Feedback on LSAT prep

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
WeightliftingThinker

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Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby WeightliftingThinker » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:19 pm

Afternoon: Drill question type that I am either weak at or unacquainted with, focusing on improving critical thinking and question type strategy. I usually take a note card, cover the answers, and evaluate the stimulus, looking out for flaws and assumptions. After I make my choices for a question type from an old test, I look at why the right choice is correct and the incorrect choices are incorrect for questions I got wrong. (~5 hours)

Evening: Untimed reading of a few RC passages and answering their questions, focusing on developing a notation strategy and identifying patterns in the questions. Then, timed logic games (not sections), focusing on game types that have room for improvement. (~4 hours)

I will eventually complete simulated PTs, but I am not there yet. My plan is to go from question and game types to sections and then exams. Exam will be in December or February. Any feedback is welcome.

P.S.: I have drilled scores of Flaw, Necessary Assumption, Sufficient Assumption, and Strengthen questions, respectively. My focus is not quantity of questions, but skill and strategy development. To answer scores of questions from a particular question type and then review them seems helpful, but I sometimes have reservations that I am doing unnecessarily excessive work. My goal is to continue drilling the ones I mentioned, as well as other types like MSS, MBT, and Parallel. I do this to address my weaknesses, as well as to reinforce other question types.

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Deardevil

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby Deardevil » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:21 pm

I was beginning to think no one else devoted so many hours in a day. :D

You have a solid plan, devoting more focus towards LR than the other two.
In fact, I practically do the same in regards to drilling assumption family questions, untimed RC, and timed LG.

Just make sure you don't burn out, putting that much work in; doesn't hurt to take a break every once in a while,
especially since you still have months to go.

WeightliftingThinker

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby WeightliftingThinker » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:27 pm

Deardevil wrote:I was beginning to think no one else devoted so many hours in a day. :D

You have a solid plan, devoting more focus towards LR than the other two.
In fact, I practically do the same in regards to drilling assumption family questions, untimed RC, and timed LG.

Just make sure you don't burn out, putting that much work in; doesn't hurt to take a break every once in a while,
especially since you still have months to go.


Good to know there's company! :D

School semester is going to undercut some time in a few weeks.

Paul Revere

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby Paul Revere » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:17 pm

OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!

WeightliftingThinker

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby WeightliftingThinker » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:26 pm

Paul Revere wrote:OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!


Thank you.

Maybe I am being cautious, but I am trying to drill each of the question types before doing any sections. The goal is to have a strong understanding of each question type before dealing with them randomly on sections. However, this method is risky since I could forget how to attack the first few question types I practiced with. Any thoughts on that?

Paul Revere

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby Paul Revere » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:07 pm

WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!


Thank you.

Maybe I am being cautious, but I am trying to drill each of the question types before doing any sections. The goal is to have a strong understanding of each question type before dealing with them randomly on sections. However, this method is risky since I could forget how to attack the first few question types I practiced with. Any thoughts on that?


Yeah, I think that risk is one of the reasons it makes sense to push toward simulating realistic conditions (whole timed sections and tests) as quickly as possible. Encountering the question types randomly on actual sections will reinforce the skills you're developing and help you move them into your long-term memory (to reiterate my previous point, planned rest will do that too). Perform and dissect so that you bake in pressure and speed as you develop the skills. There's no doubt it's a good idea to be intentional about mastering each type of question; I've always heard that one of the main sources of score plateaus is relying too much on intuition. The test makers are good at fooling intuition. So I'm not discouraging your methodical development of specific skills, just thinking it might be a good idea to fold in (to continue my baking analogy, haha) at least whole sections asap. Timed, wrist watch, pencil, answer sheet, earplugs or whatever, all that stuff. You won't run out of tests-- there are so many previous tests available for purchase from LSAC. I bought them all, and I worked a decent handful of them twice.

That said, I don't know what kind of time frame you envision for progressing from drills to full sections and full tests. The actual import of my "hurry up and get real" advice depends a lot on that. If you're planning to spend the first month of a 6-month prep cycle building a solid foundation, that seems fine to me. If you're planning to spend two or three months on the foundational stuff, that seems long. By about two months into my five- or six-month study routine, I was working one or two timed sections a night and doing a full test pretty much every Saturday. From my first, cold practice test to my last few, my average score went up by almost 20 points. Obviously, I'm a firm believer in the value of realistic-as-possible conditions. But I'm no test-prep expert, and I didn't follow any course-- these are just things that worked for me. It sounds to me like you're preparing with thoughtfulness and determination, so I expect you'll do just fine!

WeightliftingThinker

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby WeightliftingThinker » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:41 pm

Paul Revere wrote:
WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!


Thank you.

Maybe I am being cautious, but I am trying to drill each of the question types before doing any sections. The goal is to have a strong understanding of each question type before dealing with them randomly on sections. However, this method is risky since I could forget how to attack the first few question types I practiced with. Any thoughts on that?


Yeah, I think that risk is one of the reasons it makes sense to push toward simulating realistic conditions (whole timed sections and tests) as quickly as possible. Encountering the question types randomly on actual sections will reinforce the skills you're developing and help you move them into your long-term memory (to reiterate my previous point, planned rest will do that too). Perform and dissect so that you bake in pressure and speed as you develop the skills. There's no doubt it's a good idea to be intentional about mastering each type of question; I've always heard that one of the main sources of score plateaus is relying too much on intuition. The test makers are good at fooling intuition. So I'm not discouraging your methodical development of specific skills, just thinking it might be a good idea to fold in (to continue my baking analogy, haha) at least whole sections asap. Timed, wrist watch, pencil, answer sheet, earplugs or whatever, all that stuff. You won't run out of tests-- there are so many previous tests available for purchase from LSAC. I bought them all, and I worked a decent handful of them twice.

That said, I don't know what kind of time frame you envision for progressing from drills to full sections and full tests. The actual import of my "hurry up and get real" advice depends a lot on that. If you're planning to spend the first month of a 6-month prep cycle building a solid foundation, that seems fine to me. If you're planning to spend two or three months on the foundational stuff, that seems long. By about two months into my five- or six-month study routine, I was working one or two timed sections a night and doing a full test pretty much every Saturday. From my first, cold practice test to my last few, my average score went up by almost 20 points. Obviously, I'm a firm believer in the value of realistic-as-possible conditions. But I'm no test-prep expert, and I didn't follow any course-- these are just things that worked for me. It sounds to me like you're preparing with thoughtfulness and determination, so I expect you'll do just fine!


Thank you so much!

Last question: between month 2 and month 5, were you simulating an exam once a week while spending the other days on section focus (LR, RC, LG)?

Paul Revere

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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby Paul Revere » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:48 pm

WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:
WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!


Thank you.

Maybe I am being cautious, but I am trying to drill each of the question types before doing any sections. The goal is to have a strong understanding of each question type before dealing with them randomly on sections. However, this method is risky since I could forget how to attack the first few question types I practiced with. Any thoughts on that?


Yeah, I think that risk is one of the reasons it makes sense to push toward simulating realistic conditions (whole timed sections and tests) as quickly as possible. Encountering the question types randomly on actual sections will reinforce the skills you're developing and help you move them into your long-term memory (to reiterate my previous point, planned rest will do that too). Perform and dissect so that you bake in pressure and speed as you develop the skills. There's no doubt it's a good idea to be intentional about mastering each type of question; I've always heard that one of the main sources of score plateaus is relying too much on intuition. The test makers are good at fooling intuition. So I'm not discouraging your methodical development of specific skills, just thinking it might be a good idea to fold in (to continue my baking analogy, haha) at least whole sections asap. Timed, wrist watch, pencil, answer sheet, earplugs or whatever, all that stuff. You won't run out of tests-- there are so many previous tests available for purchase from LSAC. I bought them all, and I worked a decent handful of them twice.

That said, I don't know what kind of time frame you envision for progressing from drills to full sections and full tests. The actual import of my "hurry up and get real" advice depends a lot on that. If you're planning to spend the first month of a 6-month prep cycle building a solid foundation, that seems fine to me. If you're planning to spend two or three months on the foundational stuff, that seems long. By about two months into my five- or six-month study routine, I was working one or two timed sections a night and doing a full test pretty much every Saturday. From my first, cold practice test to my last few, my average score went up by almost 20 points. Obviously, I'm a firm believer in the value of realistic-as-possible conditions. But I'm no test-prep expert, and I didn't follow any course-- these are just things that worked for me. It sounds to me like you're preparing with thoughtfulness and determination, so I expect you'll do just fine!


Thank you so much!

Last question: between month 2 and month 5, were you simulating an exam once a week while spending the other days on section focus (LR, RC, LG)?


Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy week! Yes, simulating a full exam almost every weekend and doing section focus on the other days. There were some weeks where I was crunched for time and so would only do half of a full exam. I used a spreadsheet to track my progress and decided what sections to give more attention based on how my scores were moving. Personally, I found that I benefitted from keeping logic games in the mix because my scores on those were sensitive to rustiness.

A bonus, off-topic suggestion: Are you still allowed only an analog wrist watch? Maybe you've already read this elsewhere, but I found it really helpful to stop the watch at the beginning of each section, set the minute hand to 12, and start the watch at the beginning of the section. I also used bright nail polish to make marks on the face of the watch dividing the time into increments during which I needed to complete a certain number of questions to stay on pace. Depending on who you ask, that might make me a crazy person.

WeightliftingThinker

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Posts: 121
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Re: Feedback on LSAT prep

Postby WeightliftingThinker » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:43 pm

Paul Revere wrote:
WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:
WeightliftingThinker wrote:
Paul Revere wrote:OP, it's great that you're being methodical about developing specific skills. That's something I probably could have done a little more when I took the test back in, gosh... 2010. With the obvious caveat that you will have to determine, through practice and self-measurement, what works for you, I have two thoughts.

One, I found that pacing was such an essential skill that I did very little untimed work. I made sure to do at least a couple of timed sections each day, then I would dissect my performance to learn how I could improve. I see that you are doing some timed work and plan to work in whole timed sections in the future-- I'd just say to get there as quickly as you can.

Two, you're putting in a lot of hours over a pretty long period of time. More so than something like the bar exam or most exams you do in school, the LSAT is all about developing specific skills, not accumulating knowledge. It's a little more like exercise in that way, and you don't get the benefit of exercise if you don't rest. So to echo another response, I would build in some rest periods (maybe just an afternoon or a day, but probably not more than two days) to minimize fatigue and let the skills sink in.

Anyhow, I hope you're having some fun with it, and good luck!


Thank you.

Maybe I am being cautious, but I am trying to drill each of the question types before doing any sections. The goal is to have a strong understanding of each question type before dealing with them randomly on sections. However, this method is risky since I could forget how to attack the first few question types I practiced with. Any thoughts on that?


Yeah, I think that risk is one of the reasons it makes sense to push toward simulating realistic conditions (whole timed sections and tests) as quickly as possible. Encountering the question types randomly on actual sections will reinforce the skills you're developing and help you move them into your long-term memory (to reiterate my previous point, planned rest will do that too). Perform and dissect so that you bake in pressure and speed as you develop the skills. There's no doubt it's a good idea to be intentional about mastering each type of question; I've always heard that one of the main sources of score plateaus is relying too much on intuition. The test makers are good at fooling intuition. So I'm not discouraging your methodical development of specific skills, just thinking it might be a good idea to fold in (to continue my baking analogy, haha) at least whole sections asap. Timed, wrist watch, pencil, answer sheet, earplugs or whatever, all that stuff. You won't run out of tests-- there are so many previous tests available for purchase from LSAC. I bought them all, and I worked a decent handful of them twice.

That said, I don't know what kind of time frame you envision for progressing from drills to full sections and full tests. The actual import of my "hurry up and get real" advice depends a lot on that. If you're planning to spend the first month of a 6-month prep cycle building a solid foundation, that seems fine to me. If you're planning to spend two or three months on the foundational stuff, that seems long. By about two months into my five- or six-month study routine, I was working one or two timed sections a night and doing a full test pretty much every Saturday. From my first, cold practice test to my last few, my average score went up by almost 20 points. Obviously, I'm a firm believer in the value of realistic-as-possible conditions. But I'm no test-prep expert, and I didn't follow any course-- these are just things that worked for me. It sounds to me like you're preparing with thoughtfulness and determination, so I expect you'll do just fine!


Thank you so much!

Last question: between month 2 and month 5, were you simulating an exam once a week while spending the other days on section focus (LR, RC, LG)?


Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy week! Yes, simulating a full exam almost every weekend and doing section focus on the other days. There were some weeks where I was crunched for time and so would only do half of a full exam. I used a spreadsheet to track my progress and decided what sections to give more attention based on how my scores were moving. Personally, I found that I benefitted from keeping logic games in the mix because my scores on those were sensitive to rustiness.

A bonus, off-topic suggestion: Are you still allowed only an analog wrist watch? Maybe you've already read this elsewhere, but I found it really helpful to stop the watch at the beginning of each section, set the minute hand to 12, and start the watch at the beginning of the section. I also used bright nail polish to make marks on the face of the watch dividing the time into increments during which I needed to complete a certain number of questions to stay on pace. Depending on who you ask, that might make me a crazy person.


Yes, you can still use an analog watch. That's a fantastic idea. Determined, not crazy.



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