Is practicing the only remedy?

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Instrumental

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Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Instrumental » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:34 pm

Hello all,

Before signing up here, I read a good deal of advice and it seems that the consistent answer to the question of how to get to all the questions in each section is simply to continue working on practice tests and for the AR portion, logic games. My main source of points lost are the questions I'm not even getting to in time. 20-25 questions or 1/5th to 1/4th of the test I'm just having to fill in blindly. On my best (of the seven tests I've taken thus far) I've managed to only have to guess on nine questions because of time constraints, but that's still far from ideal. On those, I somehow managed to complete all of the LR portions with about 100 seconds to spare and all but the last two questions in the AR section. I haven't been able to reproduce those results consistently. For the AR and RC portions I usually don't get to the fourth problem set, and in the LR sections, I usually don't get to the last 4-6 questions. If I could overcome this, I would be very confident in my ability to do well, but even reading at what I feel is a rushing speed, I'm coming up short. The only thing I can think of off hand that would improve my speed is to not re-read questions / set up as much and only re-read to confirm my selected answer. Are there any methods you feel you developed over the course of your studies that specifically helped working through all the questions in time?

tldr: I'm usually too slow on all sections and it's killing my score. Any ideas besides just grinding out practice tests and reflecting on possible hangups?

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maybeman

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby maybeman » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:56 pm

With persistent timing issues like yours, it sounds like you don't have solid fundamentals. If you don't have consistent and proper strategies to attack particular types of games, for example, you're never going to both finish in time and be accurate. Idk what curriculum you're using, but if it isn't trash (post it ITT), then you should seriously reexamine it. Are certain question types taking up more time than others in LR? Figure that out and drill those types. For RC, this might sound unhelpful, but start reading varied and difficult material. Read some academic pieces, Scientific America, The Economist, etc. Also, figure out what's best for you in terms of amount of notation.

HTH

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Deardevil

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Deardevil » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:04 pm

In short, yes.
You can't hope to get good at something without doing it over and over again.
Unless we're all competing in a spelling bee, which we're not.

But it seems to me that you're not ready in tackling timed practice tests just yet.
The evidence is in the lack of speed. And you cannot hope to improve speed without first honing in on accuracy.
Don't jump straight into the PTs, if that's what you're doing. You're essentially saying
"take me off the bench, coach; I can handle Steph Curry."

Drill first. You may use older PTs to do so because the recent ones should be saved for later.
Find your problem areas (seems to be LG) and work on those (good thing LG is typically the easiest).
Once you're comfortable with getting answers right untimed, that's when you kick it up a notch.

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maybeman

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby maybeman » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:09 pm

Deardevil wrote: You're essentially saying
"take me off the bench, coach; I can handle Steph Curry."



Classic LSAT fallacy here OP-- when does the analogy fall apart?

A: NBA finals

If you missed it, I'd focus all your effort on LR

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Instrumental

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Instrumental » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:17 pm

To prepare, I reviewed the official LSAT Superprep books to understand the format, review examples, and understand basic concepts of how to approach each section. I also looked at Barron's test book, but I didn't much care for it because I felt it recommended too much on trying to game the test. It did have sets of practice questions for each section which I worked on as well. After that I started in on practice tests.

LR is definitely the section I need to work on most. Outside of not getting to questions, that is the section on which I miss the most points. Of the questions I get to, I may miss two or three in RC, and 1 or 2 in AR, but in LR combined, a total of 8-12 isn't uncommon and again, that's just of the ones I get to answer before time runs out. I tried to find a pattern in which ones I get wrong, but couldn't find one. I do definitely get slowed down by questions filled with a lot of conditional statements though, trying to keep them all straight in my head can be confusing and I'll have to resort to annotating them which slows me down more. It's frustrating because when I go back and review the questions that I got wrong or was slow to answer, the right answers seem so obvious, and my wrong answers seem so obviously wrong. It is good in the sense that at least I understand the logic, but bad in the sense that I'm still getting it wrong when it counts.

Untimed, I'm pretty confident about the test and the AR section specifically. While Barron's questions aren't LSAT official, I didn't have any issues with those untimed. I took a timed PT yesterday and although I didn't get to the last AR scenario, I got all the questions in the first three correct. I still work through the problems I don't get to untimed, and got those correct as well. I only missed 2 RC questions of the ones I got to. For AR and RC, I've been able to keep the misses pretty low, outside of the ones I don't have time for, but then LR a total of 9 wrong of the questions I answered in time. bleh. I can be slow to figure out out the necessary inferences in time for some AR questions too. Also, I diagram everything out, I don't know if that's something that can still be done while getting to all the answers.

I'm down for lots of practice though, I've already bought a bunch of official LSAT PT books and have a schedule set up. I just wanted to make sure I ingrain good habits towards the beginning of my studies and not realize too late that there were habits I could have been building to better ensure my success. Doing poorly because I can't even complete the test in time makes me feel like amateur hour. Pretty disappointing. I will take that advice about reading more academically rigorous material for sure and hampering down on more conditional statement problems so I can work through them quickly.

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Deardevil

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Deardevil » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:09 pm

In that case, we're practically in the same boat.

Your LG and RC are very strong! I haven't touched the latter yet, but from the sounds of it,
we struggle with LR in the same aspects. Not many people seem to use the SuperPrep on here.
How'd you find it? Did you get a chance to go through PT A-C?
Personally, yes, it's nice that it's from LSAC, but I didn't get much out of it outside of the tests.

I definitely feel you on the disappointment, but LR isn't all that bad once you get acquainted with it.
And to do that, you have to expose yourself to thousands of questions of various types.
Make sure you know the basics of how to attack assumptions, flaws, strengthen/weaken, MBTs, etc.
In the beginning, I recommend drilling by type, then eventually upgrade to sets of different types, like on the exam.

Good luck.

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Instrumental

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Instrumental » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:44 am

I found the Superprep books to be enough to understand what I was getting into, but definitely not enough to glean any insight on mastering the test. I haven't done the PTs in those books since they are in my collection of official lsat preptest books and I was going to wait until I come across them there. There is an unreleased test in there though that I will probably try. Thanks for the well wishes, same to you!

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:03 am

Yeah, practice is going to be the main way. But first make sure you have the fundamentals down. I have the LSAC Superprep II and it gave me a good overview of the test, but it is not sufficient to learn all the ins and outs of the question types you'll see on the test.

I'd suggest looking into some other prep books and resources. Manhattan LR 4th Edition and Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible are well regarded by many top scorers. The LSAT Trainer by Mike Kim also helped me with the logical reasoning section immensely. And of course, as you've suggested, good ol' fashion practicing, or drilling questions will be the conduit to speed and accuracy. But only once you've got a good idea of how to attack the questions.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mikey

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Mikey » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:56 pm

Repetition is key.

Practice makes perfect, bro.

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Instrumental

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby Instrumental » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:30 pm

Oh this is frustrating. On my past four tests, I've managed to reduce my average number of final question guesses to about a third of what it once was (7.25) and as a consequence, I've been able to increase my score on the LR and AR, but my RC section is getting way worse. Even though my overall scores are better, my RC is slipping majorly. Likely because I'm getting through it faster than I used to. So even though I'm getting through all or close to all the RC questions, my score is dropping. I'd be right where I want to be if my RC scores were trending upward like my other sections.

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SunDevil14

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Re: Is practicing the only remedy?

Postby SunDevil14 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:57 pm

First accuracy then speed.

some possible directions to focus your studying:

1.Take as long as necessary on each section to answers all questions accurately and confidently. Once you get to the point were you are only getting a few wrong on each section, then try to replicate those results while gradually reducing how much time you take. Eventually you will get to the point where you can answer all questions in 35 minutes with a good deal of accuracy.

2. For reading comprehension section, see how you do without annotating the section. Some people will preform worse, others will perform better while using less time.

3. Plan to skip questions. Figure out where you weaknesses are, and which questions you spend the most time on and skip those. lets say you have a goal of 166. That means you can miss an average of 5 questions on each section. Incorporate the idea that you will miss some questions into your timing strategy. As time progresses you include less skipped questions into your timing strategy.

4. For logical reason try either reading the question first or the question stem first. i.e. the opposite of what you are doing. Some people can make small improvements in their time by switching. Figure out what approach is most comfortable and effective for you.

5. Sometimes large 35 minute sections can be unruly. Drill 8:45 sections in the Reading Comp or Logic Games sections. i.e. one passage or game, and then review afterwards. This will allow you more to focus in on strength and weakness.



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