Are older tests easier or harder?

farman
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Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby farman » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:08 am

I am starting to do preptests every other day and then reviewing on off days to go over everything I got wrong on my previous tests. I bought all the older preptest booklets off of Amazon, and have started from Preptest 7 onward and am now almost done with the first of the five released books.

I did take a couple of the "newer" versions of the Preptests in a course I took over the summer, and I find the older tests to be more challenging. Am I crazy or is there some truth to that? I've heard that they're easier, about the same difficulty, and that they're harder so I'm just trying to get an idea of where I stand.

Also, I've heard some say that there isn't much "value" in taking the older tests and others say there is quite a bit of value. Can someone just outline the main differences?

Thanks!

rubberplant2020
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby rubberplant2020 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:52 am

LG is Harder
LR is easier
RC is a mixed bag

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RunnerRunner
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby RunnerRunner » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:26 am

Probably depends on your strengths and weaknesses. I always thought they were overall easier (thought RC was way easier, LR easier, and LG harder).

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cheesy145
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby cheesy145 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:32 am

LR might seem harder to some because its in a different format sometimes which they don't use anymore such as a stimulus being used for two questions instead of just one. RC also doesn't have the easy comparative passage.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Clyde Frog » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:37 am

Older were harder because of some of the odd ball logic games on earlier tests. Definitely harder when you consider taking the test back then with the lack of study material.

Petrichor
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Petrichor » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:51 am

For me, older (only PTs in the 30s) felt much easier in RC, somewhat harder in LG and slightly easier in LR when compared to the more recent tests (only PTs in the 50s). The newer RC feels like they have more/trickier trap answers, but the questions themselves and the content of the passages didn't change too much. The newer LRs seems to use less formal structure and the harder questions pops up pretty early on and could be a time trap. The new LG in the current PTs I am using are a joke, averaging -1 in this section, sometimes with ~10minutes to spare, which might be the reason why the RC section seems to be loaded with pretty difficult questions.

MattM
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby MattM » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:25 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:Older were harder because of some of the odd ball logic games on earlier tests. Definitely harder when you consider taking the test back then with the lack of study material.


Still some odd ball game in use today- just ask any June 2014 LSAT taker

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Clyde Frog » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:58 pm

MattM wrote:
Clyde Frog wrote:Older were harder because of some of the odd ball logic games on earlier tests. Definitely harder when you consider taking the test back then with the lack of study material.


Still some odd ball game in use today- just ask any June 2014 LSAT taker


Yeah it just caught people off guard. It wasn't a game type that was new or anything. If you were taking the earlier LSATs during the time they were administered then you could be one of the lucky few to get hit with the first appearance of mapping, circular, or pattern games.

ub3r
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:02 pm

I thought new RC was MUCH harder than old RC.

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RZ5646
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby RZ5646 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:12 pm

LG harder
RC easier
LR the same difficulty but different in some ways

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Oskosh
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Oskosh » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:14 pm

I think RC is easier. RC in the new tests... some of those passages are ridiculously hard. Like the comparative passage in 72. Ugh.

TheDogWhisperer
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby TheDogWhisperer » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:37 pm

RC in the older exams seem easier. I managed to score 170+ timed older exams but couldn't do it in the newer ones.

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Eladriel
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Eladriel » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:17 pm

LG be LG, once you get them down they all seem the same (except for the addition of the 1Q per test where they ask you to replace the rule which I could never master).

I never noticed a difference between the RC--even the addition of comparative didn't seem to change things.

As for LR the newer ones have fewer ambiguities.

^Above not backed up by anything other than personal opinion.

Edit: Just saw your Q.
farman wrote:Also, I've heard some say that there isn't much "value" in taking the older tests and others say there is quite a bit of value. Can someone just outline the main differences?


I disagree with that. I found the old tests from the early 90s incredibly useful for getting my LSAT sea legs. By the time I reached "modern" tests (2000s) I had all the mechanics of actually taking a real conditions practice test down. If you have the time I see no reason not to start back in the early 90s and vacuum them up through the present.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:05 pm

I've always maintained that older tests have a great deal of value - just not necessarily as full length PTs.

It's a bit difficult to describe precisely, but the overall arc of an LR section feels different on PTs 1-20 than it does on the more modern exams. The vast majority of the LR questions, when looked at individually, are perfectly fine questions though. Sure, there are a few stem wordings that have gone in or out of vogue since then, and VERY rarely you have a question that's just written in a clunky early-preptest-disorder way. But for the most part, the individual LR questions are perfectly useful exercises in preparing for the LSAT now.

But the fact that the 'arc' of the section just feels so very off makes taking full LR sections or full PTs an overall very different experience from taking a modern LSAT. So, what are early PTs good for?

Well, first, let's define what taking full length PTs is good for - and what it's not good for. Taking full length PTs is a horrifically inefficient way to build up your essential comprehension. What works far better is drilling by question type, working untimed or in slow motion, etc. However, once you have a solid foundation, and you're reasonably comfortable with what processes you should be carrying out, you need to work on 1) the efficiency of your process 2) the ability to switch gears repeatedly in the moment and 3) overall mental stamina/endurance.

Full length PTs are great at forcing you to build up endurance, and they are excellent experiments to see if you can execute processes efficiently. You can learn a great deal about yourself in thorough analysis after-the-fact of what you did during the experiment, and you can learn a great deal about the LSAT when you do exhaustive review of the questions. But the primary value of the actual taking of the exam is getting your mind used to the marathon task you are asking it to do on test day. And the most dissimilar the overall experience is, the less useful it is to building up that endurance in a meaningful way. Score prediction also gets really wonky when you start taking really old tests as full lengths - I've had some students score consistently better on older exams, some score consistently worse - the upshot is that the difference can matter in difficult-to-predict ways. I'd always take a score on PT7 with a grain of salt - either direction.

TL;DR = The oldest PTs are still perfectly valid for use for drilling, individual question work, and sometimes full section timing practice. (For full LR sections I would stick to PT30 and up though.) In fact, I think students would be foolish to ignore the logic games from the early exams. But for full length PTs I would stick to the more modern exams.

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lollsat
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby lollsat » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:15 pm

So are PTs 30+ considered modern and everything before old?

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sox49
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby sox49 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:27 am

Petrichor wrote:For me, older (only PTs in the 30s) felt much easier in RC, somewhat harder in LG and slightly easier in LR when compared to the more recent tests (only PTs in the 50s). The newer RC feels like they have more/trickier trap answers, but the questions themselves and the content of the passages didn't change too much. The newer LRs seems to use less formal structure and the harder questions pops up pretty early on and could be a time trap. The new LG in the current PTs I am using are a joke, averaging -1 in this section, sometimes with ~10minutes to spare, which might be the reason why the RC section seems to be loaded with pretty difficult questions.


i'm also prep testing in the early 50s right now and am finding the logic games super easy as well. is this a characteristic of this period of tests? has anyone found they start getting harder again into the 60s and 70s? (i do know about the dinosaur game in PT 57)

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:31 am

sox49 wrote:
Petrichor wrote:For me, older (only PTs in the 30s) felt much easier in RC, somewhat harder in LG and slightly easier in LR when compared to the more recent tests (only PTs in the 50s). The newer RC feels like they have more/trickier trap answers, but the questions themselves and the content of the passages didn't change too much. The newer LRs seems to use less formal structure and the harder questions pops up pretty early on and could be a time trap. The new LG in the current PTs I am using are a joke, averaging -1 in this section, sometimes with ~10minutes to spare, which might be the reason why the RC section seems to be loaded with pretty difficult questions.


i'm also prep testing in the early 50s right now and am finding the logic games super easy as well. is this a characteristic of this period of tests? has anyone found they start getting harder again into the 60s and 70s? (i do know about the dinosaur game in PT 57)


There's a pretty hard LG section in the 60s, but I won't disclose which one.

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Jeffort
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Jeffort » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:34 am

sox49 wrote:
i'm also prep testing in the early 50s right now and am finding the logic games super easy as well. is this a characteristic of this period of tests? has anyone found they start getting harder again into the 60s and 70s? (i do know about the dinosaur game in PT 57)


Yeah, there was a few years stretch that includes low/mid 50's PTs when the LG sections were typically easier than average difficulty. One of them in that range is a total joke cuz it's sooo easy compared to normal but not gonna say which one and spoil it.

During that time period there was a foolish 'consensus' here and on other forums amongst many people prepping to take the test that LG's were going to stay easier/always predictable standard games/it was going to be the 'new normal' for LGs cuz they had been that way on the previous few years of administered tests. Naturally, a bunch of people got lax with LG prep and overconfident, then whammo, Dinos! (and a few other games too) biotch slapped everybody back to reality that anything can happen/pop up on test day in the LG section. It's the wild card section and always has been with random unpredictable wild mood swings!

Petrichor
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby Petrichor » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:25 am

lollsat wrote:So are PTs 30+ considered modern and everything before old?


I'd say the tests before the 50s are old.

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RZ5646
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Re: Are older tests easier or harder?

Postby RZ5646 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:31 am

lollsat wrote:So are PTs 30+ considered modern and everything before old?


The LSAT hasn't changed in any major way since 1990ish (PT 1), so where you draw the line is somewhat arbitrary.




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