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 mommycanrun
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#71065
Hi!

I contacted Dave Killoran on Twitter and he pointed me here. :)

Some background :

I began studying in June and have struggled with timing on LG. I am a really good test taker, but LG has been a weak area for me. I was studying on my own until August and have been enrolled in a prep course with "another company" few them. I am finishing up the prep course on the 20th and plan to sit for the November LSAT.

I am not making the progress I want and need to find out about tutoring, or something. I am not 100% pleased with the LSAT course in taking and feel like I am on the cusp of big improvements. I can't get there and it's causing me to stay stagnant.

I have been listening to the podcasts for a few months and they've been very helpful. I've gone through the Power Score Bibles. Ugh. I'm only getting through 2 games and I can't break through. LR and RC are okay. This LG is causing anxiety and stupid mistakes.

Please, help.
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 Dave Killoran
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#71072
Hi!

My power is finally back on (yay!), so I will start a reply here, and then we can keep talking about this as I get caught up around here :-D

Since we can narrow in our focus on LG, that helps matters considerably. Let's talk about what's happening with the games you are doing. Can you tell me:
  • * Is there any pattern to the games you find difficult? For example, is it Grouping that knocks you out but you feel okay about Basic Linear? Or vice versa?

    * Do you preselect the games to do when you start the section, or do you do them in order?

    * In getting through only 2 games, would you say its the setup taking the most time, or doing the questions? And how is your time allocated to each?
Using that, I'll probably ask more follow up questions, but this helps me hone in on what's happening.

Thanks!
 mommycanrun
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#71090
Glad to hear that your power is back up. Hooray! I never thought of I would ever be glad to have So Cal Edison!

The funny thing is that I LOVE LG! It's my favorite section. They're like fantastic puzzles and I love it! I can do the set up pretty quick. I can draw inferences, I can figure out which variables go on the bottom, etc. I don't find any particular type of LG more difficult. I just go brain dead for a second and freak out on the questions.

I do the sets in order. I am just plowing through them, without regard to anything. I do guess and move on if the question starts to seem like I'm taking too long.

I'm taking a lot of time answering the questions. I sometimes make dumb mistakes like forgetting halfway through that I'm working a CANNOT question and that I am looking for what must be false. I spend way too much time figuring out what the question is asking me. The time constraints make me panic.

I find that I waste more time on the orientation question that I should. I find myself going through each of the rules to eliminate the answers way too slowly. MBT questions often get me because I choose what could /might be true. I make sloppy errors. I generally get the majority correct when I do the sections. My accuracy is still pretty good. If I answer 15 questions, I get most right (13-15).

I was doing some drilling of games from PT 52-61, which did help me discover some patterns. I'm much better at set up, it's just the speed of answering questions is killing me.

I stopped taking practice tests because it was consuming my life with 25-30 hours devoted to the prep course material. It's been probably 3-4 weeks since I took a practice test.

I hope there was something helpful in all that.
 mommycanrun
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#71125
One of the things I am noticing is that I am often making stupid mistakes on MBT, MBF, CBT, etc.
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 Dave Killoran
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#71140
Ok, thanks for the reply! A few thoughts:
mommycanrun wrote:I do the sets in order. I am just plowing through them, without regard to anything. I do guess and move on if the question starts to seem like I'm taking too long.

This si probably a mistake :) Some games are inherently harder and take longer than others, and you want to do those last! you have to approach this section strategically, and be savvy about how you invest your time. Would you rather take an easier path? I certainly would, so look for those less complex, simpler games (often basic linear).


mommycanrun wrote:I'm taking a lot of time answering the questions. I sometimes make dumb mistakes like forgetting halfway through that I'm working a CANNOT question and that I am looking for what must be false. I spend way too much time figuring out what the question is asking me. The time constraints make me panic.

This is a bigger issue to me, since it sounds like you aren't really in the moment. Does this kind of distraction happen to you elsewhere when studying? or is it just the LSAT? There are some basic tools to use—such as you should highlight any Cannot or False you see in an LG stem--but I'm more interested in if this is pat of a broader pattern.


mommycanrun wrote:I find that I waste more time on the orientation question that I should. I find myself going through each of the rules to eliminate the answers way too slowly. MBT questions often get me because I choose what could /might be true. I make sloppy errors. I generally get the majority correct when I do the sections. My accuracy is still pretty good. If I answer 15 questions, I get most right (13-15).

This is also interesting since these are mistakes being generated internally. You aren't falling prey to difficulty, but to mental errors. This all sounds like a loss of focus for some reason. Is it stress or panic-related?


mommycanrun wrote:I stopped taking practice tests because it was consuming my life with 25-30 hours devoted to the prep course material. It's been probably 3-4 weeks since I took a practice test.
This is fine. Sometimes I analogize to taking test after test as digging a mile-long trench with the wrong tools. Just taking tools is like digging with a fork. If you study strategies and your process, you can get better tools. Digging that long trench with a shovel is a lot easier, and digging it with a backhoe is easiest. Tests for tests sake isn't the answer, focused study on the right methods is key.


mommycanrun wrote:I hope there was something helpful in all that.
There was! Hopefully my response had something useful in it too!
 mommycanrun
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#71168
Hi Dave!

Thank you for your response. You nailed it for me in a few areas. Yes! This test is giving me anxiety like nothing else! I took the GRE for grad school and I did very well in two grad school programs. I'm a really good test taker - - - with exception to this test. I sometimes freeze and second guess myself. I am a high school English teacher, so not acing the RC does shake my confidence.

I am finishing up my 10 week prep course this week and I just took a practice test yesterday. My score hasn't moved since June. It's not a great score. It is so far off from my goal.

Do you have any suggestions for what to do next? I have the time to study, but I really need a plan. My primary focus is to bring up LG, as that's the area that needs the most improvement, but my RC and LR can use a boost too.
 Adam Tyson
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#71321
I'll echo some of what Dave said - this looks like your primary issues are about focus, rather than with the strategies and concepts for doing the games. Your accuracy on the questions you attempt shows that you know what you are doing, when you remain focused on the task at hand. So the question you have to answer for yourself, and which we are not at all qualified to answer, is what is preventing you from staying on task in a given question?

A few thoughts about things you can try, although none of these will likely lead to major gains because they involve moving much more slowly and methodically. First, start having an active conversation with yourself as you work through the questions. For example, when you read a question that asks "which of the following must be true," before you move to the questions try subvocalizing (basically whispering to yourself) "I am going to cross out the four things that don't have to be true." Focusing on what you are eliminating, rather than on what you are selecting, could reduce the number of mistakes like picking Could Be answers to Must Be questions.

When you get stuck while diagramming a local question, or going through a list question, use the list of rules on screen rather than your diagrams of those rules. Start at the top and ask "does this rule apply here? What does this rule require me to do?" Work your way through each rule, step by step, one at a time, so you don't miss anything. Don't jump around - treat them like a checklist.

As Dave suggested, try pre-selecting which games you will do. At the bottom of the screen you can see how many questions there are per game, so if you are equally adept at all game types, start by attacking the one with the most questions first. If you encounter difficulty, especially if you are unsure where to begin with your setup after reading the scenario and all of the rules, move to a different game right away. Right now your goal should be to get through two games with high accuracy, answer any list questions for the other two games, and then have just enough time left over to guess on the rest.

Try these strategies on a section of games, maybe one that you have already done but haven't looked at for a long time. See if they allow you to stay on task and focused. Keep talking yourself through the steps and strategies - that sort of running conversation could be a good way to get out of your head and into the game.

Finally, take a break! Take a weekend to relax and have some fun. Go to the movies, go for a drive and see some fall foliage, carve a pumpkin, get an ice cream cone, have a massage. Rejuvenate your mind and body and spirit, and come back only after you are feeling rested and refreshed. This can do wonders for your performance, your attitude, and your concentration!

Good luck, keep at it, and keep us posted.
 mommycanrun
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  • Joined: Oct 11, 2019
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#71349
Thank you! I'm shooting for UCLA and I am taking the LSAT in November. I am not where I need to be to apply. My score has not changed since June.

I am 46 and leaving my career in teaching, with goals for education law. I feel like I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform where I know I can. I do have ADHD, which was diagnosed 6 years ago. (I'm planning on going to my doctor for documentation. It really wasn't until I read the responses here before I thought there might be something to it.) Perhaps, it is anxiety and stress.

I put my books down a few days ago to let my brain rest.

Do you think talking the advanced LG course would help? Tutoring?
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 Dave Killoran
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#71351
mommycanrun wrote:I do have ADHD, which was diagnosed 6 years ago. (I'm planning on going to my doctor for documentation. It really wasn't until I read the responses here before I thought there might be something to it.) Perhaps, it is anxiety and stress.
This is really interesting! I'd bet it is having an effect, and you should apply for Accommodations and attempt to get double time. That would likely have a big impact on your score, as you could take moments during each section to break away and refresh. That alone could have a massive impact!

mommycanrun wrote:Do you think talking the advanced LG course would help? Tutoring?
I personally don't think the Advanced LG is the way to go. I'd go with tutoring, especially because if you get accommodations, your entire approach to the test will change and you will want to rebuild your strategies for that.

Thanks!
 mommycanrun
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  • Joined: Oct 11, 2019
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#72018
Wow! So much has changed since a month ago.

I got 50% extra time. My accommodations were approved! I will have 53 minutes to complete each section. This is a game changer (pun intended. :-D ;) )

I took a few weeks off and came back to take a practice test. My score improved by 7 points. I'm still not where I want to be, but I will take it!

I am taking the LSAT WITHOUT accommodations on November 25th. I didn't get the approval in time for this round.

I will be taking the LSAT WITH accommodations on January 12th. I will have 2 months to study for January, but am prepared to study until summer for 2021. I want to put together a plan---tutoring, study plan, whatever.

I am currently sitting at a 157. My goal is a 172. I may not be applying for 2020. What do you recommend?

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