Four Months to 173

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JustShowingUp
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Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:34 am

Table of Content

Week 1(ish): Conditioning
Week 2: A New Goal
Week 3: The First Setback
Week 4: Drilling Logic Games
Week 5: More Logic Games
Week 6: Wishes Do Come True
Week 7: Drilling Logical Reasoning Questions
Week 8: More Drilling
Week 9: Bleh
Week 10: When It Rains
Week 11: Rebound
Week 12: The Pop
Week 13: More Fuel for the Fire
Week 14: More Reading Comprehension Drills
Week 15: Finally Literate!
Week 16: Another Dip
Week 17: Unnecessary Assumptions

Resources Used

The PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible
The PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Bible
7sage
Logical Reasoning: LSAT Strategy Guide, 4th Edition
Reading Comprehension: LSAT Strategy Guide, 4th Edition
LSAT Logic Games by Type (PrepTests 1–38)
LSAT Logical Reasoning by Type (PrepTests 1–38)
LSAT Reading Comprehension by Type (PrepTests 1–38)

Hi everyone! I am planning on taking the LSAT in June and I want to start this thread to document my preparation process. I plan on posting weekly updates every Saturday night.

My goal is to give a candid and transparent start-to-finish account of what it’s like to get a 99th percentile score. There are a lot of posts out there from people retelling the stories of how they scored xyz on the LSAT but all are told after the fact. Despite their best efforts, the authors simply cannot accurately describe exactly what they did and how they felt months (or even years) ago when they began their preparation process. As a result, parts of their tales inevitably get left out.

As readers, it’s also hard to relate to these stories because the endings are already certainties. It’s difficult to appreciate the doubts, fears, and setbacks told in these accounts when we already know the authors will prevail. By telling this story as it is still happening, I hope to give a more realistic and authentic narration of my LSAT preparation process without the filter of hindsight.

As you can tell by the title of this thread, my target score is 173 or better. Of course, I can’t see into the future and guarantee this outcome. In four months, it’s very possible I will end up with some eggs on my face. However, I don’t want to hedge my title in any way. I don’t want to do a disservice to this thread’s reading experience by leaving myself any outs to backtrack out of. I believe a score of 173 or better is an inevitability if the proper preparation is done and I hope by the end of all this, I can provide some kind of concrete framework for what constitutes as “proper preparation”.

Week 1(ish): Conditioning

This wasn’t technically the first week of my preparation. I (lackadaisically) studied for a couple of weeks in December and haven’t really touched anything LSAT related until the end of January. I’ve taken an untimed practice test (PT 29) just to get a feel for what the test is and I’ve read as far as the end of chapter 3 of my Powerscore Logic Games Bible during those two weeks in December. My study plan is to finish reading the Logic Games Bible as soon as possible and then move onto logical reasoning.

My first week back studying for the LSAT wasn’t very productive. I didn’t have the endurance to sit still and study for an extended period of time. On my first day, I couldn’t even finish the first page of chapter 4 before I started zoning out. My goal right now is less about learning and more about conditioning. I need to build up my endurance so I can meaningfully study for at least 5 hours a day.

To accomplish this, I’ve started biking two miles in the gym every morning. My objective for this workout is to increase my heart rate to and sustain it in the 160-170 beats per minute range. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing is a great way to jumpstart the body and mind.

The first day, I “studied” for two hours but the real amount was probably closer to 10 minutes. I only got a few pages into chapter 4. I don’t mind being this unproductive in the beginning. I just want to form a habit of at least trying to study for a certain amount of time every day. If my goal is to study for 2 hours, and I can’t go past ten minutes without zoning out, then I will sit there and stare at the pages for the other 1 hour and 50 minutes. I think it’s important not to give into the desire of giving up and doing something else in situations like this because doing so will form a bad habit.

By day three, things finally started clicking and I had my first productive study session. I got through chapter 4 but was then confronted with chapter 5. Chapter 5 is dreadful. It may as well be its own book because of how long it is. Grouping games is definitely something I will need to review several times in the future, and I will definitely be making mistakes and/or taking too much time on these questions.

After chapter 5, chapter 6 felt like a breeze. Just a few short pages of reading and questions. Although I am answering most of the questions correctly, I am taking way too much time on them. If I took a timed test right now, I would miss around 40% of the logic games questions by default because of how much time I am taking.

My endurance got a lot better over the week. I can now study for more or less 5 hours every day. I plan on taking my first timed practice test (PT 30) tomorrow. I know I will miss questions on my test because of at least three reasons: 1. Lack of skill 2. Lack of time 3. Lack of endurance. My strategy is to prepare to skip 2-3 questions in each section in order to give myself more time for questions I have a shot at getting right. Since practice tests only have four sections, I will also take an additional section from PT 31 to mimic the length of the real LSAT. After the test, I’ll roll a die to select a section to leave ungraded.
Last edited by JustShowingUp on Sun May 31, 2015 12:07 am, edited 16 times in total.

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Clearly
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Clearly » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:39 am

JustShowingUp wrote:Hi everyone! I am planning on taking the LSAT in June and I want to start this thread to document my preparation process. I plan on posting weekly updates every Saturday night.

My goal is to give a candid and transparent start-to-finish account of what it’s like to get a 99th percentile score. There are a lot of posts out there from people retelling the stories of how they scored xyz on the LSAT but all are told after the fact. Despite their best efforts, the authors simply cannot accurately describe exactly what they did and how they felt months (or even years) ago when they began their preparation process. As a result, parts of their tales inevitably get left out.

As readers, it’s also hard to relate to these stories because the endings are already certainties. It’s difficult to appreciate the doubts, fears, and setbacks told in these accounts when we already know the authors will prevail. By telling this story as it is still happening, I hope to give a more realistic and authentic narration of my LSAT preparation process without the filter of hindsight.

As you can tell by the title of this thread, my target score is 173 or better. Of course, I can’t see into the future and guarantee this outcome. In four months, it’s very possible I will end up with some eggs on my face. However, I don’t want to hedge my title in any way. I don’t want to do a disservice to this thread’s reading experience by leaving myself any outs to backtrack out of. I believe a score of 173 or better is an inevitability if the proper preparation is done and I hope by the end of all this, I can provide some kind of concrete framework for what constitutes as “proper preparation”.

Week 1(ish): Conditioning

This wasn’t technically the first week of my preparation. I (lackadaisically) studied for a couple of weeks in December and haven’t really touched anything LSAT related until the end of January. I’ve taken an untimed practice test (PT 29) just to get a feel for what the test is and I’ve read as far as the end of chapter 3 of my Powerscore Logic Games Bible during those two weeks in December. My study plan is to finish reading the Logic Games Bible as soon as possible and then move onto logical reasoning.

My first week back studying for the LSAT wasn’t very productive. I didn’t have the endurance to sit still and study for an extended period of time. On my first day, I couldn’t even finish the first page of chapter 4 before I started zoning out. My goal right now is less about learning and more about conditioning. I need to build up my endurance so I can meaningfully study for at least 5 hours a day.

To accomplish this, I’ve started biking two miles in the gym every morning. My objective for this workout is to increase my heart rate to and sustain it in the 160-170 beats per minute range. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing is a great way to jumpstart the body and mind.

The first day, I “studied” for two hours but the real amount was probably closer to 10 minutes. I only got a few pages into chapter 4. I don’t mind being this unproductive in the beginning. I just want to form a habit of at least trying to study for a certain amount of time every day. If my goal is to study for 2 hours, and I can’t go past ten minutes without zoning out, then I will sit there and stare at the pages for the other 1 hour and 50 minutes. I think it’s important not to give into the desire of giving up and doing something else in situations like this because doing so will form a bad habit.

By day three, things finally started clicking and I had my first productive study session. I got through chapter 4 but was then confronted with chapter 5. Chapter 5 is dreadful. It may as well be its own book because of how long it is. Grouping games is definitely something I will need to review several times in the future, and I will definitely be making mistakes and/or taking too much time on these questions.

After chapter 5, chapter 6 felt like a breeze. Just a few short pages of reading and questions. Although I am answering most of the questions correctly, I am taking way too much time on them. If I took a timed test right now, I would miss around 40% of the logic games questions by default because of how much time I am taking.

My endurance got a lot better over the week. I can now study for more or less 5 hours every day. I plan on taking my first timed practice test (PT 30) tomorrow. I know I will miss questions on my test because of at least three reasons: 1. Lack of skill 2. Lack of time 3. Lack of endurance. My strategy is to prepare to skip 2-3 questions in each section in order to give myself more time for questions I have a shot at getting right. Since practice tests only have four sections, I will also take an additional section from PT 31 to mimic the length of the real LSAT. After the test, I’ll roll a die to select a section to leave ungraded.

You don't roll a die, you need the curve with the 4 real sections to grade the thing. Just hold yourself to the same standard when you grade it.

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:01 am

For what it's worth, I got a 174 on a PT after like 4-5 weeks of half-assed studying. If you have a high diagnostic and put in the work, you'll get 99th percentile scores (though perhaps not consistently).

Seconding what Clearly said. You can't score it accurately that way.

Also, your bubbling technique may differ from mine, but I don't think the LSAT is an aerobic exercise.

Join us in the June study group if you're interested: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=230875

iluvcash
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby iluvcash » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:24 am

RZ5646 wrote:For what it's worth, I got a 174 on a PT after like 4-5 weeks of half-assed studying. If you have a high diagnostic and put in the work, you'll get 99th percentile scores (though perhaps not consistently).

Seconding what Clearly said. You can't score it accurately that way.

Also, your bubbling technique may differ from mine, but I don't think the LSAT is an aerobic exercise.

Join us in the June study group if you're interested: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 6&t=230875


I'm so jealous of you man, I'm struggling so hard on the logic games right now. My diagnostic was a measly 153. I wish I could do that after 4-5 weeks. What was your diagnostic score? A 165?

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Pneumonia
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:35 am

Diagnostic 151, test day 175+. My highest PT of all time was the 5th one I took (of 30); shit is unpredictable, but you can get there.

179orBust
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby 179orBust » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:39 am

Pneumonia wrote:Diagnostic 151, test day 175+. My highest PT of all time was the 5th one I took (of 30); shit is unpredictable, but you can get there.


Congrats, that's unbelievable. How did you make such a big jump?

ilikebaseball
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ilikebaseball » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:44 am

This thread seems pretty obnoxious to me. I'm sorry. Wow though.

"Come join me on my journey so YOU can see what its like for ME to possibly maybe with a slight chance get a 173"

You're gonna get a 173 in 4 months? Where are you at right now? And you're gonna build your LSAT endurance by exercising? In 4 months you're gonna score in the 99th percentile? Okay
Last edited by ilikebaseball on Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NL2424
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby NL2424 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:13 am

..
Last edited by NL2424 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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schmelling
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Post removed.

Postby schmelling » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:15 am

Post removed.
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Smallville
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Smallville » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:29 am

ilikebaseball wrote:This thread seems pretty obnoxious to me. I'm sorry. Wow though.

"Come join me on my journey so YOU can see what its like for ME to possibly maybe with a slight chance get a 173"

You're gonna get a 173 in 4 months? Where are you at right now? And you're gonna build your LSAT endurance by exercising? In 4 months you're gonna score in the 99th percentile? Okay

I like how you make it seem to be impossible to get up to a 173 in 4 months lol

schmelling wrote:
this guy improved his score using only a stationary bike. LSAT Tutors Hate Him! click to join the free newsletter.


JustShowingUp wrote:To accomplish this, I’ve started biking two miles in the gym every morning. My objective for this workout is to increase my heart rate to and sustain it in the 160-170 beats per minute range. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing is a great way to jumpstart the body and mind.

heart rate of 170 bpm = score of 170 right? bump that shiz up to 180 bpm!

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ltowns1
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ltowns1 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:41 am

Pneumonia wrote:Diagnostic 151, test day 175+. My highest PT of all time was the 5th one I took (of 30); shit is unpredictable, but you can get there.


That's freaking unbelievable! Congrats!!!

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:08 am

iluvcash wrote:What was your diagnostic score? A 165?


164. LG was/is also my weakness. I went at least -10 on LG on my diagnostic, but I'm slowly getting better. PS Bible + drilling + free 7sage videos.

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:44 am

Week 2: A New Goal

Day 1

I woke up last Sunday feeling great. After a small meal and a cup of tea, I opened 7Sage’s LSAT timer on Youtube and began taking my first timed practice test (PT 30).

Tip for keeping time: I think using a watch to keep track of time can get bothersome and distracting on test day. With the proper preparation, timing shouldn’t be an issue and a watch shouldn’t be necessary.
However, I'm not that competent yet, so I’ll be using the following strategy for the next few practice tests:

1. Skip questions that are too time consuming.
2. At the five minute warning mark, answer the next two questions and guess on any questions still left.

Section 1: Logic Games (-4)

I studied nothing but the Logic Games Bible (LGB) last week but I still didn’t feel comfortable with this section. Even if I spend 10 minutes setting up a game, I still can’t guarantee that my diagram will have all the proper inferences. So instead of wasting time on something I won’t get right anyway, I just scraped together whatever I could for the set ups and spent most of my time on the questions instead.

The last game was the only one I felt like I diagrammed correctly but I ran out of time and had to guess on the last five questions. The LGB has some data on which answer choices are more likely to be correct, but I’m not sure how to use that information. I can either always guess the most popular choice because the LSAT seems to favor it or I can go with the least popular choice because of mean reversion. Or maybe I should always guess a neutral choice to ensure I’ll have an average chance of getting it right? But anyways, I always guess D when I blindly guess on tests so I'll stick with it.

http://i.imgur.com/OAZgv7q.png

As you can see, I ended up answering three questions from game 4 and one question from game 3 incorrectly. I was really surprised to only miss four questions on this section but I there are at least two reason for this: 1) this was the first section of the test so my mind is completely fresh 2) the questions were relatively easy compared to LGs from other tests (20 out of the 23 questions were 3 stars or lower in difficulty).

Section 2: Logical Reasoning (-3)

http://i.imgur.com/R7G5YEy.png

I felt very comfortable in the beginning and built up a time surplus that allowed me to finish the section without rushing. I got three questions wrong here.

Section 3: Reading Comprehension (-8)

http://i.imgur.com/9C0lVSz.png

I was really starting to fatigue and I started having trouble concentrating.

Tip for handling fatigue: close your eyes and inhale deeply over 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and exhale over 4 seconds. Do this a few times and you should feel a lot better.

I skipped the third passage because it seemed really dense and time consuming. By the time I came back to it, I had almost no time left so I guessed on everything. Out of this passage’s seven questions, I answered six incorrectly for a combined eight incorrect answers on the whole section. I was surprised I performed so poorly because reading comprehension (RC) has always been my strength on standardized tests.

I don’t want to spend more time preparing for this section than I have to and I’m not sure if I was just tired or if RC really is my biggest weakness. If I was just tired, my score here will improve naturally as my endurance improves. If I continue scoring poorly here, I’ll change my study plan to practice more RC.

Section 4: Logical Reasoning (-2)

http://i.imgur.com/huFQwaI.png

I felt a lot more refreshed after taking a break and only answered two questions incorrectly. According to 7sage, this was a far easier logical reasoning (LR) section than the first one. The first LR section had 4 more hard (4 and 5 star difficulty) questions than this section.

Section 5 [Experimental]: Logic Games (-7)

I was really gassed after section 4 and wasn’t sure if I should keep going. This section was going to be left ungraded because it was the first section of PT31 so I thought about stopping here. But this was a good opportunity to find out how I perform when I’m exhausted so I continued. I found the third game very hard to diagram and got three questions wrong. Overall, I answered seven questions incorrectly in the section.

My final score is 168, which is far better than the score I was expecting. Since 173 is only 5 points away, I want to change my goal from a minimum score of 173 to 178. I still truly believe that a score of 178 is inevitable with proper preparation and I don’t want to leave any outs for backtracking. I hope this statement doesn’t get misinterpreted, this is simply the objective that this story tries to substantiate.

Day 2

My roadmap:

1. Read my LG and LR bibles as quickly as possible, no need to worry about completely retaining any of the content. I just want to get an overview of the skills and strategies I need to learn. Mastery will come through the reviews.
2. Drill prep tests and properly review them.
3. Isolate 2-3 trouble spots from the prep test and review the chapters for these. Redo the questions in these chapters and drill similar questions.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until I stop making mistakes.

Chapter 7 of the LGB was quick, only a few pages of reading, some drills, and 2 LSAT questions. I think I will feel very comfortable with sequence games by the time I finish preparing. I’m hoping to make this one of my strong areas so that I can do it quickly on the real LSAT and give myself an extra minute or two on other questions.

Reminder: In sequencing games, make sure to look for the no ties rule. This can throw off an entire game.

Day 3

Read 2/3 into chapter 8 and finished chapter 10. Chapter 10 is a light read, save it for the last part of a study session when you are tired.

Day 4

Finished chapter 8. I didn’t like the mapping set up, it seems too abstract and time consuming. I think I’ll make fewer mistakes using the “less effective” diagram.

Finished chapter 9. The stuff here is too specific/advanced for what I can retain right now. I skimmed the material quickly and will need to return for when I start fine tuning my skills.

Done with the Logic Games Bible! The most efficient way I’ve found to study is to read your materials once as quickly as possible. Don't try to completely memorize or retain anything. You just want to get the general concepts down and get to the “know what you don’t know” stage. After this, you can review the concepts you are the weakest in. I think heavily reading everything from the start is inefficient because you don’t yet have a context for everything you read and you won’t retain all that much more anyway. I’d much rather skim the book twice in the time to go over it once thoroughly.

Reviewed 2 logic games from PT30

Day 5

Read chapters 1-3 in the Logical Reasoning Bible. In chapter 2 of the bible, it asks you to memorize premise indicators/conclusion indicators. I don’t think this is an efficient way to spend your study time because it is too mechanical. If you do enough problems, you will instinctively know what a premise is and what a conclusion is. Trying to look for indicator words while you do problems can slow you down.

Day 6

Finished chapter 4 and 5, read a little into chapter 6. Chapter 6 is a long chapter and seems quite challenging, I will need to spend some extra time here and review in the future.

Made flash cards. Reviewed the other 2 logic games in my practice test. 7sage is great for logic games.

Day 7

Finished chapter 6. The second problem of the problem set is very hard, need to review in the future.

Conditioning

I am still biking regularly. My endurance is getting a lot better and I’ve noticed my heart becoming a lot more efficient. I had to consciously keep my heart rate under 170 bpm last week to avoid hitting my max but this week, I’m struggling to keep it above 160. I’m also slowing upping the distance from 2 miles to 2.25 miles.

Being more physically fit is great for boosting learning. There’s a ton of science behind this. If you are plateauing or if you just want to make your study sessions more productive, I highly recommend you do just 5-10 minutes of cardio in the morning. The reason I target 160-170 bpm is because it’s the range that works for me the best. This range also allows me to finish my work out quickly so I don’t need to spend more time in the gym than I need to. If you want to read more about the benefits, here’s a good article:

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/printwhlist?nid=18425

My mental endurance is also increasing. I can push 6-7 hours a day now. I commute two hours a day and have started studying on the transit. I also study my flashcards when I'm eating, waiting on lines, etc. I'm going to create a playlist of audio lessons next week so I can listen to them while I shower. All of this will help me squeeze out at least 3 hours of extra studying time per day, that's over 300 extra hours by the time the time I have to take the LSAT!
Last edited by JustShowingUp on Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ltowns1
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ltowns1 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:20 am

7sage also has an app, you may want to get that if you have an iPad or some other device.

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:29 am

ltowns1 wrote:7sage also has an app, you may want to get that if you have an iPad or some other device.


Thanks, I'll check it out!

NonTradLawHopeful
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby NonTradLawHopeful » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:09 am

Have you prepped with a watch at all to know for sure it is bothersome?

Also, did you blind review the PT prior to checking your answers?

MattM
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby MattM » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:40 am

I still truly believe that a score of 178 is inevitable with proper preparation


You sir just won the internet, do you know how many people score a 178 on test day?

Making the 5 point leap from a 173 to a 178 is a much bigger leap than a 168 to 173

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Clearly
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Clearly » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:20 am

MattM wrote:
I still truly believe that a score of 178 is inevitable with proper preparation


You sir just won the internet, do you know how many people score a 178 on test day?

Making the 5 point leap from a 173 to a 178 is a much bigger leap than a 168 to 173


Personally I've opted to just leave him be... If he actually keeps up with this it should result in either an absurd come-from-behind win, or a more likely soul crushing disappointment.

jepper
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby jepper » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:47 am

Not that it matters one bit, but I think this weirdo is a girl. At least I hope it's a girl since they are referencing info from a women's health magazine.

msp8
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby msp8 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:30 am

Clearly wrote:
MattM wrote:
I still truly believe that a score of 178 is inevitable with proper preparation


You sir just won the internet, do you know how many people score a 178 on test day?

Making the 5 point leap from a 173 to a 178 is a much bigger leap than a 168 to 173


Personally I've opted to just leave him be... If he actually keeps up with this it should result in either an absurd come-from-behind win, or a more likely soul crushing disappointment.


If they scored a 168 this early in their prep, I don't think a 178 is outside of the realm of possibility.

With that said, the 168 score itself seems suspect given other things being said.

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:06 am

This thread is fascinating. The "LSAT diary" thing is kinda strange, but if OP can actually keep up his disturbing obsession with studying, he'll very likely get in the 170s. I don't know if 178 is possible. He should be worried about his low RC scores, which aren't likely to improve very much.

I'm guessing he'll burn out soon.

msp8
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby msp8 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:23 am

RZ5646 wrote:He should be worried about his low RC scores, which aren't likely to improve very much.


I wish this would be categorised as TLS myth. When I started, I'd go -13 or -14 on RC. Time was just such an issue. It still is an issue, of course, but I'm more in the range of -1 to -4 now. Still room for improvement, certainly, but my gains in RC have been more dramatic than anywhere else.

I don't think my situation is altogether unique. RC can be trained. It is a skill, just as much as LG or LR are in my view. Reading for that structure in that time, not reading for the significant detail (as I was in the beginning), and then drilling it to immerse yourself in those good habits enables such gains -- and that's the same way to improve in LG and LR.

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ltowns1
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ltowns1 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:34 am

You can make a great improvement on RC.

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schmelling
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Post removed.

Postby schmelling » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:13 pm

Post removed.
Last edited by schmelling on Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

ilikebaseball
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ilikebaseball » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:27 pm

I still think its a spotlight, arrogant thread. Everyone watch me! I can get a 173!




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