Timeline of improvement?

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Chris.Murray4

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Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi all,

Posting here because I'm beginning to get slightly nervous about the progression I'm making in my LSAT prep and was wondering if your experiences were similar.

To provide some context - Diagnosed at 160 last September, planning to take the test in London (I'm from the UK) this September. Target is a minimum of 170 (preferably a bit higher) and would love to go to either Harvard, Columbia or Chicago. Clearly my access to certain resources is restricted due to my location (no help from my university and such) so I'm having to pretty much do it on my own via PowerScore books and preptests. After 6 months of studying I can usually manage a 163/164. Being halfway through my plan and still not having it a 165 yet is slightly unnerving though. So what I want to know is this:

Anyone starting from a similar point care to share their experiences in terms of how quickly they improved??

Naturally it would make me feel more comfortable if the trend seemed to be that people improved more in the latter part of their studying. On the other side, maybe I'm just underestimating the study time required and need to just work a hell of a lot harder than i am if it turns out this isn't the case.
Cheers,
Chris

Alexandros

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Alexandros » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:45 pm

I think you may need to change up your strategy. Where are you losing most of your points?

To give you some perspective: Similar diagnostic. I got good enough to be able to finish an entire set of LG within time (still with many points lost for mistakes) after about a month to a month and a half of studying almost full-time. After 2 months -> 167, 3 months -> 174/175.

Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:03 pm

Alexandros wrote:I think you may need to change up your strategy. Where are you losing most of your points?

To give you some perspective: Similar diagnostic. I got good enough to be able to finish an entire set of LG within time (still with many points lost for mistakes) after about a month to a month and a half of studying almost full-time. After 2 months -> 167, 3 months -> 174/175.



Thanks for the response! Apologies, should have included a breakdown. So usually around a -6 on LG (I got a -9 on the last test but that was the damn coloured dino one). On LG I tend to get almost every question I attempt correct but I find myself running out of time, usually after the third game or so.

LR is going fine, usually around a -2 or -3 on each section. The ones I miss, I often find that there are two very attractive answer and I can't differentiate which one is correct.

RC i usually get around -7 (although I feel like I have made something of a breakthrough with it due to lots of studying recently). I really struggle with certain types of passages on RC. I tend to ace law/humanities/science and absolutely suck at some of arts ones. Not entirely sure why this is seeing as the same skills are basically required.

My studying has been fairly light (10 hours a week average) for the first 6 months due to degree/volunteering/societies/running for office and a bunch of other stuff I seemingly rope myself into, but I'm making sure to ease up on my extra-curriculars this term and over the summer and hopefully double my LSAT work.

Any advice?

Alexandros

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Alexandros » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:13 pm

Chris.Murray4 wrote:
Alexandros wrote:I think you may need to change up your strategy. Where are you losing most of your points?

To give you some perspective: Similar diagnostic. I got good enough to be able to finish an entire set of LG within time (still with many points lost for mistakes) after about a month to a month and a half of studying almost full-time. After 2 months -> 167, 3 months -> 174/175.



Thanks for the response! Apologies, should have included a breakdown. So usually around a -6 on LG (I got a -9 on the last test but that was the damn coloured dino one). On LG I tend to get almost every question I attempt correct but I find myself running out of time, usually after the third game or so.

LR is going fine, usually around a -2 or -3 on each section. The ones I miss, I often find that there are two very attractive answer and I can't differentiate which one is correct.

RC i usually get around -7 (although I feel like I have made something of a breakthrough with it due to lots of studying recently). I really struggle with certain types of passages on RC. I tend to ace law/humanities/science and absolutely suck at some of arts ones. Not entirely sure why this is seeing as the same skills are basically required.

My studying has been fairly light (10 hours a week average) for the first 6 months due to degree/volunteering/societies/running for office and a bunch of other stuff I seemingly rope myself into, but I'm making sure to ease up on my extra-curriculars this term and over the summer and hopefully double my LSAT work.

Any advice?

I would stay away from PTs, and just focus on drilling individual sections (or games/passages) from older PTs and working on strategies, addressing your weak spots, etc. Do another PT when you're able to go around -3 per section consistently.

The lack of improvement you're seeing in that amount of time is probably due to the light prep and amount of other things you're involved with. Would highly recommend limiting commitments and, if you can, working a low-stress (preferably part-time) job over the summer. The LSAT is the most important thing.

Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:37 pm

Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I still have the second half of the bibles and training books to read and take notes on + just ordered superprep and the three workbooks. Definitely will dial down the extra-curriculars (although a lot of time will be taken up by exams and essays until May, would be pointless messing up the 4.0 GPA equivalent when I have the whole summer to LSAT to my heart's content, but definitely should be able to commit substantially more time to it.

in terms of dialling down the preptests, was planning on still doing them but cutting the timed element out. Feel like a lot of my problem is time-related so it might be a good idea to see which parts of the LSAT I'm actually conceptually struggling with as opposed to the bits where I'm just being slow.

Thanks for the tips!

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Alexandros » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:46 pm

Chris.Murray4 wrote:Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I still have the second half of the bibles and training books to read and take notes on + just ordered superprep and the three workbooks. Definitely will dial down the extra-curriculars (although a lot of time will be taken up by exams and essays until May, would be pointless messing up the 4.0 GPA equivalent when I have the whole summer to LSAT to my heart's content, but definitely should be able to commit substantially more time to it.

in terms of dialling down the preptests, was planning on still doing them but cutting the timed element out. Feel like a lot of my problem is time-related so it might be a good idea to see which parts of the LSAT I'm actually conceptually struggling with as opposed to the bits where I'm just being slow.

Thanks for the tips!

Sounds like you have a great plan going!
Definitely focus on exams/finishing the semester for now. I started studying in May after my semester ended and it all worked out very well time-wise.

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Instrumental

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Instrumental » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:27 pm

I began to consistently score in the range I wanted once I finally began to consistently produce solid scores in RC and was able to get my timing down much more consistently such that I wouldn't run out of time as often before finishing a section. That took quite a bit of time and I really started to show improvement once I started redoing older RC sections and also outlined a step by step approach for LG. I actually diagrammed my practice test scores from the time I started to the time I took the actual test. It is below. My scores were very erratic in the beginning but slowly became a bit more consistent and higher over time. The blue line represents the actual score and the green line represents the score I got after adding the questions I didn't have time to get to but got correct after the section was over. The red square is my September '16 test and the green dot was the December '16 test.

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Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:04 pm

Instrumental wrote:I began to consistently score in the range I wanted once I finally began to consistently produce solid scores in RC and was able to get my timing down much more consistently such that I wouldn't run out of time as often before finishing a section. That took quite a bit of time and I really started to show improvement once I started redoing older RC sections and also outlined a step by step approach for LG. I actually diagrammed my practice test scores from the time I started to the time I took the actual test. It is below. My scores were very erratic in the beginning but slowly became a bit more consistent and higher over time. The blue line represents the actual score and the green line represents the score I got after adding the questions I didn't have time to get to but got correct after the section was over. The red square is my September '16 test and the green dot was the December '16 test.


Thanks for that Instrumental! It's very interesting you had such a large variation at the start - I've actually found the opposite. My 8 PTs thus far have ranged between 158 and 164, nothing higher or lower.

I can totally see your point about timing, it definitely is my biggest issue. I agree that improving the timed element is something that comes with repetition of the strategies you use so it takes a while to do that quicker and see the improvement. Also on the RC - definitely finding it the most frustrating section, there doesn't seem to be too much to do improve technique-wise. I did have a sort of revelation in the last PT I did where I actually made more of a concerted effort to read properly (before I would just read quickly and sort of not take in as much or diagram the passage in any way), so I'm hoping I'm going to see a bit of a jump in my RC scores now.

Thanks for the info, very interesting and helpful!

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Platopus

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Platopus » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:47 pm

A 160 is a pretty solid diagnostic score, so I'm a little surprised you haven't seen greater improvement on your score. I haven't taken the test yet, but to give you an idea: I scored a 160 on my diagnostic, a 167 on my second PT after 1&1/2 months of studying, a 172 on my third PT at 2 months of studying and a 179 on my fourth PT at about 2&1/2 months. Obviously, these numbers don't mean much, other then the general upward trend, as I haven't taken the test yet. However, I have noticed progress in my drilling due to really focusing on keeping a consistent schedule of drilling and reviewing. In general, there are three steps to achieving a high LSAT score: 1) Develop Accuracy 2) Practice Timing 3) Maintain Consistency + Stamina. You should focus your studying to achieve these goals in order. If you are still missing many questions per section, slow it down, do some sections untimed and reinforce the thought process behind why each answer is correct and why the others are wrong. Once you can reasonably finish a section with no more than 2 incorrect answers, then start focusing on completing in time, and lastly stamina.

If you plan on taking the test in September, you have the time to take 2 months and focus solely on doing untimed drills until you fully understand each question type, game type, passage type. If you get to the point where your accuracy is greatly improved before 2 months, great, then start adding the timing component. But for now, maybe back off on the timing pressure and work on studying the more fundamental components until you have them mastered. You have plenty of potential and a 170 is possible, so put in the right work and it should be yours.

Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:11 pm

Platopus wrote:A 160 is a pretty solid diagnostic score, so I'm a little surprised you haven't seen greater improvement on your score. I haven't taken the test yet, but to give you an idea: I scored a 160 on my diagnostic, a 167 on my second PT after 1&1/2 months of studying, a 172 on my third PT at 2 months of studying and a 179 on my fourth PT at about 2&1/2 months. Obviously, these numbers don't mean much, other then the general upward trend, as I haven't taken the test yet. However, I have noticed progress in my drilling due to really focusing on keeping a consistent schedule of drilling and reviewing. In general, there are three steps to achieving a high LSAT score: 1) Develop Accuracy 2) Practice Timing 3) Maintain Consistency + Stamina. You should focus your studying to achieve these goals in order. If you are still missing many questions per section, slow it down, do some sections untimed and reinforce the thought process behind why each answer is correct and why the others are wrong. Once you can reasonably finish a section with no more than 2 incorrect answers, then start focusing on completing in time, and lastly stamina.

If you plan on taking the test in September, you have the time to take 2 months and focus solely on doing untimed drills until you fully understand each question type, game type, passage type. If you get to the point where your accuracy is greatly improved before 2 months, great, then start adding the timing component. But for now, maybe back off on the timing pressure and work on studying the more fundamental components until you have them mastered. You have plenty of potential and a 170 is possible, so put in the right work and it should be yours.


Hey Platopus,

Thanks for the detailed response. That sounds like a really solid tactic - I am planning on doing solely untimed PTs for the next couple of months to try and suss out where my actual ability is lacking (as opposed to now where I'm not able to differentiate clearly which points in dropping because of time pressure and which ones I'm dropping because of a conceptual misunderstanding).

Nice numbers - gives me a big boost knowing that sort of improvement is possible. As I say, I will gladly take a 172 because the rest of my application is super-strong. Obviously if I can get higher I'll take it though!

But thanks for the tips - I'll definitely have a think over them. Perhaps I should spend more time reviewing my PTs and spend a few minutes on every question instead of just glancing at them.

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Platopus

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Platopus » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:13 pm

Chris.Murray4 wrote:
Hey Platopus,

Thanks for the detailed response. That sounds like a really solid tactic - I am planning on doing solely untimed PTs for the next couple of months to try and suss out where my actual ability is lacking (as opposed to now where I'm not able to differentiate clearly which points in dropping because of time pressure and which ones I'm dropping because of a conceptual misunderstanding).

Nice numbers - gives me a big boost knowing that sort of improvement is possible. As I say, I will gladly take a 172 because the rest of my application is super-strong. Obviously if I can get higher I'll take it though!

But thanks for the tips - I'll definitely have a think over them. Perhaps I should spend more time reviewing my PTs and spend a few minutes on every question instead of just glancing at them.


I would also recommend these, since you mentioned struggling with RC: https://shop.powerscore.com/?action=pro ... 00O2WN2IAN & https://shop.powerscore.com/?action=pro ... 00O2WNCIA3

They're a bit pricey, but I think it's really helpful to have all the passages broken out by type. I've been trying to treat RC like I do games and just do them until they feel robotic. So if you feel attacking certain passage types, its super convenient. Granted, they don't have any comparative reading passages, but still, maybe worth checking out. Best of luck

Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:49 am

Platopus wrote:
Chris.Murray4 wrote:
Hey Platopus,

Thanks for the detailed response. That sounds like a really solid tactic - I am planning on doing solely untimed PTs for the next couple of months to try and suss out where my actual ability is lacking (as opposed to now where I'm not able to differentiate clearly which points in dropping because of time pressure and which ones I'm dropping because of a conceptual misunderstanding).

Nice numbers - gives me a big boost knowing that sort of improvement is possible. As I say, I will gladly take a 172 because the rest of my application is super-strong. Obviously if I can get higher I'll take it though!

But thanks for the tips - I'll definitely have a think over them. Perhaps I should spend more time reviewing my PTs and spend a few minutes on every question instead of just glancing at them.


I would also recommend these, since you mentioned struggling with RC: https://shop.powerscore.com/?action=pro ... 00O2WN2IAN & https://shop.powerscore.com/?action=pro ... 00O2WNCIA3

They're a bit pricey, but I think it's really helpful to have all the passages broken out by type. I've been trying to treat RC like I do games and just do them until they feel robotic. So if you feel attacking certain passage types, its super convenient. Granted, they don't have any comparative reading passages, but still, maybe worth checking out. Best of luck


Yeah, I got the first one recently , finding it useful so far. Also ordered the workbook that goes with the bible and spending at least three hours a week reading online journals about literature and hard science to get more used to the sort of dense writing that comes with areas I don't have a great deal of initial knowledge in. I'm fine with law and humanities because that's my ballpark anyway and I spend half of my life reading dense literature on that stuff anyway!

Thanks for the support, will definitely look into getting that second book.

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby saf18hornet » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:06 am

It's fair to say you should be improving at least by 1 question per week. Seems to me like you need to hunker down and focus on LG. I like Pothypokes strategy:

"You will need to divide LG into specific types (Grouping, Linear, and various subtypes) and work on them one after another in order to master the game type.
1) Make 3 photocopies of every LG
2) Separate them using the classification method of choice - Blueprint, Kaplan, etc. will all work but I prefer PowerScore
3) Do each LGB section in order and work on the respective game types as you progress. For this I usually do 2-3 new games and 3 repeats every day, but it doesn't matter as long as you get it done. Try to keep some separation (24 hours+) between the first and second time you attempt a game.

Repetition is crucial - after you have done a lot of games a lot of times anything they throw at you will seem elementary and routine."

Until you can do every game in the time slotted by the 7sage guides, keep redoing the games.

Chris.Murray4

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Re: Timeline of improvement?

Postby Chris.Murray4 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:36 pm

saf18hornet wrote:It's fair to say you should be improving at least by 1 question per week. Seems to me like you need to hunker down and focus on LG. I like Pothypokes strategy:

"You will need to divide LG into specific types (Grouping, Linear, and various subtypes) and work on them one after another in order to master the game type.
1) Make 3 photocopies of every LG
2) Separate them using the classification method of choice - Blueprint, Kaplan, etc. will all work but I prefer PowerScore
3) Do each LGB section in order and work on the respective game types as you progress. For this I usually do 2-3 new games and 3 repeats every day, but it doesn't matter as long as you get it done. Try to keep some separation (24 hours+) between the first and second time you attempt a game.

Repetition is crucial - after you have done a lot of games a lot of times anything they throw at you will seem elementary and routine."

Until you can do every game in the time slotted by the 7sage guides, keep redoing the games.


Hi there,

Yeah, I had been hoping for quicker improvement despite the relatively low workload thus far. I suppose the higher you go the more difficult each point gets as well.

Definitely agree on nailing LGs, I'd be hitting 170s consistently if I could get that sorted! Really great advice there. I use PowerScore too (nearly finished going through the bible and the attached training book). I hadn't actually considered the 'brute force' type approach here, but it definitely sounds like it could work - repetition certainly is key with a lot of these skills. I reckon the LSAT is relatively learnable, but not in a week or two!

Cheers for that - I'll certainly use that strategy and power through as many games as possible.



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