Best first practice test?

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Best first practice test?

Postby Utterson » Wed May 13, 2015 4:02 pm

Anyone know what is the best first PT to take? I didn't take a diagnostic, as I wanted to learn the basics of each section first, in order to avoid crushing moral.

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Re: Best first practice test?

Postby KMart » Wed May 13, 2015 5:17 pm

I'm not sure if it really matters. Maybe crushing your moral will help motivate you to work harder and study. I'd pick one more recent than from the 90s, but it won't make or break your studying.

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Re: Best first practice test?

Postby Jeffort » Wed May 13, 2015 7:29 pm

Since it's a standardized test, it doesn't really matter which PT you use for your first diagnostic.

The purpose of taking an initial timed diagnostic PT is mainly just to get a rough idea of your baseline starting score range in order to get a general idea of roughly how far you have to go/how much you need to improve to achieve a score in your target score range.

Using a more recent PT rather than an older one from the 1990's/early 2000's will produce a scaled score that's a bit more of an accurate representation of your current skills/performance level since the LSAT has evolved over the years in terms of distribution of question types asked, the writing style and other stylistic and content differences between the older tests and recently administered LSATs.

All in all, it really doesn't matter much which one you use though since initial diagnostic scores are not and should not be interpreted to be indicative of anything more than the skill level you performed at on that test on the day you took it. One common mistake many people prepping for the LSAT make is putting too much weight on diagnostic test/timed PT scores by treating the score(s) as if they are reliable predictors of your future potential test day score range. For your mental health and sanity, don't do that! LSAT prep and your score range should be viewed as an ongoing work in progress that your prep/study time and efforts are meant to improve over time by gaining better understanding of and abilities to apply the relevant concepts, strategies and techniques in order to answer questions more efficiently and accurately.

Don't hitch your self esteem or views of your self worth or views about the future probabilities of potentially achieving your future law school aspirations to your practice test scores. Timed PT scores only become important as predictive evaluation tools after you've done a lot of prep and when test day is getting closer in order to determine if/when you're ready and able to take it for real to achieve your maximum potential and/or target score. I know this is much easier said than done, but try not to let yourself get emotionally affected by your PT scores while you're progressing through the long prep process. In short, don't let your emotions get taken on roller coaster rides from hell by PT scores early in and through the middle stages of your LSAT prep journey.

All that ultimately matters is the final result of where you end up scoring after doing as much quality prep as you can to improve your LSAT knowledge, skills and abilities so that you're prepared to do the best you possibly can at whichever LSAT administration you sit for. The ups and downs and how smooth or rough the ride is through however long your prep journey ends up being (how long you end up prepping before you decide you're done and/or have used up your three allowed takes/re-takes) doesn't matter, only the end result of the journey does.

Pretty much everyone that ends up achieving a high score after starting with a much lower initial diagnostic score goes through a lot of emotionally stressful ups and downs, frustrations, failures and successes along the road going through the different phases of LSAT prep leading up to the day they actually take the test and achieve their high score. If you have a mountain to climb, keep focused on the goal of getting to the top and figuring out ways to make each additional step up the mountain incrementally over time through quality prep efforts and don't dwell on and sulk in mistakes and low PT scores. Instead of letting missed questions or poor PT scores demoralize you, take a positive mental approach and recognize the value in your mistakes and failures, they give you the road map of your current skill and knowledge set weaknesses that you need to work on improving so that your performance will improve over time.

Learning from your mistakes and failures through deep review and taking appropriate action to improve your skills in order to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes again IS the most important aspect of LSAT prep for improving your skills and abilities so that you can achieve your target score when you officially take the LSAT. Where you start and however much your PT scores and drilling performance fluctuates through the prep process doesn't matter in the long run. Where you end up (your highest achieved official test day score) is all that matters. Diagnostic tests and PTs are mainly just measuring sticks you use to periodically spot check your performance level and to track your improvement over time while you progress through all the phases of doing the right things to prep effectively for the test in ways that actually work to build/improve your hands on/brain on LSAT problem solving skills and abilities.

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Re: Best first practice test?

Postby RZ5646 » Wed May 13, 2015 9:04 pm

It doesn't really matter, but I'd recommend the June 2007 test. Most people do that as their diagnostic because it's freely available on the LSAC website, so if you take it you can directly compare yourself to other TLSers and feel superior.

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