Failing...hard

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j.a.p.1440

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Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:04 pm

Hi, I'm new to TLS, and I am sure there are umpteen million threads like the one I am now writing, but I really need some advice. I feel as if I have tried every LSAT prep method under the sun and just cannot make any progress. So, I figured I would ask the internet! My story is as follows:

I started my LSAT prep in December of 2015, and have been consistently studying ever since then. I just finished my undergrad degree this past December and graduated with a 3.88 GPA from a tier one university. I have plenty of "soft" skills with work and internship experience. Everything on my law school application should make me look pretty competitive as an applicant. Everything except my LSAT score. To make a long story short, I have now taken 28 PTs, gone through the LR and LG Bibles, enrolled in the 7Sage LSAT Prep Course, read the LSAT Trainer, and have regularly done practice sections and question sets to hammer this stuff out (with plenty of repeats of sections/questions/games/passages that were giving me a lot of trouble). My initial PT when I started was a 142. Pretty shitty, but I had heard of so many people raising their scores to the 160s and beyond that I figured I should AT LEAST be able to get into the low 160s. Wrong. Currently, I am consistently scoring in the low 150s and can't seem to break out of that region. I have had 3 PTs in the high 150s, and one PT with a score of 161. Those were not recent and I kind of chalk them up as outliers.

I have never had so much trouble with something and, quite frankly, been so completely defeated. I am kind of at a loss right now and really don't know what else to do. I know there are plenty of other things that I can do, but I really don't want to hear about it. I am dead set on law school. I made the decision that I wanted to go to law school when I was a sophomore and have stuck to it ever since. Yet, for some reason, I cannot get things to work out with this test. I am beyond frustrated and have no clue what to do. I went into my prep shooting for the stars and planning on getting a 170 or higher. Now I will be happy if I can ever pull into the 160s. I feel like studying for a year and doing almost 30 PTs should be enough to get me into the 160s.

I have tried to identify weakness areas, and I can't seem to find a specific section or question type that gives me the most grief. It is kind of random. Timing always killed me, but lately, I have been able to at least finish my test consistently, with the except of a few questions. Even with finishing the test, I am still missing roughly 40 questions per test. The only thing I have not tried is an in-person prep course. I won't be able to due to me living in a very rural area.

I have begun to really wonder if I will ever be able to make this happen. Maybe I need this cathartic rant to make things happen, maybe I'm not as smart as my GPA led me to believe I was, maybe... I am just not meant to do well on this test. IDK, what do y'all think? I feel like I am losing my mind. :(

Has anyone experienced, or knows anyone who has experienced, anything remotely similar to what I am going through? I don't know how much more of this I can take...

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Instrumental

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Instrumental » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:25 pm

I would keep being persistent. First off, you've already made pretty impressive improvement on your diagnostic. Also, 28 tests is not a lot. I took my first PT in June last year and 67 more prior to taking the LSAT in December. I had taken 57 prior to the September test (and apparently that wasn't enough for me). I would strongly consider taking some fresh tests untimed so that you can focus on refining your method of thinking when you approach the questions. Once you're confident in that regard, get back to doing timed tests. I think you'll find your timing and score will improve.
It's very tedious, but make sure you're slowly working through each question you missed and figuring out on your own why the correct answer is correct and just as important, why the other answers are not. Don't give up, your goal is absolutely attainable, just needs more time.

j.a.p.1440

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:37 pm

Instrumental wrote:I would keep being persistent. First off, you've already made pretty impressive improvement on your diagnostic. Also, 28 tests is not a lot. I took my first PT in June last year and 67 more prior to taking the LSAT in December. I had taken 57 prior to the September test (and apparently that wasn't enough for me). I would strongly consider taking some fresh tests untimed so that you can focus on refining your method of thinking when you approach the questions. Once you're confident in that regard, get back to doing timed tests. I think you'll find your timing and score will improve.
It's very tedious, but make sure you're slowly working through each question you missed and figuring out on your own why the correct answer is correct and just as important, why the other answers are not. Don't give up, your goal is absolutely attainable, just needs more time.


Dare I ask how long you have been studying for? 67 PTs?! WOW!! Suddenly, I feel even more inadequate :lol:

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Lahtso Nuggin

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Lahtso Nuggin » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:44 pm

If you are indeed set on law then I would recommend assessing what that means in job outcomes. This will then drive the school you need to attend for said outcome which drives the score you must achieve.

If you are set on a school that based on law school numbers requires a 170 ish score then accept that it's going to take a while. Don't make a plan to begin school until you are PTing above your needed score.

As to score improvement I would say you can absolutely improve. A lot. But you probably need to re evaluate whether you should be taking lots of timed tests. How many are you missing if you take sections individually and untimed. As a first step I would say stop taking timed tests until you go -0 up to -2 when taking sections untimed. Use tests yiu have already taken so that you stop burning fresh tests.

Write out the answers for LR that you miss in a word document and study it until you begin to see the questions in abstract form.

Follow your dreams you can reach your goals I am living proof. Beefcake.
Eric cartman

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Lahtso Nuggin

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Lahtso Nuggin » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:51 pm

Also what instr. said. :wink:

Alexandros

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Alexandros » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:53 pm

Lahtso Nuggin wrote:As a first step I would say stop taking timed tests until you go -0 up to -2 when taking sections untimed. Use tests yiu have already taken so that you stop burning fresh tests.

This.^

Repeated timed tests work for some people, but they didn't for me, and it sounds like they don't for you.

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby albanach » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:05 pm

You should not be finishing in time of you're still getting lots wrong. Accuracy cones first, then speed.

You need to start working through the tests taking as long as you need to figure out the correct answer. Then when you're done, go back and figure out why reach question you got wrong was wrong and why the correct answer was better than your initial choice.

Keep that up and you'll start to recognize the question types and naturally your speed will also increase.

Then you can start shortening the time - but even then give yourself extra time and bring it down from there, don't try and jump to test day speeds.

There are plenty of guides on here that will help you.

grades??

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby grades?? » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:46 pm

You can search, but many people here had to take 100+ practice tests before scoring well. I took 200 tests before I finally broke into the score I wanted. You need to do what the above poster said. Stop timing, stop taking tests. Focus on accuracy. DO NOT TIME again until you can score -0 or -1 on a section consistently.

j.a.p.1440

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:48 pm

Lahtso Nuggin wrote:If you are indeed set on law then I would recommend assessing what that means in job outcomes. This will then drive the school
As to score improvement I would say you can absolutely improve. A lot. But you probably need to re evaluate whether you should be taking lots of timed tests. How many are you missing if you take sections individually and untimed. As a first step I would say stop taking timed tests until you go -0 up to -2 when taking sections untimed. Use tests yiu have already taken so that you stop burning fresh tests.

Write out the answers for LR that you miss in a word document and study it until you begin to see the questions in abstract form.

Eric cartman

I have been writing out the ones I miss in word docs. I have a mini database of my own LSAT explanations. Been doing that since July/August.

The thing that really frustrates me is that when I do a timed section for practice, I typically do really well. -4 on average for LR, -2 for LG, and -8 for RC (yeah I know...), which is par for the course for the 160s. I practice 7Sage's BR method and my BRs are all around 170. So I know it is not that it is not from a lack of understanding, bar a couple of curve breaker questions.

I am looking at schools with 160 for their 75th percentile LSAT scores. I don't want to even think about 170 schools until I make some serious progress. I guess I really don't 'need' a 160 for the schools I am looking at, but, to be honest, I am so sick of this stupid fucking test beating me. I want a 160 not just to get into the schools I am looking at, but so I can give this test an intellectual middle finger.

BTW, thank you all for the candid feedback. I really do appreciate everyone for entertaining my cathartic rant.

j.a.p.1440

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:50 pm

albanach wrote:You should not be finishing in time of you're still getting lots wrong. Accuracy cones first, then speed.



Then you can start shortening the time - but even then give yourself extra time and bring it down from there, don't try and jump to test day speeds.

There are plenty of guides on here that will help you.


Where might I find these guides?

j.a.p.1440

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:52 pm

grades?? wrote:You can search, but many people here had to take 100+ practice tests before scoring well. I took 200 tests before I finally broke into the score I wanted. You need to do what the above poster said. Stop timing, stop taking tests. Focus on accuracy. DO NOT TIME again until you can score -0 or -1 on a section consistently.

:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
200 tests??? OMG! How long did that take you? What was your goal score? I can't believe that you took that many tests. That's ever PT twice and then some.

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Instrumental

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Instrumental » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:56 pm

j.a.p.1440 wrote:
Instrumental wrote:I would keep being persistent. First off, you've already made pretty impressive improvement on your diagnostic. Also, 28 tests is not a lot. I took my first PT in June last year and 67 more prior to taking the LSAT in December. I had taken 57 prior to the September test (and apparently that wasn't enough for me). I would strongly consider taking some fresh tests untimed so that you can focus on refining your method of thinking when you approach the questions. Once you're confident in that regard, get back to doing timed tests. I think you'll find your timing and score will improve.
It's very tedious, but make sure you're slowly working through each question you missed and figuring out on your own why the correct answer is correct and just as important, why the other answers are not. Don't give up, your goal is absolutely attainable, just needs more time.


Dare I ask how long you have been studying for? 67 PTs?! WOW!! Suddenly, I feel even more inadequate :lol:

I studied from May til the December 3rd test. Took my first PT as I said in June and got a 156. Sat for the September test where I was averaging a 168 on my last 3 PTs but tanked and got a 162 on the actual test. Continued studying to the Dec 3rd test where I was then averaging a 171 prior to the test and got a 169 which is the score I'm going forward with in my apps.

grades??

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby grades?? » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:59 pm

j.a.p.1440 wrote:
grades?? wrote:You can search, but many people here had to take 100+ practice tests before scoring well. I took 200 tests before I finally broke into the score I wanted. You need to do what the above poster said. Stop timing, stop taking tests. Focus on accuracy. DO NOT TIME again until you can score -0 or -1 on a section consistently.

:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
200 tests??? OMG! How long did that take you? What was your goal score? I can't believe that you took that many tests. That's ever PT twice and then some.


It took me a full year. I took every lsat twice, most 3 times. Goal score was 170. Got 175+ on my 3rd take. If you want a high score, you need to be methodical. You aren't now, which is your problem. Stop. Master 1 section at a time. Then move to the next.

j.a.p.1440

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby j.a.p.1440 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:05 pm

Instrumental wrote:
j.a.p.1440 wrote:
Instrumental wrote:I would keep being persistent. First off, you've already made pretty impressive improvement on your diagnostic. Also, 28 tests is not a lot. I took my first PT in June last year and 67 more prior to taking the LSAT in December. I had taken 57 prior to the September test (and apparently that wasn't enough for me). I would strongly consider taking some fresh tests untimed so that you can focus on refining your method of thinking when you approach the questions. Once you're confident in that regard, get back to doing timed tests. I think you'll find your timing and score will improve.
It's very tedious, but make sure you're slowly working through each question you missed and figuring out on your own why the correct answer is correct and just as important, why the other answers are not. Don't give up, your goal is absolutely attainable, just needs more time.


Dare I ask how long you have been studying for? 67 PTs?! WOW!! Suddenly, I feel even more inadequate :lol:

I studied from May til the December 3rd test. Took my first PT as I said in June and got a 156. Sat for the September test where I was averaging a 168 on my last 3 PTs but tanked and got a 162 on the actual test. Continued studying to the Dec 3rd test where I was then averaging a 171 prior to the test and got a 169 which is the score I'm going forward with in my apps.


Sorry for asking a redundant question, I missed the "first PT in June."

This is what concerns me: people like you study less than me and improve way more than I do. I'm to the point where I would take a 160 and be happy with it. Sound like you might have had more time on your hands than I did. I did spring, summer and fall semester all throughout 2016. I definitely wasn't able to allocate as much time as I would have preferred.

JazzyMac

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby JazzyMac » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:47 am

Have you read the LSAT Trainer? It might be able to discern what it is you're doing wrong.

AJordan

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby AJordan » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:57 am

When you use the analytic pages on 7sage what do they say your biggest weaknesses are? Also, median score breakdown from last 5 tests would be helpful.

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Hobbesy » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:15 pm

I started from a score this low and made it to the 160s. It took a lot.

What's important, and looks like it's been repeated consistently in this thread, is that you should stop taking timed tests. Accuracy is always key. Without the pressure of time, theres opportunity to recognize patterns in questions a lot better and on your own time- which is what I think makes the difference between 150 and 160 range scores. Once things start clicking, it gets a lot easier to manage speed.

Try retaking old tests (so you don't burn through them all) at your own pace. You'd be surprised how much the pressure of a time limit can occupy your thoughts.

Past that, I took a question type approach. I worked from my worst question type (assumptions e.g. strengthen and weaken and also the most popular) to my best ("what is the conclusion of this argument")

It feels really daunting to be stuck in the 150s and that's exactly what happened to me. Sometimes it just takes taking a step back and reevaluating to make the score jump you're looking for :)

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Voyager » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Hobbesy wrote:I started from a score this low and made it to the 160s. It took a lot.

What's important, and looks like it's been repeated consistently in this thread, is that you should stop taking timed tests. Accuracy is always key. Without the pressure of time, theres opportunity to recognize patterns in questions a lot better and on your own time- which is what I think makes the difference between 150 and 160 range scores. Once things start clicking, it gets a lot easier to manage speed.


Bolded for emphasis. You don't learn how to play tennis by playing full games over and over. First you practice ground strokes for awhile. Then volleying. Then overheads. Then serving. Then you put some of that together into drills. Then you go back to ground strokes etc.

You are constantly assessing your weaknesses and focusing on the biggest bang for your time.

Same thing here.

Here is one way to think about this:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7241

And of course one way to think about RC:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7240&p=136011#p136011

teacher2lawyer

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby teacher2lawyer » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:18 pm

I am so glad I came across this...I am in the same boat. I am a full-time teacher, working around 50+ hours a week at a Title I school in rural AZ. I have been studying since September 2016 and haven't seen much progress. I am so fed up with bad policies at our school--nothing works, teachers quit mid-year, and there is NOTHING for these kids. I leave work frustrated, disheartened, and defeated every day...so I chose to want to go to law school because someone knowledgeable in policy will probably be one of the keys to change....hoping it will have a trickle down effect. There's my humble-brag. My point is this, however: I go home after work, like a zombie, and study for a good 3 hours every night, mind not fresh. I study on the weekends. I come to school to use the Internet because in my small town, the only Internet that's available is crappy satellite Internet that is as slow as dial-up. This is not a hyperbole (I live on the Reservation where resources are scarce....). I have taken 2 Kaplan courses and while I have found some of it to be beneficial, when it comes to actual applicability, I fail.
I don't get it. What am I doing wrong? I review my mistakes, I've been getting better at timing...but I cannot break a 145. Pathetic. I don't consider myself lacking the mental fortitude or the dedication to make this happen. My reasons for wanting to go to law school are just like everyone else's: I want to make a difference in my chosen field.
I took the LSAT in December (after my first prep course) and totally BOMBED it. I am unsure if I should postpone February's test and wait until June.
I feel you when you say you feel like you are "failing hard" and I wish I had more advice to give you, but just know there are some of us in the same boat as you (and you are scoring better than I am!). Offering emotional support from AZ!

letslsat

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby letslsat » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:33 am

j.a.p.1440 wrote:Hi, I'm new to TLS, and I am sure there are umpteen million threads like the one I am now writing, but I really need some advice. I feel as if I have tried every LSAT prep method under the sun and just cannot make any progress. So, I figured I would ask the internet! My story is as follows:

I started my LSAT prep in December of 2015, and have been consistently studying ever since then. I just finished my undergrad degree this past December and graduated with a 3.88 GPA from a tier one university. I have plenty of "soft" skills with work and internship experience. Everything on my law school application should make me look pretty competitive as an applicant. Everything except my LSAT score. To make a long story short, I have now taken 28 PTs, gone through the LR and LG Bibles, enrolled in the 7Sage LSAT Prep Course, read the LSAT Trainer, and have regularly done practice sections and question sets to hammer this stuff out (with plenty of repeats of sections/questions/games/passages that were giving me a lot of trouble). My initial PT when I started was a 142. Pretty shitty, but I had heard of so many people raising their scores to the 160s and beyond that I figured I should AT LEAST be able to get into the low 160s. Wrong. Currently, I am consistently scoring in the low 150s and can't seem to break out of that region. I have had 3 PTs in the high 150s, and one PT with a score of 161. Those were not recent and I kind of chalk them up as outliers.

I have never had so much trouble with something and, quite frankly, been so completely defeated. I am kind of at a loss right now and really don't know what else to do. I know there are plenty of other things that I can do, but I really don't want to hear about it. I am dead set on law school. I made the decision that I wanted to go to law school when I was a sophomore and have stuck to it ever since. Yet, for some reason, I cannot get things to work out with this test. I am beyond frustrated and have no clue what to do. I went into my prep shooting for the stars and planning on getting a 170 or higher. Now I will be happy if I can ever pull into the 160s. I feel like studying for a year and doing almost 30 PTs should be enough to get me into the 160s.

I have tried to identify weakness areas, and I can't seem to find a specific section or question type that gives me the most grief. It is kind of random. Timing always killed me, but lately, I have been able to at least finish my test consistently, with the except of a few questions. Even with finishing the test, I am still missing roughly 40 questions per test. The only thing I have not tried is an in-person prep course. I won't be able to due to me living in a very rural area.

I have begun to really wonder if I will ever be able to make this happen. Maybe I need this cathartic rant to make things happen, maybe I'm not as smart as my GPA led me to believe I was, maybe... I am just not meant to do well on this test. IDK, what do y'all think? I feel like I am losing my mind. :(

Has anyone experienced, or knows anyone who has experienced, anything remotely similar to what I am going through? I don't know how much more of this I can take...


Gah, I understand how you feel. I'm actually in the same boat. I've been studying for months now and I'm still stuck in the 150s. It's really discouraging, especially when you read about people who get to 160-170s in less amount of time. I'm in the process of re-evaluating how I prep/study.

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Lahtso Nuggin

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby Lahtso Nuggin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:39 pm

One of the key lines in almost all the prep guides is some version of "understand why you got a question wrong". UNDERSTAND your mistakes and you WILL improve. That's really it.

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby ptittle » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:54 pm

I suggest working with a tutor. (Not necessarily me, though I do have room in my roster...) It sounds like you're missing some key fundamentals and are just spinning your wheels, so it may be not all the practice in the world isn't going to help. A personal tutor can (should be able to) make an individualized assessment of exactly what's going on and help you move forward efficiently.

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MediocreAtBest

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Re: Failing...hard

Postby MediocreAtBest » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:00 pm

What an interesting situation. It's hard to give advice since you seem to have done just about everything and you also score pretty well when you isolate the sections. I scored a 151 on my first diagnostic last month, and on my most recent one I got a 163 (still trying to add 10 more points before June). The key for me has honestly just been trying to understand patterns in the tests and the thing they normally look for, and realizing that there's a good reason for an answer being right and an answer being wrong. I still have a lot of room for improvement but that has helped a lot.

You have a great GPA so I'm not going to question your intelligence or work ethic because that's not your problem, and being only a month and a half into studying myself, I may not have all the answers for you, but try taking a break. Take a week off from doing anything LSAT-related. Come back and try to tackle the questions differently, try to see them from the test writers' perspective. Go over the PowerScore Bibles again and review some of their strategies. I think you could hit 165 without a problem.



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