Four Months to 173

Blueprint Ben
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Blueprint Ben » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:42 pm

Dog wrote:
RZ5646 wrote:Like the other guy said, use your full 35 minutes. I find that when I try to go super fast I make stupid mistakes, and then my extra 5+ minutes is useless because those stupid mistakes could be anywhere and you can't review the entire section in that time.



To each his own. I always finished LR with around 5-10 minutes left and reviewed only my circled, uncertain answers at the end. Got -1 total in LR on the real test, which was not far off from my practice averages.

Of course, I don't mean to say it's impossible to score really high with a severe time handicap. But the point is that you're unnecessarily taking a risk when you finish under time. If you're good enough that you can read every word carefully and solve every question correctly in under 30 minutes, I still say your goal should be to use the full 35. Slower is always better. Especially when you're at that level. Who wants to go -1 when you could have gone -0? For 175+ people, the difference is just a matter of taking the time to double check your work, or spending a minute more on a really tough question.

And especially for the OP, having the mentality of aiming to finish under time in your PTs will probably cause you to cut some corners/truncate your process early on, and that will lead you to develop bad habits. As long as you're finishing every section, your goal should be to slow down, rather than speed up.

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:15 am

nothingtosee wrote:IMO if you have 80 days you should take more than 20 PTs.


I'll try to take as many as I can!

NonTradLawHopeful wrote:Not sure I would call a 167 for your third PT a setback...do you blind review the tests afterwards? If not you are missing out on a critical part of improving.


I'm not blind reviewing right now because I think spending my time drilling by question type would be more efficient. Once I begin taking practice tests regularly, I'll try blind reviewing.

BP Ben wrote:
JustShowingUp wrote:The whole point of practice is to challenge yourself so much that the real test feels like a cakewalk. This is why I don’t plan on using a watch for the LSAT. If I prepare correctly, I should be finishing almost every section before the five minute warning. Instead of looking at my watch on the test, I should be looking at the questions. Instead of adjusting my watch during breaks, I should be meditating for a more effective mindset. This is the level of preparedness I hope to be by the test date.

First of all, I love this thread. I think this is an amazing idea, despite the flak you've taken from some posters here. It's a great motivational tool for you, and regardless of how your test turns out, it will be a useful resource for newcomers. I wish I had done something like this when I was studying.

But yeah, let's talk about timing:

Not using a watch is a nice thought in theory. I get where you're coming from. The idea is that you should be so automatic with your internal sense of timing that you won't need it. Awesome. You should aspire to reach that level, and with enough practice, I have no doubt that you'll get there. But not using a watch a terrible idea in practice. On game day, your internal sense of timing is the first thing to go. Nerves will cause you to stumble at least a little bit, even if you're the coolest, calmest test taker in the universe. That doesn't mean you can't 180. But you're definitely going to want a watch, just to make sure you're on pace.

Also, the bolded: ABSOLUTELY NOT! You should never practice finishing the sections with a severe time handicap. Seriously, don't do this. Internalizing a 30 minute pace will cause you to sacrifice points on test day. As you get better with timing, your goal should be to finish as close to 35 as possible without going over. Even if you think you can go -0 in 30 minutes every time, you shouldn't. Aim to reallocate all of the time you save on the easy questions to the hard questions. Your remaining time at the end of the section is never as well spent as it would have been if you allotted it to working more slowly on the toughest questions the first time through. If you're finishing in 30 minutes with great accuracy, then you should finish in 34:59 with perfect accuracy. As you get faster, you earn the luxury of slowing down. Slowing down is the thing that makes you better. Don't be a hero. Use the full 35 every time, even if you don't think you need it.


Thanks for the support Ben, I appreciate your insight! I'm definitely not stubborn and I will adjust if I'm hitting timing issues towards the end of my preparation process.

Would you happen to know if testing rooms have a timer in the front of the classroom? That would make all of this timing business a lot easier!

JFO1833 wrote:I would definitely bring a watch to the test, however I think it's a good idea to practice so you don't need it. During the test you could get completely thrown off on time and need to know to get readjusted.

The other use of a watch is to make sure you have all answers in before pencils down. Based on the five minute warning I tried to guesstimate the second that the section would end. Within roughly 20 seconds of that estimated end time I stopped all work because, assuming I was waffling between two answers at the very end, I would not want to be between erasure and bubbling when time was called.


Good point!

Week 4: Drilling Logic Games

Day 1

I took the day off from studying.

I’ve already made some mistakes in my preparation process. The most obvious mistake I’ve made so far is spending time on practice tests. I’m way too early in the process for tests, and I could have spent that test taking time on studying/drilling instead.

Taking a second test before doing any drilling is definitely a mistake, but it’s debatable if taking a diagnostic test is. I think it depends on your personality. If you are the type who gets motivated when you get your butt kicked, then taking a diagnostic test will do that for you. However, if you are the type who gets discouraged by a poor score, then you should take the more efficient studying path of avoiding tests until you’re done with your readings and drills. I think even if you are motivated by poor scores, you should still skip the diagnostic because it’s just not an efficient way of spending your time and you can always find other sources of motivation to keep you going until you get to the testing stage of your preparation.

I can see how this thread may get a bit boring without regular updates on practice test scores, so I'll take a day off every two weeks or so to take a practice test. However, if you are on your own, you definitely do not (probably should not) take practice tests until you are at least finished with drilling.

Day 2

I was really happy when I woke up this morning because I had my first uninterrupted night of sleep in a while. I was trying to figure out what I did differently that allowed me to sleep so well but it turns out I’m just catching a cold. I’m looking forward to getting better sleep for the next few days.

I began drilling balanced linear/sequencing games.

My strategy is to do the problems one by one and review by watching 7sage’s explanation. I’ll do each problem again after watching 7sage’s explanations. I’ll also create flash cards for each game. I think flashcards are important for making the most out of your study time. They are especially crucial if you are studying while working or going to school. You can look at your flashcards whenever you have some downtime and these tiny study sessions add up quickly when you can’t commit long hours to studying. The best part is you can make flashcards using your “exhausted” hours so you can save your “good” hours for studying.

I did a total of 10 balanced linear game today, there’s 12 left so I will push up my pace and finish those tomorrow.

Day 3

I was stomped by PT 32 Game 3 because I misread the at least x spaces rule.

Finishing the drills much faster despite the questions getting harder. Originally it was looking like it would take me 3 weeks to finish all the LG drills, but now, I’m confident I can finish in 2 weeks.

The cold is still developing, I’m looking forward to another few nights of good sleep. I’m starting to think that getting sick on the day before the LSAT would be more of a blessing than a curse because it helps so much with falling and staying asleep. I’m curious if anyone has any experience with this.

Day 4

It’s amazing how warm 36 degrees can feel when you’ve gotten used to -15 degrees wind chill.

I’m starting the advanced linear/sequencing question type today.

Writing on the master set up may be okay if it saves a lot of time. Erasing is much faster than redrawing the set up and all the inferences.

I misread PT 7 game 4’s rule and assumed the second rule required F to be before G. This caused me to miss the board splitting opportunity. Note: 7sage uses “board” instead of “setup” so I will be using the two interchangeably.

I’m starting to notice a trend in the mistake of my approach: not splitting the board enough. I avoid splitting to save time but I waste so much more time when I’m doing the questions without the splits. I also increase the chances of making mistakes by not splitting. It seems that over-splitting is usually better than under-splitting.

I’m on the 11th question and I’m starting to feel tired. It’s hard to gauge how far I can push myself because of the cold so I’ll do one more after this and call it a day.

For some reason, drilling questions isn’t as satisfying as reading the LG and LR bibles. It’s a lot easier to measure progress when I’m reading chapter after chapter of the bibles, but it’s a lot harder to measure my skill gain when drilling questions.

Day 5

Prep Test (PT) 25 – Game (G) 4 I spent a good bit of time splitting the board using the V-S rule. Turns out 7sage doesn’t. I think splitting is a better strategy for this question because there’s only 7 total boards and four of the questions ask you to fill out pretty much entire boards anyway so you aren’t saving that much time by skipping it.

PT26 – G1 In order to save time and also because I feel more comfortable with setups now, I’ve decided to skip making a flashcard for this question because the setup is relatively straightforward. Hopefully I’ll be able to make fewer and fewer flashcards as I gain competency.

PT28 – G3 This is the second game I am not making a flash card for. My sequencing setups are becoming automatic. Hopefully this trend will continue so I can pick up the speed of my drilling.

PT28 – G4 I should have known I set up my board incorrectly when I solved the whole thing with just the beginning rules. I redid the question. 3 possible board setups.
7sage says there’s 4 possible boards but two of them are repeats. I can’t believe I’m correcting 7sage videos! If this isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is! No flashcard!

PT30 – G3 I’m pretty much setting my boards up exactly the same way 7sage does. I’m going to shift my strategy to only making flashcards for hard setups from now on.
I have 8 questions left, I thought this would take a full study session to complete but it looks like I can finish in half the time. I’ll go print out a few more games for later.

PT36 – G2 Went through this question really quickly. Becoming much more effective at setting up boards. Hitting these easy games during drilling is like hitting one of those speed boosters in racing games. Vroom!

PT36 – G3 What a mess. The rules are almost all conditionals! I’m going to need to take a break after this.

Good to hear that even 7sage said this is a ridiculously hard question. He said if you don’t have a good foundation, don’t even try this. This is confirmation that my foundation is good!

There’s a lot to learn from this question. Giving a large number of conditional rules is one of the most effective ways of making a LG hard, so I have to work on games with a lot of conditional rules to become comfortable with this.

I split the board 3 times with one of the boards completely solved, 7sage went straight to the questions. I think splitting may be wise for this game but it’s a gamble. If you try to split and find out there’s too many possibilities to split effectively, then you’ve just wasted a lot of time. But if you do manage to get a handful of splits, then a lot of the hard questions become really simple.

This was a really hard question, if I run into a few more of these, I’m going to have to change my plan of doing more questions after I finish this set.

PT36 – G4 Another speed booster. I don’t need to check 7sage for this question.

I’m going to take a break and reread a book I’ve found helpful for increasing reading skills. The book is called How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading http://smile.amazon.com/dp/0671212095 If you are on a short study schedule and haven’t read this book before, then you might want to skip it to save time. But I highly recommend everyone read this book at some point. The skills taught in this book are invaluable.

Although the content is good, there’s a good amount of fluff in this book, you can pretty much skim chapters 1-3 for parts that talk about the structure of this book, skip everything else. I’ll be highlighting key points from the important chapters

Chapter 4

Inspectional Reading: 2 types

1) Systematic skimming or pre-reading: aim is to find out if the book deserves to be read. Read:

    1. Title + Preface
    2. Table of Content
    3. Index
    4. Publisher blurb
    5. Chapters that look important to the central argument
    6. First sentence or two of each page
    7. Last pages/epilogue of the book for summary

2) Superficial Reading

    1. If reading a tough book for the first time, read it through without stopping to check if you understand
    2. Concentrate on things you do understand

Finished chapter 4, back to the games

PT37 – G1 Relatively easy. 7sage has a good tip for splitting the board.

PT37 – G2 I split the board 3 times but 7sage didn’t. I think I’ve fallen in love with splitting. Question 8 requires a full board, and another question requires partial boars, so I think it may be a better idea to just do the 3 board splits first since you’re doing almost the same amount of work anyway. The general trend seems to be over-splitting > under-splitting.

I’m going to take a break and see how many more games I can do today.

Kobe Bryant - The Vigorous Worker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0fmMnicFNg

I’ve never been a fan of the Lakers but I have always admired Kobe Bryant. I can’t name 5 other players in the history of the NBA who has worked harder than Kobe Bryant. He has played through just about every injury you can think of. He pushed himself until his body broke down and then pushed some more. He exhausted himself in every way possible to accomplish his goals. His greatness is not an accident, and his work ethic is why he’ll be remembered as a legend.

PT37 – G4 3 board split, pretty straight forward. After reviewing 7sage, I realized I should have used a single layer sequence instead of a double layer. I missed the KL block inference that allowed K to be on 5 and L on 6.

2 more games and I’ll be done with this game set. Looks like the other games will have to wait until tomorrow, I’m reaching my limit.

PT 38 – G2 This is the first game that 7sage called hard but I found easy. Good sign of progress. I missed the initial inference that L always = 1. I think I missed enough inferences in this game to justify a flashcard: the first one in a while.

PT38 – G4 Question 21 was tricky to me. Glad I learned this inference for future games.

7sage’s video is a must watch for this game. I approached this by creating a 5x5 grid and writing a separate list of the relationships that share no links. 7sage shows how to use a more intuitive star set up. Flashcard.

I’m done for today, I’m finished with advanced balanced linear/sequencing games. Will move on to unbalanced games tomorrow.

Day 6

Started unbalanced linear/sequencing games.

PT 2 – G2 is difficult to find a split for. My master board is a double layer sequence setup with only one spot x’d out. It’s inefficient to go through all the rules for each question, I hope 7sage has a helpful split. The split feels like it’s going to be the LX block rule because of how it restricts the MN block placement and the KP block placement. Going to redo this question with those splits.

Never mind, the LX block split wasn’t as restrictive as I thought. The questions themselves were relatively easy, the same inference got tested a few times. It’s just hard to feel comfortable going by the rules alone without any splits. Hopefully 7sage has some useful advice.

I don’t agree with 7sage’s approach of laying the setup horizontally because the vertical approach for an apartment building setup is more intuitive. 7sage had to retranslate each rule to fit the horizontal setup. This is an extra step that will introduce chances for error in my opinion.

Looks like 7sage doesn’t split neither. But I did notice that not-laws were really helpful for this game. Maybe the general rule for sequencing games is that not-laws will be tested more directly on games without splits. I noticed that this game’s questions tested not-law inferences that were only 1 or 2 steps deep. When boards are splittable, not-laws are usually tested a few steps deeper.

I’ve mostly stopped writing not-laws in the past few days because splitting made them redundant. But if this trend of non-splittable games continue, I’ll begin writing not-laws again.

I need to review this game in the future.

PT8 – G1 Another time consuming game. 7sage: “This is a simple game.” Agree to disagree! But hopefully with more practice, I’ll get a chance to agree the next time I do this game.

I’m going to do one more question and then read How to Read a Book. I’m not hitting a groove with these questions so it’s pretty taxing to try and absorb everything. I’m hoping that reading a book will help me switch gears and maximize how much preparation I can do today.

PT10 – G2 This game was very easy. I didn’t do a split but I think splitting may be helpful if I split using L. I hope this game is an indication of me hitting some kind of groove for this set. I’m also hoping to get a game like this on test day.

Break time. Videos, then book.

Be Fearless
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjjYVROiJIA

Prepare to Die
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pi7oqZ6ioU

Chapter 5 – How to Be a Demanding Reader

Ask these 4 questions:

    1. What is the book about as a whole? Themes/topics
    2. What is being said in detail, and how? Main ideas/arguments
    3. Is the book true, in whole or part? Make up your own mind
    4. What of it? Why did the author bother giving the info s/he did?

Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author.

Marking a book is crucial to active reading. Some ways to do it:

    1. Underlining/circling major points
    2. Vertical lines in the margin to emphasize underlined section or to more efficiently underline a long passage
    3. Numbers in the margin to indicate a sequence of points
    4. Numbers of other pages in the margin to point to related information on other pages
    5. Write in margins for 1) questions 2) summary 3) recording major points and sequencing them throughout the book.

Inspectional reading questions:

    1. What kind of book is it?
    2. What is it about as a whole?
    3. What is the structure order used to develop the author’s thoughts?

Finished chapter 5, a lot of skippable stuff in the latter half of the chapter.

PT15 – G3 Time consuming game, no splits. I’m realizing the importance of earning extra time on easier games for games like this that requires you to brute force each question by going through the rules one by one.

PT21 – G2 Relatively easy game but still feels awkward because of the lack of splits. All the rules are conditional so I should review this with PT36 – G3 which also had a lot of conditional rules.

PT31 – G3 Again, a lot of brute forcing.

7sage review: I’ve gotten so used to not splitting that I didn’t even try to on this game. Seeing 7sage split the board made me really happy for some reason. Like seeing an old friend. On test day, I’m going to be doing a few games to warm up before the actual test. I will need to do one game that allows split and one game that has a lot of conditional rules so I won’t be caught off guard.

PT34 – G1 Not an easy game but it was fun to split the board again.

PT34 – G2 Easiest game I’ve ever done. Fun way to finish the set and the study session.

Day 7

Started advanced unbalanced grouping games.

PT1 – G2 This was a very easy game. 7sage recommended splitting the board using a grid setup, but I used boxes and triangles to represent machines that were bought in the same year to avoid splitting. I think this game is simple enough that skipping board splitting will probably allow you to save more time than you lose.

Here’s the set up I used: http://i.imgur.com/491AsNs.png

PT1 – G4 Very simple game. 7sage’s board split is very good.

PT14 – G4 Very simple game.

PT16 – G3 Fairly simple game. I try to skip writing rules down if they can be represented on the board, but it may be better to write them down anyway because some questions suspend certain rules and it can get messy if the rules aren’t written down. I didn’t split this game but I should have, I may need to make a flashcard for this if I forget to split it again when I redo it.

PT17 – G3 Very easy game with the boards split up. I’m a bit confused about why 7sage chose a vertical setup here but didn’t go with a vertical setup for the apartment building game. 7sage’s reasoning for using a horizontal setup for the apartment building game was consistency. He wants to do each game horizontally. Yet, this game really doesn’t need to be vertical, but was done vertically anyway.

Break time: The Battle is Won Before It's Fought

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-J76J-rkpg

PT20 – G1 Relatively easy game. I missed the inference that P is always in the middle seat and I also missed that T was a floater until it showed up in a question.

PT21 – G3 Very simple game. It’s oddly gratifying to do a game that splits so well and has fun inferences.

PT21 – G4 Relatively simple game, I didn’t catch the HJ inference at first but one of the questions directly asked about the inference and the rest of the questions became really easy after the inference was made.

PT22 – G3 Simple game but wow, the first question was a tricky one. It’s a conditional relationship. I made the mistaken reversal error. I’m making a lot more errors in this question set than previous ones, I have to redo this set a few times.

PT31 – G1 I did this game on my practice test last week. I feel so much more confident and comfortable after all this drilling. The inferences are becoming automatic and I can anticipate some of the questions that will be asked. This is a really good sign.

PT32 – G4 Relatively simple game. I split the board up using the H rule but 7sage didn’t so it may not be necessary. At this point, I’m all for over-splitting as opposed to under-splitting. Any rule that has 6 or less splits is getting split. It takes just a few seconds to draw some lines, and the questions will usually require you to partially fill out splits anyway, so why not? At most you sacrifice a few seconds but gain a lot of clarity and accuracy. I did get question 23 wrong. I need to be more careful about conditionals in questions and answers.

PT33 – G4 This is a really really hard question. I must’ve missed an inference somewhere, because a lot of the problems just don’t make any sense. 7sage: “It’s kind of an easy game.” Yep, I missed something.

Okay, now this game is easy. I misread the exactly one Y on each side of the street rule. I thought it said one Y on each end of the street.

PT35 – G3 Very easy game with the board splits.

Done with this set.

Next Week

I think I can finish all the grouping game types in about four days. The rest of the question types will take me at least 2 days, but more likely 3 days. So there is a chance I can finish all my LG drills by Day 6. If I do, I’ll take off Day 7 from studying to do a practice test.
Last edited by JustShowingUp on Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:02 am

Just think about all the future TLSers who will obsessively study this thread hahaha

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nlee10
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby nlee10 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:14 am

I wouldn't count on having a nice clock in front of the room. In my testing room, there was a small ass one in the back corner. Without a watch, it would've costed you a few seconds to look up and turn around just to get a glimpse of the time.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby nothingtosee » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:26 am

nlee10 wrote:I wouldn't count on having a nice clock in front of the room. In my testing room, there was a small ass one in the back corner. Without a watch, it would've costed you a few seconds to look up and turn around just to get a glimpse of the time.


Mine didn't have a seconds hand :shock:

NonTradLawHopeful
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby NonTradLawHopeful » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:22 am

I agree you don't need to take too many PTs in the beginning, but they are nice as barometers of your progress every so often during drilling. I HIGHLY recommend you BR every single PT you take regardless of where you are in your prep. That will give you the truest gauge of where you stand on your understanding of each question type.

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:57 am

Week 5: More Logic Games

Day 1

Started defined fixed balanced grouping games.

PT12 – G2 Relatively easy game, just have to remember not to fall in love with splitting and jump straight to the questions if I don’t find a split within a few seconds. I used not-blocks to represent variables that can’t be together, 7sage uses conditionals. I think not-blocks are probably more intuitive to use and you don’t need to take an extra mental step to use the contrapositive. I also like to write the not-laws on the actual game board instead of writing a conditional rule to the side. But then again, a question may ask you to suspend a rule, so writing down the rules is probably a good idea. I’d still write the not-laws on the board though.

PT13 – G1 This game is probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen. It’s very creative. The inferences needed for questions 2, 3, and 5 are designed very well. I took so long on this game that I actually took a break between questions, definitely need to review this in the future.

7sage: Great idea to split the board, the game becomes so much easier that way.

PT16 – G1 Grouping games are my weakness. I’m not sure if this is hard for everyone or just me. If it is just me, it’s interesting to discover what my brain is good with and what it isn't. I wonder if there are any everyday tasks that uses the same skillset that are used for grouping games. When I get better at grouping games, will I notice an improvement in those tasks as well?

Questions 3, 5, and 6 are pretty much the same question. I wonder if this is common for this type of game.

PT18 – G1 Relatively straight forward game but still took me awhile. I’m going to reread LG Bible’s chapter on grouping games tomorrow.

PT19 – G3 Starting to hit a groove, but I missed the inferences that F1 G2 is possible. I’m a bit uncomfortable with conditionals in grouping games.

7sage treats this as an in and out game. I don’t even know what the distinction between fixed games and in and out games are. I think there was a chapter or a section about in and out games in the LG Bible too.

I think I better stop here because I’m fundamentally approaching these games the wrong way. I need to review the chapters on this game type before doing any more games.

Day 2


I was planning on reviewing my LG Bible today but I accidentally brought my LR bible instead. This isn’t a big deal because I can keep practicing games but I need to avoid making careless mistakes like this in the future.

PT19 – G4 I am really curious about why grouping games are so difficult to me. 3/5 wrong on this game. Out of everything I’ve done so far, grouping games are giving me the biggest challenge. I need to spend a lot more time on this game type in the future. Another confirmation of my weakness in this game type is 7sage calling this a really easy game.

I think my basic approach is correct but my rules aren’t written as clearly as they need to be. This game became a lot easier on my re-do once I spent some more time writing out the rules in a clearer way.

PT37 – G3 Finished this game at a good pace. This was a much easier game to me than the last one. Interestingly, 7sage calls this the hardest game in the set. It looks like I’m really at odds with 7sage.

PT38 – G3 Kind of a hard game, I should’ve worked from the splits.

Finished problem set.

Started defined fixed unbalanced grouping games.

PT4 – G2 The whole game was solved in 3 splits, must’ve made a mistake somewhere. Never mind, just an easy game.

PT5 – G2 Easy game but can’t figure out question 11. Forgot the rule that you can’t have both a small and a large, this question makes sense now.

7sage: I think some of the some of the conditionals can be represented visually like this:

http://i.imgur.com/kbu7F1A.png

PT5 – G3 Easy game

PT9 – G1 Easy game

PT9 – G2 I think I’m hitting the groove on this question type. Easy game

PT15 – G4 Easy game

PT22 – G4 This game kicked my butt. I got 2/5 wrong and went over time. The rules are mostly conditional so it’s not surprising that this was both time consuming and hard. Adding this to the list of conditional heavy rules games I’ll review in the future.

PT23 – G3 This one took a while but isn’t the hardest game out there.

Day 3

I forgot to bring my LG Bible yesterday, but today, I forgot to bring my games. This won’t really slow my preparation too much but I am still getting a little ticked off by these avoidable mistakes/oversights. There are enough legitimate reasons for being thrown off schedule that it’s important not to get into a habit of letting silly mistakes do the same.

I reviewed the chapter on grouping games but it didn’t really teach me anything I don’t already know by now. Plus, some of the strategies seem a little outdated compared to the 7sage approach. This reinforces the importance of not spending too much time with the bibles in the beginning of the preparation process. By not spending an extra week reading those books more carefully, I saved myself tens of hours of study time to do actual games/problems. This is far more efficient.

Started LG Rechallenge Set #1
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #1 I feel so much more competent with these games now. A lot of the problem solving process is becoming automatic.

Started LG Rechallenge Set #2
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #2 I got stuck on the last game because I made the mistaken reversal error on question 19 and 20. Need to review games with lots of conditional rules.

Started LG Rechallenge Set #3
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #3 Just realized these sets are using games from the mid 2000’s. I want to save those tests for later so I’ll be skipping these games from now on.

Started LG Rechallenge Set #4
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #4

Started LG Rechallenge Set #5
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #5

Started LG Rechallenge Set #6
Completed LG Rechallenge Set #6

Done for the day.

Day 4

I was supposed to be finishing grouping games today but it looks like I will be at least two days behind schedule.

PT24 – G4 This is a hard game because a lot of the rules are conditional. I need to add this to the list of games with a lot of conditional rules to practice with.

7sage: This is one of the best 7sage videos I’ve watched yet. I missed some really powerful inferences that could have made this game much easier.

PT26 – G4 Pretty hard game, need to review.

PT29 – G2 I completely bombed this game. Must have missed some kind of inference.

Took a long break and came back to finish everything correctly. I will need to review this in the future.

PT30 – G1 This was a repeat from my practice test. Took me awhile to do even though I’ve already done it before but with the 7sage setup I was far more confident.

PT35 – G1 Relatively easy game. I like the extra variable and the setup required for this game. This is a strong candidate for my warmup question set on test day.

P35 – G2 Very easy and satisfying to do. The setup grid is beautiful.

Finished defined fixed unbalanced grouping games.

Started defined moving grouping games

PT6 – G1 Relatively easy game, was a bit slow because of unfamiliarity with moving games.

Day 5

PT7 – G3 Very easy game

PT11 – G1 Very easy game. Grouping games are becoming very intuitive to me.

PT11 – G3 Fairly easy game but question 18 was hard because all the answers were conditionals. I also misread the last rule as either M or P must be selected but not both. This led to two mistakes.

PT14 – G1 Very easy game

PT14 – G3 Easy game, fun inferences

PT 21 – G1 Easy game

PT22 – G1 Repeat game, felt much simpler this time around

PT24 – G1 Easy game

PT25 – G2 Very easy game

PT26 – G3 Easy game

PT27 – G3 Another repeat

PT29 – G1 Another repeat, but this game feels very easy now.

Tip: Cross out the entire answer choice, not just the answer letter. This takes a lot of clutter away.

PT33 – G3 Question 17 was tricky but this was an easy game overall.

PT34 – G4 Rules are all conditional. Need to practice this in the future with all the other conditional rule heavy games.

I think this game is solved with 2 boards, hard to say for sure because conditionals are hard to split.

Never mind, the game wasn’t solved. There’s at least 6 boards.

7sage: I really need to adopt 7sage’s in and out game approach. The game became much easier to deal with using the in and out approach rather than letters + subscripts.

Finished game set.

Started partially defined grouping games

PT3 – G4 Easy game

PT8 – G4 Easy game

PT12 – G3 One of the easiest games so far

PT18 – G4 very easy game

PT24 – G1 Fairly easy game. Made a mistake again because of mistaken reversal of the K -> J conditional rule.

PT32 – G2 Repeat game.

Finished game set.

Day 6

Started linear combination grouping games

PT3 – G3 Slightly strange setup but an easy overall game

PT8 – G2 This was a really fun and easy game. Unique setup.

PT10 – G4 Another game that has a lot of conditional rules. I’ll add this to the list. Overall, this was a really easy game. I think I’m finally starting to “get it” when it comes to grouping games. I’m anticipating almost every answer and I’m starting to have an instinctual sense of what will be tested. This is definitely one of those turn the corner moments for me.

PT13 – G3 Repeat game. Repeating games is a really good way to solidify strategies and develop instincts.

PT27 – G2 Very time consuming game, especially with how it formats questions like #7 which made me dizzy. Need to review and practice in the future.

PT30 – G2 Repeat game, but felt really tough. A lot of conditional rules.

PT31 – G4 Really getting the hang of the games. The core inferences are becoming really obvious, it’s becoming easier to anticipate questions and answers. For example, Q21 is time consuming if you run down each answer one by one, but it’s very quick if you check for I/K, L/O, and L/G.

7sage: I think a better set up is to use a grid with potential members on one axis and jobs on the other axis.

PT32 – G1 Wait a second, isn’t this game almost exactly the same as PT13 – G3? I can’t imagine modern LSATs repeating games almost verbatim like this, right?

The questions for this game felt different from PT13 – G3’s but they were still much easier because I knew exactly how to set up the board. I also anticipated a few of the questions. I’m starting to see a limitation in the variation of games.

Finished game set.

Started undefined grouping games

PT23 – G2 Really time consuming game. A bunch of conditional rules and not much to setup, I hope 7sage has some helpful advice.

7sage: 7sage is usually great by default, but I guess this problem is just one of those hard games you get every once in a while.

Day 7

PT31 – G2 This game still feels hard, I’m not surprised I had a lot of trouble with this on my first timed practice test. There’s a lot of conditional rules and some of them are difficult to represent. I’m not a fan of using too many subscripts because it really clutters up everything but I’m not sure what a better alternative would be.

Misread the either rap = no soul rule as both rap = no soul. Game became a lot easier after realizing this.

PT33 – G2 Repeat game

PT36 – G1 Relatively easy game. Another one of those games with all conditional rules.

Started mapping games

PT4 – G4 If this game is any indication, mapping games will probably be among the most creative games of the LSAT. I like dealing with these graphical games more than games with a bunch of conditional rules and almost no setup.

PT6 – G3 This game is incredibly easy once you get through the initial inference. It’s a shame games like this don’t appear on modern LSATs anymore, I find these much more intuitive than some of the grouping games.

Next Week

I'm a bit behind schedule but I should be done with logic games before Day 4 next week. I also received my Manahattan LSAT logical reasoning book in the mail this week so I'll start reading it once I finish my games. I'll also be drilling LR questions group by type while reading MLSAT's book.

I feel like I've made a lot of progress on my games these past two weeks but I'm still not at that super comfortable level of competence yet. I think I need at least 2 more drilling cycles before I really start knocking this section out of the park. Once I finish my LR drilling, I'm going to change up my study habits. So far, I've been focusing exclusively on one section at a time for days and weeks at a time. I'm beginning to doubt this is the most efficient way to study and I think I can make more progress by studying all three sections at once.

I'm also going to take my third timed practice test next week and I'm excited to find out how much progress I've made. I'm hoping my LG's range will fall in line with my LR's range of -1 to -3 while my RC remains the biggest weakness. I can't wait to really tackle RC and get that huge 5+ point jump later on in my preparation process.

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ltowns1
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ltowns1 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:07 am

RZ5646 wrote:Just think about all the future TLSers who will obsessively study this thread hahaha



That's exactly what I was thinking. If justshowingup can pull this off, it will help many.

Blueprint Ben
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Blueprint Ben » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:08 am

JustShowingUp wrote:I feel like I've made a lot of progress on my games these past two weeks but I'm still not at that super comfortable level of competence yet. I think I need at least 2 more drilling cycles before I really start knocking this section out of the park. Once I finish my LR drilling, I'm going to change up my study habits. So far, I've been focusing exclusively on one section at a time for days and weeks at a time. I'm beginning to doubt this is the most efficient way to study and I think I can make more progress by studying all three sections at once.

Hey JSU -- I actually dropped in to post the bolded, but it looks like you're already attuned to the idea that studying all 3 sections together is a more efficient process.

Here's my theory: Particularly at the beginning of your prep, you're learning a lot of skills that are transferable across the sections. For instance, as your LG skills improve, it will likely have an impact on your LR game too (e.g., you'll become faster at visualizing conditional relationships, etc). RC and LR skills are also transferable -- you'll begin to see improvements in your reading speed and your ability to recognize argumentative structure, which are foundational skills in both sections.

In the beginning, you want to capitalize on that progress as much as possible by dividing your study time roughly equally among the 3 sections. Your skills will multiply exponentially, and you won't have to re-learn anything you forgot because, let's say, you haven't touched a logic game in over a month. It will make your study time much more efficient, and it will get you to your target score more quickly.

So I'd say the sooner you can start to merge your prep routine to incorporate all three sections, the better.

Best of luck! Keep killing it. Etc, etc.

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:58 pm

ltowns1 wrote:
RZ5646 wrote:Just think about all the future TLSers who will obsessively study this thread hahaha



That's exactly what I was thinking. If justshowingup can pull this off, it will help many.


Maybe, maybe not. I think getting a 99th percentile score is a highly personal thing. Someone might be inspired to work harder by reading this thread, but I kinda doubt that OP is going to reveal some magic bullet that helps everyone get a higher score. But future TLSers will pore over this thread searching for that magic bullet regardless.

But if it keeps OP on track, good for him. He's doing a lot more studying than I am, and writing this every week probably motivates him to keep it up.

Blueprint Ben
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Blueprint Ben » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:24 pm

RZ5646 wrote:Maybe, maybe not. I think getting a 99th percentile score is a highly personal thing. Someone might be inspired to work harder by reading this thread, but I kinda doubt that OP is going to reveal some magic bullet that helps everyone get a higher score. But future TLSers will pore over this thread searching for that magic bullet regardless.

But if it keeps OP on track, good for him. He's doing a lot more studying than I am, and writing this every week probably motivates him to keep it up.

Twist: Working harder is the magic bullet.

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nlee10
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby nlee10 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:27 pm

Were we ever told if OP has a diag score?

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:43 pm

nlee10 wrote:Were we ever told if OP has a diag score?


I'm not going to reread those enormous blocks of text but I seem to recall him getting in the mid 160s for his first PTs, so it was probably somewhat high.

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ltowns1
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby ltowns1 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:24 am

RZ5646 wrote:
ltowns1 wrote:
RZ5646 wrote:Just think about all the future TLSers who will obsessively study this thread hahaha



That's exactly what I was thinking. If justshowingup can pull this off, it will help many.


Maybe, maybe not. I think getting a 99th percentile score is a highly personal thing. Someone might be inspired to work harder by reading this thread, but I kinda doubt that OP is going to reveal some magic bullet that helps everyone get a higher score. But future TLSers will pore over this thread searching for that magic bullet regardless.

But if it keeps OP on track, good for him. He's doing a lot more studying than I am, and writing this every week probably motivates him to keep it up.



I would agree with you when you say it's not a magic bullet, but I do think it can help many. Having basically a step by step process through which someone went through can help others. I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone has gone to this extent, and this amount of detail.

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:58 pm

BP Ben wrote:
JustShowingUp wrote:I feel like I've made a lot of progress on my games these past two weeks but I'm still not at that super comfortable level of competence yet. I think I need at least 2 more drilling cycles before I really start knocking this section out of the park. Once I finish my LR drilling, I'm going to change up my study habits. So far, I've been focusing exclusively on one section at a time for days and weeks at a time. I'm beginning to doubt this is the most efficient way to study and I think I can make more progress by studying all three sections at once.

Hey JSU -- I actually dropped in to post the bolded, but it looks like you're already attuned to the idea that studying all 3 sections together is a more efficient process.

Here's my theory: Particularly at the beginning of your prep, you're learning a lot of skills that are transferable across the sections. For instance, as your LG skills improve, it will likely have an impact on your LR game too (e.g., you'll become faster at visualizing conditional relationships, etc). RC and LR skills are also transferable -- you'll begin to see improvements in your reading speed and your ability to recognize argumentative structure, which are foundational skills in both sections.

In the beginning, you want to capitalize on that progress as much as possible by dividing your study time roughly equally among the 3 sections. Your skills will multiply exponentially, and you won't have to re-learn anything you forgot because, let's say, you haven't touched a logic game in over a month. It will make your study time much more efficient, and it will get you to your target score more quickly.

So I'd say the sooner you can start to merge your prep routine to incorporate all three sections, the better.

Best of luck! Keep killing it. Etc, etc.


Thanks for the tips Ben, I'll keep them in mind!

Week 6: Wishes Do Come True

Day 1


PT6 – G4 Very unique game. Trying to draw the diagram for this game actually hurt more than it helped. The best way to approach this is to line up JKL on one side and MO on the other. There was no point in worrying about intersecting bridges.

7sage: Great idea to split the game board, I didn’t even think about doing it.

PT9 – G4 Really fun game. I’m disappointed these games aren’t on modern LSATs anymore.

PT15 – G2 Repeat game.

PT18 – G3 Interesting game but the wording on some of the questions and answers are a little confusing.

Finished mapping games

Started pattern games

PT9 – G3 Repeat game

Day 2

PT10 – G3 I’m having a lot of trouble with the first question, I can’t figure out how to decide between answer A and B. They both seem to satisfy all the rules. Times like this make me glad I have access to the internet. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to self-study and get stuck on a question before the internet.

The rest of the questions were relatively easy. I’m going to avoid reviewing this game with 7sage for now because I want to give it another shot later on to see if I can solve the first question on my own.

Still kind of hard.

Pt13 – G4 This is a deceptively fast and simple game once you take some time to get the pattern down. The rules are surprisingly restrictive. I’m a bit disappointed that a lot of these unique and creative games are no longer in modern LSATs because it looked like earlier test makers were really trying to push the boundaries of what a logic game could be. I’m going to take a modern LSAT as my next practice test to check out what modern games are like. I’m assuming they aren’t really going throw any curveballs and most if not all of the games are just variations of linear and grouping games.

PT16 – G4 Very time consuming game. These pattern games use a distinctly different skillset than grouping/linear games. I’m happy I don’t have to watch out for a game like this on the test day but I am still curious about why these were taken out. Maybe it’s harder to standardize the difficulty of these pattern games than linear/grouping games?

7sage: Great explanation. I love how simple the first game became with the correct inference.

PT20 – G3 Fairly simple game. The same inference was tested in several questions. I noticed that I’m beginning to prephrase a lot of questions and a lot of answers. For anyone reading this in the future, I would skip the games I've been doing for the past few days if you have a tight schedule. These are all outdated games that don’t appear on modern LSATs so your time would be better spent on linear and grouping games. I’m going to finish the rest of the games for completeness sake and to confirm that you’re not missing out on much by not doing them. I’m not planning on redrilling any of these questions in the future.

PT23 – G4 Repeat game. Always good to reinforce inferences.

Finished pattern games

Manhattan LSAT Logical Reasoning 4th Edition

Chapter 1

Manhattan’s book knows how to make a great first impression. The spacing between the lines, the large margins, and the lack of text clutter in the margins make the book very readable. I don’t feel like I’m confronted with a wall of information that requires me to dart in and out of the margins to read anymore. I know these are “superficial” observations and that the real value should be determined in the content but if I’m spending tens of hours on a book, any slight improvement that makes the learning process more efficient will pay dividends. So kudos on the formatting and layout!

Chapter 1 gives great advice on how to study for the LSAT. Focus on process and mastery. Very applicable to life in general.

Chapter 2: Read with a sense of purpose.

Day 3

Started pure sequencing games

PT1 – G3 Very easy game

PT2 – G1 Very easy game, I’m guessing modern LSATs do not have games this easy.

PT4 – G1 Very easy

PT6 – G2 Easy game. Looks like all pure sequencing games are going to be extremely easy.

PT10 – G1

PT33 – G1

PT 38 – G1

Finished pure sequencing. I recommend everyone skipping these games because they were too easy; you can learn more by redoing other sequencing game types.

Started rare games

PT1 – G1 Repeat game

PT 2 – G3 very easy game

PT 5 – G1 Easy but unusual game

PT11 – G2 Easy game

PT11 – G4 Very easy game

PT11 – G4 I disagree with 7sage’s approach of splitting the master board because you’d have to split 6 times for only 5 questions. I used geometric shapes to represent the rules and this made the game go by much faster:

http://i.imgur.com/c4EezbG.png

PT12 – G4 Very time consuming game. 7sage’s board split strategy is great.

Finished set. Done with all LGs. Practice test tomorrow!

Day 4

I woke up feeling absolutely fantastic. This is one of the best days I’ve had in months. I’m really looking forward to taking my third timed practice test (preptest 46).

Breakfast: Coffee and a chicken salad sandwich.

Emotion + psychology: I'm very confident I can break 170 today but I’m also already flinching at the thought of another score drop. I would be shocked as well as really bummed out if I see another score drop today. I’ve already studied around 200 hours over five and a half weeks and I’m about a third of the way through my preparation process. Time is ticking down and I really need to start seeing some score gains.

However, I am still early enough in my preparation process that I wouldn’t mind getting my butt kicked one more time for that super shot of motivation. If I do fail today, under near perfect test taking mental conditions, I can see this as a wakeup call for me to kick things into another gear.

Post-test:

My testing stamina dropped significantly. I was exhausted by the time I was halfway through the second section. I was pretty sure I messed up on the second and third section (both LR sections) by the time I went on break.

However, I finished the logic games section (section 4) with almost 15 minutes left. I’m not sure if it’s because of my drilling or because modern LGs are easier than older ones, but this LG section felt like a joke. I had enough time to double checking every question.

I haven’t scored the test yet and it’s possible I missed a few LG questions due to preventable errors but if modern LSATs continue to have LG sections this easy, then I expect to have perfect scores on this section on the test day. In fact, I would love it if the test day experimental section was LG as well.

Section 1: Reading Comprehension (-4)

http://i.imgur.com/vNGlA3F.png

I am still steadily improving my timing for reading comprehension. Last time, I mentioned that I expected to be able to do at least half of the questions of the last passage and that’s pretty much exactly what happened this time around. I think my timing improvement is understated by my score because modern (post PT40) LSATs have harder RC sections than the previous practice tests I’ve taken. I’m hoping to continue seeing “natural” improvements as I work through logical reasoning drills.

Section 2: Logical Reasoning (-4)

http://i.imgur.com/onMOx72.png

This logical reasoning section felt tougher than previous ones. It has 11 hard (4 and 5 star difficulty) questions versus PT32’s 8 hard questions. Timing wasn’t a problem but my accuracy dropped a lot and I had trouble fully understanding some of the questions and answers.

Section 3: Logical Reasoning (-5)

http://i.imgur.com/Y3IMULp.png

Wow, I really didn’t expect to do this poorly. I think my endurance played a role here because this was not an especially difficult section (only 8 hard questions). I think I can expect to increase my score here by at least a point or two by upping my endurance.

Section 4: Logic Games (-1)

http://i.imgur.com/S3Pr5aw.png

As expected, I absolutely destroyed this section. The one mistake I made was caused by a lack of concentration, not skill. Although I’ve read modern LSATs have easier LG sections, I can’t imagine future LG sections will always be this easy. According to 7sage, there were only 2 hard questions in this section, and not a single one of them was 5 stars in difficulty.

Reported score: 166

… What?

I’m almost speechless. I know I didn’t do my best on the logical reasoning sections but I didn’t expect to actually see a score drop! I went back and checked my answer sheet and test papers a few times and yep, 166.

I guess the lesson here is be careful of what you wish for, because it just may come true! I was asking to get my butt kicked, and the LSAT obliged.

Setbacks are inevitable in life. It’s a really crappy feeling to work really hard for something and fail to get it. You’ll pretty much experience every negative emotion in the book when this happens. Loss of confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, yep, that’s all hardwired into us. We’re like robots, we’re programmed to respond the same way to the same stimuli. We’re all running on our predetermined emotional script.

It really sucks the first few times you fail, but after a while, you’ll actually start enjoying it because you see the value of failure. Failure is freeing: it allows you to leave all your ego and pretentions behind. It allows you to just be you and not worry about falling behind or keeping ahead of others. I don’t think a person can truly be confident in him or herself if he or she has never truly been tested by failure. I think confidence comes from knowing that you can get knocked down to your absolute lowest but still have the will to work yourself back up. Once you’ve gone through that level of failure a few times, it becomes hard to take most “fears” and “doubts” seriously. You’ll start approaching every obstacle with a “been there, done that” attitude. And that attitude pretty much becomes your new mindset for the rest of your life. So don’t be discouraged by failure, it’s an opportunity life gives you to evolve as a person. But be prepared to work yourself back up. Be prepared to work really really really hard.

Day 5

Started reading chapter 3 of Manhattan LSAT’s Logical Reasoning book.

Chapter 3 – Assumption Questions

Approach: 1) Identify argument core (premise + conclusion) 2) Evaluate the logic of the core

Assumption questions are not logically sound, there’s always a gap in the logic.

My approach for mastering this question type is to use abstract terms to describe the role of each part of the stimulus to get used to breaking down arguments structurally. I will also use abstract terms to rephrase answer choices to prepare myself for method of reasoning questions. MLSAT says your job during the exam is NOT to categorize wrong answers, but I think this is good for drilling/practicing, so I’ll add this to my to-do list as well.

Stopped about half way through to do two LG questions:

PT3 – G1
PT3 – G2 These two are very easy games.

Day 6

Manhattan describes sufficient/necessary assumptions the same way Powerscore describes the supporter/defender assumptions.

Necessary assumptions do not need to completely bridge the logical gap. Sufficient assumptions must bridge the gap (and then some). The two can overlap at the point where the logical gap is bridged but necessary assumptions can’t go any further.

For example: A meal costs $10. Jake has enough money to pay for it.

Necessary assumption: Jake has more than $0 - $9.99.

Sufficient assumption: Jake has more than $10 - $infinity

Both: Jake has exactly $10.

I noticed that Manhattan’s font color/density is a bit light. I have trouble focusing my eyes on the text sometimes because the grayish font color doesn’t contrast with the white pages as sharply as the darker colors used in other books. Minor complaint but it’s enough to notice.

Reverse logic/mistaken reversal answers are going to cause a lot of problems. They are great trap answers. I need to start prephrasing reverse logic answers for questions that involve conditional logic to avoid these traps.

I’m still not very comfortable with conditional logic. I’m still spending a lot of time trying to decipher what the necessary and what the sufficient elements are. Need a lot of practice here.

Negating answers is useful for finding necessary assumption answers.

Day 7

I’m becoming automatic at differentiating necessary and sufficient question stems. I’m also really starting to understand the nuances of this question type. Aside from getting more comfortable with conditional logic, I’m very confident with sufficient assumptions. However, I still need to practice more necessary assumption questions because their answers often come out of left field.

The questions at the end of the chapter were all relatively easy. It took me 3 days to get through this chapter but I feel a lot more confident with this question type now. I know what steps to take to solve assumption questions and all I need to do now is do some drills to cement my skills.
Last edited by JustShowingUp on Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:26 am

JustShowingUp wrote:I’m still not very comfortable with conditional logic. I’m still spending a lot of time trying to decipher what the necessary and what the sufficient elements are. Need a lot of practice here.


If you're having a lot of trouble with conditional logic, I strongly recommend taking a pass through Chapter 8 (Conditional Logic) of the MLSAT LR book this week. It can be read 'out of order' in relation to the other chapters of the book, and I often recommend that my students read it multiples times over the course of their preparation.

Best of luck on the journey!

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Jeffort
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Jeffort » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:33 pm

JustShowingUp wrote:
Pt13 – G4 This is a deceptively fast and simple game once you take some time to get the pattern down. The rules are surprisingly restrictive. I’m a bit disappointed that a lot of these unique and creative games are no longer in modern LSATs because it looked like earlier test makers were really trying to push the boundaries of what a logic game could be. I’m going to take a modern LSAT as my next practice test to check out what modern games are like. I’m assuming they aren’t really going throw any curveballs and most if not all of the games are just variations of linear and grouping games.

PT16 – G4 Very time consuming game. These pattern games use a distinctly different skillset than grouping/linear games. I’m happy I don’t have to watch out for a game like this on the test day but I am still curious about why these were taken out. Maybe it’s harder to standardize the difficulty of these pattern games than linear/grouping games?



Pattern games (and other odd/creative/unique twists of traditional types that are in some of the older PTs) haven't been removed from the modern LSAT. They just only appear rarely, always unexpectedly, and always catch many people off guard just like when they popped up as curve balls on test day in each of those old PTs when they were officially administered.

A pattern game appeared on the June 2014 test last year and squashed many test takers like a steam roller as did a circular sequencing game that also appeared unexpectedly on the February 2014 LSAT. More pattern and other odd/rare games will appear on future LSATs, but when and how frequently is the big unknown we'll only ever know in hindsight. A few pattern games have appeared in experimental LG sections over the last several years, which means that LSAC has more of them 'in the pipeline' for future LSAT administrations.

You should make sure to study and review all the weird/oddball games from the past/older tests since LSAC/the test writers have a longstanding habit of occasionally reincarnating old relic weird/unique/unusual games/game types/variations that have only appeared once or twice or a few times many many years ago to catch people off guard on test day. The only odd-ball game type that appears to have been retired is mapping games. The last true mapping game type appeared on the LSAT in 1994, but LSAC could bring that type back to mind f_ck people on test day if they want to, although I doubt they will revive mapping games.

Similar to Forrest Gump's immortal words of wisdom, on test day the LSAT LG section is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!

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JustShowingUp
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:40 pm

Jeffort wrote:Pattern games (and other odd/creative/unique twists of traditional types that are in some of the older PTs) haven't been removed from the modern LSAT. They just only appear rarely, always unexpectedly, and always catch many people off guard just like when they popped up as curve balls on test day in each of those old PTs when they were officially administered.

A pattern game appeared on the June 2014 test last year and squashed many test takers like a steam roller as did a circular sequencing game that also appeared unexpectedly on the February 2014 LSAT. More pattern and other odd/rare games will appear on future LSATs, but when and how frequently is the big unknown we'll only ever know in hindsight. A few pattern games have appeared in experimental LG sections over the last several years, which means that LSAC has more of them 'in the pipeline' for future LSAT administrations.

You should make sure to study and review all the weird/oddball games from the past/older tests since LSAC/the test writers have a longstanding habit of occasionally reincarnating old relic weird/unique/unusual games/game types/variations that have only appeared once or twice or a few times many many years ago to catch people off guard on test day. The only odd-ball game type that appears to have been retired is mapping games. The last true mapping game type appeared on the LSAT in 1994, but LSAC could bring that type back to mind f_ck people on test day if they want to, although I doubt they will revive mapping games.

Similar to Forrest Gump's immortal words of wisdom, on test day the LSAT LG section is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!


Thanks for the heads up. It's especially good to know that rare game types have been showing up on experimental sections, I think this is a pretty good sign of what's coming.

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:
JustShowingUp wrote:I’m still not very comfortable with conditional logic. I’m still spending a lot of time trying to decipher what the necessary and what the sufficient elements are. Need a lot of practice here.


If you're having a lot of trouble with conditional logic, I strongly recommend taking a pass through Chapter 8 (Conditional Logic) of the MLSAT LR book this week. It can be read 'out of order' in relation to the other chapters of the book, and I often recommend that my students read it multiples times over the course of their preparation.

Best of luck on the journey!


Thanks Christine, I'll take a look a look through it if conditionals continue giving me trouble.

Week 7: Drilling Logical Reasoning Questions

Day 1

The logical reasoning packets contain close to 2000 questions so I will only be commenting on the ones that are difficult or noteworthy.

Started sufficient assumption questions

PT2 – S4 – Q17 The abstract wording makes the stimulus difficult to understand. I’m guessing abstract language is one method the LSAT will use to make this question type harder. This is like the LR version of LG's conditional rules.

PT14 – S2 – Q13 This was a really tough question and I had to spend a lot of time trying to find the gap in logic. I googled the question and the explanation on Manhattan LSAT’s forum was really helpful.

PT28 – S1 – Q24 This was a really difficult question, I had trouble finding the conclusion. I need to redo this in the future.

PT36 – S1 – Q18 This is one of those questions that is hard because of how simple it is. I ended up spending too much time trying to find out if I missed any tricks.

PT36 – S1 – Q26 Usually LSAT answers make sense in some real world sense. However, this was just a pure conditionality test.

Finished sufficient assumption questions.

Day 2

Started necessary assumption questions

PT6 – S3 – Q15 This is a confusing question, need to revisit in the future.

PT13 – S4 – Q8 Reading the question stem first will save a lot of time on questions like this. You can save a lot of time by not reading the irrelevant half of the stimulus. You can also gain accuracy by avoiding any distracting information in the first half. So when you see a stimulus that contains two speakers, read the question stem first.

PT14 – S2 – Q18 This is another example of a question that you can save time on by reading the stem first. I think Powerscore is really wrong to tell students to always read the stimulus first.

Day 3

PT28 – S3 – Q22 Stimuli like this are really dizzying to read because it’s hard not to assume outside knowledge.

PT31 – S3 – Q21 Conclusion: Athletes who need x should not consume something that does not give x.
Assumption: If something does not give x, there’s no other reason for an athlete who needs x to consume it.

PT36 – S3 – Q22 This question highlights the importance of picking the best answer because even the best answer can be unconvincing. Negating a necessary assumption answer is supposed to destroy the argument but I don't think that happens here.

    Background: $decaf way more than $reg
    Premise: Decaf processing is simple, not very costly.
    Conclusion: Price difference = greater cost of providing decaf.
    Necessary assumption: beans used for decaf does not cost much more than beans for regular
    Negated necessary assumption: beans used for decaf cost much more than beans for regular

What if Decaf (cost of exp beans + cost of inexp processing) = Regular (cost of inexp beans + cost of exp processing)? It seems like the conclusion can still stand without this necessary assumption.

PT12 – S4 – Q8 “The conclusion cited does not follow unless” – be careful of how necessary assumption questions are asked. This one could have tricked me into thinking it was a sufficient assumption question.

PT21 – S2 – Q11 Another good example of why stem first is the way to go. Saved myself from reading a small paragraph by reading the question stem first.

PT20 – S4 – Q1 Hard question. I can’t believe this is the first question of a section, good way of intimidating a test taker.

PT1 – S3 – Q17 The first level 4 question of this packet and I just don’t understand it. Need to revisit this in the future.

Day 4

PT5 – S1 – Q3 Need to focus on the conclusion

PT7 – S1 – Q24 I found this question really tricky. The answer requires you to really understand the inferences that can be made from the word “serendipity”. I would need to spend at least 5 minutes on the real test to solve it.

PT9 – S4 – Q19 I am starting to see patterns of what makes a necessary assumption question difficult:

    1) Long stimulus
    2) Unusually worded question stem
    3) A lot of negatives in the stimulus and the answer choices
    4) Long answer choices
    5) Word usage that is unrelated to common usage
    6) Irrelevant but attention grabbing information.

To save time, look at answer choices that have the softest language and are the least absolute first.

PT17 – S2 – Q21 Harder necessary assumption questions are really kicking my butt. They throw a lot of pattern seeking instincts out of whack. I’m still not sure what the most time efficient and accurate way of doing these questions are. My best bet on test day is to work quickly through the easier questions to save time for the harder ones. Or, if I’m time strapped, I might just skip these altogether. You are allowed to get a few questions wrong and still get a 178, so these tough nec assumption questions can be sacrificed to give me a better chance of answering everything else correctly.

PT23 – S2 – Q17 One of the few times that the answer I’m looking for is actually the real answer.

PT26 – S2 – Q22 I’m not sure what it is about double negatives that just makes my head go haywire.

Done with necessary assumption questions.

Day 5

Started reading chapter 4 of MSLAT’s logical reasoning book.

I understand the LSAT using confusing sentence structures to make comprehension more difficult but some of the stuff they do seem downright ungrammatical. For example, in PT32 – S1 – Q10, isn’t the “it” in answer choice (A) an ambiguous pronoun? “It” can refer to any of the nouns in the answer choice and question stem. Is there anything about the sentence structure that clears up this ambiguity?

Assumptions play two broad roles: 1) help match premises and conclusions 2) address other considerations relevant to the conclusion

Answers will address term shifts.

PT22 – S2 – Q10 These long overly abstract answers are really time consuming to evaluate. It is probably more helpful to focus on the verbs in the answers than the abstracted nouns. For example, when an answer says the argument denies something, eliminate it if there was no denial. Compiling a list of commonly used verbs such as “deny”, “undermine”, etc and practice spotting them will help me save time.

PT14 – S4 – Q20 The key is to pay attention to the background information: “despite his generally poor appetite”. Missing this will make answering this question really difficult.

Finished chapter 4.

Day 6

I am not moving through the logical reasoning materials as quickly as I need to be. At the current pace, I’ll need at least 5 weeks to complete the rest of the LR questions + MSLAT LR book. This leaves me with very little time for RC, general review, and practice tests. I'm still convinced 500-600 hours of studying over 4 months is enough to reach my goal but I think anyone who has the luxury of taking more time to study should do so.

My strategy going forward is to completely skip level 1 questions. For those who haven't drilled questions by type yet, Cambridge divides questions into 4 levels of difficulty. Level 1 is the easiest and level 4 is the hardest. Based on what I’ve seen, level 1 questions make up around 35-40% of all questions. So by skipping these, I can significantly increase my pace. I also have plans to skip parts of level 2 and level 3 questions. I’ll do around 20 to 30 questions of each level and if I get more than 90% of the questions correct, I’ll skip the rest of that level.

The reason I’m using the 90% threshold is because I can am correctly answering medium to hard questions at a far lower rate than 90% on my practice tests. So if I am answering at a 90% rate, then this question type isn’t one of my weaknesses and I should move on and spend more time on ones I have more trouble with.

I don’t plan on skipping any level 4 questions because I think it’s important to get as much exposure to the hardest materials as possible. I have time to do every single level 4 question so I don’t need to make any sacrifices here.

As a general rule, if you ever have to make sacrifices, always sacrifice the easy stuff. You get far more out of spending time on harder materials than easier ones.

Started flaw questions.

19/20 on level 2 questions. I will need to review Q120 (PT13 – S2 – Q20) in the future.

28/30 on level 3 questions.

PT6 – S2 – Q14 This questions’ flaw was not something I expected to be tested on. Just because all parts = x does not mean the whole = x. I remember that Powerscore’s LR Bible had a section on common logical flaws that covered this. I need to review it to become better at anticipating flaws.

PT11 – S4 – Q19 Need to review this in the future, the answer came out of left field. By the way, it’s a bit disconcerting how quickly google catches on to the fact that I’m looking up LSAT questions. The top suggestion in my search field almost always correctly guesses what I’m searching for by the time I type my third word.

PT12 – S1 – Q24 Probably my favorite level 4 question so far. I love how it tests the way assumptions interact to reach two conclusions. This is also the first question I’ve seen with two conclusions.
Conclusion 1: Assumes rarity of a trait
Conclusion 2: Assumes commonness of a trait.

PT12 – S4 – Q24 I need to return to this with a fresh mind tomorrow, the wording here is making my head spin.

PT13 – S2 – Q7 I reviewed this but still don’t really understand it. Hopefully I can come back in the future and it’ll click for me.

Day 7

PT20 – S1 – Q22 One of the things that makes flaw questions difficult is the use of abstract language to describe out of scope answer choices. Many of these answer choices are way off base, but they include words like “action, principle, evidence, fact, opinion, system, phenomenon, pattern, class, etc” that require a lot of time and effort to interpret. Some of these words require you to match terms (very time consuming), others require you to match and make inferences (even more time consuming and effortful).

The correct answer to this specific question requires the identification of an implicit principle used in the argument and the recognition that the conclusion contradicts this principle. I just can’t see myself answering a question like this in under 2 or even 3 minutes, especially when the real answer is E and I have to read all the other answers to get to it.

I haven’t read any advice on how to tackle abstract language beyond some vague and basic advice. I think a good strategy for addressing this problem would involve compiling a list of commonly used abstract terms and dividing the words into different levels based on how many mental steps it takes to fully interpret each word. For example, “evidence” requires a single mental step to match up with the stimulus. However, “principle” requires at least two steps. First, it requires you to match up the relevant part of the stimulus, and then you have to translate that part of the stimulus into a generalized principle.

After compiling this list, there should be a practice/drilling period to memorize these words. I'm not sure what this type of practice actually looks like but I think it's something worth exploring. Cracking abstract language would be HUGE for the LR and even the RC section. It would significantly reduce time constraints by saving test takers from spending an eternity deciphering answer choices. I wouldn't be surprised to see a prep company filling the knowledge gap here in the next year or two.

PT21 – S2 – Q25 Abstract language again. Some more words that require term matching: “explanation, issue, hypothesis, counterexample”.

Finished flaw questions. I answered 47/58 questions correctly on level 4 questions. An 80% rate is not ideal, but it might be just good enough for the score I want. I'm expecting to get -0 on easy to medium questions on the real test, so I only need to answer about 80% of the 4 star and 5 star difficulty questions to get a 178. I think my success with the hardest LR questions will increase once I do more drilling.

Final thoughts

I began the week by drilling questions without timing myself but I switched over to timed drilling when I started doing flaw questions. Although you do learn more by doing questions untimed, it is really time consuming to break down every detail of every question. I think it’s more important to get exposure to as many hard questions as possible and then go back through them if there’s any time left at the end of my preparation process. Timed drilling helps you push the pace.

There are fewer than 80 days left until the test date. My remaining schedule will look something like this:

~20 days drilling LR
~15 days off for rest/obligations
~5 days drilling RC if I need to
~5 days reviewing weak areas

The remaining 30+ days will be spent on practice tests. I’m hoping I can fit 20+ tests in this period

Blueprint Ben
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:47 pm

Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Blueprint Ben » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:57 pm

Why so little time devoted to RC drilling? Do you plan to drill heavily during your PT phase?

JustShowingUp2
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:49 pm

Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp2 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:58 pm

My work computer breaks down for days at a time and today was one of those day :lol:

Unfortunately, I forgot to record my password so I'll need to post this week's update with this new account.

BP Ben wrote:Why so little time devoted to RC drilling? Do you plan to drill heavily during your PT phase?


To be honest, I don't really have a great answer for this. I don't have time to drill everything so I just settled on doing less RC drilling. I'd love to hear your inputs on what a more effective schedule might look like.

Week 8: More Drilling

Day 1

I took most of the day off and briefly skimmed the bibles.

Day 2

I mentioned in a previous update that the Logical Reasoning Bible had a really helpful section that outlined common reasoning errors on the LSAT. That section is in chapter 15 and here are the highlights:

Errors in the Use of Evidence

• General lack of relevant evidence of the conclusion
• Internal contradiction
• Exceptional case / overgeneralization
• Errors n assessing the force of evidence:
    o Lack of evidence for a position is taken to prove that position is false
    o Lack of evidence against a position is taken to prove that position is true
    o Some evidence against a position is taken to prove that the position is false
    o Some evidence for a position is taken to prove that position is true

Source Argument aka Ad Hominem

• Focusing on the motives of the source
• Focusing on the actions of the source

Circular Reasoning: Assuming what is supposed to be proved

Errors of Conditional Reasoning

• Confuses a necessary condition for a sufficient condition
• Vice versa

Mistaken Cause and Effect

• Assuming a causal relationship on the basis of the sequence of events
• Assuming a causal relationship when only a correlation exists
• Failure to consider an alternate cause for the effects, or an alternate cause for both the cause and the effect
• Failure to consider that the events may be reversed

Straw Man

• Weaken an argument by distorting it and then arguing against the distorted and weakened argument

Appeal Fallacies

• Appeal to authority: authority may not have relevant information
• Appeal to popular opinion / appeal to numbers
• Appeal to emotion

Survey Errors

• The survey uses a biased sample
• The survey questions are improperly constructed
• Respondents to the survey

Errors of Composition and Division

• Error of composition: characteristic of the part = characteristic of the whole
• Error of division: characteristic of the whole = characteristic of the part

Uncertain Use of a Term or Concept

False Analogy: Analogy too dissimilar to the original situation to be applicable

False Dilemma: assumes only certain actions are available

Time Shift Error: Assumes conditions will stay constant over time

Numbers and Percentages Error: Improperly equates percentage to definite quantity

Started reading MLSAT chapter 5

MLSAT recommends working from wrong answers to right. The general mindset when looking at answer choices should be “which answer choices are clearly wrong”?

For assumption family questions, there are two main considerations that will help you eliminate incorrect choices:

• Be suspicious of answer choices you cannot relate to the conclusion
• Recognize incorrect answers that may be relevant to a different question stem
• Find one definite reason why a wrong answer is wrong

Six decisions that need to be made correctly in order to solve an assumption family question are:

    1. What is my task?
    2. What is the conclusion?
    3. How is that conclusion supported?
    4. What is the gap?
    5. Which answer choices are clearly wrong?
    6. What is the best available answer?

PT38 – S4 – Q20 I’ve done this problem before but this time I used MLSAT’s 6 step approach and the problem feels a lot easier now. The biggest problem I had with this question was I focused too much on the gaps and relationships between the background information and the premises. I should focus more on the gap between the conclusion and the premises.

Based on my current pace, it looks like I’m going to need around 25-30 more hours to get through the rest of the MLSAT book. I doubt I can complete my LR drilling in 20 days, I think 25 days is more realistic.

I’m a bit burnt out on LR so I’m going to finish this study session with some logic games.

PT24 – G2 This is the first game I’ve done in a while. It took me a long time to set up the game up but I finished the questions very quickly.

PT26 – G2 I missed a board split opportunity because I didn’t connect the first rule with the last rule. This game is much easier and faster after a split.

PT27 – G1 My accuracy is still fine, but I’m much slower now. I’m not recognizing board split opportunities as quickly as I used to and I’m not anticipating questions and answers as much as I used to. I definitely need to keep up with LG drilling or else I will have to relearn a lot of skills towards the end of my preparation process.

Day 3

Watch out for strengthen and weaken answer choices that contain the word “many”. It’s a significant looking word that may not say a whole lot.

Except questions: The answers to tough except questions will relate to the argument but won’t impact the point.

PT29 – S4 – Q20 It’s strange when I’ve done a problem before and got it right but then get it wrong on a redo after more preparation. I’m having trouble understanding why ( E ) strengthens the argument. The answer does not tell us if the continuous decline of amphibian population started 50 years ago (strengthen) or if it had already been in decline and the past 50 years was no exception (does not strengthen).

PT32 – S1 – Q20 The conclusion states that new maps “will be far more useful”. Far more useful than what? Than old maps. This is a comparative relationship that I feel ( D ) makes no impact on. Even if weather conditions do not matter, new maps are still far more useful than old ones because new ones contain input from home gardeners.

I felt like ( B ) strengthens the conclusion because having weather stations that are 60 years old means there’s a lot more historical data to work with. Perhaps there are 20-30 year weather cycles that these data reveal that would make the new maps far more accurate.

Finished chapter 6

I think MLSAT’s approach to strengthen and weaken questions is more adaptive than Powerscore’s, but I really like Powerscore’s categorization of correct answers that allows you to prephrase answers. I think MLSAT and Powerscore’s approaches to LR are distinct enough and effective enough that you should read both books to properly prepare for this section. You’re missing out on some powerful strategies if you go with only one or the other.

Started drilling strengthen questions.

PT3 – S4 – Q2 “Which one of the following is a statement that Leona could offer Thomas to clarify her own claim and to address the point he has made?” I’ve never seen this way of asking a strengthen question before.

PT16 – S3 – Q13 “Justify drawing the conclusion” is this really a strengthen question? I would have thought it was a justify question on a real test, seems like the question stem is asking for an answer that doesn’t just strengthen the argument but completely fills any logical gap.

19/20 level 2 questions.

Day 4

PT1 – S3 – Q23 The wording of the correct answer seemed almost too simple to be true, I skipped over it and picked a wrong answer instead. Not sure how my head decided to do that.

PT11 – S4 – Q18 This question took me a long time because I was trying to figure out what the premise meant in a real world sense. The key is to just focus on the conclusion.

PT28 – S3 – Q13 This is a strengthen question disguised as a resolve the paradox question. The question stem is also ambiguous about which side you should strengthen.

MLSAT recommends a wrong to right approach that may be too time consuming. Maybe I’ll get faster at it with more practice but I think using Powerscore’s more mechanical strategy to hunt for the right answer is faster for the easier questions. I can switch back to MLSAT’s approach if I’m stuck on a hard question.

18/19 on level 3 questions

PT18 – S2 – Q21 Art related stimuli are always tough for me.

15/17 level 4 questions

Finished with strengthen questions.

Day 5

Started drilling weaken questions.

10/10 level 2 questions. I need to speed up my drilling so if I’m getting near perfect scores, I’ll skip level 2 questions after doing 10 questions and level 3 questions after doing 15 questions. I’m still going to do every level 4 question. I can always come back and do the rest of the questions if I have time at the end of my preparation process.

14/15 level 3 questions.

PT34 – S2 – Q25 Really tough decision between answer choices ( B ) and ( C ).

( B ) makes sense because it is saying the danger of creosote buildup is also caused by the frequency of stove usage. Since wood-burning stoves are more efficient, you would presumably need to use it less frequently to accomplish the same amount of work as an open fireplace. This contradicts the conclusion that wood-burning stoves are more dangerous. Perhaps wood-burning stoves are so efficient that they heat up a home in just one second. This efficiency may offset the danger caused by the stove’s smoke.

( C ) This answer makes sense because it is directly telling you that “open fireplaces pose more risk of severe accident inside the home than do wood-burning stoves.” It’s hard to believe the answer to a level 4 weaken question would flat out have the opposite of the conclusion as the correct answer. The only trick I can find here is in the “inside the home” part of the answer choice. This was not mentioned in the stimulus, the conclusion only said that wood-burning stoves are more dangerous. It did not specify if the danger was in the home or not. Perhaps wood-burning stoves are more dangerous because they cause forest fires when the creosote catches fire and spit out a fireball. This answer choice would not weaken any danger outside the home, and the danger outside the home may be so significant that it dwarves anything that can happen in the home. I’m not sure if I’m overanalyzing here or if this is exactly the nuance that’s being tested.

I am suspicious of the obvious choice so I’ll go with ( B ) because it requires an extra level of thought to connect the efficiency of a stove to the frequency of usage.

… The correct answer is actually ( C ). Really? The conclusion is wood-burning stoves are more dangerous. Is the answer really as direct as “open fireplaces pose more risk of sever accidents inside the home…”? What metric are we using to measure “danger”? How do we know severe accidents inside the home weakens this conclusion more than an answer that leaves open the possibility that using a less efficient source of heat poses the same threat as the original justification the argument gave to support its conclusion?

28/35 level 4 questions. Exactly 80%. If I don’t find an even bigger weakness, I need to come back and redrill weaken questions.

Day 6

Started reading chapter 7

A principle is a fundamental proposition that serves as the foundation for a belief or behavior. In other words, principles are propositions that guide what we should and shouldn’t think or do.

Finished chapter 7. The problems are very simple.

Started drilling principle (identify) questions.

PT15 – S3 – Q6 this was a problem that MLSAT’s approach really helped with. Answers A, C, and E all seemed like they could be the right answer but a more careful reading of the core helped rule out the wrong answers as out of scope.

10/10 level 2 questions

I’m going to finish up by doing some logic games.

PT12 – G2 Took a long time to do this game. My skills have definitely regressed, but my accuracy is still good.

PT13 – G1 Getting faster.

PT16 – G1 Getting faster and the questions feel easier.

Day 7

Continuing with principle (identify) questions.

13/14 level 3 questions

LG break

PT18 – G1 I feel more comfortable with games again.

PT19 – G3 Easy game.

I’m going to finish level 4 questions after I submit this week’s update.

Final thoughts

I mentioned last week that I only needed to answer about 80% of the 4 star and 5 star questions correctly to achieve my goal of 178. However, this isn't true anymore. I based my previous estimate on the 10+ year old tests I've taken. On those tests, there are usually around 25 (4 star and 5 star) difficult questions. However, on my latest practice test (from June 2005), there were over 30 difficult questions. So there goes that theory.

It does seem like modern tests are getting more and more difficult (based on how many 4 and 5 star questions there are). This has a few implications. First, it means my score drops may be more understandable. Second, it means my diagnostic test score was inflated, I wouldn't have come anywhere close to 168 if I took a modern LSAT as my diagnostic. Third, it means I need to be a lot more demanding on myself when it comes to drilling, the 80% cutoff is not good enough.

Something else that came to my attention is the fact that historically, June tests have had the hardest curves out any other sitting. This means you’ll need a higher raw score to get a 160, 170, and even a 178. Here’s the data:

http://www.cambridgelsat.com/resources/ ... on-charts/

Here’s an old article on this subject:

http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/ea ... -june.html

Five years after this article, the trend of June having the hardest curve and December having the easiest curve has continued.

If I understand correctly, your percentile only reflects your standing among the people who took the same LSAT as you. So if you happen to have better test takers in your sitting, your curve will be harder and your score/percentile will be lower.

So is it a coincidence that June curves are historically harder than December curves? I feel like there may be a lot of truth to the hypothesis that June test takers are better prepared than December test takers and this is the reason why June consistently has harder curves. Until very recently when law schools began accepting February scores for admission consideration, December was the last LSAT you could take for an application cycle. So a lot of test takers are forced to take it at the last minute despite how prepared or unprepared they are.

Contrast these test takers with June takers who can easily wait until October, December, or even February to make the next application cycle. There’s far less incentive to take the June LSAT without being as prepared as you could be. So the test takers who end up taking the June LSAT tend to be more prepared than the December or February cycles.

So, for those who are reading this in the future, I highly recommend taking the LSAT in December or February or whichever is the last sitting of an application cycle. Although this won’t guarantee an easy curve, it may at least prevent a very hard curve.

I'm still taking the test in June, so this means I need to start preparing for the worst case scenario: a hard curve. I need to switch my focus from the converted score to the raw score. Historically, two tests have required a raw score of 99 to get a 178: Oct 1992, Dec 2005 (bad year to take the Dec test) so my target for practice tests from now on is a raw score of 99. To be honest, when I set my target score of 178, I thought a raw score of 96 would be enough to get it. If I knew how much raw score requirements varied, and I needed to score as high as 99 to achieve my target, I would have seriously reconsidered my goal.

But like I said in the beginning: no backtracking. 178 IS inevitable. I just need to put in a lot more work than I originally thought. The LSAT is coming up in just two months and I am REALLY feeling the pressure. It's time to use every single tool I have to power through these last few weeks. Cold showers. Workouts. Meditation. Emotion cycling. Praying. Crank it up five notches. Crank it up a hundred notches. The LSAT DESERVES to be destroyed. The LSAT NEEDS to be destroyed. And the LSAT WILL be destroyed. Feel bad for the LSAT.

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RZ5646
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby RZ5646 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:09 am

JustShowingUp2 wrote:If I understand correctly, your percentile only reflects your standing among the people who took the same LSAT as you. So if you happen to have better test takers in your sitting, your curve will be harder and your score/percentile will be lower.


This isn't true. The curve is set ahead of time based on how students fared with the questions when they were tested in experimental sections. Theoretically everyone could get a 180.

Blueprint Ben
Posts: 195
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby Blueprint Ben » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:29 pm

JustShowingUp2 wrote:
BP Ben wrote:Why so little time devoted to RC drilling? Do you plan to drill heavily during your PT phase?


To be honest, I don't really have a great answer for this. I don't have time to drill everything so I just settled on doing less RC drilling. I'd love to hear your inputs on what a more effective schedule might look like.


Depending on where you're scoring, my opinion is that high-volume drilling in RC is even more important than it is for the other two sections. It's pretty much the only effective way to improve. There aren't any tricks or strategies that you can learn about the RC section that will enable you to score higher in and of themselves (like, for example, diagramming methods in LG). You have to become a stronger reader, plain and simple. More specifically, you have to become better at reading RC passages, which require a really specific set of skills. The more you drill, the better you'll become at anticipating which parts of the passage will be important for getting the questions right. Otherwise, you run into the problem that nearly all test takers (strong and weak readers alike) face in the RC section: Balancing the goal of full comprehension against the need to race the clock. Drilling RC passages at very high volumes will eventually enable you to laser focus on the information that the LSAT wants you to prioritize, rather than trying to juggle a whole bunch of disparate details in your head. So, if you're not already strong in RC, you should probably be drilling it even more heavily than the other two sections.

NonTradLawHopeful
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby NonTradLawHopeful » Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:50 pm

JustShowingUp2 wrote:If I understand correctly, your percentile only reflects your standing among the people who took the same LSAT as you. So if you happen to have better test takers in your sitting, your curve will be harder and your score/percentile will be lower.



That's not how standardized tests work. The point of it is for a 178 from one test to be equal to the 178 of a separate administration. If you were only compared to people taking that specific version of the test, it would not be standardized, and not all 178's would be created equal.

Looking at the Cambridge conversion chart, there is really not much difference between June and February for raw scores. Sometimes a point difference to get a 178. The most recent June/December test had the same 178 raw score, and June had a bigger curve for 170.

Don't stress out about things you can't control, like the curve.

JustShowingUp2
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby JustShowingUp2 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:21 pm

Sorry guys, it's been a crazy week and I didn't have time to write out an update today. I'll post this week's update by tomorrow night.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Four Months to 173

Postby nothingtosee » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:18 pm

Where are the PTs?




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