7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

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reallysearch
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7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reallysearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:51 pm

I am writing this because I felt indebted to this forum for its many useful strategies and information; and also as an dedication to the waiting thread for making the past 21 days--fun.

Also I did not find many threads about ESL takers, and hope it can provide some insights for other aspiring law students with an ESL background :D

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reallysearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reallysearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:52 pm

disclaimer

I am not the most well-prepared test taker, in fact I only made the decision to apply to law school on Apr 24, had my diagnostic test on Apr 29 and got a 160 (without being timed, took about 45 minutes to complete each section). Have I started preparation earlier, I do believe I could get a better score, but I am satisfied for what I achieved in 7 weeks.

my break down
LR -1
LR -1
LG -2 (usually I got 0 or -1 in this section, guess test anxiety played a part)
RC -6 :cry:

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reallysearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reallysearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:58 pm

study material
    powerscore bibles (LG, LR, RC)
    The Official LSAT SuperPrep
    10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests
    The Next 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests
    10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests
    10 New Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests
    Prep Test 62 - 65
----------------------------
my time line
    after the disgnostic test, I gave myself 3 weeks to finish the 3 powerscore bibles. During that 3 weeks, I also used 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests as workbooks for the powerscore bibles. I wrote down answers to each LR question, analyzing the question type and each answer option; diagrammed every RC article, and LG games
    finished the semester on 20 May, started timed PTs on that day (3 - 4 PTs every day until one day before the test day) was able to practice each PT at least twice
----------------------------
my strategy

after the diagnostic test, I realized my strength is definitely with the LG, and although my LR was a disaster, it could be improved within a short period of time.

As for RC, timing was my main problem. Like most ESL takers, my reading speed is slower than most native speakers--when first started, it took me about 6 minutes to read each article; on the test day I averaged about 4 minutes per article.

Giving the time constraints, I knew I couldn't have everything well seasoned. I felt LG and LR are the sections that can be improved most easily. Considering LR and LG sections accounts for almost 75% of the raw score, I felt it was justified to devote most of my time to study the LG and LR.

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reallysearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reallysearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:17 pm

LG

powerscore bible is a great starting point to know the game types, and also a great resource to identify your weakness.

I was having some problem with sequencing problems, and after some practice I realized it was because the diagram introduced by the powerscore bible (the trees and branches) appears counter intuitive and messy

so I figured out a way which I can diagram every piece of information provided and I am most comfortable with

------

BANNED FOR POSTING COPYRIGHTED INFO HERE

DON'T DO IT

sky888fa
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby sky888fa » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:10 pm

GREAT!! Reading part is more difficult for ESL takers.


But many ESL takes still managed to get a score of 170+



Please post your strategies.

reresearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reresearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:06 pm

hopefully this one will be fine after removing the copyrighted materials..

PT 52 Section 2 Game 1

Image

with this kind of diagram, the relationship bewteen each piece of information is clear and I was able to improve my speed with sequencing games tremendously

so while the LG bible is a good starting point, I guess it is more important to find the kind of diagram and notations that work the best to one's advantage

reresearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reresearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:12 pm

LR

To many ESL takers including myself, the LR section could be very confusing at first. The unfamilarity with English, adds to the already convoluted phrasing of LR questions can make it particularly hard.

I mainly used the powerscore bible system when attacking LT questions, but there are some mathematics tools I also found particularly useful in helping my understanding many crucial concepts.

the use of Venn diagrams

the concept of necessary condition and sufficient condition was particularly hard for me initially. it took me a week to finally realize "sufficient conditions do not cause necessary conditions to happen"

I found it was easier to translate the relationship of necessary condition and sufficient condition to the set language

i.e.

necessary condition is a subset of sufficient condition

it can also be shown in the following Venn diagram

Image

using this the concept of contrapositive is straight forward
i.e. if you are outside the sufficient condition set, you are naturally out of the necessary condition set

another example:
Salesperson: When a salesperson is successful... if using powerscore's diagrmming, it should look something like this:

premise:

success --> strong client base
>=3 yr to develop client base --> comfortable living in sales (existence of a strong client base)

conclusion:

success --> >= 3 yr

just by looking at this diagram, it's not exactly straight forward to see the right answer

with a Venn diagram on another hand, it is quite clear that the question has ignored the possibility of the shaded region

Image

i.e. some salesperson succeeded with less than 3 years of experience, they also have a strong client base "some salespeople require fewer than 3 years in which to develop a strong client base."


====

I also find a Venn diagram can be very helpful with some/most questions

for example: PT 62 S2 Q19

In West Calverton, most pet stores sell exotic birds...

Image

it will be so much easier to use a Venn diagram to describe the question, and to see the right answer

reresearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reresearch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:30 pm

RC

Honestly I am at no place to discuss my “strategies” with RC section. I do find that studying the LR section helped my understanding of the LSAT writers a little better. I should have put in more effort in this section.

Endurance

When first started, I do find that my level of concentration started falling after 3 sections, error rate started shooting up. So when I started PTing on May 20, I followed the following schedule to train my endurance

-- Morning, 5 section timed practice with some PTs already studied
-- After lunch, 5 section timed practice with some new PTs, and another timed section on a PT already done (personally I found it very important to sync one’s time with the actual LSAT test time. I tend to fall asleep in the afternoon, and with three weeks of intensive training, I was able to stay focused and have a sharp mind after lunch)
-- After dinner, 5 section timed practice

So on average I do 4 PTs every day. This is not a very sustainable strategy though--I was seriously burned out when the test approaches. But it did allow me to go over almost 50 PTs twice within such a short period of time. It also gave me an advantage with endurance. I guess if you start earlier than I did, doing two 5-section PTs every day should be sufficient.

That’s about everything I have to share, now feel really bad for my banned username. :cry:

Good luck with the cycle/future tests everyone!

03152016
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:20 am

.
Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

pearla
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby pearla » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:51 am

Max324 wrote:Congrats on your score. While I'm glad you found something that worked well for you, I believe that these are not strategies that most TLSers should follow.

Four PTs a day is way too much, even for a short period of time. This is a brute-force method, and while it might work to some degree, it is far more time-consuming and far less effective than a moderate schedule of study and review.

Let me relate this back to my profession, which is music education. Some of my students tell me that they practice for hours each week, but they seem to make little, if any, actual progress. More often than not, this is because they've developed poor practice techniques. These students will spend hours playing their assigned pieces a dozen times a day, but never bother to review the mistakes, the fingering, the interpretation, etc. In other words, they're going for quantity, not quality. In contrast, a student who plays their piece four times a day, but is diligent about correcting mistakes, checking fingering, and fine-tuning interpretation, will almost invariably perform better, with less logged practice time.

The LSAT is similar. The most efficient way to study is to review all of your work after you PT. You should be thinking about why each answer is correct/incorrect, what clues led you to choose your AC, what distractors were used, etc. Doing this properly takes some serious time; that's why I usually recommend taking three or four five-section PTs a week. That gives you about 12 hours of testing and ~12 hours of review, leaving you with enough time to brush up on strategy/work on drills as needed.

I would also discourage the use of Venn diagrams. On a simple problem, they work fine, and they may have some use conceptually. In practice, though, Venn diagrams tend to become overly-complex, ambiguous, misleading, unruly. They take longer to write than logic chains, and take up more room on the page. And there isn't a single diagrammable LR problem that can't be expressed with a logic chain.

I agree that PowerScore's relative ordering method leaves a lot to be desired. I personally favor Manhattan LSAT's tree method. It's super straightforward, and since I started using it, I don't think I've lost a single point on a relative ordering game (except for when I first encountered relative ordering with conditionals -- completely blindsided).



GREAT advice! I actually never saw one diagram conditional statements that way, and while it gives a simplified and clear view of the conditional statement, a venn diagram can lead to wrong inferences on must be true questions and should be restricted to use on could be true ones. I thought I was crazy working full time and studying full time until I saw OP puting in 100h a week taking 3 tests a day :shock:
I believe one test a day is doable if you are not working or you are already scoring high because reviewing answers takes as much if not more time than taking the test. Anyway, congrats on your score! :D

reresearch
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby reresearch » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:05 pm

Max324

Thanks for the advice :)

Four PTs a day is way too much, even for a short period of time. This is a brute-force method, and while it might work to some degree, it is far more time-consuming and far less effective than a moderate schedule of study and review.


Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I was seriously burned out when the test day approaches, and if I'd change anything about my preparation, I'd say I would start early, in March or even in Feb.

I found that as an ESL taker, I was intimidated by the length and language in the LSAT. Given I only had about 7 weeks to prepare, the only way for me to overcome that psychological barrier was to use the "brute-force" method. Like I said, it could work for a really short period of time, but it has a lot of limitations. I didn't think it was possible to bring my score any higher than what I got.

so I should put my message as "if you are intimidated by LSAT, START EARLY, give yourself more time to build up the stamina"

---

As for the use of Venn diagrams, I agree with you it is NOT very good test strategy. It takes more time than the arrow diagrams, and it's highly problematic if you make mistakes drawing the diagrams.

The reason I used Venn diagram when I am studying, is because it provided me a comfort zone in between two things I am not very familiar with: English language and abstraction of the logic structure. Venn diagram is a good intermediate tool for people to see clearly the logic structures when they are not very familiar with it. When I became more confident with the questions, I adhere to the powerscore system of diagramming (arrows and etc).

---

Also to my fellow ESL takers

I am not "promoting" my preparation strategy in any sense. What I am really saying is don't be intimidated by this test, give yourself more time to get familiar with the questions and techniques you need, slowly build up your stamina and confidence. Although English could be a weakness of us, something in our background will help us one way or another in the preparation. :)

pearla
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:56 am

Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby pearla » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:06 pm

reresearch wrote:Max324

Thanks for the advice :)

Four PTs a day is way too much, even for a short period of time. This is a brute-force method, and while it might work to some degree, it is far more time-consuming and far less effective than a moderate schedule of study and review.


Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I was seriously burned out when the test day approaches, and if I'd change anything about my preparation, I'd say I would start early, in March or even in Feb.

I found that as an ESL taker, I was intimidated by the length and language in the LSAT. Given I only had about 7 weeks to prepare, the only way for me to overcome that psychological barrier was to use the "brute-force" method. Like I said, it could work for a really short period of time, but it has a lot of limitations. I didn't think it was possible to bring my score any higher than what I got.

so I should put my message as "if you are intimidated by LSAT, START EARLY, give yourself more time to build up the stamina"


Agree and very proud of your achievement! :wink:

---

Also to my fellow ESL takers

snova
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby snova » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:40 am

reresearch wrote:Max324

Thanks for the advice :)

Four PTs a day is way too much, even for a short period of time. This is a brute-force method, and while it might work to some degree, it is far more time-consuming and far less effective than a moderate schedule of study and review.


Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I was seriously burned out when the test day approaches, and if I'd change anything about my preparation, I'd say I would start early, in March or even in Feb.

I found that as an ESL taker, I was intimidated by the length and language in the LSAT. Given I only had about 7 weeks to prepare, the only way for me to overcome that psychological barrier was to use the "brute-force" method. Like I said, it could work for a really short period of time, but it has a lot of limitations. I didn't think it was possible to bring my score any higher than what I got.

so I should put my message as "if you are intimidated by LSAT, START EARLY, give yourself more time to build up the stamina"

---

As for the use of Venn diagrams, I agree with you it is NOT very good test strategy. It takes more time than the arrow diagrams, and it's highly problematic if you make mistakes drawing the diagrams.

The reason I used Venn diagram when I am studying, is because it provided me a comfort zone in between two things I am not very familiar with: English language and abstraction of the logic structure. Venn diagram is a good intermediate tool for people to see clearly the logic structures when they are not very familiar with it. When I became more confident with the questions, I adhere to the powerscore system of diagramming (arrows and etc).

---

Also to my fellow ESL takers

I am not "promoting" my preparation strategy in any sense. What I am really saying is don't be intimidated by this test, give yourself more time to get familiar with the questions and techniques you need, slowly build up your stamina and confidence. Although English could be a weakness of us, something in our background will help us one way or another in the preparation. :)


Thanks for the tips. Very helpful for ESL like me.

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lovejopd
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby lovejopd » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:48 am

Great Advice!
Thx

cpamom
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Re: 7 weeks and 170, post-mortem from an ESL taker

Postby cpamom » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:44 am

Thank you! Every time I see my practice test scores (which are around 160 right now :( ) I could only wish the test was in Russian. It would be so much easier, especially the RC!
Still have time until October, even though with full-time job and kids even two tests a week seem like an accomplishment to me :) Definitely going to look into Venn Diagram.

Thank you!




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