95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

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chewdak
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby chewdak » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:14 pm

jco wrote:I think that these things alone are of little predictive value. Some people are just good test takers, and some will just struggle with the kind of material on the LSAT. I was lucky enough to do well taking the test cold and without any goals or planning.

In the particular experiment mentioned, Zimmerman queried volleyball players of different ability and used their answers to predict their relative skill level with 90% accuracy.
He said "Our predictions were extremely accurate. ...This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don't blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix."

I really don't know any more about his methodology.

It appears that many people here gave their strategy serious consideration.
And I really appreciate the thought they put into explaining their strategy here.

Just for fun, I guessed, without any objective criteria, what 3 people scored after reading their comments.

guess/actual:
172/170
174/172
175/176

duckquack
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby duckquack » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:21 pm

rayiner wrote:It is key to do your PTs naked.


The neighbors might object.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:29 pm

iminlstrick wrote:
toolshed wrote:+1 to taking off a few days before the test. I noticed that I always did better after a 2-3 day break in studying, so taking off Friday-Sunday before the June test was just right.


I think re: taking time off immediately before the test, you absolutely should do what works for you. Personally, I didn't take off at all before the test; I even reviewed a little right before it. I was in a zone, however, studying each day for a dedicated amount of time, and knew that if I took time off, it would just throw off that routine. If taking time off for you before other exams -- finals, other standardized tests -- worked, then do it. But don't feel like it's absolutely necessary one way or the other.


+1. I actually woke up early to take a timed games section to make sure I was ready to go. Keep in mind though-endurance isn't the problem for me, slow starts are. Like what is said above, do what whats for you.

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gunners
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby gunners » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:31 pm

duckquack wrote:
rayiner wrote:It is key to do your PTs naked.


The neighbors might object.


Or might enjoy.

jco
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby jco » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:38 pm

chewdak wrote:
jco wrote:I think that these things alone are of little predictive value. Some people are just good test takers, and some will just struggle with the kind of material on the LSAT. I was lucky enough to do well taking the test cold and without any goals or planning.

In the particular experiment mentioned, Zimmerman queried volleyball players of different ability and used their answers to predict their relative skill level with 90% accuracy.
He said "Our predictions were extremely accurate. ...This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don't blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix."

I really don't know any more about his methodology.

It appears that many people here gave their strategy serious consideration.
And I really appreciate the thought they put into explaining their strategy here.

Just for fun, I guessed, without any objective criteria, what 3 people scored after reading their comments.

guess/actual:
172/170
174/172
175/176


Volleyball may be somewhat different than taking the LSAT. There you have a sport that crucially depends on the ability to use muscle memory to make precise movements that are somewhat unnatural in an everyday context. The skills required for the LSAT, especially for RC to a significant extent for LR and to a lesser extent for LG, are things that most college students have to do every day in their academic careers. In certain areas of study this is more true than others, which is probably why, for example, math, physics and philosophy students tend to do better on the LSAT than other majors. If you take into account doing the sort of thinking that is required for the LSAT, but not in the context of actually practicing for the test itself, then maybe you will find more of a correlation.

As it stands now there are people like Minimao, who got a 180 after a week of preparation, and there are people who study comprehensively following well thought out techniques (such as the ones available on this site) but are unable to score above 160. Whether this is innate ability, familiarity with a certain way of thinking, taking practice tests naked, or just differences in basic test taking skills, I think a lot more goes into determining the final score than the categories you mentioned. Moreover, I think that these factors account for the majority of the variation in test scores, unlike the case of Zimmerman's volleyball experiment. Perhaps this is less true in the limited range of scores you're interested in where everyone is already quite capable. Of course, all else being equal, improving in the areas you list will almost certainly boost your score, so these are still useful questions to be asking. I was just pointing out that they aren't the only determinants, or even the most important determinants, of an LSAT score.

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elliefont
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby elliefont » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:38 pm

I decided kind of late to take the LSAT, only had 5-6 weeks to study.

1) goals : best possible score

2) planning : realized time was crunched, hard to acquire and work through a lot of material, so I rationed what I had, scheduling all my available PTs on a calendar. About 1-2 PTs a week at first, then upped to 3/week the last two weeks before the test. Week of test: didn't study Friday, barely studied Saturday, PT on Sunday to ramp up for Monday performance. Day of test: did about 15 LR from a test I'd already done just before entering the room.

3) strategy choices : First I worked through Nova's Master the LSAT which I rarely see mentioned, but it really helped me out. They use real questions and have real prep tests. I became familiar with the test format and types of quesitons/sections. A good survey. Worked about 3 hours a day, maybe 5 on weekends. One non-study day a week.

4) self-monitoring : all my PT's were timed using an analog wristwatch. usually about 1-2 minute break between sections. Occasional snack after section 3. I never did a full 5 section test, but endurance has never been a problem for me in testing. I took about an hour after the test to score it and check the answers. I wish I had been more vigilant about seeing which TYPES of questions I was getting wrong.

5) adaptation : about 3 weeks in, I realized I was still boggled by some LR, so got the LR Bible and did that a week or two before the test... didn't make it all the way through since I gave priority to PTs. I'm really happy I had at least some practice with the Bible. it helped me a lot, especially with answering confidence and thus made those sections easier to finish in time.

I'm probably retaking in December, so I'll do a lot of PTs with very careful review. I'll go through the LR Bible again, committing more of those rules ot memory, and try to do at least one game every day for a few weeks before the test.

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gunners
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby gunners » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:39 pm

chewdak wrote:
jco wrote:I think that these things alone are of little predictive value. Some people are just good test takers, and some will just struggle with the kind of material on the LSAT. I was lucky enough to do well taking the test cold and without any goals or planning.

In the particular experiment mentioned, Zimmerman queried volleyball players of different ability and used their answers to predict their relative skill level with 90% accuracy.
He said "Our predictions were extremely accurate. ...This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don't blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix."

I really don't know any more about his methodology.

It appears that many people here gave their strategy serious consideration.
And I really appreciate the thought they put into explaining their strategy here.

Just for fun, I guessed, without any objective criteria, what 3 people scored after reading their comments.

guess/actual:
172/170
174/172
175/176


Interesting. Updated my profile so you could make a guess on mine. Keep the results coming

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williestark
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby williestark » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:44 pm

chewdak wrote:Based on CUNY's Barry Zimmerman's research into self-regulated learning ( Daniel Coyle, 'The Talent Code', 2009, p.86), it
might be interesting to compare your individual approaches and see how they correlate to your score.

If you would, please describe how you practice and take tests in terms of:

1) goals
2) planning
3) strategy choices
4) self-monitoring
5) adaptation
Overall, and also for individual LSAT sections.

Please do not post your LSAT score in your comment, instead put it into your profile, or later comment.
The idea is to check whether one's relative score can be predicted in terms of her description.


GOALS: Has to be 180 if only because you HAVE TO take the test with the mentality that every missed question is a travesty that must be avoided.

PLANNING: I mapped out all of my prep in advance. Originally I had it scheduled down to the day but as I practiced I was flexible and I mainly used the calendar as a guide to make sure I was on pace.

STRATEGY: I spent a week with the LGB and the rest was PT's. Took over 40 of them, didn't review missed answers for hours upon end as some people claim to. I only spent a lot of time on a missed question if after learning the credited response I was still confused. Didn't really trip about timing because I'd finish most of my sections in the 33 to 35 minute range. I knew that adrenaline would give me another gear on testday and indeed I finished all sections except Dinos with 5+ minutes to spare.

SELF MONITORING: Made a spreadsheet. Found it useful for comfort when I had a negative outlier.

ADAPTATION: I found that the more "in" the test I was, the better my performance. For this reason I didn't take a day off the day before the test. I wanted to be in LSAT mode as much as possible so I took PT56 on Sunday afternoon and I feel it helped me.

People say to practice in noisy conditions to prepare for the testday environment but I suspect those people are REALLY sensitive to sound. The turning pages and pencil scratching just isn't that loud. To me the toughest thing to adapt to is the tsunami sized wave of adrenaline that hits you the second you pop open the test booklet. You NEVER experience that during PT's and it's important to at least mentally prepare yourself for it. Just know it's going to happen and a few questions in you will begin to notice yourself settling into a normal state of mind.

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solotee
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby solotee » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:46 pm

Good post! Keep 'em coming!!

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:48 pm

I'll provide the oddball multiple (3) test-taker experience for you.

chewdak wrote:Based on CUNY's Barry Zimmerman's research into self-regulated learning ( Daniel Coyle, 'The Talent Code', 2009, p.86), it
might be interesting to compare your individual approaches and see how they correlate to your score.

If you would, please describe how you practice and take tests in terms of:

1) goals- Originally: Improve around 7 points for diagnostic. Half-way through my prep-test class this changed to wanting to get around 10-12 points higher. Was in that range for my practice tests but dipped on first test day last Oct. Decided to retake in Dec- missed my goal score by 1 point. After tutoring some and going through teacher training in March and April, decided to sign up for the June test on the last day of regular sign-up. Took a few practice tests and set my new goal score between at around 170.
2) planning- First time: Took a class and did a lot of practice tests out of class. Second time: Did self-prep, less time spent on then first. Third time: Hard to calculate, since study time and work actually counted as the same thing. Most of my focus was on my worst section (LG), then some time on RC. Besides practice tests, I really did not spend much time on LR, unless it was going over student's missed answer choices for tutoring.
3) strategy choices- Powerscore combined with a very small amount of Kaplan. I did a lot of work on just timing individual games and trying to become as fast as possible while staying accurate. Did a little of this with RC as well.
4) self-monitoring- Kept track of PT scores and for the first two tests I could see the powerscore breakdown of all my PT's online (which was pretty beneficial in hindsight, since I probably would not have the self-discipline to do something comparable on my own).
5) adaptation- A good deal of Powerscore, some Kaplan, and a lot of improvisation on my own part after seeing so many questions.

Highest score in profile.


Please do not post your LSAT score in your comment, instead put it into your profile, or later comment.
The idea is to check whether one's relative score can be predicted in terms of her description.
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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elliefont
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby elliefont » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:49 pm

williestark wrote: To me the toughest thing to adapt to is the tsunami sized wave of adrenaline that hits you the second you pop open the test booklet. You NEVER experience that during PT's and it's important to at least mentally prepare yourself for it. Just know it's going to happen and a few questions in you will begin to notice yourself settling into a normal state of mind.


People, read and reread this. I had no idea this would happen to me and was totally blindsided by the adrenaline/nerves that happened on section one, game one. It hurt me, probably a point or two. I'll definitely be adding some calming exercises to my routine for December.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:54 pm

chewdak wrote:
jco wrote:I think that these things alone are of little predictive value. Some people are just good test takers, and some will just struggle with the kind of material on the LSAT. I was lucky enough to do well taking the test cold and without any goals or planning.

In the particular experiment mentioned, Zimmerman queried volleyball players of different ability and used their answers to predict their relative skill level with 90% accuracy.
He said "Our predictions were extremely accurate. ...This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don't blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix."

I really don't know any more about his methodology.

It appears that many people here gave their strategy serious consideration.
And I really appreciate the thought they put into explaining their strategy here.

Just for fun, I guessed, without any objective criteria, what 3 people scored after reading their comments.

guess/actual:
172/170
174/172
175/176


I would imagine a specific score estimation would be pretty difficult with this method, since there is a score range of 6 points for a score given. Basically, for the LSAT luck does play a part once you get at a certain level, since every question is so valuable. To expound- I went 1/1 on my pure guesses, and 3/5 on my educated/rushed guesses. If i had been unlucky and gone 0/1 and 0/5, there goes 4 points.

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chewdak
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby chewdak » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:31 am

jco wrote:
chewdak wrote:
jco wrote:I think that these things alone are of little predictive value. Some people are just good test takers, and some will just struggle with the kind of material on the LSAT. I was lucky enough to do well taking the test cold and without any goals or planning.

In the particular experiment mentioned, Zimmerman queried volleyball players of different ability and used their answers to predict their relative skill level with 90% accuracy.
He said "Our predictions were extremely accurate. ...This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don't blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix."

I really don't know any more about his methodology.

It appears that many people here gave their strategy serious consideration.
And I really appreciate the thought they put into explaining their strategy here.

Just for fun, I guessed, without any objective criteria, what 3 people scored after reading their comments.

guess/actual:
172/170
174/172
175/176


Volleyball may be somewhat different than taking the LSAT. There you have a sport that crucially depends on the ability to use muscle memory to make precise movements that are somewhat unnatural in an everyday context. The skills required for the LSAT, especially for RC to a significant extent for LR and to a lesser extent for LG, are things that most college students have to do every day in their academic careers. In certain areas of study this is more true than others, which is probably why, for example, math, physics and philosophy students tend to do better on the LSAT than other majors. If you take into account doing the sort of thinking that is required for the LSAT, but not in the context of actually practicing for the test itself, then maybe you will find more of a correlation.

As it stands now there are people like Minimao, who got a 180 after a week of preparation, and there are people who study comprehensively following well thought out techniques (such as the ones available on this site) but are unable to score above 160. Whether this is innate ability, familiarity with a certain way of thinking, taking practice tests naked, or just differences in basic test taking skills, I think a lot more goes into determining the final score than the categories you mentioned. Moreover, I think that these factors account for the majority of the variation in test scores, unlike the case of Zimmerman's volleyball experiment. Perhaps this is less true in the limited range of scores you're interested in where everyone is already quite capable. Of course, all else being equal, improving in the areas you list will almost certainly boost your score, so these are still useful questions to be asking. I was just pointing out that they aren't the only determinants, or even the most important determinants, of an LSAT score.

I think the point was that the best performers can explain what, how, and why they do what they do, regardless whether it is sports, music, or academics.
Elsewhere in the book, the author discusses Meadowmount School of Music. One of its staff says that they
encounter a genius every decade or so, where nobody can explain how that person does the amazing things he does.
Everybody else has to work to get results.
It may be that you and Minimao have already been practicing and mastered skills that served you well on the LSAT.
I, for one, knew zilch about logic or critical thinking before I started studying for the LSAT.

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Lmao Zedong
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Lmao Zedong » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:49 pm

.
Last edited by Lmao Zedong on Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lakerfanimal
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby lakerfanimal » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:53 pm

GargamelITT wrote:i can't say definitively that i know this is correct because i'm only one case and this might be more specific to me than it is generally true, but i strongly believe: do NOT set any kind of straight score goal. when you're preparing for the test, thinking about the actual score you will receive is distracting and should be a secondary concern or, ideally, not a concern at all.

i think it is more helpful and reasonable (and far less stress-inducing) to concern yourself only about the questions themselves and missing as few of them as possible. my first test, i thought a good amount about different score scenarios and how likely i thought each one was, and how acceptable each one was. this simply isn't helpful and will distract you rather than help you to focus.

round 2, i put all thought of scores outside of my head, and my score jumped 6 points (obviously this wasn't the sole or even the primary cause of the jump but i don't think it was insignificant). just take the test, crush the questions, and let the score fall where it may.


+999999999999.

Something I'm trying to do more and more, but sometimes it's hard to block it out of your head. I guess it's more about ignoring the desire to think about scores and whatnot. But yeah when you lock down and just think about mastering the skills and executing them on the test, it becomes a simple challenge and nothing more

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Lmao Zedong
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Lmao Zedong » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:21 pm

lakerfanimal wrote:when you lock down and just think about mastering the skills and executing them on the test, it becomes a simple challenge and nothing more


yep, i think this is the perfect way to approach it. wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that thinking in this mode changed my entire outlook on the test (for the better)

doublefocus4
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby doublefocus4 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:20 pm

duckquack wrote:
rayiner wrote:It is key to do your PTs naked.


The neighbors might object.


Lol

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Entchen
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Entchen » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:43 am

I haven't taken the exam yet, but I've been scoring in that range on PTs regularly, so I'll answer anyway.

My first diagnostic, having never looked at an LSAT before, was a 168. That was in February. I decided I would set my real LSAT goal at 173, since I thought 5 points would be a reasonable amount to increase. Then I got a 173 on my second practice test. So I kept raising my goal, but then I kept meeting it. So now, my goal for Monday is 180 or as close to it as possible. I will not complain if I get a 177 or above.

In a way, I've been preparing for the LSAT my whole life - I loved doing logic games as a kid, I took two logic classes in undergrad which were among my favorite classes outside my major, my major was very logic-y, apply rules sort of thing, and I've been a big reader since I was young. Plus, I am lucky -- I've just always been good at standardized tests - SAT, state exams in HS, etc. These things all help me find the LSAT not particularly stressful, and I think being not stressed also makes me less likely to make careless errors.

When I started studying in Feb., I decided I'd do one practice test each weekend. I actually kind of failed at that, because it's been 17 weeks since, and I've taken 9 PTs. Still, my scores have gone up steadily, and they're now at a point where I don't at all regret not doing more. I do not study during the week. I have enough to do with my full time job, and I don't want to stress myself out more than necessary, and honestly, I don't really feel like I need to.

One issue I've had is that I am incredibly impatient, so I used to check my score so far after each section, and then I'd figure out how many questions I could get wrong on the sections left to achieve various target scores. I would also stop the timer as soon as I finished each section, rather than waiting for the full 35 minutes to elapse. Obviously I will not be able to do this on test day, so for my last three PTs, I have not allowed myself to do these things, used the scantron, etc., to get as close to the real experience as possible. I actually think it has helped -- my avg. since is higher than beforehand, although that may also be just having had more experience? Or again with the not being stressed, maybe? Not thinking "ok, I can only get 2 wrong here" and such? I also haven't even looked at the writing section. Ok, that's an exaggeration, I usually read the prompt with each PT, but I haven't actually practiced any. I think I will try to do a couple on my train home tomorrow, but, again, I don't want to freak out about it, because it is so insignificant. I read something by I believe it was the Michigan DoA who said they usually just glance at it to make sure you did it and took it seriously, so it doesn't seem worth agonizing over.

Generally after each exam, I look over questions I got wrong and ones I was unsure about (even if I got them right), but I can generally see why I messed up or didn't fairly quickly. I probably should look at every question, but I don't. I didn't purposely study in bad conditions, but I did do a few PTs on my porch, which can be somewhat noisy. The one thing I am a little nervous about is the length of time the whole thing is going to take -- LSAC website says to be prepared for 7 hours?! That's ridiculous. But oh well, I'll get through it. But how annoying if it does!

Not sure if I answered all of your questions. Basically, my study method was "take practice tests," which I did until I improved to a score I am satisfied with. I have one more (59) to take tomorrow, and then I'm calling it a day (or...calling it a span of several months?), relaxing Sunday, and then going in ready Monday. I really hope the experimental section is games, because they are my best section, I have fun doing them, and I then am in a good mood for whatever follows. I would be ok with a LR experimental, but I worry a RC exp. would tire me out, as it is the section I like the least. I guess we'll see!

rockstar4488
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby rockstar4488 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:09 am

I think if you are scoring in the 95%+ percentile and you have a lot of time left to study, the only goal you should have is a perfect score. My opinion is at this point, you have the mental ability to get every question right. It is just a matter of strategy, speed and endurance. Aside from the mentality that you want to get every question right, I believe it is a disservice to think about individual scores and how they relate to schools. (until you have one)

I'm not going to address the games here, because I think at this percentile, people consistently get close to perfect on this section. If you're scoring in the high 160's and still bombing games, congrats, you're like 5 hours of studying away from a very very sick score.

On LR, the first step is mastering all the mechanisms of the different problem types.
You need to be familiar with
-formal logic
-all the different types of questions you will see
-how to translate various words into formal logic

After you're comfortable with that, you need to start testing on the clock. Begin with blocks of 3-4 questions in 5 minute chunks. Expand that to full sections. Make sure that whenever you do a full section under the clock, to do it with the real test constraints. Have your watch, an alarm set for when the section ends, and another set for the 5 minute warning. Also, remember, you want to spend your time getting as many problems right as you can. The LSAT score killer isn't a hard problem that you quickly get wrong. It is a problem that you either get right or wrong, that manages to suck you in for 5 minutes.

Don't be afraid to try new strategies to see what works for you. Things like problem order, problem type order, etc, can make a difference depending on how you tick.

Also, for endurance, and for more opportunities to test strategy, you should be taking at least one full test a week... at least two a week closer to the test date.

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Luis Gomez
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Re: 95%+ scorers, please describe how you practice

Postby Luis Gomez » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:14 am

Simulate real test day conditions as many times as possible and take as many practice tests as you possibly can.




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