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Took Live Online Course And Score Stayed The Same

az305203
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:58 pm
Points: 11

Hi, I'm looking for some advice or feedback about my LSAT score

Just some background info - I took the LSAT twice last year in December and February and applied last cycle. At the time, I was working 2 jobs at about 70 and sometimes 80 hours a week, so my study time was extremely limited. I was studying with a Kaplan book on the weekends, and I really only thoroughly completed the Formal Logic chapter and about 50%-75% of the Logic Games chapter combined leading up to those 2 administrations. In short, I barely studied much at all. I got a 155 in December and a 156 in February. The February test was undisclosed, but in December my performance was as follows:
Logical Reasoning - picked up approximately 72.5% of the available points
Reading Comp - 63%
Logic Games - 43.5%
I felt that my performance on the February test was likely very consistent with that breakdown as well.

I ultimately decided to move back home and work part-time in order to retake and reapply. I felt that if I had more time and could study for the test that my score would improve. After reading numerous suggestions on Reddit, I decided to register for the Live Online course. I felt that a course format would work better for me than the prep book that I had been using from Kaplan. I took the test this November and I got a 156 again, but my performance in the various sections had changed:
Logical Reasoning - 70%
Reading Comp - 57.5%
Logic Games - 69.5%
My performance in Logic Games on the test, as well as in my timed practice sections, had increased quite substantially from the previous year. Considering that, I felt that my performance in Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp had likely declined because I was applying the strategies presented in the course, and that if I spent more time reviewing the classes, practicing those strategies and my timing, while also keeping my Logic Games skills up, that I would get faster with them and my score would improve. I also did numerous Prephrase drills that my Live Online instructor had recommended because I felt that my Logical Reasoning decrease may have been due to Prephrasing, and that if I improved my speed with it that I would start seeing gains in performance from it.

I retook the test in January and I got a 155. Though the test was undisclosed, I can pretty confidently say that my performance in the Logic Games section was about the same, if not slightly higher, than it was in November. I got to 3 out of the 4 games as well as the 1st List question from the 4th game, and I was very confident with the game types and with my answer choices. Considering that, I believe that my performance in Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp has declined, and is still quite a bit lower than before I took the course.

In short, I took the test last year with barely any preparation and thought if I took a course to study for the test that my score would increase, but it has stayed the same. I am pretty upset with my performance, and I would like to take the March if I can do better but I'm really beginning to lose hope that it is going to be possible for me to improve my score at all. I'm wondering if there is any feedback that you guys could give me on the scores I'm getting, and I'm not sure if maybe there is something that I am doing wrong in my approach to the materials? I looked up the pricing for tutoring on the website but I have well over $100k in undergraduate loan debt (which is why I was working 2 jobs) so it really just isn't possible for me to be able to afford it. The Live Online course was really the most I could afford at all.

Any feedback or advice at all that you could give would be really appreciated, I'm not quite sure what else to do at this point

Thanks in advance
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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I'm sorry to hear that after all the time and effort you haven't made the gains you were hoping for, az305203. That has to be terribly frustrating. I get where you are coming from about the budget for tutoring - been there.

One thing I want to clarify, if you don't mind. You said:

I felt that my performance in Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp had likely declined because I was applying the strategies presented in the course,


Did you mean to say that you were NOT applying those strategies? If so, then my advice would be to register to retake the test, whether in March to impact this cycle or else after a decent break in June or later, and to continue working on incorporating those strategies like prephrasing (which isn't so much about speed, but about having a good general idea of what to look for, and avoiding prephrases that are too narrow and specific that might box you in and make the right answer look wrong) and sorting losers and contenders (never stopping to give a lot of thought to an answer on the first pass, other than to decide whether it is worth a second look - a contender - or that it is complete garbage - a loser). Think about whether you should diagram conditional statements more often than you have been, and whether you are using the Assumption Negation technique to decide between contenders on Necessary Assumption questions. Consistently applying those strategies should lead to steady improvement.

If you actually meant that applying the strategies was hurting your performance, that would surprise me, but it would lead to some very different advice from us. Perhaps you're seeing higher accuracy but lower speed because you are taking the time to do what you previously rushed through? That happens, at first anyway, but speed tends to improve as you get more familiar with the patterns that are common on the test. I'd want to ask about how many practice tests you have taken, and how you have gone about reviewing them.

Finally, for now anyway, I'd want to focus somewhat on Reading Comp, which appears to have the most room for improvement at the moment. In my experience, most people struggle with RC because they are too focused on the topic and the details and not enough on the structure of the passage, and because they trust their memory too much instead of returning to the passage frequently to create their prephrases and/or prove up their answers. I suggest a drill to many of my students, and that is to read several passage where they only notes you take are about viewpoints - who expresses an opinion, and where do they do it? Being able to quickly locate the various viewpoints can lead to faster and more accurate attacks on most of the questions. Don't worry about understanding those views, just note where they are, so when they ask you what the scientist, or the poet, or the author would agree or disagree with, you can instantly locate what that person thinks, feels, or believes, read that viewpoint again, and then pick an answer based on that.

One last thing, and that is about retaking - give a listen to Episodes 2 and 3 of our podcast, where Jon and Dave talk about making that decision and how to prepare for a retake. Links are here:

https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-po ... s-and-cons

https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-po ... w-to-study

Good luck, and keep your spirits up! There is still hope for better results!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
ericau02
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:41 pm
Points: 76

Hi I am concerned in a sense in the same area. I have not finished the course yet, but I have registered for the March 2019 LSAT. I am on Lesson 7 seven of the 12 week course. The live course itself passed but I have bought acess to the courses etc. Due to some circumstances I was unable to study it live. I took my first practice test as asked as part of lesson 6 hw and I scored a 143. I am very nervous, should I just continue until he end of the course, is it normal to score this low on the first practice test?
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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Ideally, ericau02, you would have taken your first PT before starting the course, as a diagnostic and to help you see how far you have come by now. I say this for the benefit of anyone reading this later who is just getting started - take a timed practice test first, before studying anything!

For you, this is water under the bridge, so don't sweat it. Instead, let's focus on where you are and where you are going. Just so you know, there are students in our courses right now, both in person and online, who are right around Lesson 2 or 3, and they are planning on being ready for the March test, so you are not too late or behind the curve. In fact, you are ahead of it, and you have time to go back to watch those early lessons again, do the associated homework, and then take another PT to see if things are getting better. What's normal? That depends on where you started, how much studying you've done, and whether you are applying what you have learned. Forget about normal, and let's just work on getting better!

As you move forward, give some thought to how you tackled that PT, and whether you applied the strategies you have been studying. Did you prephrase every single LR question, and then sort the answers rapidly into losers and contenders before pausing to really think deeply about any one answer choice? Sorting comes first, deep analysis follows only if you have multiple contenders. Anything else is a waste of time! For conditional arguments, are you diagramming them? For Assumptions, are you applying the Negation Technique to decide between contenders? When you find causal arguments, are you mentally going through the list of the 5 standard ways to weaken or strengthen them?

In Logic Games, are you looking for ways to connect rules together, rather than treating them as separate things? For example, if a game tells you that L is before K, that L is not first, and that K is before G, are you diagramming L :longline: K :longline: G and making not laws for L in the first spot, for K in the first two spots, and for G in the first three spots? Are you diagramming any conditional rules and considering what the contrapositive of those rules would do?

In RC, are you taking a variety of notes based on the VIEWSTAMP approach, or are you doing the same kind of notes over and over, like underlining? Are you reading quickly for structure, not worrying about details and subject matter, or do you find yourself re-reading and trying to really understand the subject matter and memorize key ideas? Memorization and understanding aren't required, because it is an open book test, so focus instead on simple notes, structure, and then prephrasing everything you can and frequently returning to the text to find evidence to support your answer choices.

Finally, are you moving slowly and thoughtfully through the material in every section, resisting the urge to rush, or are you falling into the trap of trying to answer more questions instead of getting more of them right? Slow down, be meticulous, apply your lessons.

There is still plenty more great stuff coming in the course! Lesson 7 on Flaws in the Reasoning can be a big help in understanding many question types you've already encountered, like Assumption, Weaken, and Strengthen. The numbers and percentages material, including numeric distributions, in Lesson 9 can ramp up your LR and games performance. There's still lots of time and opportunity to make major steps forward, so don't worry about where you are right now. Stay positive, move forward, and practice, practice, practice. You can do this!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
ericau02
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:41 pm
Points: 76

Thanks Adam,
I am a little frustrated because I have completed the course, but my practice exams are still low. My highest score being a 152, and 149. I am deciding that it may be in my best interest to postpone the exam, being that my LSAT score is extremely critical towards my application because of my low gpa, I need a high lsat score. I feel like I do not know where to go from here and i have lost all my confidence I once had in my ability to suceed at this exam. Please help me, I looking at either the June or July no later than considering that I am applying to the 2020 cycle, but I am very confused and deeply concerned about my abilities to raise my score I need at least min 168-170 min. I know it os hard but I am willing to work for it I just need a little guidance.
How should I be reviewing my PT'S?
Should I get the bibles?
what is the best way to improve in each section?
And is it possible to raise my score in two months min? In addition to the time I have spent going over the course?

Please please help me I feel as if i am stuck, and do not know the best way to efficiently and effectively move forward.
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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While we frequently say that there is no harm in taking the test and getting a lower score than you want, because law schools mostly care only about the high score these days, if you know that you are nowhere near a score that you would be happy with then the stress of taking the test might not be worth it. That sounds like where you are right now, and it seems like it would only add to your frustration. I think your best bet, for now, is to put off taking the test until June and July (and I do mean AND July - there is virtually no reason NOT to take it then, for a variety of reasons). Also, for the 2020 cycle you should be open to the idea of taking it in September and/or November, as those are both still plenty early in the cycle. That's a discussion for another day, perhaps - for now, let's deal with the next few months leading up to the June test. Just know that it is not a do-or-die scenario, and don't pressure yourself into thinking that it is.

First, take a break. You've no doubt heard plenty about burn-out among students preparing for the LSAT, and it sounds like you are about at that point. Take a week, maybe two, and just clear your mind and take care of yourself. Go hiking, or to the beach, or read a good book just for fun. See a few movies, hang out with friends, enjoy a cocktail or three. Chill. This isn't just okay - it's something you almost certainly NEED to do if you want to start making gains.

Then, when you are ready to resume your studies, there are a few things to consider. If private tutoring is an option, you should look into that. Having someone working with you one-on-one to diagnose the issues and help you focus your studies in a way that will lead to gains and get you off that plateau can be an invaluable resource. We may have a tutor in your area that can meet with you in person, or you could try online tutoring. Give our office a call to talk about the options, packages, etc., and you can chat with a potential tutor with no obligation.

I don't think that investing in the Bibles is the right option for you. They are great books, for sure, but they won't give you much that's all that different from the course materials, since they are designed to give someone doing self-study the same kind of info that a student in one of our courses gets. Hitting more books isn't going to give you the breakthrough you need. More practice, perhaps with the Question Type Trainer, could help, but you really need some way to diagnose the problem areas. If you are looking for a way to invest in improving your score, you might instead want to try one of our Advanced courses, but I still lean towards tutoring as your best option.

Then there's practice tests. That is probably where you should spend most of your time, in my opinion, but not just taking tests. The real learning happens in the course of an effective review process. Here's a link to one of our blog articles that can help you figure out how to get the most out of every PT and teach yourself what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right but could do better or more efficiently:

https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-be ... ice-tests/

Is it possible to raise your score that much in that timeframe? Yes, absolutely! Don't think for a second that you are up against something insurmountable, or even all that unusual. There's plenty of time, if you use your time wisely and effectively.

In short: Relax and take a break. Then, if tutoring is an option, talk to us about it. Take PTs with a good review process like what's described in that link. Stay positive, because your goals are attainable.

You can do it! We can help.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
ericau02
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:41 pm
Points: 76

Okay, Adam, thank you again for your help, it definitely has eased my anxiety and I feel much better about figuring out the right direction to go in from her on out. I will also be looking into private tutoring as well, and I think a break is something I will definitely need to do as well. At first I did not want to I felt as if time is of the essence, but I think it may help me more in the long run.!! Thank you Adam sm I really needed this advice!
T.B.Justin
LSAT Master
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:57 pm
Points: 226

My .78 cents worth ;)

I have been at this for about a year. And prior for about 10 years I did nothing to apply my mind as far as book knowledge. I have found that this is about learning a completely new way of thinking and reading.

So, I do my best to practice being consistent, patient while my mind absorbs this new way of thinking and applying the techniques PS teaches in their materials and approaches to this test.

Be objective, impartial, judicial and impersonal to this process. Yes, there will be moments of passion and fire where we get subjective and critical of a performance, our study methods etc.

The question I ask myself when I experience that is how this is affecting me? And, what I have come to is it clouds my clarity.

The mind needs calm assurance, peace, serenity to operate at its best, so its our job to do our best to get ourselves in that optimum functioning condition. Stress, and negativity will stifle anyones ability to perform at their best.

Find a way to calm the mind, let the positive energy flow, and be at one with yourself. This is a competition with oneself, thats all.

Re-framing our mentality is key.

With that said, I pray that everyone taking this March test would give their best performance to-date!

I know I will.
ericau02
LSAT Leader
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:41 pm
Points: 76

Thanks Justin, hope you scored very well on your lsat exam!!!

Hello Adam I have taken your advice and although I was very reluctant to take a break from studying and felt like I was self sabotaging myself for the next exam, as days went past I began to feel better. I took about a 10 days off and started studying again mid last week. I am doing the blind review like you suggested and have seen many forums and post including youtube videos on how this review really focuses on your weak areas. As I started the review I am realizing that this takes a lengthy amount of time and I am beginning to get worried and anxious for the June exam already. I have seen forums of students having completing 75+ exams and some students saying they have done all, TWICE!!!. is this something I should be worried about? How many PT's is advised to be taken before taking the actual administered LSAT examination.
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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I bet I can guess which forums you are looking at, ericau02! Honestly, ignore them - those are frequently toxic environments, filled with awful advice. Just because some people did that sort of thing and ended up with good results doesn't mean that that behavior led to those results (a flawed causal argument for sure!) or that what worked for them will work well for others (unrepresentative sample? Overgeneralization?) Sure, they are also frequently sources of mutual support and camaraderie, and a good place to blow off steam, but they are generally not a good source of advice (unless you focus on the few highly qualified teachers and tutors posting there, like our own Dave Killoran and Jon Denning, among others).

75 PTs before the real thing? Sounds to me like some people don't know how to learn from their mistakes! Also sounds inefficient, stressful, and counter-productive. Don't even think about doing that!

For my students taking the test in June, if they were starting their studies today, I would suggest somewhere between 4 and 10 PTs in total, depending on their particular circumstances. Working full time? In school? Got kids, a spouse, other family obligations? Those all need to be dealt with in healthy ways, not ignored. So, don't worry about what some crazed person on an online forum with all the time in the world and not much good sense did - you do you! Blind reviews DO take a lot of time, more time than the test itself takes, and they are worth it in terms of the return on investment on real learning. Taking PTs over and over is not about learning anything, but about repeating the same mistakes over and over with little to no deep analysis. About the only thing you get from that is increased familiarity with the test - but that's kind of like beating your head against a cement wall just so you can get used to how it feels. If you want to break down the wall with your skull, you'd be better off studying the weaknesses in the wall so you can figure out how to do it with the fewest blows, not the most!

Okay, that analogy got stretched a bit far. Stay chill, ericau02! Take your time, do it right, and you will get there.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam