how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

staples88
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how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby staples88 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:37 am

Dec tests are harder but have more generous curves.
LG is very mechanical and should be about the same as Jun/Oct (in terms of someone's performance on it, not how hard it actually is).

LR/RC however are more likely to be influenced by someone's skill and intuition. If you're not that skilled, I'd think I'd rather have an easy section where all the questions are ones below my skill ceiling. I'd rather have that than a hard test where some questions are too hard for someone of my skill, and then rely on a curve.

Any other takers?

skill, skill ceiling etc used loosely

I've heard people say that if you're in the 175-180 range, you'd rather have an easier curve because you can handle all the problems and the curve and shield you from errors. But if you're in a lower range, wouldn't you rather have a June/Oct test so you can handle the questions?

meegee
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby meegee » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:09 am

There's a reason why there's a curve. The LSAT is designed to give you roughly the same score regardless of when you took in (assuming during both times your LSAT ability is the same).

Say you score a 165 on December. You retake in June with no studying in between. You'll probably get a 165 as well, +/- 3 points due to the natural range.

I think you're looking too much into the differences in test dates. Use that energy to study instead. Or use that time to wind down so you can study later. If there was a noticeable difference in test dates, with something as significant as a 1 point different (yo man, if you take it in June you'll probably score 1 point higher), I'm sure everyone would be doing it, and all hell would break loose. Granted, there are more June takers I believe, but that's just due to the timing - more people are available to take it in June and taking it in June is better for applying in that cycle.

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neprep
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby neprep » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:16 am

Firstly, I don't understand the distinction you draw between LG and RC/LR. Specifically, I don't see how its being "very mechanical" is any support for the supposition that someone's performance on it will be constant regardless of the difficulty level of the questions. I find LR to be very mechanical too, and perhaps to a lesser degree RC as well.

Next, there is no administration that is better suited for "lower-range" scorers than the other. As the previous poster pointed out, what a test might lack in inherent difficulty — which in itself is a subtlety impossible to be perceived, let alone differentiated from general anxiety, on test day — it will make up for with the curve. Even tests with very tight curves of -10, say, are still packed with a healthy number of tricky questions and are certainly designed to ensure that this situation is never a plausible outcome:

staples88 wrote:If you're not that skilled, I'd think I'd rather have an easy section where all the questions are ones below my skill ceiling.


If you're indeed a low-range scorer, there in no way you will run into a test in which all the questions are under your skill ceiling.

staples88
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby staples88 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:17 pm

neprep wrote:Firstly, I don't understand the distinction you draw between LG and RC/LR. Specifically, I don't see how its being "very mechanical" is any support for the supposition that someone's performance on it will be constant regardless of the difficulty level of the questions. I find LR to be very mechanical too, and perhaps to a lesser degree RC as well.

Next, there is no administration that is better suited for "lower-range" scorers than the other. As the previous poster pointed out, what a test might lack in inherent difficulty — which in itself is a subtlety impossible to be perceived, let alone differentiated from general anxiety, on test day — it will make up for with the curve. Even tests with very tight curves of -10, say, are still packed with a healthy number of tricky questions and are certainly designed to ensure that this situation is never a plausible outcome:

staples88 wrote:If you're not that skilled, I'd think I'd rather have an easy section where all the questions are ones below my skill ceiling.


If you're indeed a low-range scorer, there in no way you will run into a test in which all the questions are under your skill ceiling.


sorry, I meant low-range like 170-174 instead of 175-180. If I'm in the 2nd tier, wouldn't a Dec test be less favorable than an Oct test because an Oct test I technically could all but a few questions, whereas on a Dec test there will be many more questions that are meant to distinguish the 175+ people from the rest?

David_Hume14
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby David_Hume14 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:32 am

staples88 wrote:
neprep wrote:Firstly, I don't understand the distinction you draw between LG and RC/LR. Specifically, I don't see how its being "very mechanical" is any support for the supposition that someone's performance on it will be constant regardless of the difficulty level of the questions. I find LR to be very mechanical too, and perhaps to a lesser degree RC as well.

Next, there is no administration that is better suited for "lower-range" scorers than the other. As the previous poster pointed out, what a test might lack in inherent difficulty — which in itself is a subtlety impossible to be perceived, let alone differentiated from general anxiety, on test day — it will make up for with the curve. Even tests with very tight curves of -10, say, are still packed with a healthy number of tricky questions and are certainly designed to ensure that this situation is never a plausible outcome:

staples88 wrote:If you're not that skilled, I'd think I'd rather have an easy section where all the questions are ones below my skill ceiling.


If you're indeed a low-range scorer, there in no way you will run into a test in which all the questions are under your skill ceiling.


sorry, I meant low-range like 170-174 instead of 175-180. If I'm in the 2nd tier, wouldn't a Dec test be less favorable than an Oct test because an Oct test I technically could all but a few questions, whereas on a Dec test there will be many more questions that are meant to distinguish the 175+ people from the rest?


You're giving LSAC / the LSAT folks way too much credit. The tests are not designed that way and given at a certain time of year the way you're thinking, for the reasons you suspect. I.e., there's no best time of year to take, as far as getting a somewhat-easier exam goes.

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neprep
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby neprep » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:41 am

staples88 wrote:I meant low-range like 170-174 instead of 175-180. If I'm in the 2nd tier, wouldn't a Dec test be less favorable than an Oct test because an Oct test I technically could all but a few questions, whereas on a Dec test there will be many more questions that are meant to distinguish the 175+ people from the rest?


No, not at all. Just because the December tests have marginally more generous curves doesn't mean that they have "many more questions that are meant to distinguish 175+ people from the rest." Like the poster above me said, these differences in tests are completely coincidental and are not planned, and certainly shouldn't materially affect your score.

Steve Schwartz from LSATBlog received this in response to a query about the December curve (emphasis mine):

LSAC wrote:As I'm sure you know, a statistical process called test equating is carried out for every form of the LSAT to adjust for minor differences in difficulty between different forms of the test. Specifically, the item response theory ( IRT) true score equating method is applied to convert raw scores (the number correct) for each administration to a common 120 to 180 scale. A detailed description of this methodology can be found in Lord, F. M. (1980), Applications of Item Response Theory to Practical Testing Problems, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. The equating process assures that a particular LSAT scaled score reflects the same level of ability regardless of any slight differences in difficulty between different forms of the test. The equating process does not differ across the four customary LSAT administrations that occur each testing year. The differences you describe are very small and represent the type of minor fluctuation we expect to observe.

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Jeffort
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Re: how do Dec tests affect people who struggle with LR/RC?

Postby Jeffort » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:36 am

On test day the LSAT loves to feed on and punish test takers arrogant enough to presume they already ARE a 170-175 or especially a 175-180 ability level test taker going in the door! Score release day is always a humbling experience for people that go into the test too 'hot' with overconfidence since it typically leads to a fair amount of careless mistakes due to skipping some steps cuz of 'nah, I've got this one, skrew those extra steps' thoughts. Happens every test. Careful with your expectations going in, confidence is good, but not cockiness with an 'I'm all that' attitude. The LSAT will bitch-slap you for that attitude and she loves to do it!

PS: The premises and assumptions of your theory are inherently contradictory since each scaled score, even in the 170s range, represents a different ability level. Trying to simplify things into above and below 175 groups and treating skill level as different than intuition just flat out contradicts the entire concept behind the scale itself. The skill levels represented by each score are specifically meant to represent skill level/performance level IN the harsh test day environment/under those conditions, not just ability to solve the questions when unaffected by nerves, extra performance pressure, and the whole overall test day experience affected by harsh real world realities. There are a bunch of other flaws with your theory too, logic like that won't get you 170+.




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