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Falling behind in my LSAT study... HELP!!!

willmcchez
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:08 am
Points: 25

Hey all,

Without giving a ton of background, I'm sitting the June 2018 LSAT. I was considering sitting February, but it became apparent that cramming during winter break and PT'ing through the first month of this semester would not be my best course of action for LSAT success. I had previously tried to do a 2-3 month cram before June 2017, but I ended up withdrawing from that too. Why did I think that another 2 month prep would be sufficient this time around? No idea.

Anyhow, I opted for the six month self-study plan and I purchased all of the materials. I thought I would have alllll of the time in the world this semester to devote to LSAT, as I took a reduced course load to study. But, this isn't the case. All of my classes are SUPER loaded with daily reading, my internship takes up almost an entire day of the week, and I also have some other personal things I'm attending to.

So, as it stands, I'm about 1.5-2 weeks behind where I should be as far as my assignments. Luckily, this week is one of the lighter weeks in my study plan where it specifically states I should be catching up on any assignments I haven't completed yet. Naturally, I will do my best to do that, but I do not see any way that I will not STILL be behind next week.

Does anyone have any advice as far as staying on track? Or any suggestions at all relating to this?

Here is a TERRIBLY important question I should pose:

How thoroughly do I need to study these chapters/workbooks right now? I've been carefully reading and scrutinizing nearly EVERY page, which sounds like the most logical way of approaching this. But is there a chance that I'm taking too much time in each chapter? Exactly how well, with 5 months to go before the LSAT, do I REALLY need to understand this stuff?

As of now I'm reading, highlighting, writing notes in the margins, writing a page to two pages of notes in a word document for each chapter, etc. Is that just too much right now? Should I just focus on reading the material, moving forward, and returning to it if I'm finding myself struggling with a particular question/game type during PT later on?

What seems to keep occurring with my LSAT prep is that I fall behind on assigned work, deem it impossible to catch up while also taking time to retain the critical concepts, then I end up pushing my exam date back to inevitably repeat the cycle again. How do I break it?!
Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:12 pm
Points: 471
Location: DFW, Texas

Hi, Willmcchez,

Thanks for the question and the detailed explanation of your studying and circumstances. I'm quoting part of your post so that I can respond to it in detail.

As of now I'm reading, highlighting, writing notes in the margins, writing a page to two pages of notes in a word document for each chapter, etc. Is that just too much right now? Should I just focus on reading the material, moving forward, and returning to it if I'm finding myself struggling with a particular question/game type during PT later on?


Yes, this is too much time and effort spent on the explanatory part of the lessons. You need to read over the material and make some notes as needed, but you need to shift your time heavily into practice questions. The Question Type Training exercises and homework sets provide hands-on opportunities to learn the principles explained in the lesson.

Implementing your skills through targeted practice and review is how you will improve. For an analogy, remember some of your math classes, whether in high school or college. How much time was spent on the lesson vs on the homework? If you were anything like me, you spent far more time working through problems than listening to lectures.

I'm worried that if you're spending as much time as you appear to be spending working through the explanatory material, you may be taking away from your time with the problems and practice tests.

Here's what I propose:

  1. Read through the assigned lesson material. Read actively and remain engaged, but don't go overboard with typing up pages of notes. Make sure you are clear on the main points, but remember that you will have opportunities to reinforce these points through practice.
  2. Work through the practice problems, referring as needed to the lesson for clarification. The first several problems may be slow going, but as you get through five to ten, try to do longer sets of problems without referring back to the lesson as frequently or checking your answers.
  3. Build your confidence as you go. Try to get into a rhythm with the problems in which the process becomes more second nature.
  4. Leave adequate time to review your work. The review process includes both referring to explanations (in the book or on these forums) and attempting the problems again to demonstrate to yourself concept mastery.

Notice in these bullet points how I've loaded a lot of time onto practice. You need to integrate learning the lessons into the practice you do with the problems.

Then, when you are assigned practice tests, you have the opportunity to put it all together, all the lessons and techniques you've learned, your personal style etc. In addition, the practice tests help you work on endurance and pacing.

Above all, try to pace yourself. Even if you only have fifteen minutes to spare on a given day, make those fifteen quality minutes. Push yourself forward, remain confident, and don't cram.

Prepare yourself for June. No one ever feels 100% totally ready for the LSAT, but if you study smart and pace yourself, you can walk into the test confident and get the score you need.

Please follow up with further questions.
willmcchez
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:08 am
Points: 25

Thank you for this. Since the post, I have reeled in my "over studying" of the books and have concentrated on working on problems. If I struggle with a certain type, I will go back to my lessons and try to understand my downfall. Thanks again!