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Author Topic: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range  (Read 12372 times)

HYSHopeful

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2008, 11:17:51 AM »
I was prepping in the 170-175 range about 2 weeks prior to the exam. The week prior to the exam I bumped up to the 175+ range, with my last three PTs on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to the exam: 176, 175, 178. I ended up scoring a 177 on test day - 1 point lower than my best PT, though there was no 178 possible on the June administration.

I think that a great deal depends on how well you work under pressure with the stress and anxiety of the real test. For me, that pressure helped. It focused me, it gave me a kind of clarity and intensity that I lacked in my earlier PrepTests. Everyone says: "take every prep test as though it were the real thing," but there is no way to simulate the pressure of the real exam. For me, I began to feel that pressure in the week leading up to the exam, and that is when I really began to score in the range that I was hoping to score. I had a ton of test anxiety, but I'd taken every released PT, gone through all the books, and I knew that I was prepared. I was able to channel that pressure and anxiety into the exam in a positive way.

To the OP: Great work on your prep thus far! Your challenge is going to be keeping your LSAT skills sharp over the next 11 months until your anticipated test date. I found that when I took a few weeks off of prep my PT scores would drop a few points and it would take a few days of studying to get those points back. If I were you, I would at least consider the possibility of pushing up your exam date to February, December, or even October. At the rate you are going, you will run out of Prep Tests! In the two weeks prior to the exam, I was taking 1 or 2 prep tests every day. I probably went through 20 PTs in the 14 days leading up to the real exam, and probably would have taken more if I didn't run out of PTs. I'm sure that was probably excessive, but I was glad to have plenty of fresh material to work through.  Keep up the work, and consider other test dates, you may not need a full 11 more months of prep if your scores become more consistent.



HYSHopeful

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2008, 11:32:55 AM »
Yeah, I'm doing all that. For the month leading up to the exam I'll be adding fifth sections from old LSATs. Hopefully that won't throw me off too much.

Any general thoughts from anyone on taking it early? June is a long, long way away.

The 5th sections should be from new LSAT's, not old LSAT's -- at least on the last 4 or so.  You want to be sure you're equally challenged on the 5th section, and the newer LSAT's tend to be harder.  You should also be sure you calculate your score using the 5th section as well.  (Drop your best "real" section, and use the experimental instead to calculate two scores for every exam.)  That way, you'll be motivated to do as well as possible on the 5th section, just like on the real thing.


Like I said in my last post. DEFINATELY consider the possibility of taking it early. I believe that you could easily be prepared as early as October.

As far as 5th section goes, I did NOT like the idea of pulling a 5th section out of another preptest because there are only a finite number of PTs available and I didn't want to 'waste' them by using them as experimental sections. Instead, I chose to build my endurance by taking 2 tests a day. Generally with a short 30 min break between exams. If you can stay sharp for 8 sections, you should be able to stay sharp for 5 on the real test day.

If you'd like to chat sometime, I'm HYShopeful@gmail.com, and I'm on gTalk fairly often.

Lindbergh

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2008, 12:06:33 PM »
Yeah, I'm doing all that. For the month leading up to the exam I'll be adding fifth sections from old LSATs. Hopefully that won't throw me off too much.

Any general thoughts from anyone on taking it early? June is a long, long way away.

The 5th sections should be from new LSAT's, not old LSAT's -- at least on the last 4 or so.  You want to be sure you're equally challenged on the 5th section, and the newer LSAT's tend to be harder.  You should also be sure you calculate your score using the 5th section as well.  (Drop your best "real" section, and use the experimental instead to calculate two scores for every exam.)  That way, you'll be motivated to do as well as possible on the 5th section, just like on the real thing.


Like I said in my last post. DEFINATELY consider the possibility of taking it early. I believe that you could easily be prepared as early as October.

As far as 5th section goes, I did NOT like the idea of pulling a 5th section out of another preptest because there are only a finite number of PTs available and I didn't want to 'waste' them by using them as experimental sections. Instead, I chose to build my endurance by taking 2 tests a day. Generally with a short 30 min break between exams. If you can stay sharp for 8 sections, you should be able to stay sharp for 5 on the real test day.

Most things are finite, of course, but there are close to 50 practice tests available.  Using a couple for experimental sections won't impact your prep much -- few people do more than 30 practice tests while prepping, and very few do them all.

Doing two exams a day isn't a bad endurance technique either, and I also recommend this near the end of your prep, if you can handle it.  However, it won't specifically prepare you for the precise conditions of the exam, which is what you should be shooting for.  (You don't get a 30 minute break between your 4th and 5th sections, obviously.)  And properly preparing yourself for those conditions, of course, is not a waste by any measure.

snickersnicker

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2008, 08:09:12 PM »
I was prepping in the 170-175 range about 2 weeks prior to the exam. The week prior to the exam I bumped up to the 175+ range, with my last three PTs on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to the exam: 176, 175, 178. I ended up scoring a 177 on test day - 1 point lower than my best PT, though there was no 178 possible on the June administration.

If you wouldn't mind clarifying, did you only START PTing in the 170-175 range two weeks prior to the exam, or had you been PTing in that range for some time before that?

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I think that a great deal depends on how well you work under pressure with the stress and anxiety of the real test. For me, that pressure helped. It focused me, it gave me a kind of clarity and intensity that I lacked in my earlier PrepTests. Everyone says: "take every prep test as though it were the real thing," but there is no way to simulate the pressure of the real exam. For me, I began to feel that pressure in the week leading up to the exam, and that is when I really began to score in the range that I was hoping to score. I had a ton of test anxiety, but I'd taken every released PT, gone through all the books, and I knew that I was prepared. I was able to channel that pressure and anxiety into the exam in a positive way.

I do think I work especially well under pressure. I'm something of a 'last minute' student, usually doing my major papers and assignments over the last two days before they're due under a pretty big amount of pressure. Obviously the LSAT is a completely different monster, and I've actually been preparing for it longer than most people do, but I think having that extra pressure will help me to go into it confidently. Hopefully I don't run into an LG problem that gives me trouble early on, since those cause me to lose a lot of confidence and do worse than I normally would.

Quote
If I were you, I would at least consider the possibility of pushing up your exam date to February, December, or even October. At the rate you are going, you will run out of Prep Tests! In the two weeks prior to the exam, I was taking 1 or 2 prep tests every day. I probably went through 20 PTs in the 14 days leading up to the real exam, and probably would have taken more if I didn't run out of PTs. I'm sure that was probably excessive, but I was glad to have plenty of fresh material to work through.  Keep up the work, and consider other test dates, you may not need a full 11 more months of prep if your scores become more consistent.

I've decided to take it this October. Keeping up a legitimate level of study for ten months isn't really possible, especially given the number of PTs available. My plan of study is as follows:

August, 2008   Take PrepTests 33-38
Sept, 2008   Take PrepTests 44-51
Oct 1st, 2008   Take PrepTest 52
Oct 2nd, 2008   Take PrepTest 53
Oct 3rd, 2008   Take PrepTest 54
Oct 4th, 2008   Take LSAT!

The only reason I would have not to take the October test is if I find myself doing noticably worse (that is, out of the 170s) on the more modern LSATs compared to those I've taken thus far (up to October 2000).

Quote
As far as 5th section goes, I did NOT like the idea of pulling a 5th section out of another preptest because there are only a finite number of PTs available and I didn't want to 'waste' them by using them as experimental sections. Instead, I chose to build my endurance by taking 2 tests a day. Generally with a short 30 min break between exams. If you can stay sharp for 8 sections, you should be able to stay sharp for 5 on the real test day.

A friend of mine actually gave me the first "10 Actual, Official" book, and I haven't touched it yet. It seems like a lot of people don't recommend using the early PTs that are available, since the current test isn't very similar at all. Thus, I feel like taking an LG or LR section from one of the older exams would fit well as an 'experimental,' since I'm completely unfamiliar with the different question types which are no longer used but were used at that time.

Quote
Doing two exams a day isn't a bad endurance technique either, and I also recommend this near the end of your prep, if you can handle it.

Hmm...I suppose that's something to consider. Perhaps I'll use some of the other exams from the first "10 Actual, Official" book in order to work on endurance.

Thanks again for all the tips, everyone.
LSAT: 166 (:()
UGPA: 4
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blueskies6

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2008, 12:49:26 AM »


I've decided to take it this October. Keeping up a legitimate level of study for ten months isn't really possible, especially given the number of PTs available. My plan of study is as follows:

August, 2008   Take PrepTests 33-38
Sept, 2008   Take PrepTests 44-51
Oct 1st, 2008   Take PrepTest 52
Oct 2nd, 2008   Take PrepTest 53
Oct 3rd, 2008   Take PrepTest 54
Oct 4th, 2008   Take LSAT!

The only reason I would have not to take the October test is if I find myself doing noticably worse (that is, out of the 170s) on the more modern LSATs compared to those I've taken thus far (up to October 2000).


Don't take a test the day before the LSAT!  Take that one day off to rest your mind  :)  That's the burnout they were talking about
awkward follows you like a beer chasing a shot of tequila.

Lindbergh

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2008, 02:18:07 AM »

I agree.  Give yourself a day or two off, so that you come out of the gate like a coiled spring on test day.  The worst thing at that point is to be at all fatigued.  (You're not going to learn much the last couple days anyway.)




I've decided to take it this October. Keeping up a legitimate level of study for ten months isn't really possible, especially given the number of PTs available. My plan of study is as follows:

August, 2008   Take PrepTests 33-38
Sept, 2008   Take PrepTests 44-51
Oct 1st, 2008   Take PrepTest 52
Oct 2nd, 2008   Take PrepTest 53
Oct 3rd, 2008   Take PrepTest 54
Oct 4th, 2008   Take LSAT!

The only reason I would have not to take the October test is if I find myself doing noticably worse (that is, out of the 170s) on the more modern LSATs compared to those I've taken thus far (up to October 2000).


Don't take a test the day before the LSAT!  Take that one day off to rest your mind  :)  That's the burnout they were talking about

HYSHopeful

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2008, 12:05:43 PM »
I was prepping in the 170-175 range about 2 weeks prior to the exam. The week prior to the exam I bumped up to the 175+ range, with my last three PTs on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to the exam: 176, 175, 178. I ended up scoring a 177 on test day - 1 point lower than my best PT, though there was no 178 possible on the June administration.

If you wouldn't mind clarifying, did you only START PTing in the 170-175 range two weeks prior to the exam, or had you been PTing in that range for some time before that?

My first timed diagnostic was on March 1st, and was a 152. This shook me up pretty bad... I have pretty high expectations of myself, and "152" is a number I'd expect to see on an IQ test, not the LSAT. I've always been a good test taker and took for granted that I would perform much better. I knew that I needed to be in the 170+ range if I was going to get into the kinds of schools that I wanted to go to, and I'd never heard of anyone jumping 20 points from their initial diagnostic. I was set on taking the test in June, so I knew that I had my work cut out for me if I was going to stand any chance of getting into a top law school. This really lit a fire under me, and over spring break I spent around 8 hours a day studying for 10 days straight. On March 11th , I took my second timed diagnostic and scored a 170. Believing that this may have been a fluke, I took another test that same day, and scored a 169.

Here is a copy of the spreadsheet that I was keeping... I hope the formatting shows up properly:

Date                    Test   Section 1                    Score   Section 2                   Score      Section 3                   Score   Section 4                   Score   Raw           LSAT SCORE
Mar 1, 2008           49           Analytical Reasoning   10/22   Logical Reasoning   19/26   Reading Comp           14/27   Logical Reasoning   19/25   62/100   152
Mar 11, 2008   20              Logical Reasoning   25/25   Reading Comp         20/26   Analytical Reasoning   20/24   Logical Reasoning   24/26   89/101   170
Mar 11, 2008   21       Analytical Reasoning   19/24   Logical Reasoning   23/25   Logical Reasoning   21/25   Reading Comp           21/25   86/101   169
Mar 14, 2008   23           Analytical Reasoning   15/24   Logical Reasoning   21/26   Logical Reasoning   21/24   Reading Comp           19/26   76/100   164
***Between Mar 14 and Apr 19, I didn't have very much time to study since I was working full time and going to school full time. I tried to squeeze in work on Logic Games as often as possible, since that was my major weakness.
Apr 19, 2008   45           Logical Reasoning   20/25   Reading Comp              22/27   Analytical Reasoning   19/22   Logical Reasoning   22/25   83/99   167
***Between Apr 19 and May 19, I was finishing up school and work, studying for finals, then graduating and moving home from school. Again, I tried to squeeze in work on LG as often as I could, but didn't get more than a few hours a week in. Once I got home from school, I had no job and committed myself full-time to LSAT prep. I was working on LSAT prep 8-12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. I tried to take at least 1 PT every day, then focused the rest of my day on reviewing the exam and working on areas that were weak.
May 19, 2008   A           Logical Reasoning   24/25   Reading Comp          22/27   Analytical Reasoning   18/24   Logical Reasoning   23/25   87/101   166
May 21, 2008   25           Reading Comp              25/26   Logical Reasoning   22/25   Analytical Reasoning   17/24   Logical Reasoning   25/26   89/101   170
May 21, 2008   26           Analytical Reasoning   18/25   Logical Reasoning   25/25   Logical Reasoning   21/25   Reading Comp           22/27   86/101   169
May 22, 2008   27           Logical Reasoning   25/26   Analytical Reasoning   16/24   Reading Comp           21/26   Logical Reasoning   24/25   86/101   171

***This is all the information that I have in my excel spreadsheet on this computer. The rest of my log was done w/ pen and paper. If anyone thinks it would be helpful, I can type it up for you guys.

Basically, I became fairly consistent around the 170-172 range and plateaued until about 1 week prior to the exam, when I scored my first 176. Then, I dropped back down for a couple days, and finally began prepping consistently in the 175+ range a few days prior to the exam. I took the day before the exam off, but then that freaked me out so I woke up early on the day of the exam and took 2 full LR sections to warm up.

Before I get yelled at by anyone for promoting such an odd prep routine... I should note that I'm not recommending this admittedly unorthodox schedule, and I'm not saying that taking 2 full LR sections in the hours before the test is a good idea. This is just what worked for me personally. This is how I scored a 177 on test day. I'm probably not your average LSAT taker, so these sort of strategies may not work for the majority of people. I just know how to play to my strengths when studying, and I know what works for me. I knew that I had 3-4 weeks to devote my entire life to the LSAT immediately preceding the exam. I knew that I could study for 8-12 hours a day without losing focus. I knew that I study most successfully under extreme pressure. I knew what would work for me, and I think that is the most important thing: Learn what works for you, figure out how to play to your strengths, weaknesses, learning style, schedule, etc. If anyone tells you that there is only one way to successfully prep for the LSAT, or tells you that no one can improve more than 5-10 points from your initial diagnostic, don't believe them. If you are currently prepping in the 170-175 range, then you are in a small minority of high-performing test-takers, and you can't necessarily count on advice intended for the average student. Once you reach that level, you may need to try some unorthodox techniques to bump yourself up into the 175+ range.  

HYSHopeful

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2008, 12:06:31 PM »
Snicker: I'm glad to see that you've reconsidered your test date. I believe that someone performing at your level can easily be fully-prepared by the October test date. You may not want to take a prep test on the day before the real test, but I don't think it hurts to save a test for that day, just in case you feel as though you need some fresh, recent material to go through. I probably wouldn't save PT 54 for that day, because you definitely want to be sure to take that one. Consider saving something in the 40s. Sure, you wont LEARN anything that day, but it may help calm your nerves and keep up your sense of pacing. I always noticed that if I took the weekend off, I'd never perform quite as well on Monday. My sense of pacing would get thrown off by a few seconds per question and I'd end up missing one or two questions near the end of the first section that I took. Sure, you don't want to be burnt-out, but you don't want to be rusty either. If you usually score a 175 on Monday after taking a couple of days off, then score a 177 on Tuesday, and a 178 on Wednesday... then perhaps taking a day off prior to the exam isn't such a great idea for you. If, however, you find that you get burnt-out taking exams on back-to-back days, then take the day off. Again, the important thing is doing what is right for YOU, not for the average test taker.

Quote
...but I think having that extra pressure will help me to go into it confidently. Hopefully I don't run into an LG problem that gives me trouble early on, since those cause me to lose a lot of confidence and do worse than I normally would.

Confidence is, indeed, very important when going into the LSAT. But, by test day you won't have to worry so much about LG. On October 4th, you will have prepared for that section so thoroughly that it will be a breeze. By practicing over and over, and consistently implementing the same techniques on hundreds of games, you will eventually become comfortable knowing that there is nothing the test-makers could throw at you to that you wouldn't be prepared to handle. I felt the same way about a month before my exam. LG seemed to be the wild card for me. But after reading and implementing the techniques in the LGB, eventually LG just "clicked." By test day, that was the section that I felt most comfortable with. I flew through the LG section, finishing with a few minutes to spare, fully confident that each of my answers was correct. If you continue to work as hard as it appears that you have up to this point, you will feel the same way by test day. I recommend going to the back of the LGB, making a list of all linear games in PTs 1 through 25 or so. Attack each of these games until you have mastered the Linear Game Type. Time yourself on each question. Start working on untimed games at first. Work your way up to trying to complete every game in under 9 minutes. Eventually you will hope to finish nearly every game in under 8 minutes and 45 seconds. Experiment with attempting to finish games in under 8 minutes, under 7 minutes. Had trouble with a game? Review it, go through it again, try a new set-up, figure out where you went wrong. Did you miss/misunderstand a rule? Did you miss an inference in your setup? Could you have diagrammed the rules more clearly/effectively? Could your set up have been better? Did you take too much/too little time on your set up? Where did you make an error in your thinking process? Did the game have a limited solution set that you should've realized and implemented into your setup? Take notes on every game. Keep a log, keep a diary, keep drilling. Repeat this process for each game type: advanced linear, grouping, combination, etc. Logic Games follow a predictable formula that you will be very familiar with by test day. Drill it until you kill it.

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The only reason I would have not to take the October test is if I find myself doing noticably worse (that is, out of the 170s) on the more modern LSATs compared to those I've taken thus far (up to October 2000).

Don't be intimidated by the modern tests. I actually felt that the material was easier on the modern tests, which, as a result, had correspondingly tight scales. I'm not sure if the material is actually easier, or if it just felt that way because I'd become more comfortable with it. Modern LG sections have become shorter and more predictable, while Modern RC sections have gotten longer (and therefore slightly more difficult).

Since RC has gotten longer, it is especially important that you don't neglect that section. RC tends to be the most often neglected section both by students prepping, and by authors creating LSAT books. It is also one of the more difficult and time-consuming sections to review. I'd consider it to be the least enjoyable section as well. Don't allow yourself to under-prepare for RC.

Hope this helps! Good luck! Again, PM me or shoot me an email at HYSHopeful@gmail.com if you'd like to chat sometime.

violaboy

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2008, 12:18:42 PM »
Wonderful advice HYSHopeful!  I'll be studying for October like you studied for June :)

BarryLaine

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Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2008, 12:24:50 PM »
Lovin' the advice...thank you.