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 Dave Killoran
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#12550
Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the update. I agree that the LSAT has changed over the years, and one of the strong recommendations we make is to take somewhat recent prep test as the exam approaches, if only to be in touch with the current question styles.

However, here's the the thing that really worries me: you seem a lot more focused on what other people think about your chances than you should be :-D As I've mentioned before, I have a healthy degree of respect for the knowledge that gets shared on chat boards, as well as by friends, but at a certain point, you simply have to realize that when it comes to how you will perform, it is all speculation and guesswork. Could you score lower on the actual exam than you do on your PrepTests? Certainly, the possibility exists. For the record, the possibility also exists that you might score above your PrepTests, because I've seen that happen too. Do I know what will happen for you? Nope, because it's up to you.

I want to say this delicately and diplomatically, but it is difficult: the truth is that you aren't showing mental fortitude when you allow the opinions of others to impact you in this fashion. If someone tells me that I can't do something or that I will be bad at it, my reaction isn't to think that they may be right. My reaction is to set out to kick their ass. And to do so in such a brutal fashion that there is never a doubt thereafter as to who is in charge.

My point is that inside every high scorer there is a believer who doesn't listen to doubt, and who takes the fear of others and uses it to their advantage. You have to be an LSAT killer, and an LSAT killer wouldn't waste time on thinking that they might not be able to get the job done on test day. So, you need to shed this doubt, and begin to believe that you can dominate the LSAT.

If you stop and analyze your situation, you've come a tremendous distance. You've already done what most people would say is unlikely, if not typically impossible ($5 says that if you posted from a new account on any chat board that you had a 143 and were looking to score in the mid-160s that their resulting comments you would receive would be decidedly negative). And, at this moment you aren't all that far from where you want to be. So, stop worrying about the experiences that other people have had because they won't be taking your test in December. You will. If you have to shut out the naysayers in the meantime, then do it. If you walk into the December test with doubts, you already know what I think the result will be. So, you've got a few weeks here to take command of the situation, accept that you've already done something special, realize that this makes it more likely that you could continue to do something special, and then go out and do it.

I'd say good luck, but this is a situation you control. So go control it 8-)
 Tnkim
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#12642
No it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. If anything, your response is exactly what I needed. I need to ignore the naysayers and the capacity of others. I need to remind myself that this is between me and the LSAT. It is a huge hurdle though - I'm not going to lie. And you're absolutely right about my results thus far; it definitely shows I've improved exponentially and that in itself goes against probability. I have to so to say, hurdle the uncertainty.

Psychology does play a huge part of the exam, and like what you mentioned before, the test administrators have designated positions for that. Psychometrician right? Haha that is intense.

Anyways, my friend gave me the recent october test, so I'm going to take it saturday to see where I'm at. Regardless of how I do, I'm going to continue to power my way through till test day and work my ass off to stay positive. Is it okay if I can update you on my results? I feel like you're a great person to talk to with these matters.

Thanks Dave.
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 Dave Killoran
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#12661
Hi Thomas,

Yes, exactly, it is between you and the test :-D And the more you begin to believe you can do it, the more likely it is that you will do it.

And definitely keep me updated on your results. I want to hear how you do and continue to help if needed.

Also, I pulled the other questions you asked out and put them into a new thread at http://forum.powerscore.com/lsat/viewto ... =12&t=4800. I want to keep this thread focused on test mentality so other readers can follow the discussion more easily.

Thanks!
 Tnkim
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#12753
Hey Dave,

Just to update you - I took preptest 70 with an added experimental LG section from preptest 50 and received a 164.
I missed 3 on the first LR section, 2 on the LG section, 9 on RC, and 7 on the last LR (and took it in this order without realizing that the order on the actual oct test was a little different).
I was pretty impressed on my first LR and LG sections, but totally disappointed with my RC and last LR section.
I'm not going to lie though, I came out unscathed and actually pretty proud. These are questions I've never seen and to finally confirm for myself that additional test biases were eliminated and a more accurate score resulted gave me more confidence that I'm not far from what I want and gained the additional motivational factor that I've come legitimately 21 points from my initial diagnostic.

2 things stood out to me on this test: 1) I need to work on my RC section and 2) I need to work on endurance.

Do you have any advice for improving these two aspects? I'm willing to do anything for extra points. I'm planning to up my studying to 8-10 hours everyday till test day (hopefully that will help with my endurance).

I recently purchased preptest 61-69 online and they are coming in on Tuesday. I'm planning to take them all within this 2 weeks before dec 7.

Anyways, it's always great receiving input from you.
Thanks.
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 Dave Killoran
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#12786
Hi Thomas,

Congrats on the solid score, and more importantly, congrats on feeling confident :-D

With the two points you reference, with RC it is mostly about reading a lot and getting used to the way LSAT RC passages are constructed. Performance in RC also tends to vary directly with your interest in the passage topic, and so some RC section are naturally better for you than others. But, the key when practicing is to focus on getting the overall big picture of where the key elements are in the passage (this is what ViewStamp is all about---creating a mental roadmap of the passage so you can understand broadly what is going on, and also quickly locate needed information in response to each question). So, keep working on that.

With endurance, your natural study regimen will help with that. If you want to build up specific testing endurance, why not try adding in two practice or experimental sections to each LSAT you take? That will overdrive your system and force you to cope with extra fatigue. Then when you go back to taking a regular five-section test, it will seem a lot easier. If you do try it, I usually recommend putting the two experimentals back-to-back as sections 3 and 4. That way the last two sections--the ones where you are most fatigued--count. It's also a confidence boost because of you go out and score decently, you know that you are doing it under even more rigorous conditions than you will experience during the actual LSAT. Let me know what you think about that idea.

Again, I'm very glad to hear that you are feeling good about yourself! That's critical to performing well. If you have any other questions, please let me know. I'm happy to help.

Thanks!
 Tnkim
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#12885
Hey Dave,

Just wanted to update you again. I got the 9 prep tests (61-69) and did 61 today (I'm going to do them in order) and added 2 experimental sections from 29 (put them at 3 and 4 like what you recommended) and got a 169. Not going to lie, I'm pretty stoked about the score. I missed 4 on RC, 3 on the first LR, 5 on the experimental LG section, 3 on the experimental LR section, 1 on LG, and 5 on the last LR section. I'm even more stoked because when I was reviewing the test, I realized I missed what I missed because I read several questions wrong and that overall, there was not a single problem (except one) where I had difficulty figuring out why I got it wrong. Most of my mistakes are because, I think, errors through rushing and carelessness.
At the same time, I'm pretty sure I took this test before - around August when I first started studying for the LSATs.
Doesn't matter though, I'm happy about the score because I didn't recognize the answer choices for any of the questions (although I did recognize a lot of the stimulus in LR and 2 of the passages in RC) and in fact I'm pretty elated about my general grasp and understanding of the questions.
I'm getting there man - I'm trying to ViewStamp my way thru articles on the Smithsonian and the New York Times. Hopefully that is giving me an edge on the RC section.
Do you suggest I should do anything else to supplement my studying? I printed 6 prep tests so that I can attach two sections on 4 of the new prep tests I bought (not including the one I did today and not including the one's I would be doing mon thru thurs next week), which leaves me with 16 additional sections for me to just work thru; therefore, I'll be doing 4 sections a day on top of the prep tests with the 2 experimental sections. Since I'm on Thanksgiving break, I feel like should be doing around 10-12 hours of studying per day so hopefully that would keep busy on top of reading the online articles and ViewStamp-ing those, and reviewing the mistakes of my past prep tests.

Thanks for the recommendations, and I'm continuing to hold my confidence level high.
Your support is awesome to have.
Happy Thanksgiving Dave! :)
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 Dave Killoran
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#12898
Hi Thomas,

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! I like it--this is very good progress and the way you are talking about the test now is powerful and confident :-D

I'm comfortable with what you are doing right now. If anything, I'd say keep an eye on those 10-12 hours a day because you don't want to burnout on the test. But, if you are finishing each day still interested in what you are studying, and looking forward to learning more the next day, then it's not an issue to be concerned about.

As far as rushing at points and reading questions incorrectly, now you know this is a possible issue and so it becomes something to actively track and control during the test. In recent LSATs, one of the subtle changes they've been making is to use classic code words in new ways (this is especially true in LR). I'll be writing about this in detail and at length later, but when you are taking the test, don't just glance at certain key words and assume you know the question type. Here's an excellent example of what I mean:

  • October 2013 LSAT, Logical Reasoning Section 1, #6:

    Question stem: "The principle, if valid, most helps to justify which one of the following judgments concerning the problem?"
If you glance at that question stem while working at high speed, you'd be tempted to think it is a Strengthen-Principle question (or possibly a Justify the Conclusion-Principle question if you missed the "most"). But if you read it again, this is in the Must Be True family because the principle in the stimulus is being used to force a judgment in one of the answer choices. So, knowing that they are doing this, it is incumbent upon you to make sure you don't fall for their tricks :-D Make sure that when you read those question stems that you are really reading what they say, and not just skimming them and looking for the major indicator words. The good news is that you've identified the problem, and that's more than half the battle.

Keep up the good work, and let me know if you have any other questions. I'm happy to help. Thanks!
 Tnkim
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#13003
Hey Dave,

Thanks for the response and sorry for the late response - I've been blasting through the prep tests and reviewing them like there's no tomorrow.
I became more scrupulous with reading the question stem after you dropped that disguised must-be-true question, and right now, I've been consistently hitting 3-4 wrong on LR, sometimes hitting only 2. But the reading comp section is totally killing me - I'm ranging from 3-7 wrong; I know what I'm doing wrong for almost all of the questions, but it seems so nuanced and subtle in attention to a specific sentence in the passage that I seem to overlook it. Is there a way to retain more of the passage? A way for last minute expansion in memory capacity?
I've been hitting around the mid 160s (165) to 169 (hit it twice). But for all of those tests except one, I've been doing 6 sections.
I think I definitely improved in endurance, but since I can feel that I'm burning out; I'm thinking of doing only 4 sections for now on till Friday.
I want to do more everyday, but my brain says no. Sounds very cliche - I know my heart is there, it wants to keep pushing till I honestly go brain dead, but physically there's a point where I can't retain the attention necessary for another 35 minutes. I think I did all I can this 4 day break, spending approximately 10 hours just testing and reviewing.
I feel good because I know it paid off and gave me a few extra points under my belt, but I'm still a little worried about my RC. I'm VIEWSTAMP-ing the Economist and some random nature journals from Barnes and Nobles.

Anyways, I appreciate the help like always. I'm staying positive, and every night, I look forward to the next day to take another preptest, knowing that I'll hit that 170 eventually.
 Tnkim
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#13058
Hey Dave,

Just to keep you updated, I hit a 170 flat on prep test 64 today. The questions I missed on LR were all questions I had a hard time making out between two answer choices. I understand why the answer is right, but I need to make sure that I don't pick shell game answers as much.
I missed zero on LG - super proud.
And I missed 5 on RC - 3 questions on the second passage. I was pretty disappointed about that, but I realized several questions I misread or the question stem seemed a little more difficult to decipher exactly what they wanted. I think I need to make sure what I interpret is what the question stem is exactly saying - alot of the time to save time, I read 80% of the question stem or skim distinct parts of it and goo straight to the answer. I think Im going to spend more time reading it - I ended up with about two minutes left to spare.


Thanks Dave.
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 Dave Killoran
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#13088
Hi Thomas,

Great work on the 170! You've established that you can hit 170 on a cold practice test, and the best thing here is that you did it without having a perfect performance. This means two things: you can do it again even if everything doesn't go right, and if it does go perfectly, you can score even higher. The importance of this can't be overstated: you do not have to have a perfect day to achieve a 170. That's huge. Congrats :-D

Since I know we both prefer that you do have a perfect day 8-) , let's talk about RC. I think what we're seeing here is a small version of the balloon effect. That's the idea where you push in on one part of the balloon, and another part elsewhere pushes out. I think that maybe you have been focusing so hard on LR (which has succeeded, clearly) that RC hasn't been quite as much your focus. So, you pushed in on LR, and a little bit of RC popped out. This happens because when you devote a lot of attention to one thing, sometimes you another part gets a little less attention. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix.

First, as you noted, it looks like the focus on reading question stems in LR needs to be transferred over to RC as well (and LG, just to be consistent and to cover all bases). I think that if you take this step, you'll see an immediate benefit, and you won't feel like there's as much of a nuance issue in RC (everything can look nuanced if you don't know exactly what question you are trying to answer). If it makes you feel any better, most really good test takers go through a phase in their preparation where they encounter this same issue. Once you are pretty good at the LSAT, speed becomes the big focus, and in an effort to go faster and faster, good test takers often will begin skimming the question stem (and it's not typically a conscious decision; they just do it as part of an overall process). Inevitably, they find that this causes missed questions (not many, but at the scoring levels we're talking about, every single question is very important). Once they see it happen a few times, they realize they have to change their approach, and they go through what we are talking about now—emphasizing the full reading of each stem and specifically focusing on what each says. Make this a part of your approach in each section, and it will help eliminate those frustrating "I knew the answer but misread the question" misses. Those are the worst!

Second, I agree with the winding down process you are engaged in right now. Burnout is very real when you are studying as much as you have been, so as I mentioned this weekend, I agree that you should study less this week. You need to taper off so that you are in full energy mode when Saturday morning hits. Swimmers do this when they prepare for a big meet, and the timing is especially good for you as you come off your best performance to date. What you want to do is maintain contact with all the ideas, but not expend as much mental energy studying them. That will keep you fresh this weekend.

Last, congrats on finishing RC with two minutes to spare! It's always an achievement to finish a section early, so that is a big positive for you. It also gives you the opportunity to implement the strategy discussed two paragraphs ago. You now know that you have the time available to read those stems more closely, which should help you feel better and more relaxed as you start each section.

I also wanted to mention that 0 misses on LG is awesome. You should be more than proud!

Overall, your positioning (both mentally and performance-wise) coming into Saturday's test is perfect right now. You should be feeling good, and as I've discussed elsewhere, success and positivity are self-reinforcing concepts. Once you get a little bit of each, you start to get more and more, and you get into an upward spiral. That's where you are right now, so keep on with what you are doing.

Thanks!

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