Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

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CrimsonCal
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby CrimsonCal » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:30 am

is it me or there are an insane number of extremely high test scorers on this site? (175-180).... perhaps TLS is self-selective in that respect

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CrimsonCal
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby CrimsonCal » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:55 am

I guess it just seems like the LSAT has become a ridiculous arms race where a few questions have become so determinative

but, such is the nature of the beast

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LessThanLiz
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby LessThanLiz » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:23 am

CrimsonCal wrote:is it me or there are an insane number of extremely high test scorers on this site? (175-180).... perhaps TLS is self-selective in that respect

It is. That's why I avoided it leading up to the test. Not that I don't find it impressive, but as a high strung person who is shooting for a 160-something range, being around more high strung people going for 175+ gives me such a skewed impression that it freaks me out (to my detriment.)

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CrimsonCal
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby CrimsonCal » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:39 pm

I agree... this place freaks me out... perhaps I should live in ignorant bliss

danny
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby danny » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:57 pm

I scored a 178 on the September 2009 LSAT and hopefully have a few helpful suggestions on how to score well.

The books I used were all the available past tests which I think are the best resources and probably all that most people need as far as materials go.

[Redacted.]

I also recommend taking a practice test every week. I took a practice test every Saturday at 8:00 am which prepared me for the real thing and took away a lot of the anxiety on the day of the actual test.

During the week, I studied by drilling particular question types and game types, as well as practicing whole sections, but saved the practice tests for the weekend.

I hope this helps, and good luck on the LSAT.

Woozy
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby Woozy » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:32 pm

I will record what I did here in the hopes that it may help some, but I would like to preface this by saying my study plan would have been insufficient for the majority of takers. I had a great advantage in that my initial diagnostic (after looking at the LG section of a prep book for 1-2 hrs) was already >170.

1) 180

2) A friend had taken the Testmasters course and I had access to the complete set of their books, which contain all LSAT questions from mid 90s to about 2005 or so, organized by question type.

3) None

4) I studied for 2-3 months, about 5-10 hours per week. I was also working full time.

5) 5-7 PTs, 2 of those were crappy fake tests. Use only real LSATs! The fake tests made by test prep companies do more harm than good.

6) Take more PTs. I made a mistake in having too few PTs to work with. Also, I should have been taking 5 section PTs.

7) I have a few thoughts about test taking and test prep. Many are not new, some are:

A) Try to be in decent physical shape. Sound body, sound mind. Don't go crazy, but at a minimum do 30 min of physical activity a few times per week.
B) Take PTs honestly. Time strictly, use bubble sheets, etc. If you are dishonest here you only hurt yourself.
C) Think efficiency and speed. Every second needs to be spent productively. Try to move as quickly as you can from question to question and from answer sheet to test booklet. It sounds simple and obvious, but it is not so easy in practice to identify every wasted second. A few examples of things I did:
i) Practice turning pages and beginning immediately. Attack the questions. Feel a sense of urgency during practice and the test. In LG practice setting games up as quickly as possible; often you can just skim the opening paragraph. You should be able to immediately identify what type of setup to use.
ii) Late in practice when you have internalized your sense of timing, stop looking at a watch. Every second spent looking at a watch is a second not spent on the LSAT.
iii) Use dull pencils - they fill an oval quicker.
D) Practice is the time to develop your focus! When you go through problems, try to move with a sense of urgency and do not let your mind wander. Whether you are doing practice tests or just random problems, if at any time you find yourself thinking about anything other than the problem in front of you, give yourself a mental slap and bring your focus back to the test. If you are constantly thinking about random crap during practice you will be thinking about random crap during the test. If you learn to do this properly you will be less stressed during the test because you will not be worried about failure, nerves, stress, etc. since you will not be able to think about anything other than the problem in front of you. I was very stressed out/nervous during the 12 hours leading up to the test, but once the proctor said "begin" the LSAT was the only thing going through my mind.
E) Be flexible in your thinking. I have been tutoring a friend and he gets many wrong because he fights the test, often deciding he likes some answer more than another because of something in his head, not on the paper.

Hope this helps someone out there. Best of luck.

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CardinalRules
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby CardinalRules » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:32 pm

lakerfanimal wrote:
boo_pragmatism wrote:
PerfectionarySugar wrote:would you all recommend studying hard core for the next two months leading up to the feb lsat, doing a 4-5 practice tests a week, or spreading them out doing 1-2 a week up to the june lsat?

The latter.


+1 for the latter.


Another +1 for the latter.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:36 pm

managamy wrote:
lakerfanimal wrote:
boo_pragmatism wrote:
PerfectionarySugar wrote:would you all recommend studying hard core for the next two months leading up to the feb lsat, doing a 4-5 practice tests a week, or spreading them out doing 1-2 a week up to the june lsat?

The latter.


+1 for the latter.


Another +1 for the latter.


Adding to the +1s for the latter.

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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby jmoon1 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:10 pm

any 168-170s have a diagnostic of around 157? I was aiming for a 169/170 as I want to go to Cornell but I'm disappointed and quite frankly saddened by my 157 diagnostic.

I was pretty nervous, just sitting at home, and I KEPT looking at the watch. I also found my mind wandering, thinking about how many I'd gotten wrong, which forced me to re-read questions and waste time as I didn't internalize what my eyes were going over.

I'm writing in June so I have a lot of time, and the powerscore bibles are on their way to my house. I also just purchased a book on informal logic, as I did go over on time a bit with the logic games.

I got a glaring -11 on RC, and -15 on LR. Just -5 on LG, but like I said, it took me longer.

So, any advice? Can I go from 157 to 169/170 or am I kidding myself? I really want that 170.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:14 pm

jmoon1 wrote:any 168-170s have a diagnostic of around 157? I was aiming for a 169/170 as I want to go to Cornell but I'm disappointed and quite frankly saddened by my 157 diagnostic.

I was pretty nervous, just sitting at home, and I KEPT looking at the watch. I also found my mind wandering, thinking about how many I'd gotten wrong, which forced me to re-read questions and waste time as I didn't internalize what my eyes were going over.

I'm writing in June so I have a lot of time, and the powerscore bibles are on their way to my house. I also just purchased a book on informal logic, as I did go over on time a bit with the logic games.

I got a glaring -11 on RC, and -15 on LR. Just -5 on LG, but like I said, it took me longer.

So, any advice? Can I go from 157 to 169/170 or am I kidding myself? I really want that 170.


Was this your first PT?

I did exactly this. I got a 157 on my first PT and a 170 on my real LSAT. I started studying around April and took in June, so you've got plenty more time than you need. A 13-point gain is doable, and my highest PT was a 177 so I probably could've made even more gains if I'd worked on it longer. Good luck!

jmoon1
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby jmoon1 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:20 pm

I did exactly this. I got a 157 on my first PT and a 170 on my real LSAT. I started studying around April and took in June, so you've got plenty more time than you need. A 13-point gain is doable, and my highest PT was a 177 so I probably could've made even more gains if I'd worked on it longer. Good luck!


It was my first! that's such a great thing to hear...what did you do to improve your score? Anything specific you could recommend?

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby Stringer Bell » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:26 pm

jmoon1 wrote:any 168-170s have a diagnostic of around 157? I was aiming for a 169/170 as I want to go to Cornell but I'm disappointed and quite frankly saddened by my 157 diagnostic.

I was pretty nervous, just sitting at home, and I KEPT looking at the watch. I also found my mind wandering, thinking about how many I'd gotten wrong, which forced me to re-read questions and waste time as I didn't internalize what my eyes were going over.

I'm writing in June so I have a lot of time, and the powerscore bibles are on their way to my house. I also just purchased a book on informal logic, as I did go over on time a bit with the logic games.

I got a glaring -11 on RC, and -15 on LR. Just -5 on LG, but like I said, it took me longer.

So, any advice? Can I go from 157 to 169/170 or am I kidding myself? I really want that 170.


A 157 diagnostic is not bad at all and certainly does not preclude you from breaking 170 on the real thing. I had no idea how to study for this at first and had some crappy Barron's prep book from 2005. I took a PT after that in sections and scored somewhere around a 160. After using the Powerscore books and doing a ton of PT's I climbed to a 176 on the real thing.
Last edited by Stringer Bell on Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:32 pm

jmoon1 wrote:
I did exactly this. I got a 157 on my first PT and a 170 on my real LSAT. I started studying around April and took in June, so you've got plenty more time than you need. A 13-point gain is doable, and my highest PT was a 177 so I probably could've made even more gains if I'd worked on it longer. Good luck!


It was my first! that's such a great thing to hear...what did you do to improve your score? Anything specific you could recommend?


Personally I took a 4-month Princeton Review prep course. However, that was a choice I made because 1) I had a job where I made enough money to afford the prep course and 2) I'm not good with the self-discipline and self-management it takes to teach yourself something requiring several months of prep all by myself, I do better with someone guiding me through it. There are many other posters on this forum who will tell you they've made the 10-15 point gain entirely on their own just through repeated practice.

I will say that one of the simplest things I learned that helped me gain speed on answering was to take the test in a different order than the questions are presented. For instance, on RC, I learned enough that within 60 seconds I could identify which were the easy passages and which were the harder ones. The idea is to get the most right answers you can, so you want to do the easy passages first. The hardest passage might be the first passage in the section, so if you spend so much time on it that you end up not having time left to get through the easy passages, you just lost easy points. And so on and so forth.

There's lots of tricks and tips and tools that will each add a little to your score but together combine to give you the ability to score much higher and answer questions much more quickly and efficiently and in the right order to maximize the number of right answers you give. Just start reading everything you can about what other people do, there's lots of good information in this thread and other threads on TLS, there's the books you've ordered, and there's prep courses by Princeton Review, Kaplan, Testmasters and others. Mix and match methods if you have to, choose which is the best learning method for you, and just get to work. Slow but continued work will get you there by June. The information is out there, you just have to go get it and use it, and you can succeed.

Good luck!

jmoon1
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby jmoon1 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:23 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Personally I took a 4-month Princeton Review prep course. However, that was a choice I made because 1) I had a job where I made enough money to afford the prep course and 2) I'm not good with the self-discipline and self-management it takes to teach yourself something requiring several months of prep all by myself, I do better with someone guiding me through it. There are many other posters on this forum who will tell you they've made the 10-15 point gain entirely on their own just through repeated practice.

I will say that one of the simplest things I learned that helped me gain speed on answering was to take the test in a different order than the questions are presented. For instance, on RC, I learned enough that within 60 seconds I could identify which were the easy passages and which were the harder ones. The idea is to get the most right answers you can, so you want to do the easy passages first. The hardest passage might be the first passage in the section, so if you spend so much time on it that you end up not having time left to get through the easy passages, you just lost easy points. And so on and so forth.

There's lots of tricks and tips and tools that will each add a little to your score but together combine to give you the ability to score much higher and answer questions much more quickly and efficiently and in the right order to maximize the number of right answers you give. Just start reading everything you can about what other people do, there's lots of good information in this thread and other threads on TLS, there's the books you've ordered, and there's prep courses by Princeton Review, Kaplan, Testmasters and others. Mix and match methods if you have to, choose which is the best learning method for you, and just get to work. Slow but continued work will get you there by June. The information is out there, you just have to go get it and use it, and you can succeed.

Good luck!


Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. I do plan on taking a course...I may take a 2 month course closer to the end of my semester. I can prep on my own till then and then use the course to clean up some of my bad habits and then go hard on PTs in the few weeks leading up to the test.

Hopefully my end result is identical to yours!

EDIT: When is the best time for me to take the course? I've done a diagnostic and ordered the bibles and plan to start working through then. I start my next semester in early Jan, and am taking the test in June.

Should I take a May 6-week course? Or something early that meets less often? Any tips? If I'm working out of the PS Bibles I probably should avoid the PS course right?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:33 pm

I'll say this about prep courses--they start from scratch, assuming you don't know anything about taking the test. If you've already been teaching yourself stuff beforehand, you'll likely be bored during the first few weeks of the prep course.

jmoon1
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby jmoon1 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:11 pm

Are there no advanced course I can take? Or should I just take it sooner rather than later? Thx for answering all of these, btw.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:13 pm

jmoon1 wrote:Are there no advanced course I can take? Or should I just take it sooner rather than later? Thx for answering all of these, btw.


Because most people who take LSAT prep courses are starting from scratch, the courses are just geared that way. An alternative is to study yourself for a while and then find an LSAT tutor who charges by the hour, and do a few hourly sessions with them. This might end up being cheaper than the prep course since you can choose to only pay for a few hours if that's all the guidance you need, and they'll be able to spend more time focusing directly on you instead of you being in a class full of other students also competing for the teacher's attention.

You can find tutors in different places, from Craigslist to online listings to just asking around and finding out if there's anyone who got 170+ at your school and offering them $20/hr to give you advice when you start struggling with the material.

Sourpunch
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby Sourpunch » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:03 pm

If your cold diagnostic is less than 160, then do yourself a favor and take a prep course. Preferably Blueprint. Testmasters if you can't find blueprint.

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ragazza1indy
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby ragazza1indy » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:32 pm

bump!!

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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby skip james » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:47 pm

ragazza1indy wrote:bump!!


ahahaha

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby Stringer Bell » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:03 pm

EDIT: I just deleted this comment because I forgot I posted my story ITT 8 or so comments up.

renacois
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby renacois » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:18 pm

1) What score did you get?
165
2) What books did you use? (Kaplan, Powerscore LRB, Powerscore LGB, etc)
Just old LSAT tests
3) What prep courses did you take (if any)? Full length, weekend?
Kaplan's Crash Course (online)
4) How long did you study for, and under what conditions? (during school, during the summer, etc)
2 weeks, during school
5) How many preptests did you do?
<10
6) What would you change if you were to do it again?
Nothing

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JMBrown32
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby JMBrown32 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:00 pm

1) What score did you get? 165 (Dec '09) after a 158 in June

2) What books did you use? (Kaplan, Powerscore LRB, Powerscore LGB, etc) Powerscore LGB and as Many PTs as I could find

3) What prep courses did you take (if any)? Full length, weekend? None

4) How long did you study for, and under what conditions? (during school, during the summer, etc) I studied for a month 5-6 mornings a week for 2-3 hours a morning plus some games in class when I was bored. :lol:

5) How many preptests did you do? Only 5

6) What would you change if you were to do it again? I would definitely start studying earlier! I only had time to work through the LG Bible and a couple PTs. I really would have liked to have the time to work through the LR Bibles and do more PTs to work on my timing more.

7) Any other misc comments/suggestions. Buy the Bibles and take as many PTs as you can! Follow Pithy Pikes guide and work through a lot of the games as you work through the games bible and do the same for the LR section. Also, I made the mistake of using my iphone as a timer during my PTs which I obviously wasn't able to do on the real thing so when you take your PTs, try to mimic test conditions as much as possible. Honestly, the LSAT is a huge pain, but the time and effort can be really really rewarding.

geron21
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby geron21 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:11 pm

1) 173

2) The Princeton Review, and published tests from LSAC

3) None.

4) End of winter, into Spring. Beginning in March of 2009, I studied for 2.5 hours a night, 5 days a week, for the June administration. By the time the test rolled around, I had cycled through about 4,500 - 5,000 questions.

5) I did every published test - at least, that I know of. This was almost as much to mitigate anxiety as for the sake of prep. I had to know I did EVERYTHING I could do to prepare.

6) Nothing.

7) Args was my weakest subject, and I developed a study strategy that I think got me results. After I had gone through exercises to familiarize me with each args type, I did one section of args untimed, followed immediately by a timed section. The untimed allowed me to try to make the connections, and gave me time to do so, while the timed taught me to put them to use. Too, on the untimed args sections, I wrote next to each answer choice why I thought they were wrong/right. This was time intensive, but it helped me make the connections and, later, to spot similar types of pitfalls on similar types of args questions. Improvement was very, very slow, but steady. My final score was four points higher than my test average (168-169).

lakerfanimal
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Re: Great Advice on How to get 160+ on the LSAT...

Postby lakerfanimal » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:55 am

1) What score did you get?
172
166

2) What books did you use? (Kaplan, Powerscore LRB, Powerscore LGB, etc)
Both of the powerscore books, and every prep test available between 7 and 58.

3) What prep courses did you take (if any)? Full length, weekend?
None, just self study both times.

4) How long did you study for, and under what conditions? (during school, during the summer, etc)
The first time- from October until February during an extremely difficult quarter for about 15 hours a week or so.

Second time- HUGE difference. From middle of June until 2 days before the test (about 6 months). I also studied about 20-30 hours a week, I counted about how many hours total and it was 500 the second time, probably around half that the first time.

5) How many preptests did you do?
First time- all of them from 20-56.

Second time- all of them from 7-58 like I said. Biggest difference though by far was that I literally wrote an explanation for every single LR question right or wrong, and I only did this for wrong questions the first time. This was HUGE for me, you will get better by doing this no doubt. In terms of LG I was always ok so it was just drilling it again. RC wise I changed things up a ton- the first time I wrote it I used to underline a lot and do this and that sort of marking, the second time barely any marks but I'd write down a 3-4 word summary next to each paragraph. I went from averaging -6 before my first test to -2 before the second test. RC is improvable but it is VERY difficult and it takes time because you need to experiment with different methods- I changed my methods about 3 times just the second time around. You have to be flexible enough to change your methods if they are not working and this is the biggest key for RC. Something I also did over the summer for RC that helped was a retention practice method- read a passage, write down as much of the passage as you can write without looking, and then answer the questions without looking at your summary or the actual passage or the answer choices- just write down an answer based on memory. Do this a ton and it becomes easier- it does work. LR wise I did have that blip but writing out explanations for all my questions helped a ton.
Also- somebody else stressed this on an earlier page, but doing old tests (as long as they are unmarked) WILL help. Time them to maybe 32 minutes or less because you have seen them, but I had about 5-6 months separation between taking tests the first and second time. My average on all the old tests was about a 175, and on the 2 new ones I did I averaged a 173 (174 on June 09 and 172 on October 09).

6) What would you change if you were to do it again?
Not a lot, it'd be nice not to have that 166 on my record as I fear it may keep me out of some schools that I'd like to go to. But definitely learned a lot from it. I know I could've done a little bit better but I scored 1 point lower than my new test average and that's not bad, plus it's still 99th percentile. I did my best so pretty happy with the end result.

7) Any other misc comments/suggestions.
Psychological factors that were different for me the second time- I didn't look at any sub-forum on this site besides the lsat prep one. The first time before I took the test, I'd look at the law school sections on this page, chiashu, lsn, and all those law school sites. Not thinking about the test as a means to an end but an end in itself helped a ton. It made me more motivated and focused on the actual test. Also taking 6 months instead of 3-4 helped me pace myself much better. Also take your tests with 5-6 sections as I didn't do this on any test the first time but did the second time, and take the tests in a library, this was also something different I did the second time and it helped. Finally, take one test in crappy conditions- like minimum sleep or while you are sick. The night before the test I literally didn't sleep at all- not one minute, and I had never done that un-wantingly in my life; but that morning I watched clips from the Michael Jordan flu game the next morning on youtube, remembered that I scored in the mid 170's during a test I took on 4-5 hours of sleep, and decided I wasn't going to let fatigue be a factor. After the test I was ready to collapse and felt like I did poorly, but if you ready yourself physically for the worst, it's not that bad during the test. REALLY hope this inspires somebody, whether you are a re-taker or not. Believe in yourself, you can do it if you want it bad enough.
Last edited by lakerfanimal on Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.




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