Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

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LSAT Hacks (Graeme)
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:39 am

kiyoku wrote:Graeme, Thanks so much. I'm far more interested in the idea that I try to push my speed slowly instead of putting the focus on reducing subvocalization. I've tried speed reading techniques before and I never really felt that they were useful for any sort of rigorous reading so I was having a difficult time understanding exactly what you meant.

I just have one more question regarding this reading exercise you suggested.

I assume that you can just copy and paste any text that you want in there. What kind of text do you usually prefer to put in for your students?


Any text is fine. I use newspapers just because there's so much content.

Go with something lighter. I tried the New York Times and found it difficult. The purpose of the exercise is to train the ability to process words faster, so word difficulty isn't useful at this point. The Times also had lots of backwards references and complex structure that made it hard to read 3 words at a time.

Make sure to put the articles to 'print' mode so you can paste without images and whatever else they insert into the article.

steven21
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby steven21 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:11 pm

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Last edited by steven21 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:58 pm

steven21 wrote:I saw that you teach the LSAT and want to ask for advice on how to improve my score before the test in October. I recently took PT 55 and scored a 159 LR 17/25 RC 18/29 LR 21/25 LG 20/23. I have been scoring in the range of 162-166 since late March and average around -0 to -1 on LG but I am never able to score that well on LR and RC. I have tests 56-69 left to take. I have taken LR and RC sections from PTs 1-49 over again multiple times and have supplemented that with review using Kaplan and Mahattan Explanations making sure I know why I got each question wrong and have also been going over every question and test with my tutor. I have also done individual LR questions by type multiple times. I have also completed the study guide from LSATBlog, read the PS LR Bible, read Manahattan LR, read the Superprep Book, and have read the LSATTrainer. I have been doing all of this for a little over a year and still have not scored in the 170s.

Should I continue to do LR and RC sections from PTs 1-49? There are only 4 weeks left until the registration date and 8 weeks until the test. My goal is to score in the range of 173-175. For a student who needs to score in this range how close to the test should they reach this score and should they have scored in this range for at least a few of the 13 tests that are left? I know there is no way to guarantee an improvement but is there any thing that I haven't done that would help me get to at least 170 in the next few weeks before September?


You're doing most of the standard stuff. Since your scores are flat, something in how you're applying it isn't working. My guess would be in the review phase.

I'd recommend a study group. There's stuff you still don't understand, but you don't realize it. A study group will clarify what points your still missing. And explaining things to them will help you clarify your own ideas.

It's not so much that you need to hit a certain range by a specific time. Rather, you need to be showing steady progress. If you're taking PTs and your scores are flat, you need to change how you're prepping.

For reading comprehension, I'd recommend you try the reading speed advice I posted earlier in the thread. I've written more detailed guides on Reddit.. High scorers read faster than low scorers, and reading speed can be increased quite rapidly.

steven21
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby steven21 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:27 pm

Graeme (Hacking the LSAT) wrote:
steven21 wrote:I saw that you teach the LSAT and want to ask for advice on how to improve my score before the test in October. I recently took PT 55 and scored a 159 LR 17/25 RC 18/29 LR 21/25 LG 20/23. I have been scoring in the range of 162-166 since late March and average around -0 to -1 on LG but I am never able to score that well on LR and RC. I have tests 56-69 left to take. I have taken LR and RC sections from PTs 1-49 over again multiple times and have supplemented that with review using Kaplan and Mahattan Explanations making sure I know why I got each question wrong and have also been going over every question and test with my tutor. I have also done individual LR questions by type multiple times. I have also completed the study guide from LSATBlog, read the PS LR Bible, read Manahattan LR, read the Superprep Book, and have read the LSATTrainer. I have been doing all of this for a little over a year and still have not scored in the 170s.

Should I continue to do LR and RC sections from PTs 1-49? There are only 4 weeks left until the registration date and 8 weeks until the test. My goal is to score in the range of 173-175. For a student who needs to score in this range how close to the test should they reach this score and should they have scored in this range for at least a few of the 13 tests that are left? I know there is no way to guarantee an improvement but is there any thing that I haven't done that would help me get to at least 170 in the next few weeks before September?


You're doing most of the standard stuff. Since your scores are flat, something in how you're applying it isn't working. My guess would be in the review phase.

I'd recommend a study group. There's stuff you still don't understand, but you don't realize it. A study group will clarify what points your still missing. And explaining things to them will help you clarify your own ideas.

It's not so much that you need to hit a certain range by a specific time. Rather, you need to be showing steady progress. If you're taking PTs and your scores are flat, you need to change how you're prepping.

For reading comprehension, I'd recommend you try the reading speed advice I posted earlier in the thread. I've written more detailed guides on Reddit.. High scorers read faster than low scorers, and reading speed can be increased quite rapidly.


Thanks. I mentioned that I had a tutor, a study group would be more beneficial than an LSAT Tutor who has mastered the LSAT? "It's not so much you need to hit a certain range by a certain time" I mentioned this because the registration date is 4 weeks away and the test is 8 weeks away so I was concerned about meeting that deadline

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:14 pm

It's not so much that a study group will replace a tutor. Rather, they provide something a tutor can't. They're uncertain. You can have debates. A tutor already knows the answer.

LSAT progress isn't linear. That's why I can't give any dates for the range you want.

But, you say you've scored in the same range since March? If so, that means whatever you've done since then hasn't been effective. What kind of stuff are you doing with your tutor? And how are you tracking errors + working to fix them?

steven21
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby steven21 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:54 pm

Graeme (Hacking the LSAT) wrote:It's not so much that a study group will replace a tutor. Rather, they provide something a tutor can't. They're uncertain. You can have debates. A tutor already knows the answer.

LSAT progress isn't linear. That's why I can't give any dates for the range you want.

But, you say you've scored in the same range since March? If so, that means whatever you've done since then hasn't been effective. What kind of stuff are you doing with your tutor? And how are you tracking errors + working to fix them?


My tutor and I have been reviewing PTs going over every LR and RC question. For tracking errors, I was using lsatqa a couple months ago but stopped because there were no patterns in the question types I was missing. It was evenly distributed. Lately on my most recent PTs I have particularly been missing str/wkn/justify principle question types. I have been working to fix errors by reviewing figuring out why each question is wrong/right and recently read the LSAT Trainer Book and Manhattan RC. I did score a 167 my highest PT a couple weeks ago but have stayed in the low-mid 160s since March

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby RichyD23 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:19 pm

Graeme,

I am preparing for the October administration.

I took my first diagnostic (proctored, timed, including experimental section) about 3 weeks ago. I entered the exam having never taken a full-length LSAT test before and having only briefly looked over question types (I was aware of what the LSAT contained and the sections within it--I was not totally "cold".)

My score breakdown:

RC: 26/27
LG: 12/23
LR 1: 17/25
LR 2: 22/26

The final score was a 161.

Given this breakdown, what study methods do you recommend to significantly improve my LG and LR sections (I ran out of time on LG--only got through 2 games and half of the third--and made a handful of critical mistakes on LR)?

What does a diagnostic score of this nature indicate (given that it was not totally "cold")? I am enrolled in a TestMasters live course and consistently study 4/5 hours a day. I know this is not a perfect science, but based on your experience and knowledge of test-taking trends, what range should I reasonably expect my final score to fall within given my original score and prep time?

Thank you!

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walterwhite
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby walterwhite » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:29 pm

Graeme-


I posted a thread on this but I was wondering if I could get your feedback. How do you approach LR questions that deal with complex scientific topics? For example prep test 42, question 23 is about "ball lightning." How should I know to look for alternate causes to undermine the scientist's argument if I have no understanding of what those causes may or may not be in the first place?

I understand the content of the stimulus should not matter but most of the questions I struggle with in LR deal with an obscure scientific topic. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby steven21 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:38 pm

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Last edited by steven21 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby Motivator9 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:29 pm

Graeme (Hacking the LSAT) wrote:
akg144 wrote:Hey Graeme first of all thanks alot for answering our questions I really appreciate you doing this.

Now my question pertains to Reading Comprehension. I'm really struggling in that section and it's the only thing holding me back from a great LSAT score. For the past 5 PTs I've got 96.7 correct on LG, 85% on LR but only 77.5 right on Reading Comprehension. If I could get -3 or -4 on RC instead of 6.2 wrong per RC section it would make a huge difference. So my question is this:

There appears to be two major approaches to LR:

1) Read the stimulus in about 60-80 seconds for only 2 purposes 1) to get the main point question right and 2) to star the authors point of view throughout the passage in preparation for those 2-3 questions about authors view. The rest of the questions which require specific details can then be answered in the remaining 6 minutes and change by referring back to the text.

2) Take 3-4 minutes and mark the passage extensively and then "breeze through the questions" (only problem is I never breeze through) and allocating only 30/question to answer allowing for minimal reference back to the text (3-4 minutes for the 6-8 questions has always been a difficulty for me so I've usually leaned towards the former rather than the latter).

My question is this: I've tried both with minimal success. How do you approach reading comprehension? Did you ever struggle with it? If so what did you do to improve? I usually get the main point and authors attitude very well but no matter what method I try I usually just end up getting the other questions wrong usually 3 or 4 per science passage about 2 or 3 wrong on the other passages without much variation. I've tried just about everything circling key phrases such as however or on the other hand, boxing in main characters, starring the author, tagging the paragraphs, reading predictively, doing the Manhattan Scale everything but I just can't seem to improve on RC. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks Graeme!


I combine both approaches. I read in about 90 seconds, understand everything, and refer back extensively.

How the heck can I do that? I read really, really fast. About 600 words per minute.

You can measure yourself with this test: http://www.readingsoft.com

The college-educated average is 200-300 words. We treat reading speed as a given, but it's easy enough to change. I find that students in my classes who actually try the stuff I say can jump 50 WPM in a week or two.

Here's what to do:

1. Measure your reading speed
2. Go to this site: http://www.spreeder.com, click 'click here to spreed this passage' to get started

site settings:

i. Set chunk size to 3 (and look in the middle of the words when reading)
ii. set width to 800px
iii. Set background color to white
iv. Change the speed to 50 above your normal speed
v. Hit save
vi. Press play

3. The site will explain what to do. Afterwards, practice reading articles this way by going to a newspaper, hitting 'print' so you get the full text without pictures, and pasting it into the box that comes up after you hit 'click here to spreed'.

4. Do this every day for 5-10 minutes. Increase it slightly each day, so that you feel a little uncomfortable. Occasionally mix it up by setting the speed far faster than you're comfortable with and see what you can get.

This will force you to reduce subvocalizing. Your brain can understand words faster than you can physically read them, at present.

You should see a boost in your reading speed. Either of the strategies you mentioned amount to saying 'half-ass it'. I think everyone has some room for easy reading speed improvements, which makes RC much more manageable.

Note that I am talking about increasing your baseline comfortable reading speed. I'm not talking about reading faster and understanding less. The goal is reading faster while understanding just as much or more. People often find their comprehension improves with speed.

p.s. The instructions will make more sense when you actually go to the site. And, this method only works if you actually try it. A lot of people nod, listen, try it once and then ignore it. Do it solidly for 2-3 weeks before judging it, and test your reading speed for improvements.


Thanks for the advice on the sites. I plan on reading my online articles that way.

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mvonh001
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby mvonh001 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:24 pm

How many pts do you think are necessary before the taker is getting the score that he should get, assuming reviewing is not an issue with this person blind reviewing and typing up explanations for wrong answers.

Nicolena.
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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby Nicolena. » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:17 am

Bump. Useful way to approach RC.

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Re: Graeme Blake, creator of LSAT Hacks, taking questions

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:46 pm

mvonh001 wrote:How many pts do you think are necessary before the taker is getting the score that he should get, assuming reviewing is not an issue with this person blind reviewing and typing up explanations for wrong answers.


I missed this. The short answer is: I have no idea. As long as you're seeing improvements, keep going.

The long answer is: I've noticed no correlation between number of preptests taken and overall improvement. Obviously you need to do a certain amount. I'd say 10 tests or so will let you see consistent progress from familiarization alone. But beyond that, everyone depends on how ruthless you are at identifying and fixing your weaknesses.

Banish the words "I understand this" from your vocabulary. The second you become satisfied with your existing knowledge, you become complacent. Instead say "what don't I understand here?".

As you go through preptests, you'll hit a plateau. You can break through that by switching up methods. To return to the original question, I've seen people make great progress on fewer than 20 preptests, and I've seen others burn through 60 tests without learning a single thing.

And I've long maintained that you could get really, really good at the LSAT with nothing but a single book of ten preptests. The reason I say this is that when I first started tutoring, everyone used the book of preptests 29-38. So I saw those questions again and again. I started as a clumsy natural: I could score well, but it was a struggle, and I couldn't explain things all that well. Now I am fast, I see patterns, and I can explain all the nuances of a question and how it fits larger trends on the test. Just from intensive review of 10 tests.

I recommend many more tests than that, for two reasons only:

1. Variety. You'll see all the nuances the test can throw at you if you do 20-40 tests.
2. Score tracking. Only a fresh preptest can give you an accurate idea of your score

But review and self-examination are where real progress comes from. You should absolutely do hard questions over again, and again. Talk about them with other students, or try to explain them to intelligent friends. Within a single question there are levels of depth most do not even conceive of. The more of these levels you reach, the higher you can aim. Good luck.




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