2010 February Study Group

februaryftw
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2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:21 pm

Now that the December LSAT is done, I thought it would be a good idea to start a study group thread for February test takers and retakers.

About me:
Graduated with MA from large public university. Shooting for a 173+ on game day, and a 175+ as a 5 test rolling average before the exam. Diagnostic is 162, recent range is 169-175.

Study method: I've been through the LRB and the LGB a couple times, and a few assorted PTs. I'm now going through all the PTs in rough order, while scattering in recent exams on Saturday mornings. Once December work and festivities tails down, I plan to do one a day, and sometimes two a day, plus review of any questions which slow me down. Until then, plan to do 2 or 3 PTs a week.

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Duralex
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby Duralex » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:55 pm

I'm with you on this if I need Feb. Not sure yet. I ended up hiding from the LSAT in '08 and missed Sept '09 so I have no score yet and cancelling December is not an option if I want to complete my apps.

My background: Attended a small private college in PNW for a few years, before taking time away to work in tech and sort out my direction. Now in Los Angeles, managed to boost GPA to 3.5 . Took longer than expected due to consulting intermittently and being a transfer whose transcript wasn't optimized well when I matriculated to get the classes I needed given scheduling prerequisite constraints. (It's as if my credit assignment was a grouping/sequencing game, and the transfer registrar bombed it.) Typically a strong standardized test taker, but struggling with achieving a representative performance within the LSAT's time limits (especially on games.)

Untimed PTs are ~170-~175, Timed PTs range from ~150 (ugh) -- ~165 (not so bad.) I managed a timed 168 and 167, but not on any of the 2008 PTs. (I forget which.)


My prep: attended a weekend Testmaster's course in '08 but ended up not testing that year. I've forgotten most of what they tried to teach me--the weekend seminar was too dense for me to really absorb it and when I tried to work through it on my own according to their suggestions I quickly got lost and gave it up for the year.

This time I've worked through the Powerscore LR and LG bibles, but also leaned heavily on the BFG guide for LG. I didn't give either system enough time, even by my rather low tolerance for prep. I found the BFG optimal order technique to be useful but obviously will need to spend more time on the Powerscore methods (and maybe also another run at TM or possibly Atlas) to complement it in order to have any hope of completing the section accurately, within time limits and under test conditions. BFG alone is enough to systematically solve them, but at more like 12-15 minutes per game rather than 8. That won't cut it, and trying to go cut corners on his method without more practice tends to invite disaster (as tests done for earlier questions are used to narrow later questions.)

I would probably need to focus on improvement there, as my LR and RC performance is already pretty strong and I'm thinking that it's going to be harder to absolutely prevent myself from making the 4 - 6 careless errors (cumulative) I always seem to fall prey to on those sections than to reliably improve my LG score by that much (as painful as LG is for me.)

Aiming to make myself safe at Loyola (and maybe become an outside possibility at UCLA.) I won't retake for UCLA only, as that's basically fantasy from what I can see, but if I have to retake for LLS then I might reach for it, as I am done with my degree this Fall and could possibly take Underwater Basketweaving or whatever in the Spring to try and cinch up the GPA a bit more yet.
Last edited by Duralex on Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:31 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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rbhesser
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby rbhesser » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:00 pm

I'm in for February I think. Since I'm not applying until the next cycle I am debating waiting until June but we'll see.

Your study plan sounds pretty hardcore. I don't think I would recommend taking a test everyday. I am fairly certain that the reason I bombed the Sept. LSAT (my average was 172 yet I scored 164) was because of burn-out towards the end. I started taking tests everyday with 5-6 sections (and even 2 in one day every now and then) towards the end of my studying and my scores started dropping. I also wasn't giving myself enough time to thoroughly review the tests I was taking. I think review might be more important than sitting through tests.

Anyway, the whole purpose of that was to say careful of burn-out! It's real and it sucks.

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Duralex
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby Duralex » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:37 pm

I had some similar thoughts about RC. I think that sounds about right.

I like the the New York Review for likely exam or exam-like material. These articles from this month's issue alone seem like they could be RC material:

What is Living and Dead in Social Democracy? -- compare Statutory Curriculum and similar
(Tony Judt)
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23519

Google and the New Digital Future -- compare: Parellel Ants and similar
(Robert Darnton, of FrenchRev reading list fame)
--LinkRemoved--

When Heaven Was More Interesting Than Hell -- compare: Sculptor or Talk-Story
(Ingrid Rowland)
--LinkRemoved--

I was thinking about taking challenging LSAT questions from similar material, analyzing them schematically, and then trying to write parallel test questions for articles like these, complete with wording traps etc. Learn to see the test from the inside out.

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:55 pm

rbhesser wrote:I'm in for February I think. Since I'm not applying until the next cycle I am debating waiting until June but we'll see.

Your study plan sounds pretty hardcore. I don't think I would recommend taking a test everyday. I am fairly certain that the reason I bombed the Sept. LSAT (my average was 172 yet I scored 164) was because of burn-out towards the end. I started taking tests everyday with 5-6 sections (and even 2 in one day every now and then) towards the end of my studying and my scores started dropping. I also wasn't giving myself enough time to thoroughly review the tests I was taking. I think review might be more important than sitting through tests.

Anyway, the whole purpose of that was to say careful of burn-out! It's real and it sucks.


Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely wary of burnout, so I'll try to keep on top of it. Part of my plan involves running 25-30 miles a week; I find intense physical exercise, plenty of sleep, and a good diet really helps me avoid burning out. I am also used to a 60-70 hour academic work week, so I have developed a good sense of when my brain needs a break.

How did you do your 2 exams when you did them? My plan is basically to take the 8 sections and do them almost consecutively: 930 AM start, 3 sections, 10 minute break, 2 sections, 20-30 minute break for lunch, 3 sections. Then I run to forget the pain. It isn't exact exam conditions but I figure it will help with my endurance. I can then spend the evening reviewing.

I also plan to take one LSAT day off a week, and a few days off early February.

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redsox
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby redsox » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:57 pm

If anyone in here wants to do tars similar to the Tiger Tars of September, taking suggestions and will have a poll:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=98614

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:59 pm

predetermined wrote:I'll be retaking in Feb. My top priority is to improve on RC, and my strategy will be to reverse engineer passages, questions, and answers from recent PTs (especially 58 and the upcoming 59). I might even go as far as hunting down the original papers on which passages were based, to get a better feel for how LSAC writes them. I also might do some reverse engineering of LR questions: it seems like LR stimuli are more likely to have 2 potential flaws (1 subtle, 1 more overt) and a tempting-but-wrong answer for either flaw, so speed at flaw-spotting is even more crucial. LG blitzes to get my times down.

Other things to work on: stress management, making sure I'm working on LSAT material during typical test-taking hours. For stress management, I think I'll probably retake old PTs under severe time limits, maybe 20-25 minutes, while still working through the logic for questions I already know the answers to.


Can you explain more what you plan to do regarding RC? I'm not sure how one would reverse engineer passages. It is the one section I can't seem to get a handle on.

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Jumbo
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby Jumbo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:04 pm

februaryftw wrote:
rbhesser wrote:I'm in for February I think. Since I'm not applying until the next cycle I am debating waiting until June but we'll see.

Your study plan sounds pretty hardcore. I don't think I would recommend taking a test everyday. I am fairly certain that the reason I bombed the Sept. LSAT (my average was 172 yet I scored 164) was because of burn-out towards the end. I started taking tests everyday with 5-6 sections (and even 2 in one day every now and then) towards the end of my studying and my scores started dropping. I also wasn't giving myself enough time to thoroughly review the tests I was taking. I think review might be more important than sitting through tests.

Anyway, the whole purpose of that was to say careful of burn-out! It's real and it sucks.


Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely wary of burnout, so I'll try to keep on top of it. Part of my plan involves running 25-30 miles a week; I find intense physical exercise, plenty of sleep, and a good diet really helps me avoid burning out. I am also used to a 60-70 hour academic work week, so I have developed a good sense of when my brain needs a break.

How did you do your 2 exams when you did them? My plan is basically to take the 8 sections and do them almost consecutively: 930 AM start, 3 sections, 10 minute break, 2 sections, 20-30 minute break for lunch, 3 sections. Then I run to forget the pain. It isn't exact exam conditions but I figure it will help with my endurance. I can then spend the evening reviewing.

I also plan to take one LSAT day off a week, and a few days off early February.

That sounds horrible, and it's not very conducive to learning the material.

Focus on perfecting each individual section for now. Endurance is easy to work on once you've mastered the sections.

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rbhesser
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby rbhesser » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:45 pm

februaryftw wrote:
How did you do your 2 exams when you did them? My plan is basically to take the 8 sections and do them almost consecutively: 930 AM start, 3 sections, 10 minute break, 2 sections, 20-30 minute break for lunch, 3 sections. Then I run to forget the pain. It isn't exact exam conditions but I figure it will help with my endurance. I can then spend the evening reviewing.



It was pretty much an all day affair for me.

I started early, 8 AM, because I wanted to get my brain used to working in the morning. I generally did 3 sections, 10-15 min. break, 2 sections.
I like to work out before I eat lunch, so I'd do that, eat protein for lunch, spend an hour or two doing whatever, and then start back around 3 PM and take an entire test. 3 sections, 10-15 min. break, 2 sections.

My brain was generally mush by the end, although I got my highest score ever (176) during one of those afternoon tests. go figure. I think I'm going to avoid double tests in one day this time around, but I might try 6 section tests every Saturday to keep my brain going longer.

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birD
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby birD » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:52 pm

what would be the best way to work on getting timing down. maybe doing 40 minute sections and working down from there?

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:56 pm

Jumbo wrote:
februaryftw wrote:
rbhesser wrote:I'm in for February I think. Since I'm not applying until the next cycle I am debating waiting until June but we'll see.

Your study plan sounds pretty hardcore. I don't think I would recommend taking a test everyday. I am fairly certain that the reason I bombed the Sept. LSAT (my average was 172 yet I scored 164) was because of burn-out towards the end. I started taking tests everyday with 5-6 sections (and even 2 in one day every now and then) towards the end of my studying and my scores started dropping. I also wasn't giving myself enough time to thoroughly review the tests I was taking. I think review might be more important than sitting through tests.

Anyway, the whole purpose of that was to say careful of burn-out! It's real and it sucks.


Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely wary of burnout, so I'll try to keep on top of it. Part of my plan involves running 25-30 miles a week; I find intense physical exercise, plenty of sleep, and a good diet really helps me avoid burning out. I am also used to a 60-70 hour academic work week, so I have developed a good sense of when my brain needs a break.

How did you do your 2 exams when you did them? My plan is basically to take the 8 sections and do them almost consecutively: 930 AM start, 3 sections, 10 minute break, 2 sections, 20-30 minute break for lunch, 3 sections. Then I run to forget the pain. It isn't exact exam conditions but I figure it will help with my endurance. I can then spend the evening reviewing.

I also plan to take one LSAT day off a week, and a few days off early February.

That sounds horrible, and it's not very conducive to learning the material.

Focus on perfecting each individual section for now. Endurance is easy to work on once you've mastered the sections.


Different strokes for different folks; I'm looking forward to it. I've done the pithypike method for two months, and have a handle on the sections (untimed perfect scores), now is time to drill the taking of exams under time and fatigue constraints. The 8 section tests will be to break the monotony.

RBH: Thanks for the reply, I'll see how mine go and might pare down to 6 if they are too draining.

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Thirteen
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby Thirteen » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:41 pm

I'm in for February. I'll be starting test prep next Monday. Does anyone have any recommendations other than the Powerscore Bibles? I've already gone through the books a few times, so I wanted to use another book before the test.

Good luck to everyone!

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rbhesser
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby rbhesser » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:58 pm

Thirteen wrote:I'm in for February. I'll be starting test prep next Monday. Does anyone have any recommendations other than the Powerscore Bibles? I've already gone through the books a few times, so I wanted to use another book before the test.

Good luck to everyone!


The Kaplan Mastery book. You can only get it if you have taken a Kaplan class. I bought mine off of Amazon from someone who didn't use theirs. So far, I like it. I wouldn't recommend it over the Bibles but it's definitely worth the trouble of finding it and paying for it.

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:35 pm

I noticed that post, it was helpful. I've only done a few of the recent PTs, where the RC is noticeably different (45+ I gather), but once I get some time I'm going to try and do a similar analysis. I've noticed everyone once in a while I have a terrible time with a passage and don't know why. It might be a pattern such as this.
Last edited by februaryftw on Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LSAT Taker
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby LSAT Taker » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:54 am

I too am in for February.

Currently aiming for 170+. Started taking old (29-38) PTs "timed" while reading LGB and LRB, which I finished about a week ago. Now randomly taking more recent ones (44, 55, 51, 46, so far). Extremely frustrated as my PT scores seem to have gotten stuck in the 160s. (sometimes even below 160... sigh!) Sorely realizing that I am not that smart a person. This truly is a humbling test!

Kudos to OP for initiating this, and gook luck to everyone!

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:35 am

I've started in on some prep tests, and things are clicking so far. The scores are meaningless, as I have some prior knowledge of particular questions due to drills (probably about 1/3 of the test, including at least 1/2 the games), and the old tests don't really address my problems with the RC passages, but here goes:


19. -4; LG: - 0; LR: -2; RC -2
20. - 4; LG: - 1; LR: -1; RC -2
21. - 4; LG: - 2; LR: -2; RC -0
22. - 3; LG: - 0; LR: -2; RC -1

I'm starting with 4 section tests for now, will add in the experimental in January. I feel good about the logical reasoning - I've drilled all the question types repeatedly, and have learned LSAC's basic bag of tricks - but still feel shaky on logic games. I'm going to keep drilling games in addition to the practice tests, and worry about the RC more once I get to the later tests. My hope on game day is to hit the LG and LR well enough that I can afford a few wrong on RC.

Anyways, having partial knowledge of exams is kind of interesting. Things are new enough that it isn't strictly review, but familiar enough that it is easier to build a rhythm. The biggest advantage is in terms of time, but I'm trying to keep shaving time off the exams.

Good luck all.

keg411
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby keg411 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:33 pm

I decided on a Feb. re-take after I got my September score. I'm currently going through the Bibles (I'm halfway through LR and just started on LG). So far, both are fairly similar to the Kaplan tutoring I already had and I'm not seeing a super difference in the methods, though I guess I'll know better when I start up PT's and timed sections again soon.

I'm aiming for a 164-165 and hoping UGA doesn't reject me first (my regular score is a 162). If I score any higher than that, I'm withdrawing my current applications and applying early in September next cycle (I'll be a splitter everywhere no matter what my LSAT score).

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:55 pm

Not sure what everyone else's schedule is like, but between school and holidays my lsat studying for the next two weeks will be pretty uneven. Does anyone have any thoughts on which of the 3 sections is most prone to rust if not practiced?

Intuitively, I think I'd be fine putting aside the LR and RC sections and just drilling LG when I don't have time to do full tests; the kinds of things you need to do to stay sharp for the LG section seem more particular to me, while the LR and RC comp stuff seems pretty fixed in my head.

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LSAT Taker
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby LSAT Taker » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:50 pm

februaryftw wrote:Not sure what everyone else's schedule is like, but between school and holidays my lsat studying for the next two weeks will be pretty uneven. Does anyone have any thoughts on which of the 3 sections is most prone to rust if not practiced?

Intuitively, I think I'd be fine putting aside the LR and RC sections and just drilling LG when I don't have time to do full tests; the kinds of things you need to do to stay sharp for the LG section seem more particular to me, while the LR and RC comp stuff seems pretty fixed in my head.


In my case, LG seems to be less prone to rust than LR and RC. To me, negligence in reading almost automatically yields a considerable decrease in the level of concentration on the LR and the RC sections. So my plan is to pack lots of dry and dense reading materials for my holiday trips (two separate long drives). Hopefully, I will be able to read at least 2+ hours every day.

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tikiman6
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby tikiman6 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:20 am

Hey y'all. I'm taking the test in February also. I am going to a middle of the road, very large public university. I currently have a 3.75, and am crossing my fingers to get around a 175 on the real deal. Target schools = CCNB. Have not yet taken the LSAT, not applying until fall '10. I started studying in November, have gone through all the Bibles, as well as a 10 actual book, next stop is another 10 actual book, followed by newest PTs in January. I'm kind of just doing all the LG's in the book, followed by all the RC's, then all the LR's, so that I can try and get zoned in on each section in specific, working on endurance later. Time has never been a huge issue for me, I haven't had time run out on me unfinished yet, though I have had to pick up the pace substantially to finish RC's on time, though this didn't hurt the end number wrong substantially. Good luck all!

Februaryftw: Have you done the PS Bibles yet, more specifically the LG Bible(since you said you have yet to master that one)? I would highly recommend them. Also, I got better at RC just by doing a lot of RC sections in a row, and getting comfy with them.

Just so happens I just took a PT

Superprep Test A:

LR: -1
RC: -1
LG: -1 (not sure how this happened, must have glazed over)
LR2: -0

Raw: 98/101
Scaled: 178
Scaled 9/09: 178

Mean (of 4 taken): 175.5
Mean 9/09 Scaled: 175.25

I was really happy about this test. Provoked a loud yeehaw from me. Little frustrated by the -1 in LG, it's been awhile since I got one wrong there, and it was mostly a stupid error. Aside from that, I'm really pleased, though a little skeptical. Has anybody felt this test's scale to be a little easier than the test felt?

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TheTopBloke
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:50 pm

Hi all, I'm in on this. I'm looking forward to the Feb 2010 LSAT. I can't wait!

februaryftw
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby februaryftw » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:56 pm

tikiman6 wrote:
Februaryftw: Have you done the PS Bibles yet, more specifically the LG Bible(since you said you have yet to master that one)? I would highly recommend them. Also, I got better at RC just by doing a lot of RC sections in a row, and getting comfy with them.



I have done the LG and LR bibles, but didn't find the RC bible helpful at all (harmful, in fact). I went through the LG bible twice, as it started out as my weakest section by far.

I'm doing ok on LG--I can get -0 about half the time, and at worse usually get -1/-2--but I just feel shaky, and have the occasional lapse. I think at this point it is just a matter of repetition and familiarizing myself with some key inferences. But if I want to hit the score I need, I think I need to walk into the test with the expectation of getting -0, and maybe taking a -1 hit on a sloppy mistake, because I I'll probably miss at least one or two on the RC and LR sections. That said, my discomfort is occurring on the old games, so when the RC starts getting hard, I'll probably start feeling better about the LG.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:10 pm

februaryftw wrote:
rbhesser wrote:I'm in for February I think. Since I'm not applying until the next cycle I am debating waiting until June but we'll see.

Your study plan sounds pretty hardcore. I don't think I would recommend taking a test everyday. I am fairly certain that the reason I bombed the Sept. LSAT (my average was 172 yet I scored 164) was because of burn-out towards the end. I started taking tests everyday with 5-6 sections (and even 2 in one day every now and then) towards the end of my studying and my scores started dropping. I also wasn't giving myself enough time to thoroughly review the tests I was taking. I think review might be more important than sitting through tests.

Anyway, the whole purpose of that was to say careful of burn-out! It's real and it sucks.


Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely wary of burnout, so I'll try to keep on top of it. Part of my plan involves running 25-30 miles a week; I find intense physical exercise, plenty of sleep, and a good diet really helps me avoid burning out. I am also used to a 60-70 hour academic work week, so I have developed a good sense of when my brain needs a break.

How did you do your 2 exams when you did them? My plan is basically to take the 8 sections and do them almost consecutively: 930 AM start, 3 sections, 10 minute break, 2 sections, 20-30 minute break for lunch, 3 sections. Then I run to forget the pain. It isn't exact exam conditions but I figure it will help with my endurance. I can then spend the evening reviewing.

I also plan to take one LSAT day off a week, and a few days off early February.


I have to retake in February, and I strongly encourage you to simulate exactly the testing conditions, which is 3 sections back to back without a break, 10 minute break, then the 4th section, 5th section (expiremental), and writing section back to back. I am using the next 10, actual, official LSAT's, which is tests #29 - 38. I start with 29 doing all four sections, and use one section from test #37 as expiremental. So I will have 8 tests, one test per week. My test is on Sunday feb 7th (in Australia), so I do one test per week. Trying to reduce any possibility of burn out. Also, exercise is incredibly useful. Getting more oxygen to the brain definately improves test scores. Ken recommended a book, Problem Solving and Comprehension, which I am finding useful. Prior to the first test, I sed all the powerscore books. The PS books recommend against using Venn Diagraming. My tutor prior to the Sept LSAT was surprised I had zero experience with Venn diagrams, and I belive had I understood them, I would have found the test to be easier. IMHO, the only powerscore book worth reading is the logic games bible. Hope that helps someone out there.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:15 pm

birD wrote:what would be the best way to work on getting timing down. maybe doing 40 minute sections and working down from there?


definately not. Do the exact time. Don't play games. Do each section exactly 35 minutes. Simulate the conditions as accurately as possible.

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
10 minute break
Section 4
Section 5
Writing

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TheTopBloke
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Re: 2010 February Study Group

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:19 pm

predetermined wrote:I gotta admit, I've become a little paranoid that LSAC might be browsing these forums and change things up for Feb just to throw us off. So I'm going to try and find a way to distribute my observations privately. PM me if you want to join an RC study group.


I'm sure they have better things to do.




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