At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

M.M.
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At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:35 pm

Cliff notes for background...:
- Took Princeton Review Course, ended up scoring about 165 about 5 months ago
- Took it easy on studying during summer for a while
- Hit games hard and got better at them
- Took first PT in a while a few weeks ago, scored 161, almost lost my mind
- have been studying pretty hard ever since
- haven't really improved much
- Honestly really sick of just spinning my wheels, spending nearly all my free time getting nothing done and not improving, wasting my time, materials, money, and sanity
- Registered for Oct 6 LSAT, but at this point unless something changes drastically I'm not taking it.
- Used to go -2 or so on LR sections, now it's ~-4 - 5, -10 on games, improved to ~-7, -3 on RC about stayed the same
- Bought Manhattan LSAT books, they were marginally helpful but I don't really have adequate time to 1. fully implement their strategies that I HAVE learned and 2. switch over from strategies I currently use to theirs
- Taking a PT tomorrow; if I don't get at least 166 or so I might just call it quits for the October LSAT and:

Either take a break from studying until MLSAT's Live Online Accelerated Fall class is in session (Oct 20th) and purchase that along with a small tutoring package
Or
Just purchase a big tutoring package instead of MLSAT's material, self teach myself their strategies, and spend a good amount of time with a tutor working everything out.

What would TLS suggest? I really do feel a course or tutor might be necessary for my improvement. I obviously fail terribly at self teaching, and even if I isolate myself from people, my phone, etc. my mind wanders like crazy when studying, especially because I'm just really tired of seeing little to no progress.

I know it shouldn't be this hard, but I feel like a real idiot needing this much assistance to get to the 170 level that I want to be at. I really feel like I'm just making myself hate studying this more and more by continuing this way. And if I don't score adequately tomorrow, it pretty much seals the deal on me getting a 170+ on test day, even if I was optimistic about my progress.

What do you think I should do TLS? A course and tutoring or just tutoring? Should I stop studying until the course starts or tutoring starts, to stop wasting material and give myself a break?

I was considering just spending my spare time doing LG until I started getting tutoring or taking a class, since people seem to suggest that you can improve score on LG just by doing tons and tons of them and my score is pretty mediocre as is. Would this be a good idea?

I've tried to make this as concise as possible, but there's a lot of info that goes with it. Also, my apologies if I'm being a drama queen, but nothing has ever been so challenging for me, has caused me to absolutely lose my mind like this has ... thanks as usual TLS ..

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Cobretti
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby Cobretti » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:19 am

When you hit a wall, you gotta take a step back until you aren't frustrated anymore. With that being said I think you have hit a wall and are clearly furstrated, so you should reschedule for december and take a couple weeks off. Your mindset is incredibly important for the LSAT, you can't second guess your reasoning, there just isn't time during the test.

IF you can cool your jets and start productive studying this week then go for it, but you might be better off long term by taking a step back and testing in december.

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Cobretti
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby Cobretti » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:20 am

Also, for short term if you do take in october... definitely focus on LG. Get the powerscore workbook and drill that shit, you can get to -0 in 3 weeks on LG, just takes a lot of drilling.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:53 pm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a tutor or a course. If it's a skilled tutor, I may personally think that would be the better route than tutor+course, mainly because of cost, but also because a good tutor is going to tailor everything to what you need. Also, don't necessarily count out self-study. It could be the type of thing where you're studying "hard" instead of studying "smart", but even bad PTs, bad tests, bad sections are good right now, as they give you an idea of where you need to focus. Pithypike's guide or the LSAT blog's schedules can help you organize your studying, but if you need that extra push to stay on task, there is nothing wrong with tutoring/classes.

FWIW, I hear Manhattan's classes are absolutely excellent, so at least you're not asking us about Kaplan.

Edit: also if you're burning out like this, taking a few days/weeks off might not be the worst idea in the world.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:52 pm

mrizza wrote:Also, for short term if you do take in october... definitely focus on LG. Get the powerscore workbook and drill that shit, you can get to -0 in 3 weeks on LG, just takes a lot of drilling.


mrizza wrote:When you hit a wall, you gotta take a step back until you aren't frustrated anymore. With that being said I think you have hit a wall and are clearly furstrated, so you should reschedule for december and take a couple weeks off. Your mindset is incredibly important for the LSAT, you can't second guess your reasoning, there just isn't time during the test.

IF you can cool your jets and start productive studying this week then go for it, but you might be better off long term by taking a step back and testing in december.


The thing is, I'm really questioning my ability to productively self study in the first place, frustrated or not. This speaks to your mindset point.

As for drilling LG, I have ... I just wish I could learn how to correct my mistakes / get faster in a more efficient manner, the sum of my wisdom in increasing LG score basically says: just do more and more LG and you'll get better, hopefully ..


NoodleyOne wrote:There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a tutor or a course.


Even if I have already taken a course? I am just worried that if I take a course I'll be studying material I've already used (and I've used a LOT)


If it's a skilled tutor, I may personally think that would be the better route than tutor+course, mainly because of cost, but also because a good tutor is going to tailor everything to what you need.

I was thinking maybe like 10 hours of tutoring and MLSAT'S accelerated online course for hopefully about 2K. The thing is, I don't live in a major city so the tutoring would be online. I definitely want a tutor either way though, because I have no idea how to review productively (or at least I don't feel that my review is that productive) and I feel a tutor would be integral in teaching me that. My previous Princeton Review course didn't really teach me much about this (admittedly though I did slack a little)

Also, don't necessarily count out self-study. It could be the type of thing where you're studying "hard" instead of studying "smart", but even bad PTs, bad tests, bad sections are good right now, as they give you an idea of where you need to focus. Pithypike's guide or the LSAT blog's schedules can help you organize your studying, but if you need that extra push to stay on task, there is nothing wrong with tutoring/classes.

I really feel I do ... for example I'll sit down for 3.5 hours to study, and honestly try, and at the end I will have gotten through maybe 2 timed sections, checked and reviewed them, and studied a few concepts in MLSAT's book. Not very productive.

FWIW, I hear Manhattan's classes are absolutely excellent, so at least you're not asking us about Kaplan.

Edit: also if you're burning out like this, taking a few days/weeks off might not be the worst idea in the world.


I desperately want to, but October is so close ... I just feel like if I skip October I'm cheating myself due to excuses and not giving it my all. :|




Edit: Oh and if I am not entirely understandable in this last post, it's because I'm on a PT break ... feeling a bit retarded.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:36 pm

Just took a PT; got a 164 - 165 that's SOME improvement I guess, if hardly any... anyone think a PT 165 can be increased to a test day 170 in 20 days working part time and a full load of courses or should I save my time, money, materials, and patience?

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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby bp shinners » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:02 pm

M.M. wrote:As for drilling LG, I have ... I just wish I could learn how to correct my mistakes / get faster in a more efficient manner, the sum of my wisdom in increasing LG score basically says: just do more and more LG and you'll get better, hopefully ..


Doing LG is very important to getting better at them. However, reviewing afterwards is more important.

You need to use your review to figure out what you missed at the beginning, and what information you're having trouble incorporating into your setup. A good way to do this is to use the Absolute questions to guide your setup. If you have all the deductions made, you shouldn't need to do any extra work to answer an absolute question (one that doesn't introduce a new rule/piece of information).

So when reviewing, use just the rules (no hypotheticals, no brute force) to get the answer to those questions. If you can do that, you've just made a huge deduction in the game. See how you go there, and then do that for the next game. Do this enough, and you'll start to get a sense for which rules/rule combinations will lead you to find important deductions. And figuring those out up front will save you a ton of time AND increase your accuracy.

As far as going up 5 point to the 170s in 20 days, I think it's possible. If you can have an epiphany in Games, that'd do it right there. Focus on minimizing mistakes in LR, and focus on getting to the point in Games where you're rock-solid.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:23 am

bp shinners wrote:
M.M. wrote:As for drilling LG, I have ... I just wish I could learn how to correct my mistakes / get faster in a more efficient manner, the sum of my wisdom in increasing LG score basically says: just do more and more LG and you'll get better, hopefully ..


Doing LG is very important to getting better at them. However, reviewing afterwards is more important.

You need to use your review to figure out what you missed at the beginning, and what information you're having trouble incorporating into your setup. A good way to do this is to use the Absolute questions to guide your setup. If you have all the deductions made, you shouldn't need to do any extra work to answer an absolute question (one that doesn't introduce a new rule/piece of information).

So when reviewing, use just the rules (no hypotheticals, no brute force) to get the answer to those questions. If you can do that, you've just made a huge deduction in the game. See how you go there, and then do that for the next game. Do this enough, and you'll start to get a sense for which rules/rule combinations will lead you to find important deductions. And figuring those out up front will save you a ton of time AND increase your accuracy.

As far as going up 5 point to the 170s in 20 days, I think it's possible. If you can have an epiphany in Games, that'd do it right there. Focus on minimizing mistakes in LR, and focus on getting to the point in Games where you're rock-solid.


Excellent, thank you BP, you're truly an asset to this forum. I can make decent deductions when I'm just drilling and not under too much of a time constraint, but I find it very hard to make them when under timed conditions. What would you suggest I do for that? I think part of it may be that I have drilled a lot, and haven't done a lot of timed sections / PTs, but I also feel like drilling deductions would spill over more than it has to timed games.

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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:37 pm

M.M. wrote:I can make decent deductions when I'm just drilling and not under too much of a time constraint, but I find it very hard to make them when under timed conditions. What would you suggest I do for that? I think part of it may be that I have drilled a lot, and haven't done a lot of timed sections / PTs, but I also feel like drilling deductions would spill over more than it has to timed games.


Deductions are just a fancy way of saying 'rules combination'. So you should have a set method for making them and not waste any more time on it than it takes to get through the method.

Mine involves looking at the first rule and comparing it to the second. Do they have anything in common (player, slot, distribution)? If so, combine them. If not, compare the first rule for the third rule, etc... Then, compare the second rule to the third rule to see if they have anything in common. And so on, and so on, until I've compared each rule to each other rule. If I do that, I'll have all the deductions.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby NoodleyOne » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:42 pm

Agree with bp. Most of the issues with inferences come from thinking too much in my opinion. Lr and RC require actual thought from the test taker... I think the trick to lg is stop thinking so much and just identify the rules and how they connect. When you get good at LG the questions answer themselves. And if it isn't readily available, make a hypo.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:32 pm

bp shinners wrote:
M.M. wrote:I can make decent deductions when I'm just drilling and not under too much of a time constraint, but I find it very hard to make them when under timed conditions. What would you suggest I do for that? I think part of it may be that I have drilled a lot, and haven't done a lot of timed sections / PTs, but I also feel like drilling deductions would spill over more than it has to timed games.


Deductions are just a fancy way of saying 'rules combination'. So you should have a set method for making them and not waste any more time on it than it takes to get through the method.

Mine involves looking at the first rule and comparing it to the second. Do they have anything in common (player, slot, distribution)? If so, combine them. If not, compare the first rule for the third rule, etc... Then, compare the second rule to the third rule to see if they have anything in common. And so on, and so on, until I've compared each rule to each other rule. If I do that, I'll have all the deductions.



Will try ... does anyone have any opinion as to whether I should attempt the Oct LSAT, or if I opt for the December, whether i should take a course or get a tutor ?

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:54 pm

And also: I'd like to just try studying as hard as possible for the October test, drilling LG and LR a ton, and taking 2 - 3 PTs a week, but I don't want to use the remaining material in case I decide not to do the October test... thoughts ?

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:11 am

Up ... 17 days

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RCinDNA
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:12 pm

M.M. wrote:And also: I'd like to just try studying as hard as possible for the October test, drilling LG and LR a ton, and taking 2 - 3 PTs a week, but I don't want to use the remaining material in case I decide not to do the October test... thoughts ?


There is more than enough material for you to use if you decide to re-take the test in October, so don't be afraid of exhausting it. Trust me, after you've completed 10-20 timed practice tests and reviewed them, you most likely won't remember the specifics of each one, and are basically going to have deja vu moments that won't undermine the work needed to be challenged by certain sections. I think that if you are going to really intensify your studying, you can't hold anything back and should be taking it as if this is the last time you will do so. If you go into the test feeling unsure of yourself, then you may undermine your commitment to doing your best. Best of luck.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:08 pm

RCinDNA wrote:
M.M. wrote:And also: I'd like to just try studying as hard as possible for the October test, drilling LG and LR a ton, and taking 2 - 3 PTs a week, but I don't want to use the remaining material in case I decide not to do the October test... thoughts ?


There is more than enough material for you to use if you decide to re-take the test in October, so don't be afraid of exhausting it. Trust me, after you've completed 10-20 timed practice tests and reviewed them, you most likely won't remember the specifics of each one, and are basically going to have deja vu moments that won't undermine the work needed to be challenged by certain sections. I think that if you are going to really intensify your studying, you can't hold anything back and should be taking it as if this is the last time you will do so. If you go into the test feeling unsure of yourself, then you may undermine your commitment to doing your best. Best of luck.



I was thinking that the whole "deja vu and not remembering" thing was a possibility... Good then. I'm going to keep studying hard, hitting LG and LR and PTs till test day.

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RCinDNA
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby RCinDNA » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:22 pm

M.M. wrote:
RCinDNA wrote:
M.M. wrote:And also: I'd like to just try studying as hard as possible for the October test, drilling LG and LR a ton, and taking 2 - 3 PTs a week, but I don't want to use the remaining material in case I decide not to do the October test... thoughts ?


There is more than enough material for you to use if you decide to re-take the test in October, so don't be afraid of exhausting it. Trust me, after you've completed 10-20 timed practice tests and reviewed them, you most likely won't remember the specifics of each one, and are basically going to have deja vu moments that won't undermine the work needed to be challenged by certain sections. I think that if you are going to really intensify your studying, you can't hold anything back and should be taking it as if this is the last time you will do so. If you go into the test feeling unsure of yourself, then you may undermine your commitment to doing your best. Best of luck.



I was thinking that the whole "deja vu and not remembering" thing was a possibility... Good then. I'm going to keep studying hard, hitting LG and LR and PTs till test day.


Sorry, I meant to say that if you decided to retake the test in December, there should be more than enough material for you to review, drill and study.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:26 pm

RCinDNA wrote:
M.M. wrote:
RCinDNA wrote:
M.M. wrote:And also: I'd like to just try studying as hard as possible for the October test, drilling LG and LR a ton, and taking 2 - 3 PTs a week, but I don't want to use the remaining material in case I decide not to do the October test... thoughts ?


There is more than enough material for you to use if you decide to re-take the test in October, so don't be afraid of exhausting it. Trust me, after you've completed 10-20 timed practice tests and reviewed them, you most likely won't remember the specifics of each one, and are basically going to have deja vu moments that won't undermine the work needed to be challenged by certain sections. I think that if you are going to really intensify your studying, you can't hold anything back and should be taking it as if this is the last time you will do so. If you go into the test feeling unsure of yourself, then you may undermine your commitment to doing your best. Best of luck.



I was thinking that the whole "deja vu and not remembering" thing was a possibility... Good then. I'm going to keep studying hard, hitting LG and LR and PTs till test day.


Sorry, I meant to say that if you decided to retake the test in December, there should be more than enough material for you to review, drill and study.



No worries, truth be told I actually didn't even notice you didn't say December.

Anyone else wana weigh in on the course + tutor vs. tutor only situation now that I've decided I'm definitely taking October ?

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NoodleyOne
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:18 pm

Wait... October as in two weeks from now? Ummm...

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:16 am

NoodleyOne wrote:Wait... October as in two weeks from now? Ummm...



Makes it seem improbable, huh? :/

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NoodleyOne
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:36 pm

Just seems short notice for a class or a tutor, although considering the time frame I would certainly recommend a tutor, since they can target your specific weaknesses. If you're not anywhere close to your target score though, I would probably say wait and take in December.

M.M.
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Re: At a crossroads here: tutoring or another course + tutoring?

Postby M.M. » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:26 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Just seems short notice for a class or a tutor, although considering the time frame I would certainly recommend a tutor, since they can target your specific weaknesses. If you're not anywhere close to your target score though, I would probably say wait and take in December.


Oh no, I meant that I will study hard until Oct 6th, then if I don't get my score I'll hire a tutor / take a course for December




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