How to kill the LSAT on first try?

179orBust
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How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby 179orBust » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:16 am

Although it's really difficult, I'd love to kill the LSAT on my first try. After reading the December waiters thread today, there are so many people who will have to retake in February/June. Really feel bad for them as the the entire process must be really taxing and frustrating.

So, to those who scored 170+ on their first try, what do you feel are the best ways for an individual to put himself in a position to score really high (170+) on his/her first attempt?

Thanks in advance!

Yeezus
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby Yeezus » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:19 am

I didn't get it until my third and final shot, but the only thing you can really do is to just prepare for anything and everything. Make sure you blind review. I thought blind review was dumb up until I actually tried it while studying for December and got the score I wanted. And no matter how good you are at LG, don't let up. Constantly be drilling games. Do every game multiple times. I was averaging -0/-1 in LG for PT 1-72, and I got -7 in December because I got complacent with games in the last couple weeks. I still got a 170, but it kind of makes me mad that I could easily have gotten a mid 170s score if I wasn't lazy with drilling games. Having said all this, the main thing is to not let your nerves get to you on test day. Much easier said than done, but this is crucial for a first time taker to be able to pull off 170+.

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AOT
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby AOT » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:30 am

YeezusPiece wrote:I didn't get it until my third and final shot, but the only thing you can really do is to just prepare for anything and everything. Make sure you blind review. I thought blind review was dumb up until I actually tried it while studying for December and got the score I wanted. And no matter how good you are at LG, don't let up. Constantly be drilling games. Do every game multiple times. I was averaging -0/-1 in LG for PT 1-72, and I got -7 in December because I got complacent with games in the last couple weeks. I still got a 170, but it kind of makes me mad that I could easily have gotten a mid 170s score if I wasn't lazy with drilling games. Having said all this, the main thing is to not let your nerves get to you on test day. Much easier said than done, but this is crucial for a first time taker to be able to pull off 170+.


This is true. Read through the waiters thread and see what people have to say about their experiences. Most people who report scoring well below their PT average will also cite nerves on the day as the reason. Getting plenty of sleep, eating a good breakfast (even if you don't feel like it) and doing whatever it is you do to de-stress on the day will have a huge effect.

As far as the actual test goes I guess study until you're perfect, and then make sure you just use the the same techniques on test day.

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NL2424
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby NL2424 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:40 am

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fra
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby fra » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:31 am

As others have said - prepare for every possibility.
Some of the 180/ high score guides on this forum talk about the situations that they practiced under so that nothing would phase them on test day. People practice with reduced time on sections, in loud environments, with extra test sections (6 sections tests for example).

I got a 180 on my first try. Once I was able to get the score that I wanted under lenient conditions I gradually introduced more and more terrible conditions. I took practice tests in different rooms in my test center, in loud restaurants, etc... I also bought the most difficult question packets from Cambridge and created my experimental sections from those questions. I also practiced with close to the exact same conditions as I would have during the test. I ate the same breakfast, packed the same snack for break, woke up and drove to my test center at the correct time, I even sat at my desk for thirty minutes before starting my practice test because I (correctly) assumed that there would be some down time on test day.

If you've practiced with a full bladder, while hungry, tired, distracted, whatever - then those conditions will be less likely to bother you during the actual test when those things might not be in your control.

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MidwestLifer
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby MidwestLifer » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:34 am

I got a 175 on a PT after 4 horus of sleep while hungover and that's when I knew I was ready

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jw316
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby jw316 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:37 am

fra wrote:As others have said - prepare for every possibility.
Some of the 180/ high score guides on this forum talk about the situations that they practiced under so that nothing would phase them on test day. People practice with reduced time on sections, in loud environments, with extra test sections (6 sections tests for example).

I got a 180 on my first try. Once I was able to get the score that I wanted under lenient conditions I gradually introduced more and more terrible conditions. I took practice tests in different rooms in my test center, in loud restaurants, etc... I also bought the most difficult question packets from Cambridge and created my experimental sections from those questions. I also practiced with close to the exact same conditions as I would have during the test. I ate the same breakfast, packed the same snack for break, woke up and drove to my test center at the correct time, I even sat at my desk for thirty minutes before starting my practice test because I (correctly) assumed that there would be some down time on test day.

If you've practiced with a full bladder, while hungry, tired, distracted, whatever - then those conditions will be less likely to bother you during the actual test when those things might not be in your control.


To clarify do you essentially mean you waited until you could get 177-180 untimed before moving on to timed and just gradually making things more and more terrible until you could get that score regardless of conditions or having 30 mins for a section, etc.?

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fra
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby fra » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:54 pm

jw316 wrote:
fra wrote:As others have said - prepare for every possibility.
Some of the 180/ high score guides on this forum talk about the situations that they practiced under so that nothing would phase them on test day. People practice with reduced time on sections, in loud environments, with extra test sections (6 sections tests for example).

I got a 180 on my first try. Once I was able to get the score that I wanted under lenient conditions I gradually introduced more and more terrible conditions. I took practice tests in different rooms in my test center, in loud restaurants, etc... I also bought the most difficult question packets from Cambridge and created my experimental sections from those questions. I also practiced with close to the exact same conditions as I would have during the test. I ate the same breakfast, packed the same snack for break, woke up and drove to my test center at the correct time, I even sat at my desk for thirty minutes before starting my practice test because I (correctly) assumed that there would be some down time on test day.

If you've practiced with a full bladder, while hungry, tired, distracted, whatever - then those conditions will be less likely to bother you during the actual test when those things might not be in your control.


To clarify do you essentially mean you waited until you could get 177-180 untimed before moving on to timed and just gradually making things more and more terrible until you could get that score regardless of conditions or having 30 mins for a section, etc.?


Time was never really an issue for me - so I did everything timed. If time is an issue then you should be able to get your goal score untimed before moving on to timed. If you can't get your goal score untimed then you won't be able to get it under time constraints.

My lenient conditions were in my jammies, in my living room, 4 section PT with breaks in between every section. I did this until I got my first 180, then started worsening conditions.

Right before the test I was getting 178 +- 2. I don't think that there is really anything that you can do to ensure a 180 (or whatever your goal score is). All you can do is make sure that you are PTing at or above your goal and you are prepared for any likely test day scenarios.

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NL2424
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby NL2424 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:44 pm

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Dave Hall
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:27 pm

Lots of good advice here. I'd also add that these are the things I focused on when I was preparing before my first test:

1. Understanding the LSAT. I figured out how the test worked; what the questions meant, what constituted a good answer, how the test writers used language. This kind of understanding made it easier to replicate my successes and eliminate mistakes.

2. Noting patterns. There are lots of questions (especially in LR, at least for me) that are just stupid hard. I didn't worry too much about those questions. Instead, I focused on being able to quickly recognize the vast majority of questions as belonging to families—families of flaws, of phrasing, of logical structure. That way, I got through most of the questions really fast, and had time to sit and think about the 2 or 3 ridiculous questions. That was a difference-maker for me.

3. Practicing the way I would test (and then testing the way I practiced). I tried to mimic test-day conditions. I didn't make things harder for myself, but I also didn't make them easier. I practiced in the common room at the library, where it was quiet, but not silent, and there were the same sorts of minimal distractions that I found at my subsequent test-day experiences (you know; coughing, Mr. jimmy-legs, sniffling, pencil-tapping,etc.).

That's the core of how I got ready. I hope it helps.

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Dave Hall
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:34 pm

zacboro wrote:I didn't want to make a new thread for this, but I hope someone can answer it. How do you know if you're on a plateau, and you need to change your strategy, or you're not on a plateau, your score just isn't improving right now because your recently implemented strategy is taking time to take effect?

Here's how I'd try to tell the difference: if you look at the test material in the cold light of day (without timing or performance pressure), does your current strategy account for the right answers to the huge majority of questions in a meaningful, repeatable way?

A solid strategy should allow you to get right answers consistently, by appeal to the same actions (if you don't have a consistent set of actions to perform based on cues for the material, then you don't really have a strategy at all, right?).

If your current approach does all of that, but fails to some degree under pressure, then you're probably just still in the midst of getting good at using your approach. If it does not, then you may need to switch strategies.

Shadow252
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby Shadow252 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:04 pm

I just got my December score back, and it was 177 (although 2 of the questions I got wrong were for stupid reasons), first time. Anyway, I got two of the books with previous tests and took every practice test timed. I kept going until I finished every section, but I marked where I ran out of time so I could figure out my score with and without the time limit. At one point, I realized that I was overthinking questions and took several later tests where I just used my knee jerk response and didn't go back and check. That helped my scores and time quite a bit (second-guessing was one of the questions I got wrong on the actual test). Learning the patterns in the test helped quite a bit (the types of questions/the repeating of generally the same question and answer combinations but with a different subject). For LG, I just simplified the rules and then went through every answer to get rid of anything that didn't work.

The most helpful thing I think you can do is manage your nerves because being nervous can make it really hard to think. Practicing meditating and living in the moment really helps because then you can focus entirely on the questions without thinking about "what ifs" regarding how you will do on the test, etc. That got rid of most of my anxiety during the test.

Finally, for any test I have to take, I always have to be in the mindset of that test. That means studying that class/test material, and nothing else, for several days before the test, until I am actually dreaming the material. When I actually take the test, my brain is primed for the processes involved in those particular questions. For the LSAT, I took 1-2 tests every day through the day before. For some people, it can cause burn-out, but it worked well for me.

Hope this helps!

adil91
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby adil91 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:44 pm

What is blind review?

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schmelling
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Postby schmelling » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:56 pm

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NL2424
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby NL2424 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:16 pm

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griffin3575
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby griffin3575 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:35 pm

I was one of those people who just had to know their score after taking a test, and would't stop thinking about it until I knew. So I would use a bubble sheet and score that without really paying attention to what questions I got wrong, only noting how many. This way you can get your score and go back and do the ones you thought were difficult without knowing the answer if you do it right. If you're one of these people, this type of "blind review" could work well for you (it did for me)

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Clearly
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Re: How to kill the LSAT on first try?

Postby Clearly » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:07 am

Best advice, drop the couple hundred bucks for velocity lsat class.

Eta: I know it sounds like I'm shilling, but after seeing your question and being reminded by Dave's answer and reflecting, that was honestly one of the biggest factors in my 175+




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