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General questions relating to LSAT Logical Reasoning.
 Tajadas
  • Posts: 39
  • Joined: Apr 11, 2020
|
#82748
Hi, I'm hoping someone could help me understand what would be the most effective way to study for LR based on my performance. Since September, I've done a small handful of timed LR sections, 15 timed LR sections, and 9 timed LSATs. During timed LSATs I had been getting about 1 wrong on one LR section and 5 wrong on another, but now I am consistently getting 5 or more wrong on every LR section.

On each LR section, I get a somewhat narrow range of question types wrong, but across LR sections that turns into a wide range. The list includes flaw, MOR, weaken, strengthen, MBT, Assumption, and Resolve questions, as, as well as questions that use S/N conditions. As far as I can tell, there is no strong pattern in what I'm getting wrong. Sometimes the questions I get wrong are ones that are flagged, but not always. The only patterns I notice are that the questions wrong are usually widely distributed across the 25 questions (though most are in the #15-20 area), and I always feel rushed to finish/generally don't have time. I almost never have time to check flagged answers, and check only 1-2 at most. Oddly, regardless of how rushed I feel, I've recently been getting about 5 wrong every time.

When I check my answers, I often find that I make dumb mistakes-- like I glossed over a key phrase in the stim or answer choice, or preemptively eliminated a right answer because I had already selected a wrong one. Oftentimes I narrow answers to two contenders, so when I check questions I got wrong I immediately know what the right answer should have been. I consistently chalk up most of my errors to these dumb mistakes, in the same way that a riddle only seems hard when you don't know the answer, but seems obvious once you do. I really struggle to understand what that could mean about where I should focus my efforts, if 'dumb mistakes' mean I'm looking at my errors in the wrong way.

Does anyone have suggestions on how I can focus my studies? I'm not sure if I'm best off doing untimed practice sections to make sure I have the fundamentals down, or if better off drilling the range of question types I'm getting wrong, or maybe I should just do more timed practice sections because my fundamentals are good but my timing is bad. I'd appreciate any advice.
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 KelseyWoods
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 971
  • Joined: Jun 26, 2013
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#82843
Hi Tajadas!

It can definitely be frustrating when you feel like you're stuck and not making any improvements! This happens to a lot of people so you're certainly not alone. Definitely sounds like it's time to switch things up a bit.

First, I'd recommend doing a mix of both timed and untimed practice. Start with some more untimed practice to make sure you really have the fundamentals down and are remembering to apply all of the strategies and processes you've been learning throughout your studies. A great way to do this is to really force yourself to practice prephrasing. Go through an entire section, untimed, covering up the answer choices. Just read the stimulus and the question stem and then write down your prephrase for the question. This will force you to not only work on a skill that you should be using anyway, but prephrasing requires you to really think about everything you know about how to analyze a stimulus and what types of answer choices to be looking for with different question stems. After you've prephrased everything, go back through the section this time covering up the stimulus and question stem and only using your prephrase to select a correct answer. This is going to be tough at first. You'll probably miss several questions. But it will help you see what prephrases work and which don't and it will really hold you accountable to those fundamentals. It's easy to feel like you've got the fundamentals down after you've been studying for a while, but if you don't really force yourself to diligently and mindfully apply them over and over, there are probably things you can improve on.

More info on prephrasing, including a description of the exercise I was describing to you:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... ng-part-i/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... g-part-ii/

Second, it sounds like you need a more effective method of reviewing your practice test results. Misreading and silly mistakes can definitely happen. But it's also important to dig a little deeper and really analyze--was it just misreading, or did you forget to apply a fundamental? Try to be as specific as possible about why you missed a question. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the questions you missed as well as a description about why you missed them. Study questions as if you had to teach them to someone else. It's not enough to just say ok, I get why it's B. Make sure that you can really explain why answer choice (B) is correct and why the other answer choices are incorrect. Also be sure that you are doing blind reviews of your tests. Before looking at the correct answers, redo any questions you missed and any questions you flagged untimed. Be thorough with this. Don't just say, oh, I was stuck between C and D and since I chose C and got it wrong, it must be D. Really go through the question again, following all the steps, and make sure you know how to arrive at the correct answer. Blind reviews help you identify what really was just a time pressure mistake and what is actually a weakness in your understanding.

More info on how to review practice tests and questions:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... blem-sets/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-be ... tice-tests

This post is about retaking the LSAT but it has good points for reviewing LR that are helpful, especially points #3, 4, & 6:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/retaki ... our-score/

Third, focus on the process for answering questions. The process is what will help you arrive at correct answers, but it's also what will help you deal with time pressure. When you're timed, it's easy to panic a bit and start trying to cut corners. But this is counterproductive! Relying on the process and strategies that you've learned is what's going to help you get correct answers AND it will help you be more efficient. For example, oftentimes people skip prephrasing because they don't think they have time for it. But prephrasing actually SAVES you time because it helps you go through those answer choices more quickly and confidently, without getting sucked in by attractive incorrect answer traps. Approach every question in the same step by step manner and it will help you stay calm under pressure and maximize your score. And remember that sometimes you end up with a higher score by allowing yourself to slow down a bit, maybe not get to a couple of questions, but get the questions you get to correct, than you do by rushing through to make sure you can read every question.

More info on score plateaus and focusing on the process:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... sat-study/

Finally, drill, drill, drill. Practice LR over and over again, even redoing questions/sections you've already done before. Keep track of the questions you miss and go back and redo them again. Every time you do a question, even if you kind of remember it, focus on the process for answering it and go through all the steps to get there. You'll deepen your understanding each time and become more of a master at this test.

More info on drilling and tracking questions:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/my-lsa ... en-part-3/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... are-stuck/

And remember, you can do this! The LSAT is a challenge. It can definitely be frustrating at times. But it's a challenge that you are up for. Keep at it and keep thinking positively. And sometimes it can even help to step away from it for a day or two to reset and then jump back into studying feeling more refreshed. Your mindset is crucial for your performance on this test so be sure to take care of yourself as you continue studying :)

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Kelsey
 Tajadas
  • Posts: 39
  • Joined: Apr 11, 2020
|
#82939
This is great advice, thank you!
KelseyWoods wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:55 am Hi Tajadas!

It can definitely be frustrating when you feel like you're stuck and not making any improvements! This happens to a lot of people so you're certainly not alone. Definitely sounds like it's time to switch things up a bit.

First, I'd recommend doing a mix of both timed and untimed practice. Start with some more untimed practice to make sure you really have the fundamentals down and are remembering to apply all of the strategies and processes you've been learning throughout your studies. A great way to do this is to really force yourself to practice prephrasing. Go through an entire section, untimed, covering up the answer choices. Just read the stimulus and the question stem and then write down your prephrase for the question. This will force you to not only work on a skill that you should be using anyway, but prephrasing requires you to really think about everything you know about how to analyze a stimulus and what types of answer choices to be looking for with different question stems. After you've prephrased everything, go back through the section this time covering up the stimulus and question stem and only using your prephrase to select a correct answer. This is going to be tough at first. You'll probably miss several questions. But it will help you see what prephrases work and which don't and it will really hold you accountable to those fundamentals. It's easy to feel like you've got the fundamentals down after you've been studying for a while, but if you don't really force yourself to diligently and mindfully apply them over and over, there are probably things you can improve on.

More info on prephrasing, including a description of the exercise I was describing to you:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... ng-part-i/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... g-part-ii/

Second, it sounds like you need a more effective method of reviewing your practice test results. Misreading and silly mistakes can definitely happen. But it's also important to dig a little deeper and really analyze--was it just misreading, or did you forget to apply a fundamental? Try to be as specific as possible about why you missed a question. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the questions you missed as well as a description about why you missed them. Study questions as if you had to teach them to someone else. It's not enough to just say ok, I get why it's B. Make sure that you can really explain why answer choice (B) is correct and why the other answer choices are incorrect. Also be sure that you are doing blind reviews of your tests. Before looking at the correct answers, redo any questions you missed and any questions you flagged untimed. Be thorough with this. Don't just say, oh, I was stuck between C and D and since I chose C and got it wrong, it must be D. Really go through the question again, following all the steps, and make sure you know how to arrive at the correct answer. Blind reviews help you identify what really was just a time pressure mistake and what is actually a weakness in your understanding.

More info on how to review practice tests and questions:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... blem-sets/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-be ... tice-tests

This post is about retaking the LSAT but it has good points for reviewing LR that are helpful, especially points #3, 4, & 6:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/retaki ... our-score/

Third, focus on the process for answering questions. The process is what will help you arrive at correct answers, but it's also what will help you deal with time pressure. When you're timed, it's easy to panic a bit and start trying to cut corners. But this is counterproductive! Relying on the process and strategies that you've learned is what's going to help you get correct answers AND it will help you be more efficient. For example, oftentimes people skip prephrasing because they don't think they have time for it. But prephrasing actually SAVES you time because it helps you go through those answer choices more quickly and confidently, without getting sucked in by attractive incorrect answer traps. Approach every question in the same step by step manner and it will help you stay calm under pressure and maximize your score. And remember that sometimes you end up with a higher score by allowing yourself to slow down a bit, maybe not get to a couple of questions, but get the questions you get to correct, than you do by rushing through to make sure you can read every question.

More info on score plateaus and focusing on the process:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... sat-study/

Finally, drill, drill, drill. Practice LR over and over again, even redoing questions/sections you've already done before. Keep track of the questions you miss and go back and redo them again. Every time you do a question, even if you kind of remember it, focus on the process for answering it and go through all the steps to get there. You'll deepen your understanding each time and become more of a master at this test.

More info on drilling and tracking questions:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/my-lsa ... en-part-3/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to ... are-stuck/

And remember, you can do this! The LSAT is a challenge. It can definitely be frustrating at times. But it's a challenge that you are up for. Keep at it and keep thinking positively. And sometimes it can even help to step away from it for a day or two to reset and then jump back into studying feeling more refreshed. Your mindset is crucial for your performance on this test so be sure to take care of yourself as you continue studying :)

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Kelsey

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