Need TLS knowledge on retake

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Pablo
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Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby Pablo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:28 pm

So I think it would be best for everyone to start with my stats, I have a 165 LSAT and will probably graduate with anywhere from a 3.4 to 3.5. I have three quarters left of undergrad and so will not be starting law school in fall 2014 but rather in the fall of 2015, meaning I won't even be applying until fall next year.

Basically I am totally lost as to whether I should try and retake in the meantime. I studied my a** off to get a 165. I literally spent eight hours everyday all summer long (four months) to get ready for the October test. Over the summer I only scored a 166 once and really averaged about a 163 or 164. I climbed all the way up from a diagnostic of 152 to get to the mid 160's too. I have thought long and hard about retaking and am left feeling that I probably couldn't score higher than a 168. Furthermore, I worry that the chances of me scoring less than a 168 might be greater than the chances of me hitting that 168. The reason for this is that on my best test the breakdown looks like this LG- 21/23 LR- 21/25 LR- 21/25 RC- 22/27. I feel like reading comp is something I could never improve upon and I don't know how I could change this if I were to start studying again. As for logical reasoning I always miss four or five questions, half of them easy questions because of a.d.d. mental lapses, and the other half difficult questions that I would miss because I couldn't figure them out (especially with time crunching down on me). In fact I normally would not even finish logical reasoning and would be left guessing from question 22 or 23 on. Thus I feel I could improve, but I just don't know how or where to start with logical reasoning. And of course I could also get logic games to be a perfect 23/23, it seems ridiculous to not be able to master logic games and I'm sure I could with more practice.

But for it to be worth it and to get to a 170, I would have to ace logic games and pull my logical reasoning scores to 23/25 per section at least. To do this I would need to get faster as well as learn how to answer the most difficult questions I wasn't have time for before. But I just feel like this might be impossible. Even when I did untimed logical reasoning sections I would only score 21/25. I just always seemed to miss four questions whether it was because of time or difficulty.

Has anyone else had this problem? Can I really overcome this? I've exhausted two LSAT books (the orange and the green) and so would be forced to use much older tests if I went back and started studying again. I also would be able to get a private tutor in the area who has scored a 170 to see if they could help get me to a similar score. But even then... most people who score a 170 didn't climb up from a 152 inch by inch to get there. Basically I feel like I should just thank my lucky stars for a 165 and be happy, but when I read TLS I also feel like an idiot for not using up my chance to retake the LSAT at least once. I should also mention that BigLaw is not a make or break thing for me. What should I do. Any advice is much appreciated.

wwbeyoncedo
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby wwbeyoncedo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:09 pm

Yes, you should retake. And you can do better. I have a similar GPA but I've been out of school for 3 years. Get that GPA up if at all possible! I'd kill for some higher grades.

I went from a 152 diag (4 years ago...took another diag less than a year ago and scored 155) to a 165 in Oct. I worked my ass off and jumped to a 177 in December.

First, figure out how to control your ADD issues. I don't have that problem but 5 hour energy gave me enough focus to get through a PT and the real thing. You know yourself best--figure out what will work for you.

Second, get logic games down. Do every section, timed, if you haven't already. When you can't complete a game in time or with perfect accuracy, watch the 7-sage video. I focused solely on games until I was perfect (took about a month) and then just did a section per day after that. I redid the materials many, many times. It's cool.

Quit worrying about your number of misses per section and focus instead on which questions you are missing. Focus on these Q types. Read the trainer, and drill, drill, drill. Master the question-types you struggle with (don't worry too much about timing here, just focus on the reasoning and figuring out EXACTLY why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are wrong)

Then, work on timing. The number one way I increased my score is by forcing myself to take timed sections and PTs with 30 minutes or less per section. As you are working on your accuracy in the meantime, you should be able to get correct answers, fast. This will also force you not to over-think the easier questions.

The other thing I did was focus heavily on RC. I was really inconsistent-- anywhere from -0 to -10 on PTs. I bought all the old RC sections, did 1-2/day as well as redid all the RC sections from 52-70. I went -0 in December.

I know it seems like the task is insurmountable, but it's just not. Focus in on your weaknesses. The first time I did it I looked at the test like you did: I need to get 24/26 right, the odds aren't in my favor, etc. Eliminate this way of thinking. You can master the test, just focus in on the areas you're weakest in and go from there.

FYI-- I studied 2 hours after work from May-Dec. The only days I studied more than this were weekends and days I did PTs. This test does not demand all your time, it just requires targeted attention.

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zhenders
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby zhenders » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:36 pm

I couldn't agree more with 100% of the above advice.

One thing, though: if you get a single B in college because you were studying the LSAT, that won't do. As wwb said, many of us would kill for a higher GPA. You can "fix" a bad LSAT; you can't fix a bad GPA -- so KILL IT in school, and if you have to, worry about studying for the LSAT once your GPA is on lock.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby Nonconsecutive » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:29 pm

Bomnom wrote:... most people who score a 170 didn't climb up from a 152 inch by inch to get there.


I just wanted to drop in and say that I worked my way up from a similar diagnostic to a score over 175, inch by inch. Don't cut yourself short. :)

blandusername
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby blandusername » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:19 pm

I also jumped from 150s/low 160s to 170+, so don't get discouraged. I'm also curious exactly how you prepped, OP. What really helped me was doing targeted drills. I had Logic Games down pretty quickly, and after that I just did about 3-4 games a day to stay sharp. LR and RC were more of a challenge for me; I ended up buying the Cambridge books and drilled the heck out of them. Study up on how to approach the question types you struggle most with and then do drills until you can answer them automatically on sight.

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Pablo
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby Pablo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:45 pm

Sorry that I'm not posting a direct reply to the last post above ^ but I'm new to posting on TLS (long time reader though) and don't know how to. Basically the way I studied was pretty standard. I would wake up every morning and go straight to studying LSAT material for the rest of the day. I began the day by doing logic games to warm up my brain (and also because they were hardest for me so I wanted to learn how to do them groggy in case they were first on test day), then I would hopefully break out my most recent practice test and review it section by section. I would stare at questions I got wrong until I could understand them and would handwrite out the reasoning why the right answer was correct and why the wrong answer was wrong. Usually I would keep coming back to old tests all week, I would spend about two days on my most recent test but when I had worn it out I would switch one of the 16 practice tests I had amassed over the two months of taking an LSAT class. I also sprinkled in untimed sections or timed single sections after reviewing logical reasoning material or logic games material to see if I could up my accuracy from my review (though I hardly ever did, no matter what I always scored between 19 or 21/25) and always had trouble finishing logical reasoning.

What I think the problem might be is that I took an LSAT class from a teacher who had a philosophy of not teaching flaws or question types in the same way Kaplan or TestMasters apparently does (I.e. "this is a ____ question type so you do such an such). He was against a formulaic approach to the LSAT. While he talked about question types and flaws, he wouldn't focus on them. Instead he wanted his students to use common sense to master the LSAT and we would spend class time going over various questions people had missed and helping them understand why. I actually really enjoyed his way of teaching. But I think maybe my problem is I need a formulaic approach as well as a common sense approach in order to help improve my time and accuracy. Also I need to figure out a way to stop missing stupid questions. Really all the class ever did was help me improve with consistency. I never ever increased my logical reasoning or reading comp top scores, I just began hitting them more consistently. I feel there is this level of 170+ intelligence that I just might not have.

Yet I'm thinking I'm going to give it another go this summer anyways when school is out. I want to see what another three months can do for me, but I am applying next fall no matter what. I am going to just have to figure out how to improve this summer I guess. I think the spreadsheet approach with question types to track accuracy and where I'm having problems is a good idea. Also I would love to do more practice tests, but I'm totally out of recent material. If I do this it's going to be sheer strength of will and with some older 1990's tests.

To all you 150-170+ers, did you ever have a long period of being in the 160's and then get out of it? Or did you breeze through the 160's in three or four tests? Because I basically went like this in the month before the test- 160, 162, 163, 161, 164, 166, 158 (I had a freak out from pressure before test day in a week), 163, 165 (actual test, which was a raw score of 83 that normally is a 166 but the October curve screwed me).

Thanks again for the help, I've pretty much decided to retake this summer from your stories.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby Nonconsecutive » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:26 am

Bomnom wrote:To all you 150-170+ers, did you ever have a long period of being in the 160's and then get out of it? Or did you breeze through the 160's in three or four tests? Because I basically went like this in the month before the test- 160, 162, 163, 161, 164, 166, 158 (I had a freak out from pressure before test day in a week), 163, 165 (actual test, which was a raw score of 83 that normally is a 166 but the October curve screwed me).

Thanks again for the help, I've pretty much decided to retake this summer from your stories.


I was in the 160s for at least.. I'd say 12-14 PTs. I quickly moved from the 150s to the 160s, then I was in the 160s for a long time, then I moved to the 170s for the remainder (with I think 1 dip back down to the 160s). I took the LSAT 3 times, ending in a 175+ score. The 2nd score was above a 170, but I felt like I could do better, so I did. My point being that I think your decision to retake is a sound one, especially since I had a score somewhat near yours for my first take, then I retook and now my opportunities are worlds apart from what they were a year ago.

wwbeyoncedo
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby wwbeyoncedo » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:50 pm

Bomnom wrote:Sorry that I'm not posting a direct reply to the last post above ^ but I'm new to posting on TLS (long time reader though) and don't know how to. Basically the way I studied was pretty standard. I would wake up every morning and go straight to studying LSAT material for the rest of the day. I began the day by doing logic games to warm up my brain (and also because they were hardest for me so I wanted to learn how to do them groggy in case they were first on test day), then I would hopefully break out my most recent practice test and review it section by section. I would stare at questions I got wrong until I could understand them and would handwrite out the reasoning why the right answer was correct and why the wrong answer was wrong. Usually I would keep coming back to old tests all week, I would spend about two days on my most recent test but when I had worn it out I would switch one of the 16 practice tests I had amassed over the two months of taking an LSAT class. I also sprinkled in untimed sections or timed single sections after reviewing logical reasoning material or logic games material to see if I could up my accuracy from my review (though I hardly ever did, no matter what I always scored between 19 or 21/25) and always had trouble finishing logical reasoning.


So, yeah, it seems like you generally just worked with entire sections rather than breaking it down by Q-type. If I were you I'd buy Manhattan LR and the Trainer and work through the Cambridge packets. I mean, all my drilling came from PT 1-38, that's how many people do it; those tests aren't totally outdated.

You probably need to start fresh with the materials before you work on any full timed or untimed sections. There's a significant difference between how you will approach a flaw question versus a weaken question (they are related, yes, but you need to go through a different process to get to the correct answer) and the books will teach you that, followed by drilling. When you get through those packets (and I'm not of the opinion you have to do EVERY Q type. I personally found no need to drill paradox questions, for example, but that's just me) THEN you can start working on timed practice sections. And really, you should probably be timing every section you do as a whole. Once you start to improve your accuracy here, then give yourself 33 minutes, then 32, etc. each time you do a LR section.

For my retake, I had a lot of success with going through the Q types I had a lot of problems with in the trainer, drilling the level 3-4 questions in the Cambridge packets that I had put off for my first take (see DD's thoughts on the LSAT: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=212294), and then going through the Manhattan forums to figure out why I got a question incorrect.

As for my PT scores, I basically jumped from 155 to 169, and stayed around there for roughly 10 tests before I jumped to the 172-175 range, which is where I was testing before my 165. For my retake, I only had leftover materials to work with so my scores were skewed (I thought...guess not), but I was solidly above 175 and never dipped below 172. BUT, I put in a TON of work before I even took a single PT after my 155 diag. Like, at least 3 months of drilling. I had games down to perfect accuracy and timing before I took a real, timed PT, and I had worked through all my books and drilled quite a bit of LR and a little RC.

If you want to break into the 170 range, the simplest thing you can do is get the games down. I realize this is tricky for some people, but I think if you do enough games then it will click. The next simplest thing you can do is drill LR. And finally, get RC down as best you can. I'm a decently fast reader and once I figured out how to approach the questions, I was solidly in the 175+ range.

Maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

OH! And don't start LSAT prep first thing in the morning. Get up, work out, eat breakfast, etc. and let your brain wake up for at least an hour and a half before you look at any material.

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Pablo
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Re: Need TLS knowledge on retake

Postby Pablo » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:06 pm

How often did you guys do practice tests. I figure im going probobly only have 20 tests at the most since I already went through two books. Also im only going to have three months this summer. I could go twice a week about but then I wouldn't have any individual logical reasoning sections or reading comp sections to practice with. I really want to be able to practice individual sections with 30 minutes to work on timing. But using non official lsat questions from practice books could help me with this if they exist. I feel like I've read on here that they do... Is this true? And are these the Cambridge/Kaplan books? I could probably research this myself actually.

I'd rather know how often you practice tested your second time around and also what material you had left in terms of official practice test books?

I'm feeling like my plan would possibly be to do the remaining tests and then organize what I missed by question type and keep track of this in a spread sheet to review later. But going to have to figure out how many tests to leave for individual section practice if that is something you guys think I should do...

Thanks again.




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