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 trisha01
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  • Joined: Apr 18, 2021
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#86460
Hi Dave and John, and the rest of the blog community,

What caused me to write to you: I recently scored a 171 on PT60 (first time breaking into 170s after my last high score of 169) and then 162 on PT89 the very next day. I am taking the test for a second time this June 2021. My goal score is a 180 (I have a GPA of 3.5 from my last 2 years at the University of Toronto, but that per se is not gonna seal the deal with an Ivy League).

Some background: When I took the Nov 2020 Flex, it was right after I had been taking the PTs in the 80s consistently for 2 weeks (I work full time as a paralegal so I only had 2 weeks completely off before test day). I am quite a calm test taker, and although I was not flustered as such, I could still feel that the RC was unusually difficult and LR was cloudy (I was flagging more than usual - I went lurking on Reddit and noticed most of the people on there seemed to have the exact same experience as mine on both LR and RC lol). LG felt the best, and it remains my forte till date.
Compared to Nov 2020 (I scored a 158 after a diagnostic of 160), I feel much more confident about key concepts today. I've been getting -0 to -3 on LG; -3 to -6 on RC; -2 to -6 on LR (I still have a long way to go to get to my goal score). I have a sneaking feeling that the RC on the Nov 2020 Flex was closer to the PT 60s than the 80s (which is probably why I found them even harder on test day as I was only doing 80s for two weeks prior to the exam). However, going from a 171 on PT60, to a 162 on PT89, makes me wonder how there could be such a shift. I expected a dip for sure because even back when I was prepping for Nov 2020, I had felt that change between the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Now that I am better prepared, I would like to reach a point where I can handle all of them equally (well)/in the same manner - i.e., which PT I am taking (65, 72, 87) should be irrelevant to my performance because my concepts are that clear (not sure how possible this is!).

My point: I understand from a couple of your podcasts that Powerscore is able to make reasonable predictions, thanks to the archives you maintain of past tests and that you have studied trends. I also understand that these are estimations at best and I am no way under the impression that there is a sure-shot way of predicting exactly what future papers will look like. Keeping this in mind, can you kindly advise which era each section of the Flex seems to resemble? Is the Flex RC most like the RC in the 60s? Is the Flex LG most like the RC in the 70s? My plan to prep now is to do PTs 88, then 78, and then 68, and so on, so that I don't lose touch or get too comfortable in any of the eras. I just took PT 60 and then 89 a couple of days ago, so sometime this week, I will do the May Flex PT to gauge what I feel it most resembles (before I forget what the 60s felt like). Please let me know what you think of this. Any opinion will be truly appreciated!

Thanking you,
Trisha
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 Dave Killoran
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#86477
Hi Trisha,

Thanks for the message! And congrats on a great score, and I commend you on seeking a 180—always aim high!

If you were to listen to all the podcast LSAT-Flex recaps where we talk about test sourcing, one of the things you quickly realize is that LSAC has a huge advantage here: they can pull tests form virtually any era and they don't have to use any pattern in doing so. Thus, predictions are incredibly difficult. that said, we always have thoughts on the matter :-D

Historically, LSAC has used tests/sections from as far back as the 40s for the Flex (and even earlier when you consider those tests had to be experimentals prior to that). That's a huge range of possibilities and shows the depth of options they have. however, there has been a decided emphasis on tests from the recent years. A disproportionate number of exams come from the 70s and 80s, and so a plan that is based around those tests is a smart one. This is especially the case with RC and LR. As we've talked about previously on the podcast, both those sections have trended into murkier language in recent years, and while subtle, the presentation is generally less straightforward that in previous years.

With LG, the recent years haven't been as varied as in some prior years, but I find many of these games more like early LSATs—the PT 1-40 era. I would make sure to mix in the harder games from those tests because there are some unusual concepts from that era. Our Killer Games list has a number of from that era, as well as more recent games you should be sure to do. I'd do the same with the Killer LR and RC lists we have as well.

As for a prediction for June, that will have to wait until our next Crystal Ball podcast or webinar, but I know Jon and I have some likely suspects we think could be used :-D

Thanks!
 cinnamonpeeler
  • Posts: 21
  • Joined: Apr 27, 2020
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#86500
Dave,

I was wondering if you think that there is something of a change in the RC sometime in the 80s, especially in the late-80s. I find that my scores in RC hovered at around a -2 in the 70s but can get into the -4 or -5 territory in the 80s. But I've only done 1 PT from the 85-89 range.

For LG, in what way would you say that these newer Flex LGs resemble the games from PT1-40? I've done most of those games and some are really weird.

Do you anticipate these trends to continue for the upcoming "new Flex" tests this upcoming testing year? For example, do you think that they will continue turning up the dial on the difficulty of RC while keeping the other sections relatively the same?

What is the best way to prepare for this increase in RC difficulty, as someone who is already PTing in the 170s, aiming like the poster above, for as high a score as possible? RC has always been my strength and I haven't really spent much time studying for it, but it seems like a few of the PTs in the 80s are really really tough.

Lastly, relevant to this post, I was wondering if you could speak to what a realistic upper limit target for each section is. For example, the consensus seems to be that high-scorers can get -0 fairly consistently in LG, and I've found this to be doable. However, I've found this less attainable, even as someone who is already in the 170s, in RC and LR. What do you think a realistic target number of raw mistakes is for those of us aiming in the upper band of 175-180? Is -1 to -2 the best you'd say that most high-scorers can fairly consistently do in each of these sections? -0 consistently in RC and LR just seems impossible to me.
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 Dave Killoran
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#86519
Sure, I'll try to answer all of these but will have to be necessarily brief at times:
cinnamonpeeler wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:02 amI was wondering if you think that there is something of a change in the RC sometime in the 80s, especially in the late-80s. I find that my scores in RC hovered at around a -2 in the 70s but can get into the -4 or -5 territory in the 80s. But I've only done 1 PT from the 85-89 range.
I think RC has been the area they've made tougher in recent years, a point we've made on our podcast as recently as the very last episode :) It's murkier and less clear, as I said above.


cinnamonpeeler wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:02 amFor LG, in what way would you say that these newer Flex LGs resemble the games from PT1-40? I've done most of those games and some are really weird.
This is more a thought that when LG in modern days presents a tough game, it tends to be a bit unusual. Or weird as you term it. Standard games should be easy after a point; it's preparing for anything unusual that is most helpful.



cinnamonpeeler wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:02 amDo you anticipate these trends to continue for the upcoming "new Flex" tests this upcoming testing year? For example, do you think that they will continue turning up the dial on the difficulty of RC while keeping the other sections relatively the same?
We're solely focused on the June test right now. After we see what they do there then we'll start talking about the New LSAT and thoughts on those :) I don't see any coming change in RC though!



cinnamonpeeler wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:02 amWhat is the best way to prepare for this increase in RC difficulty, as someone who is already PTing in the 170s, aiming like the poster above, for as high a score as possible? RC has always been my strength and I haven't really spent much time studying for it, but it seems like a few of the PTs in the 80s are really really tough.
It's all about reading difficulty and related comprehension. Best way to prepare for anything challenging is to do as much of it as possible, and Perfect it until you know each recent passage inside out. Then you can see how they make them tough.



cinnamonpeeler wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:02 amLastly, relevant to this post, I was wondering if you could speak to what a realistic upper limit target for each section is. For example, the consensus seems to be that high-scorers can get -0 fairly consistently in LG, and I've found this to be doable. However, I've found this less attainable, even as someone who is already in the 170s, in RC and LR. What do you think a realistic target number of raw mistakes is for those of us aiming in the upper band of 175-180? Is -1 to -2 the best you'd say that most high-scorers can fairly consistently do in each of these sections? -0 consistently in RC and LR just seems impossible to me.
This is a question that is quite person-specific, so you are asking me to do the impossible without seeing how you solve questions and knowing your abilities. The trite answer here is that the upper limit is of course -0, but whether that applies to a given individual depends entirely on their strengths. So, for one person I might say the RC upper limit it -3 but for another it's -1. In other words, this is an impossible question to answer with any useful detail, I'm sorry to say!

Thanks!
 cinnamonpeeler
  • Posts: 21
  • Joined: Apr 27, 2020
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#86542
Thank you for the responses, Dave! Best.

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