Consistency and advice on outlier scores

Rook
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:52 pm

Consistency and advice on outlier scores

Postby Rook » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:07 pm

I'm new here, so forgive me if this has been discussed to the death. And I'm going to guess that it has, since this is an issue that the majority of my LSAT friends dealt with.

Just to give you all a brief background, this is my second stab at the LSAT. Got 155 my first time and really had no business writing; I couldn't even really do a logic game, and decided to write the test anyway relying on my skill with LR and RC.

Second time around, a year later, and I'm improved greatly with about 4 months of study and a powerscore course. My last few exams have been 164, 166, 166, 168, 164, and 161.

That all changed today when I scored 159 on PT 54. I was sick yesterday, but I did feel a lot better this morning so I decided to write anyway. The test begins with a relatively harder RC, which I ended up scoring 20/27 on. Getting rattled a bit on RC is very new to me, since I usually do well ( 3-5 mistakes on average ). I think the shock of the difficulty of the passages stayed with me, since I got rocked on the first LR section which was also more difficult than usual. I scored 17, which was close to my diagnostic score on an LR timed section. I calmed myself down a bit during the break after the third section, and ended up scoring 23 on the second LR section, which is what I always seem to score on at least one LR section. However, it was also far easier than the first LR section, so I'm not attributing much to my "calming myself down".

This worries me greatly. With regards to the LSAT, I truly feel like I've "cracked the egg". Rarely do I get stumped on a question, and almost all questions seem familiar to me. I also feel that my test scores are a pretty good reflection of this.

So what the hell happened today? I'm not going to sit here and make excuses like "I was sick yesterday and didn't feel energetic and pumped this morning like I usually do". While that may be the case, the LR and RC definitely did seem harder than usual, and even if I felt 100% healthy I'm sure I wouldn't have done much better.

I'm obviously going to review the crap out of this test like I do every test and move on, but I'm feeling a little destroyed today. Is this test an accurate snapshot of where I am now? Should I be letting this get to me? Are June LSAT's harder than usual? I know the vast majority of people think that LSAT's are generally the same in terms of difficulty, but if you look at my scores above, the 161 I scored was PT 63, another June exam that is thought to be terrible.

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Jeffort
Posts: 1897
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:43 pm

Re: Consistency and advice on outlier scores

Postby Jeffort » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:15 pm

This is nothing to freak out about. It's normal to have some ups and downs on timed PT scores and to have a few 'bad day' lower than other PTs outlier scores during your LSAT prep journey.

Being sick/recovering from being ill DOES negatively effect PT scores since your body and brain aren't operating at full capacity and when your brain is even just a little bit less sharp/less mentally agile/a little bit slower than usual/mentally a bit sluggish (due to being a little run down from being sick/recovering from being sick), it makes you more prone/vulnerable to making more careless and other types of mistakes/oversights than usual, thus costing you a few points.

That being said, like you said in your post, you shouldn't just write off this PT score as unrepresentative because you were sick and instead should deeply review it to figure out exactly what mistakes you made that caused you to miss each question you answered incorrectly as well as questions you got correct to evaluate your overall performance in detail to determine exactly what went wrong, which things you struggled with, how you could have approached the questions you got wrong (and the ones you were uncertain about but ended up getting correct) better, which types of logic tripped you up in the questions you got wrong, etc.

Review it in super detail to figure out exactly what all your specific mistakes/performance issues were that lead to missing more questions than usual (what went wrong with each of those questions? careless errors, logical and/or reading-misinterpretation issues, process/approach/going through the proper steps of analysis mistakes, etc.) compared to your other recent PTs and learn from those mistakes since they represent current performance weaknesses/vulnerabilities you currently have.

Even though 'bad PT days' can be stress producing and damaging to your confidence, it's important to not let yourself get emotionally tied to your PT scores and let them send your mind into a state of fear/self-doubt/negative emotional thinking and instead look at them as a great thing since they're a great learning tool! that gives you a solid roadmap of specific weaknesses/vulnerabilities you have that you should focus more drilling and review time to in order to sharpen up your skill sets that could be stronger/better.

So instead of looking at it negatively and as if it's somehow predictive of how you'll perform on test day, instead look at it positively such as "Oh goodie, I got my arse kicked by more questions than usual so now I can closely inspect which types of tricky LSAT question constructions those evil test writers used that got me so I don't get fooled/suckered by those test writer tactics again on another test, especially not on test day".

It's much more mentally healthy and productive to view your PT scores not as ego boosting validations where you celebrate good scores and temporarily believe things like "I've made it, I'm there, I've arrived, I'm scoring where I need to/almost to my goal, mission almost accomplished, etc.", but instead always view PTs and PT scores as part of a work in process in which you are ALWAYS striving to improve your LSAT performance skills and abilities more and more to get as close to perfection as possible. Under this mental perspective it's much easier to view lower than expected/bad PT scores as positive events that give you a tool to use to pinpoint your specific weaknesses/vulnerabilities/types of mistakes you're still making semi-regularly that are costing you points so that you KNOW what you need to work on more to fix those issues, get them out of your system and improve your overall LSAT skills/approaches/process so that you'll perform as closely to perfection as you possibly can on test day.

Being emotionally tied to your PT scores and viewing them as predictive of your test day potential can be counterproductive to your prep process and impair further improvement if you view them that way and let your brain run with "what if" thoughts about what a bad PT score could mean about what will happen on test day. (obviously, PT scores the last week or two before test day should be viewed a bit differently and as fairly indicative of your probable scoring range on test day since there's not much time left to make further improvement in that circumstance, but PT scores prior to then should not be viewed that way)

Test day is a long time away and a lot can change between now and then if you use your prep time and PT results properly to learn from your mistakes/failures and take proactive measures to prevent those types of mistakes/weaknesses/issues from being problematic on test day. Deep thorough comprehensive review of your performance on every PT you take is key, not just superficial review where you only review and figure out in hindsight why the wrong answers you selected are logically incorrect and why the correct answers you failed to select are logically correct, you need to review your entire thought processes that lead to you believing the answer you selected was correct and the other four incorrect in extreme detail where you basically do a thorough 'mental autopsy' of everything you thought and did in the course of attempting each question you got wrong and/or struggled with as well as reviewing questions you got correct to figure out how you could have been more efficient.

Deep thorough review of each timed PT should take at least three times (3X) the amount of time it took to take the PT timed.

Make sense?

Short version: Don't stress about it, everyone has some bad PT days/scores along the way before test day, use your performance on that PT as a great opportunity to learn more about what things you need to get better at to improve your LSAT skills/processes/approaches more in order to further increase your potential scoring range by reviewing your hands on approaches/methods/process you actually applied when taking the test extremely thoroughly/in extreme detail to figure out exactly what went wrong in your approach/processes and analysis with each question you answered incorrectly.

BP Robert
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:50 am

Re: Consistency and advice on outlier scores

Postby BP Robert » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:56 pm

Jeffort covered this pretty will but I'd add that having off days does usually indicate there are fundamentals that could use reinforcing.

I'd recommend keeping a log at this stage of all the questions you miss, ever, and going back and reviewing them at the end of the week. That'll help you cover weak spots and notice patterns.

Best of luck,

Blueprint LSAT Prep

Rook
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:52 pm

Re: Consistency and advice on outlier scores

Postby Rook » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:02 pm

Jeffort wrote:This is nothing to freak out about. It's normal to have some ups and downs on timed PT scores and to have a few 'bad day' lower than other PTs outlier scores during your LSAT prep journey.

Being sick/recovering from being ill DOES negatively effect PT scores since your body and brain aren't operating at full capacity and when your brain is even just a little bit less sharp/less mentally agile/a little bit slower than usual/mentally a bit sluggish (due to being a little run down from being sick/recovering from being sick), it makes you more prone/vulnerable to making more careless and other types of mistakes/oversights than usual, thus costing you a few points.

That being said, like you said in your post, you shouldn't just write off this PT score as unrepresentative because you were sick and instead should deeply review it to figure out exactly what mistakes you made that caused you to miss each question you answered incorrectly as well as questions you got correct to evaluate your overall performance in detail to determine exactly what went wrong, which things you struggled with, how you could have approached the questions you got wrong (and the ones you were uncertain about but ended up getting correct) better, which types of logic tripped you up in the questions you got wrong, etc.

Review it in super detail to figure out exactly what all your specific mistakes/performance issues were that lead to missing more questions than usual (what went wrong with each of those questions? careless errors, logical and/or reading-misinterpretation issues, process/approach/going through the proper steps of analysis mistakes, etc.) compared to your other recent PTs and learn from those mistakes since they represent current performance weaknesses/vulnerabilities you currently have.

Even though 'bad PT days' can be stress producing and damaging to your confidence, it's important to not let yourself get emotionally tied to your PT scores and let them send your mind into a state of fear/self-doubt/negative emotional thinking and instead look at them as a great thing since they're a great learning tool! that gives you a solid roadmap of specific weaknesses/vulnerabilities you have that you should focus more drilling and review time to in order to sharpen up your skill sets that could be stronger/better.

So instead of looking at it negatively and as if it's somehow predictive of how you'll perform on test day, instead look at it positively such as "Oh goodie, I got my arse kicked by more questions than usual so now I can closely inspect which types of tricky LSAT question constructions those evil test writers used that got me so I don't get fooled/suckered by those test writer tactics again on another test, especially not on test day".

It's much more mentally healthy and productive to view your PT scores not as ego boosting validations where you celebrate good scores and temporarily believe things like "I've made it, I'm there, I've arrived, I'm scoring where I need to/almost to my goal, mission almost accomplished, etc.", but instead always view PTs and PT scores as part of a work in process in which you are ALWAYS striving to improve your LSAT performance skills and abilities more and more to get as close to perfection as possible. Under this mental perspective it's much easier to view lower than expected/bad PT scores as positive events that give you a tool to use to pinpoint your specific weaknesses/vulnerabilities/types of mistakes you're still making semi-regularly that are costing you points so that you KNOW what you need to work on more to fix those issues, get them out of your system and improve your overall LSAT skills/approaches/process so that you'll perform as closely to perfection as you possibly can on test day.

Being emotionally tied to your PT scores and viewing them as predictive of your test day potential can be counterproductive to your prep process and impair further improvement if you view them that way and let your brain run with "what if" thoughts about what a bad PT score could mean about what will happen on test day. (obviously, PT scores the last week or two before test day should be viewed a bit differently and as fairly indicative of your probable scoring range on test day since there's not much time left to make further improvement in that circumstance, but PT scores prior to then should not be viewed that way)

Test day is a long time away and a lot can change between now and then if you use your prep time and PT results properly to learn from your mistakes/failures and take proactive measures to prevent those types of mistakes/weaknesses/issues from being problematic on test day. Deep thorough comprehensive review of your performance on every PT you take is key, not just superficial review where you only review and figure out in hindsight why the wrong answers you selected are logically incorrect and why the correct answers you failed to select are logically correct, you need to review your entire thought processes that lead to you believing the answer you selected was correct and the other four incorrect in extreme detail where you basically do a thorough 'mental autopsy' of everything you thought and did in the course of attempting each question you got wrong and/or struggled with as well as reviewing questions you got correct to figure out how you could have been more efficient.

Deep thorough review of each timed PT should take at least three times (3X) the amount of time it took to take the PT timed.

Make sense?

Short version: Don't stress about it, everyone has some bad PT days/scores along the way before test day, use your performance on that PT as a great opportunity to learn more about what things you need to get better at to improve your LSAT skills/processes/approaches more in order to further increase your potential scoring range by reviewing your hands on approaches/methods/process you actually applied when taking the test extremely thoroughly/in extreme detail to figure out exactly what went wrong in your approach/processes and analysis with each question you answered incorrectly.



thanks man, will definitely take all your advice on board. for me, it's easier said than done not being emotionally tied to my lsat practice test scores. having spent the last 4 months in the library, im at the point where i want to see the fruits of my labour. it totally makes my day when i score anything higher than 165/166, and anything below that ruins it. but you're absolutely right, getting down is just going to hinder my progress and prevent me from improving as much as i could.

i think im just impatient and ultimately want to get to the point where i can proudly boast that ive finally conquered this test. i guess today was a rude awakening that i haven't. oh well, back to work i guess!




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