score plateau -- tips

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05062014
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score plateau -- tips

Postby 05062014 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:28 pm

I have taken yet another prep exam. I feel like there is another higher level of familiarity that currently eludes me with this damn test. I have been between a 170-172 on about 12 preptests since I (now seemingly randomly) hit a 178 on PT 16 three weeks ago. My diagnostic was a 159 in late May.

I took June 2007 today and the curve was infuriating. I scored a 93/100, ending up with a familiar score of 171. This is frustrating to say the least.

My problem seems to be that I overlook things that I normally would not if time constraints did not exist. I take these exams timed, and then go over the entire exam again before I score it. With review prior to scoring the exam (therefore not completely knowing what the right answer is) I miss zero. I will admit though, part of me is glad this test is timed even though timing seems to be the issue. (Hypothetically speaking, imagine the difficulty of a take home LSAT exam, lol).

More experience with timed sections may help but I really don't see how I can prevent some errors due to subtle tricks in RC, and some stupid mistakes in LG. My plans to take a proctored exam fell through, but even if I made it to a proctored test, I just don't see myself not being under even more pressure on test day and making dumb errors.

Ultimately, I propose the controversial view that luck may be a factor. If this is the case, why do colleges place such emphasis on one point differentials in scores -- especially in this score range? As I said earlier, I feel like there is another level of familiarity that eludes me but even then. I feel like I am studying at this point to eliminate bad luck, if that makes any sense.

Did other people go through this? Is there a point where making a few mistakes stops seeming inevitable?

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cc.celina
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby cc.celina » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:56 am

Luck's a factor, that's not controversial. LSAC does technically release your "score band," or the range of scores from which your score is not statistically different.

You will always make some mistakes, otherwise you'd be averaging a 180. No one does that, and you're right to study with the aim of minimizing mistakes.

If you're really plateauing, this is the time to stop taking timed PTs and try to focus on your specific weaknesses. Taking more PTs isn't going to be a good use of your time right now.

Here are a few tips that helped me when I was studying:
- You should never forgive yourself for missing an LG question. Let it bother you. A LOT. Gather all the LG sections from the last 10 or so PTs you've taken, and see if there's a pattern in the ones you missed (Are you missing a lot of global questions? Then you probably need to work on making more inferences and setting up a good diagram. Mostly local? Then it's probably an attention-to-detail problem.) Redo every game where you missed even one question, and try to do them in 7.5 min or less.

- There are no tricks in RC. Again, look over all the questions you've missed on the last 10 or 15 PTs and try to see if there's a pattern to the type of question you're missing. (Main point? Detail-oriented questions? Inference questions?) Write out why the answer you picked was wrong, and why the answer you didn't pick was right (and why you didn't think it was right at the time).

- This seems counterintuitive, but for LR, drill easy question types. (By this I mean question types that are easy for you - for example, I basically never miss a necessary assumption question, so I consider those easy, but I missed a lot of strengthen questions, so I considered those hard.) The more automatically you can do easy questions, the more time you'll have on difficult/complex ones, and the less time pressure you'll be under.

hope that helped a bit! good luck!

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dowu
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby dowu » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:04 am

cc.celina wrote:Luck's a factor, that's not controversial. LSAC does technically release your "score band," or the range of scores from which your score is not statistically different.

You will always make some mistakes, otherwise you'd be averaging a 180. No one does that, and you're right to study with the aim of minimizing mistakes.

If you're really plateauing, this is the time to stop taking timed PTs and try to focus on your specific weaknesses. Taking more PTs isn't going to be a good use of your time right now.

Here are a few tips that helped me when I was studying:
- You should never forgive yourself for missing an LG question. Let it bother you. A LOT. Gather all the LG sections from the last 10 or so PTs you've taken, and see if there's a pattern in the ones you missed (Are you missing a lot of global questions? Then you probably need to work on making more inferences and setting up a good diagram. Mostly local? Then it's probably an attention-to-detail problem.) Redo every game where you missed even one question, and try to do them in 7.5 min or less.

- There are no tricks in RC. Again, look over all the questions you've missed on the last 10 or 15 PTs and try to see if there's a pattern to the type of question you're missing. (Main point? Detail-oriented questions? Inference questions?) Write out why the answer you picked was wrong, and why the answer you didn't pick was right (and why you didn't think it was right at the time).

- This seems counterintuitive, but for LR, drill easy question types. (By this I mean question types that are easy for you - for example, I basically never miss a necessary assumption question, so I consider those easy, but I missed a lot of strengthen questions, so I considered those hard.) The more automatically you can do easy questions, the more time you'll have on difficult/complex ones, and the less time pressure you'll be under.

hope that helped a bit! good luck!


+1

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05062014
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby 05062014 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:11 am

It does help, and I found strengthen and assumption questions difficult which was remedied through drilling. But timing is def. an issue to an extent. My problem is that I don't want to burn through exams. RC has not been a problem for me until I took some of the newer exams.

Games were moderately difficult but not anymore. I just keep missing 1 or 2 questions because I don't play scenarios out completely or I waste time figuring out what diagram works best for the newer games.

The problem is I have 12 exams from 50-66 to use before Oct 6th and I plan to hold off on using them until mid august. I just took june 2007 today after promising myself (how corny is that?) not to use anymore really new exams till mid august.

The exam is evolving so I don't really know how to study for some hybrid games and some really clever omissions or alterations of "ideal" words separating 2-3 RC questions' correct AC's. I find that my gut serves me better than not having time constraints in RC because I over think and second guess myself without them. On the flip side, I overlook minor things zooming through RC. I feel dumb afterwards and just laugh at how LSAC tricks me with little ways of picking one answer instead of the other. The solution is to read more carefully but I don't know how to train my brain to look at everything with sufficient precision with time constraints.

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cc.celina
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby cc.celina » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:15 am

It's evolving, but not THAT much. Skills you learn are largely transferable to later exams. If you're that worried about exhausting your PT supply, retake some older PTs you haven't seen in a while.

If you're burned out, don't be afraid to take a break. Scoring in the 170s a few months before test day is a great position to be in and you have plenty of time to relax and give your mind a break.

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05062014
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby 05062014 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:20 am

Word, cc.celina. I am gonna take it easier and exhaust older materials at a slower pace for the next few weeks. Hopefully my brain comes back stronger. Each time I thought I would not improve I have. This curve was bs and I went perfect on LR, averaging -4 to -6 overall prior. Thanks, and goodnight!

JohnV
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby JohnV » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:52 am

Not to derail the topic or anything but... what have you been doing to study? I ask because I had a similar diagnostic (158, late May) and am scoring in the 164 - 167 range. It may be the work/school combo + LSAT study when I can is hurting my progress but I wonder if you are using a better method than me.

As for your problem, I definitely make a lot of dumb mistakes as well (usually 100% of my mistakes in LR sections is because I misread something.), can only hope that more and more practice will help refine reading skills so those kinds of random mistakes are less prevelant.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby NoodleyOne » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:52 am

Especially on LR it is a huge mistake to simply write off an incorrect answer as just misreading. When I hit my 170-172 plateau I was doing the same thing, but I stepped away and went through the previous five pts in detail to find commonalities in my incorrect responses and to generally see how the test is tricking you. While my June score sucked it did still result in a significant increase in my pt scores.

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05062014
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Re: score plateau -- tips

Postby 05062014 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:19 pm

JohnV wrote:Not to derail the topic or anything but... what have you been doing to study? I ask because I had a similar diagnostic (158, late May) and am scoring in the 164 - 167 range. It may be the work/school combo + LSAT study when I can is hurting my progress but I wonder if you are using a better method than me.

As for your problem, I definitely make a lot of dumb mistakes as well (usually 100% of my mistakes in LR sections is because I misread something.), can only hope that more and more practice will help refine reading skills so those kinds of random mistakes are less prevelant.


I hit a 178 on PT 16 and then my score started dropping. I attribute that baller PT score to my now-ex :( being near my apartment and forcing me to not overstudy and generally keeping me from burning out. After she left, I was taking PT's like mad (screw women, yo) to hopefully show myself that I was meant to score that 178. Each time I took a PT my scores dropped from 178 to 173 to 171, 170, then finally 166. Solution:

Figure out ways to not burn out and do little things to reinforce what you learn.
1) I started up jump roping intensely each day mixed in with some weightlifting (cardio is key tho). I used to do muay thai growing up and it was what kept balance in my life. At the very least, the veins in my forehead that now throb while studying hard reassures me that my brain is getting an adequate supply of oxygen, lol.

2) Another thing: to help myself fall asleep, I try to solve my logic game and LR mistakes or errors in my head for the drills or PT's I took that day. That probably sounds crazy but I swear by it. I actually feel kinda burned out (in a good way) when I wake up because it feels like I have been dreaming up LSAT problems all night.

I think you should slow down your pace of studying and drill specific question types for LR. I need to take more timed sections but I feel like I have hit my stride in that section just drilling the types of questions I would get wrong per test. Unfortunately, this seems to have caused a digression in RC which may have been an anomaly or I need to do more RC sections, we'll see.

I hope this helps man, good luck




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