How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

YaleLawSchoolorBust
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How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby YaleLawSchoolorBust » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:14 pm

Hey, Everyone!

I am at the very beginning of 3-4 weeks of unstructured time in which I plan to start studying for the LSAT, and last night I kicked off that time by taking a diagnostic. I took a timed, four-section LSAT (June 2007 from the LSAC's website), just like most people had suggested. I felt confident in many of my answers, but hoped for a score somewhere around 160. Good news! I scored a 170!

I had -3 in Logic Games, -2 on one of the Logical Reasoning sections, -1 on the other LR section, and -2 on Reading Comprehension. Obviously, I am absolutely thrilled to be starting from this point (I plan to take either the February 2018 or June 2018 LSAT, but would consider December 2017, if things feel right), and certainly hadn't expected to score so well. That being said, I'm not entirely sure where to start my studies. I expected to do worse on Logic Games, since I haven't studied how to diagram them at all. In fact, I already ordered the Powerscore LSAT LG Bible because I expected to need more help there. I will certainly still use that book because I want to be scoring -0 with near-certain reliability, but I'm not entirely sure how to proceed otherwise.
Got any tips/resources for me to use as I move forward? the 4 books of 10 offical LSAT PT's just arrived in the mail yesterday, along with the Official LSAT Superprep. That means I have 43 PT's to work with, and I will eventually have 53 when the next 10 are released in October. I'm not exactly sure how to budget my PT's. Would it be good to take 2 or 3 per week for the next few weeks while working my way through the LG bible? I don't want to burn through them while I'm not improving my LR and RC scores, but I also will have much more free time for the next four weeks than I will have when my classes start.
I guess I'm just looking for advice about my specific situation, so any useful information you share would be greatly appreciated!

TL;DR: I scored a 170 on my diagnostic, with very little difference between section scores. I also have a month to study intensely before classes start. I plan to take either the February 2018 or June 2018 LSAT (maybe December 2017, if I feel comfortable), and am aiming for 176+. How should I proceed/pace myself?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for such a long post!

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Anon-e-miss
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Anon-e-miss » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:01 pm

There are plenty of effective study guides on this site. Starting from a 170 is very uncommon so I won't even make fun of your humble brag, but your approach to studying shouldn't be fundamentally different since you'll still want to go through and solidify your understanding of the test and each section (and question type).

I also started from a strong place (165 diagnostic) and wanted to start PTing right away. Resist this urge. I would go through the books that your purchased while drilling question types for each section as you do so. After you get through the books, then start PTing. You're in a fantastic starting position and a 176+ is definitely an attainable goal, but don't put the cart before the horse even if your cart is really well-crafted :wink:

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Chaimthegreat
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Chaimthegreat » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:17 pm

You probably start off pretty well- congrats!

Edit: rereading it sounded snarky- wasn't the intention. Good luck!
Last edited by Chaimthegreat on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

YaleLawSchoolorBust
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby YaleLawSchoolorBust » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:29 pm

Anon-e-miss wrote:There are plenty of effective study guides on this site. Starting from a 170 is very uncommon so I won't even make fun of your humble brag, but your approach to studying shouldn't be fundamentally different since you'll still want to go through and solidify your understanding of the test and each section (and question type).

I also started from a strong place (165 diagnostic) and wanted to start PTing right away. Resist this urge. I would go through the books that your purchased while drilling question types for each section as you do so. After you get through the books, then start PTing. You're in a fantastic starting position and a 176+ is definitely an attainable goal, but don't put the cart before the horse even if your cart is really well-crafted :wink:


This may be a silly question, but how is drilling different from PTing? Don't you use up sections from practice tests by drilling with them? Is the main difference that you would do one section at a time? Do you still time yourself when drilling?

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but I've had multiple people warn me not to burn through my PT's too early, while at the same time suggesting drilling.

Thanks for the insight!

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Pneumonia
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:12 pm

YaleLawSchoolorBust wrote: This may be a silly question, but how is drilling different from PTing? Don't you use up sections from practice tests by drilling with them? Is the main difference that you would do one section at a time? Do you still time yourself when drilling?

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but I've had multiple people warn me not to burn through my PT's too early, while at the same time suggesting drilling.

Thanks for the insight!


It's not a silly question. Drilling can refer to a few things. Most commonly it means taking a certain LG game type or LR question type and doing 35 minutes worth of that game. It can also mean doing full LG/LR/RC sections that are mixed type. A common method of learning the game/question types is to "drill" PTs 18–50 according to type and then to use tests 50-80(ish?) as actual practice tests. Anyway, you probably don't need to worry about drilling very much.

Your score is high enough that you should focus on 3 things. First, get perfect a logic games. Since you're starting from a 170, the quickest way for you to do this is (a) learn the different "types" of games and (b) learn a system for diagraming the rule statements that the games provide you. Once you get some exposure, you should be good to go. Second, for LR, do the same thing. Learn the question types and learn how to reduce the prompts into conditional terms. You likely are doing this intuitively already, but having the conditional diagramming in your toolkit is essential for test day. If you do these things, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get to a consistent -0 on LG and a consistent -0/-1 on LR.

For RC, you're starting from a good place. It's really hard to improve on RC, but I think you can get to a consistent -1/-2 once you learn the patterns. They tend to repeat.

Anyway, focus on games first, then LR, then RC. Good luck!

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Platopus
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Platopus » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:12 pm

YaleLawSchoolorBust wrote:
TL;DR: I scored a 170 on my diagnostic, with very little difference between section scores. I also have a month to study intensely before classes start. I plan to take either the February 2018 or June 2018 LSAT (maybe December 2017, if I feel comfortable), and am aiming for 176+. How should I proceed/pace myself?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for such a long post!


Great diagnostic, truly that's impressive. But I think most advice will still hold for you. You can probably flip through the books quicker than most, but I think I would still recommend at least taking a look at them. From there it's going to be drilling until LG is a -0 with absolute certainty every time. You'll also want to drill LR and RC to get really, really comfortable with the timing. Several months of drilling and a couple months of PT's and drilling should do the trick. I'd imagine you'll pick up LG quickly, but like most, LR and RC might be a little more inconsistent. Don't freak out if your next PT is a 165, because you'll still be in great shape.

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rowdy
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby rowdy » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:03 pm

I had a 170 diagnostic and hit my target score in June on my first attempt. I studied for an average of 1 hour a day, plus a test each weekend, starting in March.

Do not overthink this. You have good instincts, and trying to over-engineer yourself to increase your score could mess you up. For example, Powerscore (and other sources) over-diagram on games for my taste. Some strategies for LR focus too much on categorization of question types and gaming the answer choices. Your primary focus should be as follows:

1) Practice taking the test. I did one section a day plus a full test on Saturdays.
2) Carefully review your mistakes, as well as any questions about which you were not 100% sure.

Those two things alone will do most of the heavy lifting. The last thing:

3) Use any guides as tools to help out, but don't take them as dogma. For example, I took a huge dip in games when I tried to diagram every possibility to the point where it was unusable. I went through a few different guides and took some useful things, but you don't want to spend all of your time on theory. Recognizing the difference between a "flaw" and a "weaken" question is good, but reading the specific question and understanding what it asks is just as good. Use the guides to shore up your weak points, try some things out, and do what works for you.

darthlawyer
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby darthlawyer » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:35 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
YaleLawSchoolorBust wrote: This may be a silly question, but how is drilling different from PTing? Don't you use up sections from practice tests by drilling with them? Is the main difference that you would do one section at a time? Do you still time yourself when drilling?

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but I've had multiple people warn me not to burn through my PT's too early, while at the same time suggesting drilling.

Thanks for the insight!


It's not a silly question. Drilling can refer to a few things. Most commonly it means taking a certain LG game type or LR question type and doing 35 minutes worth of that game. It can also mean doing full LG/LR/RC sections that are mixed type. A common method of learning the game/question types is to "drill" PTs 18–50 according to type and then to use tests 50-80(ish?) as actual practice tests. Anyway, you probably don't need to worry about drilling very much.

Your score is high enough that you should focus on 3 things. First, get perfect a logic games. Since you're starting from a 170, the quickest way for you to do this is (a) learn the different "types" of games and (b) learn a system for diagraming the rule statements that the games provide you. Once you get some exposure, you should be good to go. Second, for LR, do the same thing. Learn the question types and learn how to reduce the prompts into conditional terms. You likely are doing this intuitively already, but having the conditional diagramming in your toolkit is essential for test day. If you do these things, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get to a consistent -0 on LG and a consistent -0/-1 on LR.

For RC, you're starting from a good place. It's really hard to improve on RC, but I think you can get to a consistent -1/-2 once you learn the patterns. They tend to repeat.

Anyway, focus on games first, then LR, then RC. Good luck!


why starting at pt18 for drilling? i started at 1 recently.

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Pneumonia
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:56 pm

darthlawyer wrote: why starting at pt18 for drilling? i started at 1 recently.


Most of the self study guides on this site (Pithypike, TLS1776) were written when there were only 55 PTs. So people would drill PTs 1–35 and then use the remaining 20-or-so PTs as actual practice tests (it may have been 1–38, I can't remember exactly; whatever the Cambridge packets contained). But even then, people understood that PTs 1-17 were not quite the same as the "modern" LSAT, but there were only so many question to go around so people worked with what they had.

Skip forward to today and there are 80+ PTs available. So there's no real need to use 1–17 anymore. You can use PTs 20-60 for drilling and still have 20+ PTs leftover for taking as actual practice tests. I don't guess that there's anything wrong with using 1-35 for drilling and then taking the rest as actual tests, but 45 actual practice tests is more than most people do, even on this site.

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Mikey
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Mikey » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:17 pm

You have an excellent diagnostic. Idk if question type drilling would be much help for you but if there is a question type u find difficult then drill it. Otherwise, tbh I think doing PTs and reviewing would be what you should do. You are already off to a great start, reviewing is important so do it after PTs! :D

darthlawyer
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby darthlawyer » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:34 am

true. if i were op i would probably just do timed pts and review them, like above poster said.

YaleLawSchoolorBust
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby YaleLawSchoolorBust » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:45 am

Mikey wrote:You have an excellent diagnostic. Idk if question type drilling would be much help for you but if there is a question type u find difficult then drill it. Otherwise, tbh I think doing PTs and reviewing would be what you should do. You are already off to a great start, reviewing is important so do it after PTs! :D


Thanks for the advice! I'll probably still do some drilling, but I'll do a few PT's a week before classes start. I know that I should review PT's after I finish them, but I'm not 100% sure how. I've heard people talk about blind review before. That means going through untimed and finding the correct answers, right? Should I just review the questions that I got incorrect or had some difficulty with?

Lxwind
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Lxwind » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:35 pm

YaleLawSchoolorBust wrote:
Mikey wrote:You have an excellent diagnostic. Idk if question type drilling would be much help for you but if there is a question type u find difficult then drill it. Otherwise, tbh I think doing PTs and reviewing would be what you should do. You are already off to a great start, reviewing is important so do it after PTs! :D


Thanks for the advice! I'll probably still do some drilling, but I'll do a few PT's a week before classes start. I know that I should review PT's after I finish them, but I'm not 100% sure how. I've heard people talk about blind review before. That means going through untimed and finding the correct answers, right? Should I just review the questions that I got incorrect or had some difficulty with?


Hi! I just started studying for LSAT 2 weeks ago and I started from 169 on the same preptest, June 2007. I am taking the September test, so you probably have much more time than I do. So far my strategy has been doing timed 4-section PT every 2~3 days during weekdays, and then do 5 or 6 section PTs on weekends. The rest of the time I review the questions and use LSAT Trainer for improving LR and RC. Don't really have time for the Bibles.

As for blind review, I would recommend the free 7sage LSAT scoring tool. They also have a series of posts on how to do blind review. Basically they suggest circling any question that you are not 100 percent sure during the timed PT, and then review them before checking the answers to see if you would like to make any changes. Note done both your first answer and your blind review answer and then check the answer. This can be easily done with the scoring tool I just mentioned.

So far I have been improving and am scoring around 172 on my PTs. I do hope that I can get into high 170s on test day. Just keep in mind that I'm not afraid of burning through my PTs since I'm only going to study for about 50 days, so I'm sure I'll have enough PTs for practice. BTW, I started at around PT45, cause I heard that the more recent ones are more difficult and I want to save them for later days. I used sections from earlier PTs as the extra section. Also, I'm not a native English speaker, which may or may not make a difference in terms of learning strategies.

YaleLawSchoolorBust
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby YaleLawSchoolorBust » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:00 pm

Lxwind wrote:
YaleLawSchoolorBust wrote:
Mikey wrote:You have an excellent diagnostic. Idk if question type drilling would be much help for you but if there is a question type u find difficult then drill it. Otherwise, tbh I think doing PTs and reviewing would be what you should do. You are already off to a great start, reviewing is important so do it after PTs! :D


Thanks for the advice! I'll probably still do some drilling, but I'll do a few PT's a week before classes start. I know that I should review PT's after I finish them, but I'm not 100% sure how. I've heard people talk about blind review before. That means going through untimed and finding the correct answers, right? Should I just review the questions that I got incorrect or had some difficulty with?


Hi! I just started studying for LSAT 2 weeks ago and I started from 169 on the same preptest, June 2007. I am taking the September test, so you probably have much more time than I do. So far my strategy has been doing timed 4-section PT every 2~3 days during weekdays, and then do 5 or 6 section PTs on weekends. The rest of the time I review the questions and use LSAT Trainer for improving LR and RC. Don't really have time for the Bibles.

As for blind review, I would recommend the free 7sage LSAT scoring tool. They also have a series of posts on how to do blind review. Basically they suggest circling any question that you are not 100 percent sure during the timed PT, and then review them before checking the answers to see if you would like to make any changes. Note done both your first answer and your blind review answer and then check the answer. This can be easily done with the scoring tool I just mentioned.

So far I have been improving and am scoring around 172 on my PTs. I do hope that I can get into high 170s on test day. Just keep in mind that I'm not afraid of burning through my PTs since I'm only going to study for about 50 days, so I'm sure I'll have enough PTs for practice. BTW, I started at around PT45, cause I heard that the more recent ones are more difficult and I want to save them for later days. I used sections from earlier PTs as the extra section. Also, I'm not a native English speaker, which may or may not make a difference in terms of learning strategies.


Thanks for the reply! I actually just found that scoring tool, and used it to score my second PT! I did very little studying between my diagnostic and this second PT, and I scored another 170, with a blind review score of 178! I feel very good about this, because this score helps me feel more confident that my diagnostic was not a fluke. I made a few of the same small mistakes that I made last time (example: reading "agree" as "disagree"), so I have a few areas to focus on. I did even better on LR and RC than last time, but the games on this PT slapped me around quite a bit while I was doing them timed. I guess that just confirms that LG is the area in which I really need the most work. I've heard it's the easiest area to improve, though, so I'm feeling confident!

Good luck working toward your September goal!

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Pneumonia
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Re: How to Start from a 170 Diagnostic?

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:15 pm

Yeah once you learn a conditional shorthand for games and get repeated exposure to the game/question types then you'll be good to go.




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