Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

pithypike
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Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:52 pm

Note: I am now retired from TLS, so I will be unable to answer PMs. I have read through much of this thread and most questions are answered accurately by other posters who have successfully followed the program, so I suggest you refer to the thread for any questions. Good luck in your LSAT prep.

Note from Ken: Pithypike, thank you for the excellent summary. Other members should feel free to add their study tips or advice as posts to this thread or PM Pithypike to add something to his posts.

You will need:
Kaplan Mastery (Kaplan's Big Orange Book is no longer available)
Powerscore Logic Games Bible (LGB)
Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible (LRB)
All 3 of the '10 More LSAT" series
The most recent 10 PTs
Official LSAT SuperPrep
3 months (more or less - adjust to your rate of progress but do not try to cram)

LG:
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.

LR:
Pretty simple really. Do the appropriate LRB section and then work through the corresponding chapter in Kaplan Mastery/Big Orange Book. I generally reviewed the LRB section thoroughly the first time, and then just read the summary of points and strategies at the start of the question set to refresh myself after that. Do up to 10 problems at each sitting and monitor which question types give you the most trouble. Review those questions heavily. If you're really motivated, cut out particularly troublesome questions for later review. I found that writing out explanations for question types I struggled with helped immensely.

RC:
This is the most difficult section to improve on. You have to develop a feel for what the passage as a whole is conveying while making sure not to miss small details that you could be tested on. I suggest developing a set of symbols that help you refer to specific points in the passage. For example, I place a 'C' next to the line in which a critical viewpoint is mentioned and underline the part of the passage indicating this viewpoint is critical. It doesn't matter what you use, as long as it helps you refer back to the passage. Many people suggest writing short summaries at the end of each paragraph, which can also be effective.

The only surefire way to improve on RC is to do as many as possible and develop your own personal system as you progress. Reading dense material, like science journals, The Economist, etc. can help as well, but working through as many passages is possible is undoubtedly the most effective tool. I can't vouch for the RC Bible as I never used it, but if it is comparable in quality to the LG and LR Bibles I would imagine it is a useful tool.

Month 1:
LG: (# of game type through PT 44-Powerscore Classification)
Basic Linear - Balanced (23)
Basic Linear - Overloaded (5)
Basic Linear - Underfunded (5)
Advanced Linear - Balanced (25)
Advanced Linear - Overloaded (4)
Advanced Linear - Underfunded (7)
Write down the exact time and your score at the top of each LG. Push yourself to finish faster the next 2 times you complete that LG. DO NOT sacrifice speed for accuracy though.

LR:
Follow the guide set out above for these question types

Assumption
Strengthen/Weaken
Flaw

RC:
Complete all 10 RC sections from the first '10 LSAT' book (untimed)
Three-Day Cycle:
1) RC Section
2) Review
3) Review

Remember, you have to be focusing on developing your own method for identifying relevant sections of the passage. When reviewing wrong answers, focus on what referents or symbols would have helped you find the correct answer within the passage. When reviewing correct answers, look for what helped you pick that choice out and find out what strategies are effective. This is just as important as reviewing wrong answers.

At this end of this month take PrepTest 'A' from the SuperPrep series - timed. Review the test heavily and read the explanation for every single question, not just the ones you got wrong. Hearing it straight from the horse's mouth can often be very useful and helps you get in the test maker's head.

Month 2
LG:
Grouping - Defined - Fixed - Balanced (10)
Grouping - Defined - Fixed - Overloaded (11)
Grouping - Defined - Fixed - Underfuned (5)
Grouping - Defined - Moving - Balanced (14)
Grouping - Defined - Moving - Overloaded (2)
Grouping - Partially Defined (9)
Grouping - Undefined (6)
Rare Game Types:
Grouping/Linear Combination (8)
Pattern Games (6)
Pure Sequencing (6) Note-much more common in modern games - pay attention
Mapping (3)
Circular Linearity (2)

LR:
Inference
Principle
Parallel
Paradox
Method of Argument
Main Point
Role of a Statement
Point at Issue

You should take at least 10, maybe a few more, timed LR sections during this month to start getting comfortable with timing. Continue to develop endurance and pacing. By the end of this month you should have an established and effective pacing system, i.e. 15 mins/15 questions. Do not be complacent. If you are finishing the section within 35 minutes consistently, knock off a few minutes and see how you do under pressure. You will likely be feeling a bit of pressure and nerves on test day, and this (+ studying in noisy conditions) can help mitigate any test day drop.

Don't use any of the SuperPrep tests or any of the 10 most recent tests, as you will be taking these in their entirety.

RC:
10 timed sections from the most recent '10 LSAT' book you bought. Use the same three day routine for month 1. Continue to develop your style of marking passages. Same story for RC as LR-if you're finishing comfortably shave off a few minutes.

During this month you should take PrepTest 'B' and 'C' (both timed) and review them heavily. I suggest taking B in the middle of the month and C at the end.

Month 3:
During this month you will focus exclusively on full , 5-section PrepTests.

Make 3 photocopies of each LG type for these tests as well. The style of games changed significantly after the June 2005 exam, and it is beneficial to repeat these newer LGs to get a feel for the new ways of phrasing rules and various other differences versus older games. Note: while new LG are easier, it is best to practice with the older ones so that you can truly master the appropriate concepts and be prepared for whatever they throw at you on test day.

Take the 10 most recent PTs in whatever order you prefer. Since the real exam will be 5 sections, you should add a fifth section (whichever you are weakest on) from older exams to provide you with extra material and to build up endurance for the real thing.
Repeat this cycle:

1) PT
2) Review
3) Review

until you have done all ten PTs. On the review days, redo the LGs and monitor which types of questions are tripping you up. Review the Bibles as needed.

Here's what another poster had to say on PT improvement and working toward test day:

lollypotter wrote:Rather than thinking of the LSAT as 30 prep tests to be gotten through, think of it as weaknesses to be eliminated. Every test is a snapshot of your weaknesses and you MUST address them. Going over the tests is crucial. DO NOT DO MULTIPLE TESTS without review. This is a waste of time and tests. The review is the part most people don't do. They rely on familiarity. They improve (on PTs) but in the cold light of the official test they panic, and then they start guessing. That's how people score crazily below their prep test average.


Lolly's right. Eliminate weaknesses, make everything second nature and let your instincts take over on test day. It's a rare tester who doesn't feel a bit of nerves during the real thing, so it is VITAL you hone these concepts until they are second nature.

HTH


Links:

T14's gametype classification (PS Method)
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... e#p1042536

Voyager's RC Guide
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... f=6&t=7240

LSATinator's Guide to Time Management
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... management

PowerScore Games Classification June 2003 -- Present
http://powerscore.com/gamesbible/content_game_info.cfm

Useful LSD LSAT Prep Thread
http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prel ... 881.0.html
Last edited by pithypike on Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:49 am, edited 16 times in total.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby WestOfTheRest » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:52 pm

Wow, someone must have been bored.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby WestOfTheRest » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:53 pm

But nice writeup.

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:56 pm

This is what happens when you're stuck taking an entry level general requirement as an apathetic and jaded senior......

BlackJack
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby BlackJack » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:00 pm

I think most people prep in the same way, regardless of whether you do the following consciously or unconsciously and whether you take a course or not.

Phase 1: Accuracy
You basically need to learn the theory of the LSAT and then do drills of a certain concept (whether it is LG/LR/RC) until you are accurate, untimed. Prep courses have the theory and questions already laid out for you. Self-preppers will need to buy the bibles, study them and photocopy and sort questions themselves. Some self-prep don't do drills and go straight to doing sections, albeit untimed. I think you'll reinforce the concepts better if you do drills while learning the theory.

Phase 2: Speed
Hopefully, you didn't use up all of the LSATs on drills and you have some whole sections you can do, timed. But only one section at a time. You are just now working on timing because hopefully, your accuracy and understanding of LSAT theory is sound.

Phase 3: Endurance
At this point, you should be able to finish any section in less than 35 minutes (with bubbling) and so you need to build endurance to be able to do 5 sections in a row.

That's the way I see it anyway.

milymo
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby milymo » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:37 pm

pithypike wrote:This is what happens when you're stuck taking an entry level general requirement as an apathetic and jaded senior......


Oh my gosh, I'm in the same situation this semester. Only 9 hours to graduate, and all sophomore level classes. BORING! I feel your pain. :)

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:49 am

.
Last edited by pithypike on Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

milymo
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby milymo » Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:46 pm

pithypike wrote:
milymo wrote:
pithypike wrote:This is what happens when you're stuck taking an entry level general requirement as an apathetic and jaded senior......


Oh my gosh, I'm in the same situation this semester. Only 9 hours to graduate, and all sophomore level classes. BORING! I feel your pain. :)


Freshman girls though, which probably doesn't help you.

But it helps me. :) :)


Yeah, not much help for me. Glad you have some entertainment during class. I usually sit at the back and do logic games. What a nerd.

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jack123
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby jack123 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:20 pm

I like this outline a lot and think I will use it. I have 5 months to prepare so any suggestions on how you would spread this out over a few more months?

Also any reason why only back to 45 vs. dropping the superprep?

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Ken
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby Ken » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:49 pm

Great contribution to site readers Pithypike. Thank you very much for taking the time to create and post this.

Thanks,

Ken

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CRJC
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby CRJC » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:32 am

BlackJack wrote:I think most people prep in the same way, regardless of whether you do the following consciously or unconsciously and whether you take a course or not.

Phase 1: Accuracy
You basically need to learn the theory of the LSAT and then do drills of a certain concept (whether it is LG/LR/RC) until you are accurate, untimed. Prep courses have the theory and questions already laid out for you. Self-preppers will need to buy the bibles, study them and photocopy and sort questions themselves. Some self-prep don't do drills and go straight to doing sections, albeit untimed. I think you'll reinforce the concepts better if you do drills while learning the theory.

Phase 2: Speed
Hopefully, you didn't use up all of the LSATs on drills and you have some whole sections you can do, timed. But only one section at a time. You are just now working on timing because hopefully, your accuracy and understanding of LSAT theory is sound.

Phase 3: Endurance
At this point, you should be able to finish any section in less than 35 minutes (with bubbling) and so you need to build endurance to be able to do 5 sections in a row.

That's the way I see it anyway.



i really wish i would have realized this before starting to study, as it is a really important point. there is an order to those factors, and i've just been bombarding myself with everything at once..

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:33 am

jack123 wrote:I like this outline a lot and think I will use it. I have 5 months to prepare so any suggestions on how you would spread this out over a few more months?

Also any reason why only back to 45 vs. dropping the superprep?


Just spread it out proportionately, but make sure that you leave the 10 PTs for the final month. You want that whole month to be focused on building endurance and instinctive timing for the real thing, so it's crucial they be close enough together that you get into a habit.

I think SuperPrep is a great resource that is under used by a lot of test takers. It tells you what the test writers are trying to evaluate and what tricks they will use to throw you off. Not in so many words, but the pattern of reasoning they use to write wrong answer choices is visible in their explanation of why those choices are wrong, so you get a peak into how they try to trick you and throw you off.

46 and on is when the test really beings to change. The curve tightened up some post 39 because LG got a bit easier, but after 46 LG changed a lot and RC began shifting toward more detail oriented questions. For this reason I think it is best to work with these in the final month, as opposed to pre-46 tests (except 45, for whatever reason).

HTH

Thanks Ken, by the way. This site has been a great resource.

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jack123
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby jack123 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:27 am

I read this again and think I am going to do what you have outlined except over 5 months. My question is I read somewhere that the Kaplan Mastery does a better job with sorting out the LR question by types. Is this correct?

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paulmar
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby paulmar » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:32 am

pithypike wrote:


LG:
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.
1) Make 3 photocopies of every LG

HTH


why make 3 photocopies?

also, i've gone through the LR&LG bibles, done over 50 sections in LR from various PT's. i just bought the mastery book - do you think i should still follow your routine? i'm taking the Dec. lsat, as i focused primarily on LR over the past 2 months (5-7 hrs/day) and am almost done with the LG bible after the past 2 weeks - though no work in RC. i have major problems w/2nd guessing myself and also w/parallel and flaw questions; mustbetrue/inference also. i'm at a 158 (from a Sept. 2007 lsat of 149) and trying to hit mid-upper 160's.

what would you suggest i do? follow an abbreviated version of your plan?

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:17 pm

You might not want to follow it exactly, but I think you should use Kaplan mastery. If you feel solid on the other question types, then you can ignore those sections and just focus on your weaknesses. I firmly believe the best way to learn specific LR types is doing them over and over again, and Kaplan Mastery provides a convenient way to do this.

Make 3 photocopies of each LG so you can do each one three times. LG is all about mechanics, and repeating games is the best way to develop those mechanics to the point that everything is instinctive.

With all the studying you have done, following this guideline exactly might not be the best idea. Take the study methods and establish a plan to fit your specific needs.

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:19 pm

jack123 wrote:I read this again and think I am going to do what you have outlined except over 5 months. My question is I read somewhere that the Kaplan Mastery does a better job with sorting out the LR question by types. Is this correct?



I have never seen a Big Orange Book, so I can't say how it compares to Mastery. I do know that Mastery is very well organized and effective though, so if you are wavering on which to purchase you may as well go with the guaranteed useful one.

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jack123
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby jack123 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:26 pm

Sounds good, am pretty pumped about my studying now that I have a solid plan which uses the materials I will use.

By the way I love your handle, evertime I see it I start laughing

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:26 am

jack123 wrote:Sounds good, am pretty pumped about my studying now that I have a solid plan which uses the materials I will use.

By the way I love your handle, evertime I see it I start laughing


Yeah Manatees are probably the coolest marine mammals around.

Mr. Papagiorgio
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby Mr. Papagiorgio » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:55 pm

hey pithypike, i plan on using your study plan for the next two months (especially with the LG section) to get ready for the december LSAT. however, i had a few quick questions.

i was confused about where the LGB comes into play. am i working through a chapter (like the linear games) then spending the entire month working on only problems from that chapter?

and i was confused about the #'s next to the LGs. . . .

thanks, pithy!


(i'll probably have more questions down the line. . . . )

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:45 pm

Mr. Papagiorgio wrote:hey pithypike, i plan on using your study plan for the next two months (especially with the LG section) to get ready for the december LSAT. however, i had a few quick questions.

i was confused about where the LGB comes into play. am i working through a chapter (like the linear games) then spending the entire month working on only problems from that chapter?

and i was confused about the #'s next to the LGs. . . .

thanks, pithy!

(i'll probably have more questions down the line. . . . )


You work through the entire chapter on whichever game type you are working on (Grouping, Linear, Pattern, Hybrid, etc.), then start working through that LG type game by game. If you struggle with a particular game then go back to the LGB and review it.

The numbers next to each LG type are the number of games that exist for each game type.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Mr. Papagiorgio
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby Mr. Papagiorgio » Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:43 pm

i have a bunch of earlier tests, so i'll probably just tweak the PT's and do 41-51 instead.

i also have a bunch of tests from like 1996 and on. how do you feel about taking some of these older tests?

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:06 pm

Mr. Papagiorgio wrote:i have a bunch of earlier tests, so i'll probably just tweak the PT's and do 41-51 instead.

i also have a bunch of tests from like 1996 and on. how do you feel about taking some of these older tests?


Older tests are fine, but make sure you take the most recent ones in the month leading up to the test. Slight changes in style persist from test to test, but you will be more prepared for the actual test day by taking the most recent ones last.

I would suggest investing another $16 and getting at least two of the tests leading up to your test day, if not more. It's worth it.

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:33 pm

This is a question extracted from another thread and posted here for your viewing convenience:

Oh yeah pithypike I was reading your study schedule/strategy on the other forum. What do you think about studying for the question types you're not doing well on (in both LG and LR) all at the same time instead of dividing up the two? Thanks in advance!



I am not sure I completely understand the question.

You should be studying for LG, LR and RC at a consistent pace throughout the plan. No time period is allocated specifically for any one section.

If you are asking if you should continue to review for a particular question/game type that gives you trouble even if you have already completed that section on the study guide, the answer is an emphatic yes. You should be narrowing down your weaknesses and tracking progress the entire time you are studying.

The last month is when you should really hit those weak areas hard (in between PT days and PT review) but you should certainly be reviewing weaknesses the entire way through.

That is the great thing about splitting up question and game types. You find your weaknesses and you can hammer them before test day.

KaplanLSATInstructor
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby KaplanLSATInstructor » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:49 pm

Just a clarification for anybody looking for the Kaplan Big Orange Book -- it doesn't exist anymore. When Kaplan reorganized questions into three study books (Mastery, Pacing and Endurance), the Mastery Book took over for the Big Orange Book. Both books are similar in design (individual questions broken out by question type and grouped in levels of difficulty), but the Mastery book is the only one around now.

pithypike
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Re: Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide

Postby pithypike » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:55 pm

KaplanLSATInstructor wrote:Just a clarification for anybody looking for the Kaplan Big Orange Book -- it doesn't exist anymore. When Kaplan reorganized questions into three study books (Mastery, Pacing and Endurance), the Mastery Book took over for the Big Orange Book. Both books are similar in design (individual questions broken out by question type and grouped in levels of difficulty), but the Mastery book is the only one around now.


Thanks! I'll edit my OP to this effect.




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