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 studysaurus
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: Sep 09, 2020
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#78847
Hi! I'm the new(ish) LSAT student on the block!

I'm in month 3 of the 12-month self-study program (using the Bibles + the testing and analytics package). I combined months 1 and 2 into one month to fit my plan of taking it next year in July/August. I took the diagnostic test and didn't do so well with a 149 - coincidentally the same score I got on the actual test when I took it 10+ years ago (what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment?).

I followed the plan and took another timed practice test on Monday...and got a 144. In taking the test and reviewing it, I know that A LOT had to do with me bombing the Logic Games section as I hadn't learned how to approach 3/4 of the games yet and pretty much got nothing right. Overall, I know there are things that I learn from the books that stick with me, but I'm realizing that under the time pressure I'm not doing so well and I'm doubting my ability to improve (and I'm talking, like, 160s-improve, so I'm just doubting that, period) over the next 10 months. Should I be taking more practice tests than the study plan calls for? Should I be doing drill sets as I learn certain concepts? I just want to make sure I'm approaching my studies in the best and most effective way possible given my time frame.

I'd appreciate any and all advice that you have! Thanks. :)
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 510
  • Joined: Dec 15, 2011
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#78892
Study, I have a lot of good news for you.

First, repeat after me. "I have plenty of time." Really. Every part of this test makes you feel the pressure of time. Every section. Every practice test. Time leading up to the test. But, being concerned about time just wastes time. Let time take care of itself. Focus on things that you can control (more on this below). So, whether it's during a practice test or just generally in preparation, if you feel time running away, reassure yourself that you have plenty of time.

Second, it's really very common to drop a bit as you learn the material. Everyone has a different learning curve, but dropping as you slow down to apply what you learn is one of the more common curves we see. While it doesn't feel like it, it's a potential sign you are learning. While first learning to apply new techniques and skills, you have to slow down to think of things step by step. The more often you use the skill, no matter if it's games diagramming or finding a conclusion in LR, the easier and more automatic the skill becomes. Once the skill becomes automatic, THAT'S when you'll see increases in speed. And since you'll be doing things the right way, your accuracy should also be up.

Final last bit of good news for you. You have tons of options for what to do next. Follow the study plan, but make sure that you are getting everything you can from those practice tests. Don't worry about taking more tests than scheduled---it will use up valuable tests when you could better use them as the test gets closer and you've learned more material. As you review tests, make sure you are going over all the questions, not just the ones you got incorrect. Pay attention to questions you missed that you should have gotten correct at this stage. Concepts that you've covered but still missed are good places to look for improvement.

Remember, test study is a marathon not a sprint. Focus on improvements in accuracy before you worry about improvements in score.

Hope that helps!
Rachael
 studysaurus
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: Sep 09, 2020
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#83044
Studysaurus here with an update and a "how am I doing?" kind of question.

I'm now 6 months into my studying (and following the 12-month study plan as I noted in my original post) and my practice tests have gone up and down and up and down, with the highest score at this point being a 155. Ideally, I'd like to get around the mid-160s (I mean, obviously I'd love to get higher than that, but I'm trying to be a tad realistic), so I know I have a ways to go.

I'm doing what was described in the first reply (thank you, by the way - you reassured an anxious test taker!), but there's clearly a whole lot of room for improvement. I've noticed that I'm getting better at logic games, to the point where I'm getting full games correct (and that wasn't happening at the outset, so that's great), but I'm still struggling with logical reasoning. I know that there are still concepts and question types that I haven't met just yet, but in my last practice test alone I got almost an entire LR section wrong. I notice that when I have the time, I'm better able to get the questions right. This time under pressure is really getting to me and my ability to think clearly! Any suggestions to help with that so when test day comes I'm better prepared?

I guess I'm just wondering if there's still a chance to improve significantly in score. There are times I'm doing practice questions and feeling on top of the world, and other times where I feel like I know absolutely nothing. And since I can't exactly gauge these things, I figured I'd ask the experts! Any and all advice for this point in my studies would be absolutely appreciated.
User avatar
 KelseyWoods
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 1060
  • Joined: Jun 26, 2013
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#83147
Hi studysaurus!

Congrats on that score increase! Remember that you still have plenty of time and it's totally normal to see your scores fluctuate on practice tests.

For Logical Reasoning, make sure that you are always consciously focusing on the process for answering questions. When you have arguments, focusing on the argument structure is super important. Carefully and specifically identify the conclusion and the premises (always underline/highlight the conclusion) and then really think about how the premises support the conclusion and why the premises might not fully prove the conclusion. And don't forget to prephrase! Practice slow first. Truly, do not worry about your timing at this point. Speed comes with practice, but you have to make sure that you are training yourself in good habits. I always tell my students that you shouldn't really think of it as "studying" for the LSAT--think of it as "training" for the LSAT. You are training yourself for this test just as if you were training for a physical competition or learning a new language. It takes a lot of repetition and improvements will be incremental. But you have to make sure you are practicing good form by always consciously applying the strategies that you are learning until you've developed the muscle memory to apply them without thinking. Whenever I have a student come to me who has been studying for awhile and is still struggling with LR, it's usually because they are not carefully and consciously applying the strategies and paying attention to those fundamental skills.

Here are some additional resources that you might find useful:

Prephrasing is such an important skill on this test and it's so easy to overlook. Make sure that you are putting in the effort to work on your prephrasing. It's difficult at first, but, again, it's important! Try out the exercise in part II of this blog post to really force yourself to practice prephrasing and to help you learn which prephrases work well and which don't. Prephrasing forces you to consciously apply all of the strategies you've been learning.
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... ng-part-i/
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid-15 ... g-part-ii/

This is the first of a five-part blog post by a former PowerScore student who discusses his LSAT training regimen. Read all 5 parts! He talks about drilling games/questions/passages. That's a great way to work on speed and confidence and you may want to work it into your own study schedule.
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/my-lsa ... ent-part-1

Test mentality is so important to your score on this test and it's so easy to feel anxious and discouraged. This link has several resources on test mentality for you to check out but I especially recommend the first link which is a webinar:
https://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/the-ul ... urce-list/

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Kelsey

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