A Concerned LSAT Tester

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O Captain My Captain
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A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby O Captain My Captain » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:10 am

I took an untimed PT over the course of two days and scored a 156. I answered 34 questions incorrectly. 34 questions WRONG!

It went like this

LG -4
LR -4
RC -14
LR -12

I'm taking the test in June of 2014. I'm really concerned that I'm not going to do well. I've been studying quite a bit and I seem to still be a complete idiot.

This is very saddening. I think I lack proper study habits. I plan on studying everyday up until the test, but still... I'm concerned I'm not going to do well.

This is so saddening.

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Jeffort
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby Jeffort » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:54 am

You have a lot more work to do, don't dwell on the score, focus on improving it. Almost everyone starts with low scores, be glad you're not stuck in the 140s. You really need to put together a better study plan that whatever you've been doing for a while and carefully review the questions you got wrong on the test, those are great starting points for figuring out logic you have trouble understanding.

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HorseThief
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby HorseThief » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:55 am

I wouldn't be too concerned. When I first started studying I was getting ~160. I kicked it into overdrive, though, and ended up with a 174. You can definitely bump your score up. What's most important now is that
  • You rejoice that you aren't starting from 140 or lower.
  • You rejoice that you have plenty of time to better your score.
  • You take this as a sign that you need to study more.

The LSAT is a learned test; it only test for aptitude if you come into it without having studied at all. Otherwise it's a test of how well you study for a logic test. Get some reading material, maybe take a course, and if you can afford it, get a personal tutor. Just keep in mind that you're training yourself to think in a purely logical fashion. Spend the next few months making sure that, given enough time, you can get every answer correct (or at least 95%). Then work on your speed. Give yourself small goals like "I will learn how to beat this type of logic game" or "I will learn how to beat this type of LR question" and let your efforts build up.

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PepperJack
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby PepperJack » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:49 am

Not a bad score. When I first dabbled, I'd get like half right with no time and wound up getting into the 170s without a ton of effort. It's a new way of thinking that people aren't used to. If you are naturally smart, can read and have enough discipline to learn what you're supposed to do it's easy to jump 20 points.

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wealtheow
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby wealtheow » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:56 am

O Captain My Captain wrote:I took an untimed PT over the course of two days and scored a 156. I answered 34 questions incorrectly. 34 questions WRONG!

It went like this

LG -4
LR -4
RC -14
LR -12

I'm taking the test in June of 2014. I'm really concerned that I'm not going to do well. I've been studying quite a bit and I seem to still be a complete idiot.

This is very saddening. I think I lack proper study habits. I plan on studying everyday up until the test, but still... I'm concerned I'm not going to do well.

This is so saddening.


i know (and so does everyone else on these boards) the feeling of being super discouraged by a PT, but don't give up! look at is as a learning experience and try to figure out what went wrong and where you can focus your studies!
i'm curious about the stark difference between your LRs? what test was this?

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O Captain My Captain
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby O Captain My Captain » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:14 pm

wealtheow wrote:i'm curious about the stark difference between your LRs? what test was this?


I'm curious about this as well. I don't know what happened. It was PT 19.

I was a bit surprised when I saw I had -4 in the first LR. I've never done that well in a LR section.

I was also surprised to see I had gotten every question wrong in the 3rd RC passage.

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retaking23
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby retaking23 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:00 pm

O Captain My Captain wrote:I took an untimed PT over the course of two days and scored a 156. I answered 34 questions incorrectly. 34 questions WRONG!

It went like this

LG -4
LR -4
RC -14
LR -12

I'm taking the test in June of 2014. I'm really concerned that I'm not going to do well. I've been studying quite a bit and I seem to still be a complete idiot.

This is very saddening. I think I lack proper study habits. I plan on studying everyday up until the test, but still... I'm concerned I'm not going to do well.

This is so saddening.


I'll break this up into two parts.

Part One: What you want to hear

A 156 on a PT over six months before your actual administration date is nothing to be concerned about, even if it has been taken in parts and untimed. You have plenty of time to read instruction guides and drill your weaknesses and start hitting your stride on multiple PTs. You can think of this as another diagnostic, and a 156 is pretty darned good for a diagnostic. You say you missed all of the questions on one RC and this is easily fixed. You need to learn to pace yourself and tackle each question with the right framework. Six months is A LOT of time to do all of this. Perhaps this 156 is a wake up call for you to study super hard now and when your LSAT journey is all said and done, this miserable score might very well be the reason you scored in 170s. And finally, everyone has hiccups occasionally. Consider this an aberration and don't get too bogged down on it. Review your mistakes, facepalm yourself numerous times along the way, and go forward feeling empowered because your mistakes have made you that much stronger.


Part Two: What you should hear

156 is quite troubling given that you have been studying on your own. You might want to consider getting yourself a tutor or enrolling in a prep program. Scores below 160 are usually the product of poor test-taking habits that are easily fixed with the appropriate instruction. Whether you choose to go into a program or continue self-studying, I suggest you make a thoughtful decision immediately and commit yourself to sticking to it. Indecisiveness is the worst thing you can do at this point. Being lazy is equally detrimental. Create a study plan and force yourself to follow it. Give yourself breaks along the way but be disciplined. Do not, also, neglect any part of the studying process. Reviewing mistakes, blind review, and retaking old material multiple times are some of the most effective ways to improve your performance. They also happen to be some of the most dull parts of studying for the LSAT. Do not be lazy about this. This exam is quite important towards your scholastic and professional future and you should attend to it as such. Neglecting your studying will only increase your stress as you edge closer and closer to test time. Prepare diligently and as you improve, your confidence will build and your stress will diminish.

Consider maybe getting a study buddy at your level or on a level higher than you. Explain solutions to that person. Teaching others successfully is the surest sign of mastery over material. Here are general tips: you should approach LR questions with the same mindset. Read the question stem first so you know what you should be doing before you read the stimulus. Each LR question is basically an argument and it will have some leap in logic that is either illogical or assuming something that hasn't been established. In light of this, you should expect each LR question to be "flawed" in some way as The Trainer would say. Be mindful of this and the questions will be a lot easier.

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O Captain My Captain
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby O Captain My Captain » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:45 am

Thank you for the advice.

I just did PT 20 non-timed over the course of two days and my results are similar to PT 19.

I scored a 156.

LR -6
RC -13
LG -1
LR -12

I order the LSAT Trainer earlier this week. I'm going to follow its guidance and hope for a miracle.

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O Captain My Captain
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby O Captain My Captain » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:48 am

Just scored a 163 non-timed on preptest 21.

LG -0
LR -8
LR -12
RC -4


My RC score went significantly down. I'd like to attribute this to Manhattan RC guide.

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PDaddy
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby PDaddy » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:48 am

My advice - as per the advice of Manhattan LSAT - is to avoid "mixed review" until you have done several weeks of concentrated drilling on each question type.

Unless you are insanely good at LG, drill early and often on those, but concentrate on LR...it's 50% of your score. Know each question type inside-out, i.e. You must be able to identify them properly via the question stem as well as identify correct, incorrect and "trap" answers.

You must learn to quickly locate premises, subsidiary conclusions (when present) and conclusions in the stimuli. You must also practice prephrasing answers to questions in which prephrasing can be done.

You must know the difference between an attacker assumption and a defender assumption, and you must be able to discern which type is possibly needed before going to the answers.

You must also be skilled at noticing scope-shifts in stimuli. Wrong answers are unresponsive to them, correct answers respond to them.

You should rigorously practice both negation and diagramming formal logic chains so that you can do it in your sleep.

Understand that the correct answer to an assumption question usually contains an element (word/words) used in the premises but not the conclusion, or introduces an element seen in the conclusion but not the premises. If you can quickly identify new elements and employ negation to test your answers, assumption questions can be low-hanging fruit on the test.

Finally, it is good practice to physically write down why every answer is wrong. This is easily the most useful exercise in which you will engage during your study. As you get better and better, you will begin to notice the same tricks and traps being used repeatedly and applied to certain question types. You should develop reliable shorthand for the notes you use.

Examples:

Out of Scope/Scope Problem: Scp
Irrelevant/Not Responsive to Subject Matter in Stimulus: IR
Not Inferable (i.e. Not Necessarily True/Can Be False): NI/NNT/CBF
Overreaches, Strong (Uses "is" versus "may be", or "all" versus "some"): OvR
Sufficient (but not necessary): Suff
Strengthens (instead of weakens): Str
Has No Effect (on the argument): NE/IR
Weakens (instead of strengthens): Wkns
Necessary (but not sufficient): Nec
Opposite Answer: Opp/OpA
Reverse Answer: RevA
Reverse Relationship:RevR
Wrong Flaw (when needing a flawed parallel): WF
Answer Not Flawed (when needing a flawed parallel): NF
Not Parallel (identify and mark where each wrong answer deviates): NP
Wrong Method/Method Not Used: WM
Premise (not the Main Point): Prem
Role of another sentence in stimulus/Wrong Role: WR


...and so on.

If you cannot quickly identify and notate why every wrong answer is wrong you are not ready to take timed tests. Moreover, practice crossing out words that make wrong answers wrong, but do it neatly so that you can re-check an answer you have eliminated - if you need to.
Last edited by PDaddy on Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cloy26
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby cloy26 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:15 am

Solid advice, PDaddy.

OP, you're going to absolutely need a solid grasp on the foundation of LR before you just jump into (untimed - I don't get this?) LR sections. Learn how to tackle a question style and drill drill drill.

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PDaddy
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Re: A Concerned LSAT Tester

Postby PDaddy » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:23 pm

cloy26 wrote:Solid advice, PDaddy.

OP, you're going to absolutely need a solid grasp on the foundation of LR before you just jump into (untimed - I don't get this?) LR sections. Learn how to tackle a question style and drill drill drill.


Thanks!

One thing I forgot to tell OP is that some question types are disguised as other question types, and this can be exploited. Learning to recognize these disguises will help OP become a more advanced test -taker.

I have an example. See Kaplan LSAT Advanced, P. 153, "Alternate Explanations" (Qs.2). By its stem, this question is posed as a weaken question. But it can be approached using flaw and assumption analysis as well.

The Stem: "The conclusion about whether there would be a resulting net increase in spending would NOT follow if..."

Answer (E) is easily the correct one, whether one approaches the question as a Weaken question, a Flawed Reasoning question or a (pre-negated) Assumption question. In its original form, Answer (E) destroys the argument. Negating it proves it to be a necessary assumption to the argument. It's an Assumption question in reverse.

Flaw (of omission): Answer (E) cites that the argument neglects to consider the possibility that the province could keep its workers and use them more effectively, with a resulting savings of $600M in out-of-province expenditures.

Weaken: Answer (E) attacks the central assumption that the province CANNOT keep its workers and use them more effectively, with a resulting savings of $600M in out-of-province expenditures.

Assumption: Answer (E) is (in its original form) an assumption that kills the argument. So the negated form of Answer (E) helps the argument because it is a necessary assumption in the argument. It's working backwards. You wouldn't really need to negate the answer to get it correct, but it's a cool exercise that demonstrates how question types are often disguised.

My point: this may look confusing at first, but someone well-versed in the LR tricks can easily recognize disguised question types.

What's the benefit? The test-taker gets to use whatever approach helps him get the correct answer. In the above scenario, the correct answer is (E) regardless of which type you perceive the question to be.




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