To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking so many practice tests.

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VUSisterRayVU
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby VUSisterRayVU » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:50 pm

Desert Fox wrote:To true 170+ people no individual LSAT problem is very hard. It is the logic equivalent of an adding and multiplication test. The only problem is the time crunch. Churning through tests you learn how to go faster, and avoid mistakes.


I disagree that it's a time crunch. At least for me, the problem is that I'll miss a problem due to 'misreading' or being fooled by subtle shifts in language. I can finish sections with 30sec - 4 minutes left over. I think the way to get over that hurdle is not only directed practice (ARE certain problems tripping you up?), but drilling at a leisurely pace. When it becomes second nature to catch the subtleties, you stop making those mistakes.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:58 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
hibiki wrote:I'm sorry, this advice is worthless for many. I'm sure if your start prepping at a 153 you need to spend more time learning the basics. That said, you also need to realize that many people who aim for a 170+ start near or above a 170. The goal at that point isn't to learn new concepts; rather, it is to limit the number of mistakes. You're not trying to get more points, you trying to minimize risk by ensuring that you have practiced as much as possible and know the timing of the test well. A high scorer should strive to build endurance and consistency, two things best developed by taking timed practice tests.

I've spoken to many other high scorers, and the consistent advice was that if you want to improve your numbers above a 170, practice tests should be your bread and butter preparation. Yes, you still need to review and understand why you missed the questions you messed up on. Yes, there is time to go through sets of practice questions outside of practice tests. But, it is silly to claim that people should stop taking practice tests. Taking practice tests worked quite well for me. You're doing people here a disservice by offering poor advice.


To true 170+ people no individual LSAT problem is very hard. It is the logic equivalent of an adding and multiplication test. The only problem is the time crunch. Churning through tests you learn how to go faster, and avoid mistakes.


What is "true 170+" people? I started out in the 150's and worked my way up to the 170's. I wouldn't consider myself a fake 170--I just basically had to learn a lot of the stuff (especially games) for the first time since very little of my college education helped with spatial reasoning or logic.

I think OP's advice is very helpful for those looking to make big jumps into the 170s (and those who feel stuck at certain scores). Maybe it's not as helpful for those who already have a good grasp on all the underlying concepts--but I can say that T taught a decent amount of LSAT students and most did not have a good grasp of everything going on and they were learning a lot of stuff for the first time, even people starting in the 160's.

nothblake
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking so many practice tests.

Postby nothblake » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:26 pm

mickeyD wrote:All students should practice concepts one at a time because it's more effective for students to master the LSAT in parts, instead of trying to do it all at once. It's hard enough to learn flaw questions doing 100 of them in a row, let alone switching between flaw, must be true, and parallel, and sufficient/necessary.

mickeyD wrote:It can be difficult to identify- students always expect their weaknesses to manifest themselves as a question type- ("8 of my 10 wrong answers were strengthen") but for 170+ hopefuls, that usually doesn't happen. It's more likely that its something smaller than spans multiple question types- identifying conclusions correctly, diagramming, etc.

First you advocate practicing concepts individually - and it seems you are talking about concepts as categorized by question types - but then say that most real weaknesses are manifested by problems that span question-types.

How are those more general problems corrected, except by review and reflection, which requires taking practice tests?

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LexLeon
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby LexLeon » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:51 pm

hibiki wrote:I'm sorry, this advice is worthless for many. I'm sure if your start prepping at a 153 you need to spend more time learning the basics. That said, you also need to realize that many people who aim for a 170+ start near or above a 170. The goal at that point isn't to learn new concepts; rather, it is to limit the number of mistakes. You're not trying to get more points, you trying to minimize risk by ensuring that you have practiced as much as possible and know the timing of the test well. A high scorer should strive to build endurance and consistency, two things best developed by taking timed practice tests.

I've spoken to many other high scorers, and the consistent advice was that if you want to improve your numbers above a 170, practice tests should be your bread and butter preparation. Yes, you still need to review and understand why you missed the questions you messed up on. Yes, there is time to go through sets of practice questions outside of practice tests. But, it is silly to claim that people should stop taking practice tests. Taking practice tests worked quite well for me. You're doing people here a disservice by offering poor advice.


The words "worthless" and "beyond unhelpful" are unnecessarily and incorrectly strong. Besides, it may be you who is doing students a disservice by criticizing the OP's advice in this way. Maybe you and the "many other high scorers" you've spoken with are one, anomalous as high scorers, or, two, simply incorrect about what's optimal.

The OP has points that can benefit the majority of high scorers.

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smaug_
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby smaug_ » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:10 pm

LexLeon wrote:
The words "worthless" and "beyond unhelpful" are unnecessarily and incorrectly strong. Besides, it may be you who is doing students a disservice by criticizing the OP's advice in this way. Maybe you and the "many other high scorers" you've spoken with are one, anomalous as high scorers, or, two, simply incorrect about what's optimal.

The OP has points that can benefit the majority of high scorers.


The content is worthless for many because it is counterproductive. It is beyond unhelpful because following this advice could hinder many in their study practices.

This isn't simply my anecdote or the anecdote of my friends. As you can see from the other posters ITT, practice tests can (and should!) be an important part of preparing for test day. The big irony is that this advice seems to be great for people who want to hit 170 but haven't. As others have said, if you're aiming for that plus (and everyone here should!) you need to take many practice tests.
Last edited by smaug_ on Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Stinson
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking so many practice tests.

Postby Stinson » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:11 pm

Props to OP for trying to be helpful; I don't doubt what he has to say could be helpful to some folks, particularly starting out. As someone who got over 170 on the real thing, I do have to say though that, having tried several things, doing PT's was the most useful by far. In the last month and a half before the test, I took one a day, and wound up scoring exactly the average of my scores on the last two weeks of tests.

It's true that it's hard to do something quickly without first doing it slow. But my experience with LG at least was that doing LG slowly and quickly were two separate things. If you stare at a game long enough or do process of elimination or whatever you will get it. But simply speeding up the strategies didn't work; doing it quickly just required different strategies, which for me were developed only by trying to do the tests quickly.

I had a lot less trouble with LR and RC, but again there I think the PT's were really the best way to prepare. If you are decent at reading comprehension, what you need to do to get them all right is simply get a feel for the kinds of answers the questions want. The tiebreaking instinct - picking between two answers that seemed to be good - was developed only by doing questions over and over. Just my two cents.

shntn
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby shntn » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:32 pm

dresden doll wrote:I absolutely owe my score to taking practice exams.

100% with you there. I'm one of the ones hibiki mentioned who started around the 170 mark, and only PT after PT (with subsequent review of missed questions for future focus) got me to my final score.

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RCinDNA
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking so many practice tests.

Postby RCinDNA » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:14 am

I don't see OP telling people not to take PT's; it seems to me that he or she is merely advocating to not rely solely on PTs to increase your score and instead incorporate quality review of question types, untimed PT testing and familiarizing yourself with some rules of logic that help you grasp certain concepts that are frequently tested in addition to taking timed PTs. My former instructor used to same thing. Maybe they edited their original post before I read it, which is why so many of the comments are so strong given what I see there. A lot of people actually follow this advice when they follow Pithypike's study method.

And there are people out there that take PTs every day, keep doing so without seeing improvements and then get to TLS and are blown away by the suggestion to pick up certain books and etc. TLS might just be an unrepresentative sample of the general LSAT-taking population in that we are more informed than the average.
Last edited by RCinDNA on Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CalAlumni
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking so many practice tests.

Postby CalAlumni » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:40 pm

The OP has made some good points that coincide with what I have experienced in my LSAT study.

ashen
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby ashen » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:38 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:Okay, but just to be clear even people that start PTing in the 150s can and should get up into the 170s.


I went from a 159 cold to consistently pt-ing in the 170s just by going through the LR bible and doing some light drilling of question types...
(then again I had a combined -20 on the LR sections in December).

Will be doing 3 a week for the next month in a last ditch effort to increase my score a bit more.

09042014
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Re: To 170+ hopefuls: stop taking practice tests.

Postby 09042014 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:41 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
hibiki wrote:I'm sorry, this advice is worthless for many. I'm sure if your start prepping at a 153 you need to spend more time learning the basics. That said, you also need to realize that many people who aim for a 170+ start near or above a 170. The goal at that point isn't to learn new concepts; rather, it is to limit the number of mistakes. You're not trying to get more points, you trying to minimize risk by ensuring that you have practiced as much as possible and know the timing of the test well. A high scorer should strive to build endurance and consistency, two things best developed by taking timed practice tests.

I've spoken to many other high scorers, and the consistent advice was that if you want to improve your numbers above a 170, practice tests should be your bread and butter preparation. Yes, you still need to review and understand why you missed the questions you messed up on. Yes, there is time to go through sets of practice questions outside of practice tests. But, it is silly to claim that people should stop taking practice tests. Taking practice tests worked quite well for me. You're doing people here a disservice by offering poor advice.


To true 170+ people no individual LSAT problem is very hard. It is the logic equivalent of an adding and multiplication test. The only problem is the time crunch. Churning through tests you learn how to go faster, and avoid mistakes.


What is "true 170+" people? I started out in the 150's and worked my way up to the 170's. I wouldn't consider myself a fake 170--I just basically had to learn a lot of the stuff (especially games) for the first time since very little of my college education helped with spatial reasoning or logic.

I think OP's advice is very helpful for those looking to make big jumps into the 170s (and those who feel stuck at certain scores). Maybe it's not as helpful for those who already have a good grasp on all the underlying concepts--but I can say that T taught a decent amount of LSAT students and most did not have a good grasp of everything going on and they were learning a lot of stuff for the first time, even people starting in the 160's.


I mean people who understand the logic of the questions right off the bat.




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