Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

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carsondalywashere
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Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:55 pm

I will not pretend to be an LSAT guru/expert/master or whatever; there are a lot smarter people who have written better guides. However, if you're a low scorer, with some hard work and sweat, you too can get a score that will get you into some t13 schools with scholarships.

Rather than give a study guide (like I said, there are a lot of good ones out there), I figured I'd open up a Q&A for specific questions. Some initial general comments though:

Timeline

1. My cold diagnostic was 146. After three months of working in the PowerScore bibles with the occasional test and lots of drilling, I broke into the 160s. This took about 20-30 hours a week.

2. I started working a 50-60 hour a week job after I broke 160. Every day during lunch I did one section. Then at home, I blind reviewed it. On weekends, I did a practice test and blind reviewed it. Four months of doing this, and I broke into the 170s.

3. Here is where things get dicey, and I am not sure how useful it is. I plateaued at this point, and never scored above a 174 on a fresh practice test. I spent about three more months doing step #2. Unfortunately, I was laid off from my job. I decided to forgo looking for a job and instead spent three months of doing three practice tests a week with blind reviews. My score never improved. I took the June test, and scored in my range.

4. I ended up taking the test two more times after that, with little or no improvement. I believe that I did learn substantially more about the test as I continued to study. Maybe I had bad test days and couldn't fulfill my full potential. With that said, three takes with (essentially) the same score at least showed I was consistently good. And really, that's what the test taking you'll be doing as you prep is about; consistently being good. The learning occurs during blind reviews and drilling. I don't know how important it is to shove practice tests down your throat, but doing 6-8 section practice tests will improve your stamina, and make the real thing way less scary.

5. Even if you do end scoring in your range, it's worth retaking. One extra point in this range means a fuck ton. It can take you off the waitlist to getting into your dream school (happened to me). But studying for a retake is mentally draining, so take care of yourself.

Study Materials

1. Obviously, you're going to need to get all of the tests. Traditionally, people use 1-40 for drilling and 41-80 for real tests. If you're a hard gainer, you're probably going to do all of these problems at least twice. That's okay though! The best learning tool is redoing problems. It wasn't until the fourth or fifth time that I felt I had sucked all the juice out of the problem. With the harder ones though, it can take that many looks.

2. I learned the basics through the PowerScore bibles. However, I think the Manhattan LR book is superior. I never used any other guide for games (went -0 on the real test)

3. Watch the 7sage video on YouTube for every game you miss a question on. Redo said game until you understand it perfectly.

4. Use the Manhattan LR forums for problems you aren't 100% certain on. We are aiming for certainty, not lucky guessing.

5. Went 24/27 on RC. I strongly advise spending your free time reading articles from The Economist, The Atlantic, Scientific Review, etc. with the mindset you use when reading RC passages. Make it your default reading mode. You need to get faster at reading. LSAT RC punishes slow readers, so make reading your new hobby.

zil020511
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby zil020511 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:45 pm

That is an amazing journey! I wanted to know what did you use to drill. Did you just buy tests or was there a particular bundle you used? Also, did you PT and then do drilling to work on weaknesses or did you drill first and then start PT or a combo of both? Thank you! :D

zil020511
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby zil020511 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:53 pm

Also, did you time yourself while drilling? How often did you take practice test that you were able to thoroughly blind review?

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:55 pm

zil020511 wrote:That is an amazing journey! I wanted to know what did you use to drill. Did you just buy tests or was there a particular bundle you used? Also, did you PT and then do drilling to work on weaknesses or did you drill first and then start PT or a combo of both? Thank you! :D

I used "the orange book" to drill by type, but I mostly just did sections from older tests.

I spent a lot of time drilling first. This will help with timing. I don't see the point in blowing through practice tests until you can finish sections on time.

You should incorporate drilling into your PT routine once you get to that point

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:58 pm

zil020511 wrote:Also, did you time yourself while drilling? How often did you take practice test that you were able to thoroughly blind review?

I never had timing issues, but yes I always timed myself.

I ended up doing over 100 practice tests and blind reviewed them. Like I said above, I am not certain how helpful this is. Part of me feels there is a certain threshold some testers can't surmount, but I also strongly feel my highest official score does not reflect my understanding of the test.

I will say that redoing practice tests is a great learning tool.

zil020511
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby zil020511 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:13 pm

Thank you! :D

Veil of Ignorance
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:22 am

Just wanted to say I lol'd at the name of the thread. nice work :D

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freekick
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby freekick » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:09 am


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littlewing67
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby littlewing67 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:08 am

.
Last edited by littlewing67 on Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:28 am

Veil of Ignorance wrote:Just wanted to say I lol'd at the name of the thread. nice work :D

Thank you haha; it's definitely an apt title

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:32 am

littlewing67 wrote:Thanks for the thread! Just wondering how many questions for RC you got wrong initally, and how many you got later on in your studies. How were you able to progress to the amount you got wrong to get a +170.


At the beginning I was getting 19 correct, and many of them were just guesses. I went 24-26 regularly by the end of my studies. I became more certain in my answer choices over time, and the ones I got wrong were 50/50 shots of being correct.

RC takes the longest to improve, and that's partly because past reading habits and speed play a big role. However, I find treating RC passages like one big LR stim is the best approach. So spend your time getting really good at LR, and you'll see that attacking the RC questions in a similar fashion will lead to good results.

mtn1995
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby mtn1995 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:13 pm

This is definitely a stupid question, but what exactly do you mean when you say that you went through rounds of "blind reviews" after drilling timed sections of the LSAT?

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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby mtn1995 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:16 pm

And what exactly do you mean by "drilling?"

Forgive me here; I'm completely new to LSAT studying.

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:35 pm

mtn1995 wrote:This is definitely a stupid question, but what exactly do you mean when you say that you went through rounds of "blind reviews" after drilling timed sections of the LSAT?

Blind review is when you go over any question you weren't certain about before checking the answer (usually do this later in the day or the next day). Then you grade your section/test, and go over any problems you got wrong.

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:43 pm

mtn1995 wrote:And what exactly do you mean by "drilling?"

Forgive me here; I'm completely new to LSAT studying.

Drilling is either doing specific problem types or section types to focus on getting better at those.

No shame in being new! Better to get these questions answered than to forge ahead without knowing

mtn1995
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby mtn1995 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:53 pm

As far as drilling goes, how did you hunt down collections for specific questions that you might find in the LR section? I have this massive Kaplan Mastery Practice textbook with all of the different question types, but they're ranked in difficulty so I end up getting completely lost when I get close to the 70s in Must Be True/Most Strongly Support questions (that's the only question I've covered thus far with the LR Bible).

I mean, are there other collections out there with similar set ups? I think those would be insanely helpful.

Csupo
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby Csupo » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:30 pm

Which LR question types did you have the most trouble with (or continue to have trouble with?), and how did you get better at them?

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:58 pm

mtn1995 wrote:As far as drilling goes, how did you hunt down collections for specific questions that you might find in the LR section? I have this massive Kaplan Mastery Practice textbook with all of the different question types, but they're ranked in difficulty so I end up getting completely lost when I get close to the 70s in Must Be True/Most Strongly Support questions (that's the only question I've covered thus far with the LR Bible).

I mean, are there other collections out there with similar set ups? I think those would be insanely helpful.


The Orange Book is set up that way, which includes passages and games.

I used the powerscore bible initially, but the Manhattan approach to LR is superior imp. It's far more simple.

Once you have a basic understanding of types, don't be afraid to jump into mixed practice.

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carsondalywashere
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:00 pm

Csupo wrote:Which LR question types did you have the most trouble with (or continue to have trouble with?), and how did you get better at them?

I ended up having trouble with the hardest questions (16-20). I've read this means that one has not mastered a specific type of lr problem, as one should be able to answer problems of all difficulty for that type

CoGar
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Re: Hard Gainers Q&A; 146 to 170+

Postby CoGar » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:16 pm

How did you improve timing???

About to get back into studying after a 4 month grind for the Sept '16 test a while back. Throughout that entire time and until test day I did not complete a single LR/RC section. I am a notoriously slow reader so perhaps that's the issue (got through only 3 passages on test day).
But beside that, any advice?




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