Advice - Slowly Clawing My Way to Upper 170s (June 2015)

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Advice - Slowly Clawing My Way to Upper 170s (June 2015)

Postby ChillTomG » Mon May 11, 2015 5:45 pm

This is my first post in this forum so I figured I would say hello.

I am taking the LSATs in June of this year because I am considering Law School. My goal is to hit the upper 170s (177+) on test day, so I can get some scholarships at top schools or admittance to YHS.

I took a cold diagnostic a month ago and scored a 162!! (The free one online), using strict timing. I was -0 in games :D , -8 in Logical Reasoning (-2/-6) :? , and -10 in Reading Comprehension :cry: . Fortunately I did not run out of time on any section, but finished with between 0:30 and 1:00 to spare, so not much time to check answers.

Since I was very busy with school, I decided to start studying seriously about a week ago. I purchased the last 20 PTs, The LR/RC bibles and bible workbooks. I have been working through the RC bible religiously because, oh my missing 10 out of 28 questions is a bit embarrassing. I have also been doing a bunch of practice LR questions, although I don't have a specific strategy yet (haven't cracked the Bible yet). While I hear that RC is very hard to improve on, so far I have seen major improvement using the techniques that PowerScore offers. For example, knowing that I must be able to to confirm/disconfirm correct answer choices on the Must Be True questions (which is most of them) is helpful. So is tracking viewpoints, tone, knowing how the authors write about diversity passages, etc. Marking passages is also ridiculously helpful, as is making a table of similarities and differences with the comparative reading sections. (I tend to be better at these).

So I have taken a few more PTs, and am now scoring about 170-172. Games have been fine, there was one time I misread a game entirely and missed three questions, but the rest have been flawless. RC has gone down from -10 to about -3, and LR has held around -6. Hopefully I will find a strategy to attack LR soon. I miss a lot of Main Point questions in both LR and RC.

So with taking the LSATs in June, does anyone a) think my goal of 177+ is possible, b) have any advice or tips on how to boost to the next level?

Thanks and good luck to everyone taking the exam in June!

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Re: Advice - Slowly Clawing My Way to Upper 170s (June 2015)

Postby downbeat14 » Mon May 11, 2015 6:28 pm

Nice job so far.

A couple brief things that helped me go from low 170s on PTs to upper-170s by test day:

1) destroy games. I know you are already good here, but there is often a nasty beast game that jacks people up. So two things to master a) make sure you can do the absolute hardest most evil games out there in reasonable time and b) make sure you can obliterate the easier games in like 4 minutes. B) is uber-important (and oft overlooked) since you have to build up time for the unexpected curveballs and game day adrenaline. I would do a warm up before PTs where I would take an easy game and smash it to get my brain going.

2) Make sure you are looking at the most recent PTs sooner. This is bc RC has gotten harder and has emphasized some different things, IMO. If I could go back, I would have staggered my PTs so I hit some of the later ones in between older ones. For example, 61, 69, 62, 70, 63, etc. and really study the heck out of the newer RC sections. RC was the only reason I didn't hit 180, and it was only bc I underprepared for the later tests and didn't realize how different and how much harder they were until the end. Also, a lot of people hesitate to redo RC passages bc memory of the content is a huge advantage. However, with my students, I have seen big progress from those that have redone hard passages multiple times, bc you see patterns and start to spot where they like to grab questions from on a second or third try.

3) As to LR, I have found with students that focusing them on accuracy is the first big thing. You should be blind-reviewing all of your sections (go back and retry hard questions untimed without looking at the answers) and should be going -1 or -0 every time for accuracy. After that, LR got better by working on timing strategies (this was the hardest section for me with time, so maybe this isn't a huge issue for you). One drill I do with students is take older LR sections, say from PT 20-30, and have them drill the first 10 questions in 10 minutes (12 if there was a hard or dense question 7 or something anomalous). In this way, the students build up the time cushion they need to remain accurate through the middle questions as things get harder, and have the necessary cushion for the nasty final few questions.

4) For me at least, probably relating to the fact that I grew up doing athletics and music where routines are so important, replicating the same warmups/eating and drinking schedules/etc that I would be using on test day on my last several PTs really put me at ease. I even went so far as to measure out how much water and coffee I would take in and at what times so that I didn't have to go to the RR during the test, but was also not dehydrated. Ditto with breakfast/lunch (since June is in the afternoon you have to work on both).

5) Also, sleep hygiene is key. I cut out all evening screen time (after 9-10pm) the 2 weeks before the test so that I could unwind and be on a normal/healthy sleep schedule (which is not a strength of mine normally). It really helps. The other key to getting great sleep is to set the same wake up time every day rather than focusing on the bed time. I'll save you the boredom from explaining the neurology here, but if you habitually wake yourself up at the same time your circadian rhythm picks up on it and makes you sleepy at the appropriate time.

Thinking through and implementing a routine for the things above in PTs really made a difference. When I followed my routine and plan, I was Pting 178-180, but when I got off for some reason, there was a consistent 3-5+ point drop off. It's the little things (and always a little bit of luck) that sort out the 173-180 range scores.

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Re: Advice - Slowly Clawing My Way to Upper 170s (June 2015)

Postby ChillTomG » Tue May 12, 2015 12:45 pm

Hi, thank you for the all of the thoughtful advice so far.

1) I actually concur with you about number one entirely.. in the one game I screwed up if I had had more time, I could have gone back and redone the game. I had a sense something was wrong because the answers all seemed way too easy, but I didn't have time to go back.

Are the Manhattan Prep (hard) games good to practice with? They are all doable of course but it usually takes me at least 12 minutes to do the hard ones.

2) Wow, you raise an amazing point talking about the recent RCs. Thankfully I have the last set of PTs so I will go back and review those RCs. I think untimed is a great way to have it at first, I tend to get -0s on the sections when I go untimed (but time myself and it winds up being anywhere from 10-15 minutes!! :!)

3) Ditto. Thanks for the advice. I am thinking that I might try to copy the pages of the test so I don't ruin a retake (I normally write in the book).

4)5). Love the advice here. This is why I am taking the afternoon LSAT, I am a more functional person anytime outside of the morning.

Thanks again and any other advice that people have is much appreciated.

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