.
7 - A day off at least. Depends on how burnt out you are. I studied for about a month and it was pretty rough, but the 3rd weekend I went on a trip with a friend and didn't even think about LSAT and it was wonderful.

Good luck!

rshehadeh9091
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:05 am

Re: My Situation & My Solution: lsat prep these next 3 months

Postby rshehadeh9091 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:07 pm

Thanks for the advice! I've decided to take a diagnostic and begin with Logic Games tomorrow.

MLBrandow
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:12 pm

Re: My Situation & My Solution: lsat prep these next 3 months

Postby MLBrandow » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:43 am

rshehadeh9091 wrote:Hi everyone,
1) I came home to live with my parents till after the exam in October. I plan on taking these next three months to study fulltime. My plan: Monday - Saturday I am at UCI's library studying from 9am - 4pm (I'll take little rests here and there). After that I go workout then come home, eat, hang out with the family and sleep. Sunday I don't do any lsat studying at all. So, that's 42 hours a week during the month of July. Then come August and September I am not sure what "fulltime" will be like because I have the opinion of taking either a Powerscore or Testmasters prep course that run during those two months, up until a week before the test. Frankly, I was planning on changing nothing in August and September, other then just going to the prep classes at night, still studying all day Monday - Saturday, and on the nights the classes meet, perhaps going to the gym after they end, say 9:00ish, or even working out early on those mornings. Question: Does this plan seem reasonable so far?

2) I have the option of not doing either of the two classes that start in August, and instead taking either a Manhattans prep or Testmaster's prep, both of which start this month. The only problem is that I having had time to study yet and going into those classes knowing nothing, to me seems like a bad idea. Do you think I should stick with my abovementioned plan, or perhaps just spend these three months entirely in a prep course.

3) I have the three powerscore bibles, which one should I start with on Monday? Logic Games perhaps?

4) Should I read the Manhattan's books after the powerscore ones, then start PTing, or just start PTing after the powerscores? Also, are powerscore bibles superior in all three sections?

5) I want to go through at least 40 practice tests during the course of these three months, is this a reasonable number, or should I increase it to 50-60 (or decrease it to 30)? I know I need at least 30 under my belt.

6) When I eventually take the practice tests I plan on taking them all timed, in some sort of semi-distracting setting, and will train myself to take them under less time than I will actually have on test day. Is this the right move or is this not necessary?

7) What should I do when I start to get discouraged one day, or I am having one of those disappointing days... take a couple hours off, a day off, or a couple days off?

8) Anything I missed, or perhaps other lsat prep advice you could offer right now?


I quit my job to move home with my parents and study full time for the three months leading up to the June test, so I was in a similar situation.

1) This is simply too much time to be studying LSAT at once. By "studying full time" most people mean 3-4 hours per day. Any more than that and your brain will just turn to mush. You are welcome to try, but I think most will tell you what you are going to find out--you'll burn out quickly. You can spend the rest of your time relaxing and eliminating as many outside factors as possible that would give you worry or stress.

2) Don't take a class. If you find yourself struggling on certain concepts, TLS is a tremendous resource, and there are also some amazing private tutors. $50-100 for an hour of time from a good tutor will benefit you far more than $1500 (or more) for a class.

3) Definitely begin with LG. I recommend reading/skimming through the LG bible, learning what possible setups look like/etc, and don't worry too much about the actual drilled games. Then, start drilling games by type until you master each one. You can find those categorized by type on CambridgeLSAT's website or you can use LSATBlog's free list.

4) I recommend looking through Manhattan's approach and see if you like it more than powerscore. Some people do, some find it unnecessary to do both, etc. If you have the time, I recommend looking at both. You may like Manhattan's approach much better. I can tell you right now Manhattan's approach on pure sequencing games is the best possible way to do that game type, whereas Powerscore's is an awful method. Also Powerscore tends to recommend diagramming redundancies that will only slow you down as you become better at games, and I don't believe Manhattan emphasizes this. For LR, I think either Powerscore or Manhattan would be sufficient, but both may just jumble your brain with their own categorizations and terminology. For RC, I recommend Manhattan's guide simply because of it's "180 test taker perspective" at the end of the bible. I found that highly insightful. I wouldn't spend much time on any RC guide though beyond getting a general feel for question types you'll be asked on. Instead, drill sections of RC from 1-38 (in any order) and start to get a feel for timing and things to look for. This will help you far more than reading guides about what to do or how to think. I prepped RC initially by doing passages arranged by perceived difficulty and topic, and I felt it was not nearly as helpful as if I had just done whole sections from the start.

5) Don't emphasize the number of PTs, but instead the quality of those tests. I recommend using 1-38 to drill questions by types for the first month or 1.5 months, and then using the remaining time to do PTs from 40-66. Don't hesitate to burn tests in the 60s early on so you can repeat them later, and don't try to take them all in order. Mix in 40s 50s and 60s tests alike. They have a different feel because the test evolves.

6) Take a day off, de-stress, and get back to work.

7) Find a reliable practice partner that you can skype with. I had several and they were of immeasurable benefit. Just being able to chat with people about LSAT-related things was great. Make some TLS friends, exchange contact info, and start syncing up your prep/review together. As an avid gym-goer I'm sure you know how wonderful it is to have a lifting partner. It applies just as well to the LSAT.

Best of luck.




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