I have noticed a drastic shift in my score on the recent LSAT's, particularly in logical reasoning. I would go from missing between 7 and 9 per logical reasoning section, to missing 12 and 14 on PT 82 and 83. This was a huge shift for me, granted I have only done PT 72-77 and all of the 60's. However, I have never performed this poorly on any of the preptests. My overall score has dropped from hitting aroud a 158/159 on several tests to a 156 on PT 82 and a 153 on PT 83. Is there any recommendations with regards as to what I should target more for the 80's? I notice the questions in the first section are generally more difficult for me vs. the second section, but I cant think of any fundamental shifts other than the writing "style" seeming jarring.
Score Dropping on more recent LSAT's, particularly the 80s
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We have seen some shifts in the tests in recent years, but nothing jarring that should, by itself, account for those differences. I would recommend a look at our Crystal Ball webinar to get a sense of recent trends on the test, which may shed a little light. For example, there has been a growing emphasis on the "soft" Must Be True questions, those with "most strongly supported" language in the stems, and away from the more concrete "can be properly inferred" stems. They are writing some LR stimuli in ways that may be more confusing, more convoluted, than in the past, but that change has been gradual and evolutionary, not sudden and revolutionary, so a sudden change in score probably cannot be attributed solely to that shift. Here's a link to a recording of that webinar:
It is specific to the November test but has useful insights that apply to January as well.
Next, consider whether you have given yourself appropriate study breaks, days off to rest and recover without thinking about the LSAT. Go to a movie, hang out with friends, take a nap, etc. It's important to give yourself a recovery day, like from physical workouts, so that you can come back refreshed and ready to go again. We often see score declines over time from students who are driving themselves into the ground, burning the candle at both ends, and getting no rest.
Finally, reset back to basics. Be sure that you are prephrasing the answer to every single LR question. Decide what the answer should be before you move to the answer choices, even if it feels like it is taking a little time. Remember that quality is more important than quantity - it's better to answer 18 questions and get them all correct than it is to answer 26 questions and get only 14 right! So slow down, be thoughtful and meticulous in planning your answers. When you are truly stuck, guess and move on and mark that question to go over later, if time allows.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
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