Am I on track?

kaseyb002
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:55 pm

Am I on track?

Postby kaseyb002 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:29 am

October LSAT. I have probably spent about 150 hours at least so far. Started in mid-May, got serious since Mid-June. Going for 175+ (although I would certainly settle for a 172+).

Here is where I am at for each section:

LG: Got done with LGB about two months ago and have gone through all the games up about PT40 multiple times. Anytime I do a full section (including non-redo's), I go -0 to -2 timed. I feel good about this section right now, although I have been told the newer LG's are a little different and aren't so reliant on finding the breakthrough inference. I heard they rely on making a bunch of hypo's. Should I do anything more other than do 2-3 games per day just for maintaining? Are the newer games that different? I will get exposure to the new games when I start the newer PT's(54 and on) in September.

LR: I go from -3 to -5 timed, 0 to -2 untimed. The big problem here I think is that I have not done enough question type specific review. I went through half of the LRB, ditched it, and then did the Velocity LR (very pleased with it FYI). Then I went straight through to mixed review.

I feel like I should have done the Kaplan mastery for each question type before going into mixed review so quickly. For the next two weeks I am going to go beast mode it through all the Kaplan mastery's (so like 100 LR questions per day). This is a fairly critical time investment at this point in the game. Do you think it is worth it? My LR skill has improved, but I don't feel like I am drastically switching mental gears between question types except for a few such as inference and main point. All the assumption-type questions are kind of mushed together as well as "describe the argument" type questions. Is it supposed to be like that?

RC: Probably spent about 15 hours total working on this so far. RC's scores fluctuate wildly, but I have never gotten worse than -6, even on my early, early diagnostics. I usually go -2 to -3 timed. The Velocity RC is fairly skim. It has a big introduction and then just a whole bunch of practice sections. For August, I plan on spending about an hour per day on RC while I do the Kaplan Mastery for LR, and after that it will be my main focus for the remaining 2 and half weeks.

Starting September, my grad program starts and so time will be a little more scarce (probably only 2 hours per day on average), I plan on doing full-length PT's and reviewing exclusively. I don't want to be building any fundamental skills at this point; I just want to be honing the last few remaining weak spots and building endurance.

I know it's a bit selfish to ask for a complete diagnosis on my study track from the forum, but if you have any suggestions I would be very appreciative. Thanks

bbsg
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby bbsg » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:30 pm

I'm basically where you are. Same study schedule and timeline and everything.

LG: I go -3 to -5 timed, 0 to -3 untimed
LR: I go -1 to -3 timed, 0 to -2 untimed
RC: I go -1 to -3 timed, 0 to -2 untimed.

It's kind of intimidating seeing you can go -5 on a good day but -11 on a bad one, right? Plenty of time though!

My (non-expert) opinion is that once you're hitting 170's on timed PTs you're really best off just learning by doing a ton of PTs. Unless you're seeing that all your misses are coming off a specific question type (in which case of course focus on Kaplan or something) then I'd just stick to PTs.

If you insist on the "beast mode" approach (I'd be interested to see what others think of this), doing 100 LR questions a day is more likely to burn you out and lose you points in the short term than gain them. If you are going to go the crazy 100-question a day route, I'd imagine you'd be well advised to do it asap (as in early August) than waiting until you get so close to the exam that you risk burning yourself out before it.

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Mr. Frodo
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby Mr. Frodo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:56 pm

You're definitely on track man. We have the same plan, you're just farther along in LR. Here's where I'm at, hope you can offer some tips (either one of you).

My games performance is generally strong. I've drilled PT1-38 games, by type, all the way through (120+ games, and doing them again now), in addition to the 10 or so timed PTs I have taken. From drilling games of similar and increasing difficulty, by type, and timed, I recorded an average time of 9:45 overall average/game (a minute over where I should be), with an average of -1 point off each game. This is my first time through these games, and includes games that will likely never appear again on a modern LSAT (think: "rare games" and other difficult, obscure, time consuming types). From my performance on timed PTs, I generally get -0 to -3 at worst, finishing the section in ≈32-33 minutes. This is obviously due to the fact that on real tests I get the chance to work on games of varying type and difficulty, instead of say, 4 end of section advanced unbalanced linear games in a row.

My logical reasoning performance is what I would really like to work on. I can get -2 to -6, per LR section. This means I miss usually 8-10 points on LR alone, which is bad. I have read the PowerScore bibles, done a lot of drilling of problems by type and difficulty, and I am getting better slowly. I'd really like to work on getting a regimen to follow for each problem type though. For instance, if I see that problem 23 is a principle question, what should I immediately be looking for in the correct answer? A lot of times I get through a problem just by crossing off answer choices I know are wrong. But, I'm still making mistakes because I feel a lot of the time I'm just trying to "answer the question" without using structured reasoning that I've been trying to hone for a while now. While its possible to get away with process of elimination, it is not efficient and leads to wrong answer at the end of the section. My LR inaccuracy is highly correlated with problems 18-end of any LR section, "the harder problems." Even with -1/-3 per section, that could add up to potentially -2 or -4 total for LR, which would be amazing.

My reading comprehension performance is something I've only recently started to intensely address. Without any sort of methodology to attach this section, I naturally average -6 per RC section. I don't know how much outside help could fix this, but I am confident I can get this down to at least -2/-3 by test day (Oct. 6). If I create a system of annotation and gain a stronger familiarity with the type of questions to expect and how to efficiently jump back to look at the passage for answers, I will do much better. For instance, I did 6 RC passages last night, getting -0 on four of them.


Can you guys offer any advice to be more consistent like you guys are? How did you overcome these obstacles? Besides my LR, I feel like we truly are in the same boat.

Nice job guys! :D

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:09 pm

It sounds like you're definitely working hard enough and you have a solid plan. I wouldn't do anything differently. If you're score doesn't go up anymore come test time, I would say you're peaking then.

bbsg
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby bbsg » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:16 pm

In my experience the instinctive answer tends to be the correct answer on LR and RC. Your results may vary, but when I over-analyze or try to employ some strategy i usually do worse than just going with the flow. I always just pick the answer that seems right, star those that I'm not *certain* about, and then I'm done all the questions after 25-27 minutes. That gives me 8-10 minutes to go back and spend a good amount of time going over the 3 or 4 questions I've starred. Sometimes when I go back it's all suddenly quite clear, and sometimes I need to spend a minute.

The only real "rule" I employ is that on logic games I never read all the answers -- I just read up until the one that works, and select it. That sometimes screws with me on "Must be true" or "could be true" questions if I'm rushing and forget to apply a rule, though, so if I have time left I go back and double check those specific questions. Meanwhile, on LR and RC I'm careful to always read every single option. Sometimes option 2 looks okay until you see option 4 and realize it's definitely much better. LSAC is good at trying to trick you with those sorts of things.

Also, while reading LR with the "Which of the following most parallels the logic?" question, I found my scores improved when I made a habit of always checking first to see if the logic was sound. The stem will always be either valid or invalid, and then the answers will often have two VERY similar logical structures. One of them is usually valid and the other invalid, so it's easy to choose which one is correct just based on whether the stem was valid. Does that make sense?

bbsg
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:07 am

Re: Am I on track?

Postby bbsg » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:23 pm

Mr. Frodo wrote:You're definitely on track man. We have the same plan, you're just farther along in LR. Here's where I'm at, hope you can offer some tips (either one of you).

My games performance is generally strong. I've drilled PT1-38 games, by type, all the way through (120+ games, and doing them again now), in addition to the 10 or so timed PTs I have taken. From drilling games of similar and increasing difficulty, by type, and timed, I recorded an average time of 9:45 overall average/game (a minute over where I should be), with an average of -1 point off each game. This is my first time through these games, and includes games that will likely never appear again on a modern LSAT (think: "rare games" and other difficult, obscure, time consuming types). From my performance on timed PTs, I generally get -0 to -3 at worst, finishing the section in ≈32-33 minutes. This is obviously due to the fact that on real tests I get the chance to work on games of varying type and difficulty, instead of say, 4 end of section advanced unbalanced linear games in a row.

My logical reasoning performance is what I would really like to work on. I can get -2 to -6, per LR section. This means I miss usually 8-10 points on LR alone, which is bad. I have read the PowerScore bibles, done a lot of drilling of problems by type and difficulty, and I am getting better slowly. I'd really like to work on getting a regimen to follow for each problem type though. For instance, if I see that problem 23 is a principle question, what should I immediately be looking for in the correct answer? A lot of times I get through a problem just by crossing off answer choices I know are wrong. But, I'm still making mistakes because I feel a lot of the time I'm just trying to "answer the question" without using structured reasoning that I've been trying to hone for a while now. While its possible to get away with process of elimination, it is not efficient and leads to wrong answer at the end of the section. My LR inaccuracy is highly correlated with problems 18-end of any LR section, "the harder problems." Even with -1/-3 per section, that could add up to potentially -2 or -4 total for LR, which would be amazing.

My reading comprehension performance is something I've only recently started to intensely address. Without any sort of methodology to attach this section, I naturally average -6 per RC section. I don't know how much outside help could fix this, but I am confident I can get this down to at least -2/-3 by test day (Oct. 6). If I create a system of annotation and gain a stronger familiarity with the type of questions to expect and how to efficiently jump back to look at the passage for answers, I will do much better. For instance, I did 6 RC passages last night, getting -0 on four of them.


Can you guys offer any advice to be more consistent like you guys are? How did you overcome these obstacles? Besides my LR, I feel like we truly are in the same boat.

Nice job guys! :D


As for the RC: I really stress the "don't overthink it" mentality. Most of the questions end up being fairly general, and when you overthink specific parts of it your mind ends up highlighting it. For example, if there's one paragraph that's complicated/foreign to you then you end up having your mind explode as you try to make sense of it. when you run into the "what is the main point of this?" question, your mind is giving way too much weight to the complicated paragraph so it's harder for you to really snythesize everything. As a habit I refuse to read a sentence more than twice, even if I think I may be vague on what they're saying. Usually if a sentence is super vague or complicated, it's too technical for the question to address. Move on and hope it becomes clear.

I never annotate anything on RC. It gets you thinking too much like it's a formula. LR can be sort of formulaic in presenting arguments, but RC isn't so much. When you start trying to apply the strict Premise->Conclusion formulas to RC (I mean they're still THERE, generally, but the questions don't tend to ask about them) you end up getting all hung up on logical structure rather than, you know, comprehending the reading.

Pretend you're reading the NY Times and want to explain the gist of it your friend afterward. You're not reading to be able to present a formal paper in a graduate seminar, you're reading to be able to say "Author said this and lol this kind of stood out and wow isn't that interesting?" conversation. That will give you enough of a familiarity with the passage to be able to answer basically every question, in my experience. The very specific ones that follow "What does the author mean in line 24?" will require you to go back and re-read a line or two, but you should still have plenty of time since you didn't spend a bunch of time trying to make all these unnecessary formal logical connections and annotations.

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Mr. Frodo
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby Mr. Frodo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:27 pm

bbsg wrote:...since you didn't spend a bunch of time trying to make all these unnecessary formal logical connections and annotations.


I never try to make formal logic connections or any of that. You're right, its a total waste of time. I agree with your "do less" approach, as that is what I used last night to go -0 on 4 consecutive passages, albeit in 10 mins each. Speed will come though.

Thanks!

Dookie39
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Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:15 pm

Re: Am I on track?

Postby Dookie39 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:05 pm

I think that you're definitely on track, as you are about where I am in my studying. I been going hard for the past month and a half, and have worked through the first 20 or so Rc and LR sections, and the first 30 PT's worth of games, many of which I have done multiple times. Timed, I usually get -2/3 on both LR and RC, although I've gotten a small handful of -1s on them. For games, I haven't really done full sections timed, just single games by type, but I do easy and medium games pretty much always under 7 minutes, with the more difficult and weird ones taking 8 - 10 minutes. Since my shitty diagnostic of 156, which I got after reading half of the LGB, i got a 167 on Superprep A three weeks ago, and got a 177 on B last week (although I think this is a way inflated score because of the super easy curve). After this week, I will spend the next two months doing PTS 30 - 66 timed and in full, and if I had to guess, my average score right now is probably around 170 giver or take. As far as drilling certain question types, I did this with the LR sections from PTs 5-16, and I really think my LR score would be around -4/6 if I hadn't. It enables you to figure out which ones you suck at (Strengthen and Flaw for me). Oftentimes, I would do 40 of a question type one day and get maybe 5 or 6 wrong, then the next day I would do another 40 and only get 1 wrong; it's pretty cool to see that kind of improvement. If I were you, I would drill about 10-15 tests worth of LR questions from the older tests, even if you've seen them before, while avoiding too many new ones. I am willing to bet that a week or two devoted to this will probably increase both of your LR scores by 1 or 2 points, which at your level, is a big improvement. In a couple weeks, I will probably go back and redo a bunch of questions types from older LRs, as I tend to forget them after about a month. By the way, I just went through a bunch of tests and labeled each question by type, which was a complete bitch, but free, instead of buying Mastery or the Cambridge section things. There are a couple websites that have all of the tests separated by type.

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Mr. Frodo
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Re: Am I on track?

Postby Mr. Frodo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:38 pm

Bbsg,

I completely follow your approaches to LR, RC and LG, although I usually do check all the LG answers unless its going to waste more than 30 seconds or I'm 100% sure about the correct answer. You're right about LR as well. If I get a question wrong, I can always go back to that question later (if I print out a new blank copy of it) and get the answer right the second time. I think this revolves highly around just reading the stimulus again at a later time. So next time I take a PT I'm going to just circle anything to skip or that I temporarily have guessed on, then go back at the end to fix up my loose ends.

Will let you know how it goes!

Sorry in advance for any grammatical errors, I'm on my phone lol.




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