Approaching Practice Tests!

KingdomCome6
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:08 pm

Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby KingdomCome6 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:56 pm

I'm almost finished the theory portion of my preparation. I will be writing my first practice test in a week. Should I time myself for the first ten practice tests or should I do them un-timed? I was thinking that I should do them un-timed so that I could focus on accuracy as opposed to speed. I take way too long to answer all of the questions correctly for the logic games (eg. 20-30 minutes per game) and reading comprehension passages (around 18 minutes per passage); I consistently miss around 25-50% of the questions for RC. Once I have the accuracy down, then I could focus on speed. What do you guys suggest?

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togepi
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby togepi » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:00 pm

Are you taking it in October?

I would suggest taking them untimed to ensure that you have a good understanding of your material and that your theoretical preparation can be put to use. You might want to break some older practice tests apart and drill LR for a week, then LG, and so on.

It seems that timing is going to be your biggest concern, so I recommend learning to read faster by doing some side reading. People have recommended The Economist, but personally I like doing some side reading. Not novels of course, but anything by Malcolm Gladwell or any other sort of informative text. This helped me a lot with my pace.

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cc.celina
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby cc.celina » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:07 pm

Hope you don't mind that I'm recycling advice; this is what I posted in another thread vis-a-vis the same question.

Can I suggest something? When I was still really slow, this is how I took my PTs: I counted down 35 minutes for each section, and when 35 minutes was up, I marked where I was on my answer sheet so I would know where I finished. I then finished the section untimed. At the end, I scored myself both timed and untimed, and kept track of both scores until I could finish all sections within the time limit. This way, I got an accurate read on how well I did on a timed test, and I also got the chance to do every question and the confidence boost of knowing I could do 10-12 points better if I just kept practicing and got a little faster. I suggest doing your diagnostic this way, and some of your early PTs this way, because it measures both your accuracy under timed conditions and your accuracy straight up.

waysidemadison180
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby waysidemadison180 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:14 am

KingdomCome6 wrote:I'm almost finished the theory portion of my preparation. I will be writing my first practice test in a week. Should I time myself for the first ten practice tests or should I do them un-timed? I was thinking that I should do them un-timed so that I could focus on accuracy as opposed to speed. I take way too long to answer all of the questions correctly for the logic games (eg. 20-30 minutes per game) and reading comprehension passages (around 18 minutes per passage); I consistently miss around 25-50% of the questions for RC. Once I have the accuracy down, then I could focus on speed. What do you guys suggest?


Accuracy then speed, you have it right. Once you consistently get your desired score on untimed test, switch to strictly timed test. Use http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lsat-pro ... 02987?mt=8 or http://www.alphascore.com/resources/lsat-proctor/ to accurately time them.

If you built a solid foundation of strategy, then you should be ok. Your score may drop about 10 points or so when you switch to timed tests, but don't worry and keep practicing. It will go up as you become more confident with your strategy, and then you'll dominate on test day!

KingdomCome6
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby KingdomCome6 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:12 am

togepi, I am taking the test in October but I may push it back if I have to. Thanks to everyone for the solid advice!

Looks like I will drill LG for a week, LR for a week and RC for another week. I'll score myself timed and untimed as cc.celina suggested. And as for reading on the side, I tend to read the Economist. Maybe subscribing to Nature wouldn't be such a bad idea either.

Would two months be enough to get a solid preparation for the October test?

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Nova
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby Nova » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:22 am

KingdomCome6 wrote: Would two months be enough to get a solid preparation PEAK for the October test?


It really depends. For some, yes. For others, no.

MikeTZ
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Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:24 pm

Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby MikeTZ » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:56 pm

you really gotta be disciplined and make the time constraints as real as possible!

KingdomCome6
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby KingdomCome6 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:09 pm

I just don't want to rush through a problem. What's the point of rushing through a problem if you're more likely to get it incorrect. I guess with practice I'll be able to finish the problems within the time constraints.

totaltest.milan
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Re: Approaching Practice Tests!

Postby totaltest.milan » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:34 pm

Take an initial untimed diagnostic to see where you're at once you finish the theory portion. But only that one, and only to use it as a reference point.

As everyone has pointed out - accuracy prior to speed. You want to get to the point where you're not only getting the correct answer consistently, but you understand why it's correct and why the others are incorrect. That comes from carefully reviewing what you get wrong/are unsure about. You can focus on a specific section for a week but I find that it's more effective (once you've studied the conceptual foundations) to do an entire preptest at a time, see what your weakness is, and then focus in on that in your review. Once again, this is assuming that you're already done with learning how to approach specific question types, their variations, evaluating the choices, different games, reading the passages, etc. And it's also assuming that in the course of doing all that you've already done individual sections in isolation and have developed a familiarity with them.

With all due respect to cc.celina I wouldn't recommend doing the sections like that (timed and untimed). The whole point of doing it untimed is so that you don't let the time pressure interfere with your understanding of the question and how to approach it correctly. If you're going to try and do them all in 35 minutes and then simply continue until you're done then you're either going to:
a) work under pressure and thus not develop your understanding of how to do them correctly
b) not pay attention to the time constraint in which case whatever 'score' you get after 35 minutes isn't indicative of your abilities because you're either doing better than you would under time pressure because you're concentrating more, or doing worse because you're taking more time per question
That being said it might work for you and I could be wrong. But I don't recommend that to my students; I tell them that their primary goal initially is comprehension. Once the comprehension is taken care of, doing it in 35 minutes is a question of execution - of building stamina, mechanics, confidence, etc.




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