Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

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Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

Postby kitkat07 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:39 pm

Hi TLSers,

I've had a long and tumultuous relationship with the LSAT and am planning to take it again in February 2015, hopefully for the very last time. Here's a summary of my history with the test, I'll try to keep it as succinct as possible. If anyone can help identify any issues and make recommendations, I'd appreciate it soooo much! Thanks in advance to any kind souls who read through this thing and provide any advice!

TEST 1: Registered for June 2012 LSAT and took in-person PowerScore class in January 2012 with the plan to self-study after the course until test day. Self-studied by reviewing course materials and taking practice tests. Would PT in the mid-160s and once PTed at 172 about 1 month before the test, but continued to PT in the 160s (162-168) thereafter. Since my PT scores were inconsistent and never above 168 (my goal was 170+ and with the one 172 score, felt like I could get there), I ended up withdrawing and didn't take the test.

TEST 2: I felt a bit burnt out after test attempt #1, so decided to take a break from the test until I felt ready again. Eventually registered for Oct 2013 test. Started studying in June/July and got really serious in August and Sept. Self-studied from PowerScore bibles first and then taking practice tests 4-6 times/wk. Was PTing again in the 160s, again inconsistently unfortunately, but decided to take it to have the experience of taking it. At that point it was important to me to know that I could just do it. Scored a 159.

TEST 3: Registered for the June 2014 test. Started studying again in March. Self-studied by reviewing the PowerScore bibles, then with Cambridge bundles by question type, targeting the question types I was consistently having issues with. Also took practice tests 3-4 times/wk, taking a test one day and reviewing it thoroughly the next day. Was PTing in the mid-160s, in a smaller range somewhat more consistently around 164-168. Took the test feeling confident that I would at least improve on my last score. Ended up scoring a 158. :(

Now I've registered for the February 2015 test and am committed to making this the last time I ever have to take this darn test! I realize I'm already a bit behind given that the test is just 2.5 months away, but I figure it'd be good to hear any advice on moving forward given my history with this test.

Here is some additional information that might be relevant:
- For all 3 tests I had been working full-time so during weekdays I would study and take PTs at night. For TEST 3, I took half-days off of work once per week so I could take another PT in the afternoon. I am now working part-time and have a flexible schedule, so will be able to dedicate more time to studying.
- Since TEST 3 I've moved outside of the US. They don't offer the Feb LSAT in my new country so I'll be returning to the US to take it. I'm planning to return to my hometown 2 weeks before the test to get accustomed to being there.
- No longer being in the US also means that 1) I left all my test materials there and 2) another in-person course is unlikely for me. Also, I'm on a budget so need to keep this as low-cost as possible.

If you read all that, you deserve a cookie! If you have any thoughts/ideas/recommendations to share, you will have earned another cookie and some good karma too! I am open to just about anything, keeping the above info in mind. Online course? Virtual private tutor? Self-study? I could go on and on self-analyzing my study habits, possible study systems and what would be best (INFJs, what up!), and any outside input would be great.

I consider myself a hard worker and truly believe I have the ability to succeed at this test as just about anyone. I know this test is hugely mental, and I'd love to conquer it once (fourth time?) and for all! Any help in making that a reality would be so appreciated. :)

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Re: Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

Postby nlee10 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:52 pm

Take an online 7Sage course. They are affordable compared to Blueprint/Powerscore/Testmasters/etc and have great reviews.

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Re: Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

Postby Bigfish41 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:13 pm

What sections did you do well/worse on? Did you analyze your thought process on LR? Maybe you skipped some important steps when breaking down the argument core. How do you usually go about solving LRs? LGs? Did you prep under testing conditions?

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Re: Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

Postby kitkat07 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:36 pm

nlee10, thanks for the recommendation! I'm strongly considering a 7sage online course since they're so highly recommended here.

Bigfish41, will send you a more detailed DM but in general I do very well at LG, okay on LR, and probably worst on RC. I will say that I found the LG sections on the actual tests I've taken to be more difficult than (or just strange and different from) any previous PTs I had taken. For both tests I got psyched out since LG seemed so out of the ordinary to me and I usually feel very confident in that section.

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Re: Can you diagnose my LSAT problem and recommend solutions?

Postby giantswan » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:47 pm

What do you mean when you say you do "very well" at LG? Games is the easiest section to improve (IMO) so if you're not getting -2 or less consistently on those I'd say there is room to improve there.

In terms of study materials - I studied with mostly PowerScore but ended up getting the Official LSAT SuperPrep book a few weeks before and it helped me bump my score a bit.

I would say you should definitely be PT-ing in the mornings to get yourself used to the schedule you will be taking the actual test on. When I was studying I did at least a few tests where I woke up at the same time I planned to for the actual LSAT, went to the same coffee shop (and had the same protein-packed breakfast and snack), did the same amount of warm up problems, and then took the PrepTest in a place close to the testing center. If you're not including an "experimental" section I would suggest doing that - I like throwing in an extra RC.

Also in terms of low-cost options - if you can find a private tutor that is not part of a company you could save a lot. I do private tutoring and I know my rates are about half that of the popular tutoring companies in my area.

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