Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

ksllaw
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Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:13 am

Hello,

A first time poster here and forum newbie. Have heard many great things about the place from a fellow pre-law friend who frequents TLS a lot.

I have a question regarding the possibility of taking the upcoming Oct. 6, 2012 LSAT and doing well, given my current preparation. I thought I'd lay out the specifics of my situation for better understanding and analysis.

I've taken a philosophy course here and there in college a few years ago (including one on formal logic), but other than that have had very little experience with the LSAT content up until literally two-three weeks ago when I began prepping.

Started TestMasters two weeks ago - the course that is prepping for the Oct/2012 test. Have done the HW and reviewed the lessons so far diligently up through this point. The first few lessons were honestly pretty tough for me. It took a while to get the conditional logic and logic games portion. Reading comp. was a bit more intuitive for me and faster paced.

Scored 146 in first diagnostic for which I literally had zero preparation and also guessed a lot of questions (due to literally not knowing how to do the logic games section at all). I ran out of time on most of the sections, but also simply wasn't prepared and also probably wasn't in the most serious frame of mind. (Our instructor probably did not help by telling us not to worry about our score on the exam before starting, since it was was just a "cold" and first diagnostic and that we'd be learning how to deal with question types THROUGHOUT the course...so my mindset was sort of inherently less serious for the first diagnostic).

I've started learning the material through hard work and have gotten progressively more and more practice questions right. But do occassionally struggle with initially learning the material and/or on some harder questions.

My schedule from now until the Oct. 2012 LSAT is pretty open. I do work, unfortunately, about 14 hours a week over the weekends for pocket money, but have graduated college already and taking the year off to study for the LSAT and also apply to law schools.

I had initially planned on taking the Dec 2012 LSAT, but started wondering if I'd be able to actually take the OCT one given the amount of prep time I have taking a course via TestMasters.

I'll mostly be eating, breathing, and sleeping LSAT - and two days of weekend work at a local retail store - from now until the Oct. test date. For those who've either done TestMasters or have prepped for the LSAT with the time frame that I have on my hands (about 2.5 months prior to the exam), how reasonable would you think it to be that I could take the Oct. test and do well on it?

Thanks in advance everyone for the feedback. Graciously appreciate it all! (And feel free to ask me any questions for clarification for more detail if it helps in generating a response and evaluation of my situation.)

Greatly appreciate it all!

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby PeanutsNJam » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:53 pm

Not enough time to reach your peak score imo. Don't worry about your cold diagnostic it doesn't mean much. You're going to reach score plateaus and they take time to overcome.

You'll probably be able to do well but most likely not your best. It's your call.

fratstar
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby fratstar » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:10 pm

Doing the same thing, I'm going to sign up for October and if I'm not seeing the results I want skip out and take it in December. It just sucks if you want to ED.

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Psib337
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby Psib337 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:35 pm

I took Testmasters for the June test and I didn't do that well. I did see imrovements over the course of the class though (started at 141 and my highest diagnostic was 159). I was working full time though so I was exhausted pretty much the entire time and I feel like I just didn't have enough time to learn and understand the material and let it all sink in. If I had been one of those people who comes in, takes a test, and gets a 160 without any preparation I think Testmasters would've been perfect. But since I wasn't one of those people I'd say it was helpful but even after the class ended I still 1) needed to do more/go over the methods again and 2) just needed more time. It's possible for you to take the test in October and do fine, especially since it sounds like you have a ton of free time. I would really just do everything you can to do well in October since then you'll be able to apply sooner. I'm not sure when the December scores come back but generally it seems like you're not really doing yourself any favors by applying after the holidays.

ksllaw
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:39 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:Not enough time to reach your peak score imo. Don't worry about your cold diagnostic it doesn't mean much. You're going to reach score plateaus and they take time to overcome.

You'll probably be able to do well but most likely not your best. It's your call.


I appreciate the perspective. I do worry a bit that the final few lessons from TestMasters with presumably the harder content (such as the more advanced games) come later in the course and that it leaves less time to practice and master them before the LSAT.

I'll be weighing the Oct vs Dec question strongly...but will likely choose the date the gives me the best shot at scoring my best. I was thinking that with the Dec LSAT that I'd only have one shot it seems. If I did not do well for any reason, then I'd be left with only Feb, which seems a bit late in the admissions process, no?

So the advantage of Oct was that I'd have Dec as a safety valve. At least that was my initial logic. I do, however, want to do my best and hit my highest range....so will be weighing the decision and monitoring my progress.

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LionelHutzJD
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby LionelHutzJD » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:44 pm

I started Testmasters on July 10th. When did you start? They give you TONS of material to work with so as long as your dedicated I dont see why Oct 6. wouldnt be possible.

ksllaw
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:48 pm

Psib337 wrote:I took Testmasters for the June test and I didn't do that well. I did see imrovements over the course of the class though (started at 141 and my highest diagnostic was 159). I was working full time though so I was exhausted pretty much the entire time and I feel like I just didn't have enough time to learn and understand the material and let it all sink in. If I had been one of those people who comes in, takes a test, and gets a 160 without any preparation I think Testmasters would've been perfect. But since I wasn't one of those people I'd say it was helpful but even after the class ended I still 1) needed to do more/go over the methods again and 2) just needed more time. It's possible for you to take the test in October and do fine, especially since it sounds like you have a ton of free time. I would really just do everything you can to do well in October since then you'll be able to apply sooner. I'm not sure when the December scores come back but generally it seems like you're not really doing yourself any favors by applying after the holidays.



Appreciate it. Yeah...the class really flies at four hours per session!

It's been helpful, but it really does feel like math at times and you have to do a lot of practice to perfect your skills. It's not anything you can just look at once (at least not with me) and never have to think about or work on again. I also find myself studying after class to really get the material.

Out of curiosity, did you feel rushed at all with the TestMasters timing of their last few lessons and the test date for the June LSAT?

My concern is that TM's scheduling is such that literally a week before the actual LSAT date is the last LESSON of the course, which doesn't give a whole lot of time to have that stuff sink in and practice it. I wish they would have scheduled it so that the last lesson was 3+ weeks prior to the LSAT to give students time to have all of the material sink in if you know what I mean. I'll still be working hard at it to try to get everything down, but that was the real lingering concern I had was the timing of TM's lessons.

ksllaw
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:53 pm

LionelHutzJD wrote:I started Testmasters on July 10th. When did you start? They give you TONS of material to work with so as long as your dedicated I dont see why Oct 6. wouldnt be possible.


Ours was July 20-something (can't remember exact date without pulling up calendar). We had a diagnostic as our first session and then we have two classes a week. So you've got a head start on me.

I agree that it's a lot of material! My main concern as I wrote to another person is that the lessons run through the last week leading right up to the LSAT...which makes it tough to nail down that last material. Maybe your class ends with several week prior to the LSAT? Mine ends literally ONE week before the LSAT, which gives us little time to perfect our skills.

I feel I'd have plenty of time to learn the early and middle portions of the class, but the last 3-4 lesson, for example, may be hard for me to learn right before the LSAT, due to TM's timing.

I still have Dec. as a back-up, but am just worried that it'd be a one-shot deal, since Feb. seems too late for admissions to look at my results.

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LionelHutzJD
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby LionelHutzJD » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:58 pm

Honestly, most of the tricks and strategies are learned in the first 10 lessons. If your worried about the few remaining lessons leading up to the test, take them in conjunction with PTs. You should be fine as long as your scoring where you want to score.

ksllaw
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:03 pm

One final thing I had been thinking about that was a drawback to TestMasters is that they have a lot of online content, which is hard for me to access.

This is technically a little off topic, but really specific for any other TM users out there. The course material is really voluminous. I give them credit for providing so much content. The print material feels like a personal library, lol!

But the drawback for me is that the answer keys and explanations and other supplemental content is all online and having to work back and forth through that is kind of ...honestly...annoying for me. You can't just do the work out of the books without checking a computer (I don't have a laptop, so don't always have access), so it's a little annoying having to always run to my computer. It sort of interrupts my work flow.

But the other point was that you can't scan ahead at material either in the TM course.

That was a bit disappointing. They seem to "lock" the material online until each corresponding lesson has passed. So...e.g....if one is on Lesson 5, you won't be able to scan ahead to prepare earlier until ---after--- that day's lesson. Sometimes I get certain types of material faster and want to scan/read ahead, but can't!!! But these issue are more specific to TM itself.

The main thing for me is just gauging whether the course would give me enough time to go into OCT at full force or not given my situation.

ksllaw
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby ksllaw » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:06 pm

LionelHutzJD wrote:Honestly, most of the tricks and strategies are learned in the first 10 lessons. If your worried about the few remaining lessons leading up to the test, take them in conjunction with PTs. You should be fine as long as your scoring where you want to score.



I wasn't sure if you meant taking the lessons earlier, but in my post above I tried to explain why that's not possible with TestMaster's design. They for some reason don't allow students to learn/scan ahead. The material is locked online until after each lesson plan for some reason.

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LionelHutzJD
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby LionelHutzJD » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:18 pm

ksllaw wrote:
LionelHutzJD wrote:Honestly, most of the tricks and strategies are learned in the first 10 lessons. If your worried about the few remaining lessons leading up to the test, take them in conjunction with PTs. You should be fine as long as your scoring where you want to score.



I wasn't sure if you meant taking the lessons earlier, but in my post above I tried to explain why that's not possible with TestMaster's design. They for some reason don't allow students to learn/scan ahead. The material is locked online until after each lesson plan for some reason.


Right. I meant as you get up to them, do them, learn them as best as you can, but at the same time make sure you're taking PTs

bp shinners
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby bp shinners » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:54 pm

fratstar wrote:Doing the same thing, I'm going to sign up for October and if I'm not seeing the results I want skip out and take it in December. It just sucks if you want to ED.


This would be my advice as well. Prep as if you're going to take October, and then make a decision the day before. If you're 3+ points off your target score, postpone. If not, sit for the exam. It's possible you have enough time to prep, but it's also possible that you won't peak by then. We won't know until then!

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Psib337
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby Psib337 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:04 am

ksllaw wrote:
Psib337 wrote:I took Testmasters for the June test and I didn't do that well. I did see imrovements over the course of the class though (started at 141 and my highest diagnostic was 159). I was working full time though so I was exhausted pretty much the entire time and I feel like I just didn't have enough time to learn and understand the material and let it all sink in. If I had been one of those people who comes in, takes a test, and gets a 160 without any preparation I think Testmasters would've been perfect. But since I wasn't one of those people I'd say it was helpful but even after the class ended I still 1) needed to do more/go over the methods again and 2) just needed more time. It's possible for you to take the test in October and do fine, especially since it sounds like you have a ton of free time. I would really just do everything you can to do well in October since then you'll be able to apply sooner. I'm not sure when the December scores come back but generally it seems like you're not really doing yourself any favors by applying after the holidays.



Appreciate it. Yeah...the class really flies at four hours per session!

It's been helpful, but it really does feel like math at times and you have to do a lot of practice to perfect your skills. It's not anything you can just look at once (at least not with me) and never have to think about or work on again. I also find myself studying after class to really get the material.

Out of curiosity, did you feel rushed at all with the TestMasters timing of their last few lessons and the test date for the June LSAT?

My concern is that TM's scheduling is such that literally a week before the actual LSAT date is the last LESSON of the course, which doesn't give a whole lot of time to have that stuff sink in and practice it. I wish they would have scheduled it so that the last lesson was 3+ weeks prior to the LSAT to give students time to have all of the material sink in if you know what I mean. I'll still be working hard at it to try to get everything down, but that was the real lingering concern I had was the timing of TM's lessons.


The last few lessons actually weren't that bad, they use those to go over questions that may or not appear on the test and even if they do come up you'll only see one or two of them and from what I remember I didn't think they were that hard and even if you have a hard time with them you may not even see it on the test.

My class actually ended about a month before the June test, however (and this is more of a personal problem than a Testmasters problem) I was so far behind on the homework and in such a panic over the test that I don't think I was using my time efficiently. During class some of the methods just seemed too time consuming to do during the actual test so I didn't really commit myself to learning them and by the time I figure all this out it was 4 days before the test and I was too stubborn to not take it. There were a few people in my class who were taking the June class to prepare for the October test which at the time I thought was weird but now in retrospect I realize that they probably had the right idea. My ideal test prep class would spend 2-3 months going over the material and then meet twice a month for 3 months leading up to the test going over diagnostics/review strategies before the test.

Like I said, I feel like Testmasters works great if you start out in the high 150s low 160s and you do exactly what they say and catch on quickly. I don't know how everyone in my class was doing but I know one girl was scoring in the low-mid 160s a week before the the test and I saw another girl from my class at my test center and she was like me, doing much better than she was but not quite where she wanted to be.

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cc.celina
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby cc.celina » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:18 am

Didn't take TM, so can't give you any perspective on that, but I can vouch that you CAN reach your peak score before October - I was in a similar situation to yours. With some familiarity with the test, I had a diagnostic score of about 15 points lower than my target, studied very intensely for about 3 weeks (while working about 20 hours a week), and hit my target exactly. It was MISERABLE, but possible.

That said, I only took the test because the average of my previous 10 PTs was my target score. If you are not consistently scoring where you want to score, consider postponing. (Make sure your target score was realistic before you decide not to take it, though.)

Good luck!

dsc1943
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Re: Began Testmasters 2 Weeks Ago - OCT 6, 2012 LSAT Possible??

Postby dsc1943 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:48 pm

It's definitely possible to be ready for the Oct LSAT. I did the exact same thing you're thinking about this past summer (started TM in late July then took Oct. LSAT). My first diagnostic was a 159 and scored a 175 in Oct. (this was extremely lucky b/c my best practice test was a 172, and I was probably averaging about a 170 the last couple weeks).

My advice would be to do all the practice tests they provide you (I think there is about 20 total), and duplicate test conditions as much as possible (take them at the same time in the morning that the LSAT will be). Toward the end I only did about half the homework and just focused on the practice tests. My class also ended right before the test and I actually liked that because everything was fresh in my mind. What worked great for me was doing 4-6 hours per day in the week leading up to the test and then taking the final two days off completely to clear my head.




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