Law School Discussion

LSAT Preparation => Studying for the LSAT => Topic started by: GC_Chem_BU on August 11, 2011, 06:44:37 PM

Title: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 11, 2011, 06:44:37 PM
Hey guys,

I just took my first practice test out of a Princeton Review book today, and I scored 148. I had no idea what was even on the LSAT - that's why I took the practice test! It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, considering I didn't know what to expect at all, but at least I didn't completely bomb it.

My goal is mid 160's, and I think I can do it considering that 1) I know what to expect, 2) I have until December because that's when they're administering it at Purdue, and 3) I have the easiest class load I'm gonna get in my last four semesters of school. I'm planning on spending 4 hours a day, 4-5 days a week in the library working on homework, and once I'm finished it's LSAT time. I've scheduled a few lessons out of the Princeton Review book a day, and between now and December I will have taken between 4 and 6 practice tests.

I'm really looking to get into some good IP schools on the east coast - something like Fordham, UNH, even BU (I'm a chemistry major at Purdue, so pharmaceutical IP interests me!). Can someone either tell me if I'm on the right track or suggest alternative methods?

Thanks a lot,
Geoff.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: legalrabbit on August 11, 2011, 08:35:04 PM
Geoff, I would highly recommend Powerscore bibles since I found them to be very helpful and concisely written whereas Princeton Review tends to glaze over important topics. I think it's smart that you're considering the December LSAT rather taking cramming for the October one. Since you're just starting out, I would suggest laying off of practice tests for the next month or so and really focus on drilling questions by question type.   
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 11, 2011, 09:16:12 PM
That sounds great, thanks for the encouragement and advice. I'm going to stick with the Princeton Review book for now to get an overall knowledge of the test, then most likely move to the Powerscore books. Thanks again!
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: EarlCat on August 12, 2011, 09:59:36 AM
What book is it?
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 12, 2011, 11:20:51 AM
I did the princeton review book (Cracking the LSAT) and would really advise against. Its ok if you are just going to go through it quickly and get a fundamental understanding of what is going on - but don't waste your time understanding how Princeton tackles problems. There are a lot of methods that are ok if you are just shooting for mid 150s maybe 160 but is NOT the best way (doubtful you'll get mid 160s+ with it). The book seems more like a crash course if you only have a few weeks to study. There are a LOT of bad habits that the Princeton Review gave me that I am still breaking using the Kaplan Method. Also, I was almost insulted by the lack of attention given to the Reading Comprehension section - it just gives you like 2 or 3 examples and says "Don't forget to circle important words ... good luck."

That being said, Powerscore seems to be the best out there. Once I am done with Kaplan I am going to move on to Powerscore.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 12, 2011, 01:36:39 PM
I've heard of Belmont's rather unique law programs.  I want to see how their programs turns out.  But the price tag- whoaaaaaaa.

BU refers to Boston University, at least in my experience.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 12, 2011, 02:44:49 PM
BU refers to Boston University, at least in my experience.

Is Boston well known for those programs - just out of curiosity?
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 12, 2011, 03:11:40 PM
I'm planning on spending 4 hours a day, 4-5 days a week in the library working on homework, and once I'm finished it's LSAT time. I've scheduled a few lessons out of the Princeton Review book a day, and between now and December I will have taken between 4 and 6 practice tests.

...

Can someone either tell me if I'm on the right track or suggest alternative methods?

If you can get in around 30+ hours a week between now and test day just on LSAT stuff you will be golden. At minimum it should be 20-25 on an off week. There are many reasons why but here is possibly the most practical reason why...

Whatever study method you use you should break things up between Timed and Un-timed practice. Timed practice should really only come when you are in the Un-timed 175+ range. Why? If you can't answer the questions without the clock, there is no way you can answer it with the clock. If you as using a proven method (like those taught in powerscore/kaplan, etc.) then you are practicing an efficient way of tackling the test. This way you will never feel the need to go faster and the only real timing skills that will come into play are game/passage/question ordering and bubbling techniques.

How do you get to the Un-Timed 175+ range? First, as I said, you MUST be using an efficient method - which you will learn once you start powerscore/kaplan. Second, when you are studying the method - answer the questions actively, not passively. Be 150% sure that the answer you pick is without a shadow of a doubt the correct answer AND (important AND) understand why the other 4 answers are without a shadow of a doubt the wrong answers. Write notes as to why the answers are wrong (i.e. "Out of scope because of ____" or "Faulty formal logic" or "Strengthens the argument (presuming you need to weaken it)") .. of course don't do this in the actual test/timed test but it is important at this stage. If you do this correctly, when you are checking your answers you will either be exceptionally annoyed at the fact you even had to check it because you got it right OR your entire world implodes as the ground beneath you crumbles because you got it wrong. Nonchalant v. Depression.

If you are studying like that, it will take you hours to get through a certain game type/question type etc.

This practice is crucial early on when you are working the fundamentals. With more exposure it will become easier to see why an answer it right or wrong and your efficient method will become quicker - making predictions, deductions etc.

One more thing - outline all the LSAT books you use. Use the outline when you are practicing to make sure you are doing everything right and remembering any tricks. If you want I can send you my Kaplan Outline?

Good luck.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 12, 2011, 03:13:21 PM
BU, IP yes.  I don't know about Pharm.  BU has a good rep in New England.  Its up there rank wise,  lower T1 maybe.  What I got from Belmont was IP and entertainment law.  Makes sense taking Nashville into account.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Julie Fern on August 12, 2011, 04:52:03 PM
Hey guys,

I just took my first practice test out of a Princeton Review book today, and I scored 148. I had no idea what was even on the LSAT - that's why I took the practice test! It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, considering I didn't know what to expect at all, but at least I didn't completely bomb it.

My goal is mid 160's, and I think I can do it considering that 1) I know what to expect, 2) I have until December because that's when they're administering it at Purdue, and 3) I have the easiest class load I'm gonna get in my last four semesters of school. I'm planning on spending 4 hours a day, 4-5 days a week in the library working on homework, and once I'm finished it's LSAT time. I've scheduled a few lessons out of the Princeton Review book a day, and between now and December I will have taken between 4 and 6 practice tests.

I'm really looking to get into some good IP schools on the east coast - something like Fordham, UNH, even BU (I'm a chemistry major at Purdue, so pharmaceutical IP interests me!). Can someone either tell me if I'm on the right track or suggest alternative methods?

Thanks a lot,
Geoff.

that fake test.  take real one.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 14, 2011, 12:47:36 PM
Thanks so much for all of the replies. I'm enjoying the last week before school starts, so I haven't really been around.  :P

Both of you guys are right, actually, when it comes to BU. I did go to Belmont University for undergrad (chemistry), and now I'm going to Purdue University (chemistry, management minor) - so that's where the BU came from at first. I am, however, shooting for Boston University, Fordham, or UNH for pharmaceutical IP law or something of that nature - so that's what the BU means now! Haha.

As for all of the remarks regarding the Princeton Review "Cracking the LSAT" book - I had no idea. I honestly should have checked with the forum before getting the book, and even when I was planning out my study sessions in my calendar I noticed the severe lack of attention the book gave the critical reading section. Critical reading was what kept me out of most great undergrad schools for the LSAT; I definitely need to study more than 3 passages and need more tips on how to do well for the test that really matters.

Does anyone have a good idea as to how to prepare starting the first day of class up until December 5? I'm stumped on how I should divide up my time, though I would say that writing is by far my strongest, then comes logic games and arguments sort of neck-and-neck, then reading. I'm thinking I could take about 4-6 practice tests in the 12 weeks, but I won't if that doesn't prove effective.

Miami, I would greatly appreciate the Kaplan Outline. I'm between buying that or the Powerscore books - which look really good. I need to develop these fundamentals now so that I'm not still working on them when it's time to study for both my LSAT and Analytical Chemistry.

-Geoff
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 14, 2011, 01:10:23 PM
Do you mean your writing sample is your strongest section?  If so, ignore that.  Its not graded. I doubt any one really ends up reading those anyways. 

If your strong on LG you've got a leg up.  LGs are, by far the most difficult for most people.  LR is half the test so spend the most time on that. 

The Powerscore books are by far the best.  I'm not a big fan of Kaplan, personally.  I tried one of their books and thought is was way too underdeveloped.  Focusing on "tips" that are often common sense for anyone who has ever taken a multiple choice test.  But MiMi had a different experience, and I'm not saying she's wrong.  Her version may have been better than mine (I hope so for her sake :))

Outside the Powerscore books, Master the LSAT is the best I used that is all inclusive of the LSAT sections.  I'd take a baseline test if I were you, then the all inclusive prep book you choose, then a set of practice tests, then the PS Bible(s) where you are the weakest + LR (its half the test).  Good luck, Buddy.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 14, 2011, 04:05:50 PM
It sounds like picking what to study is half the battle! I think I'm going in this general direction, though:

1. Take a legitimate, full practice exam. Whether I include the writing sample, because 1) I'm already good at writing, and 2) It's not counted, is debatable.
2. Work rather quickly through the Princeton Review book. It's all inclusive, I already bought it, and it has to have some good practice at the absolute least.
3. Take some more practice tests, whether they're through the Princeton Review book or something else I find. That way I'll see if there's a trend in what I'm good/bad at, as well as see if there's any improvement as a result of working through the book.
4. Buy / work through the Powerscore books for the sections at which I am weakest.
5. Take practice tests and review things accordingly up until December 5.

That sounds good to me! I greatly appreciate everyone's help, as I most definitely wouldn't be on the right track without you guys.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 14, 2011, 06:29:57 PM
I was going to let it go and wish you good luck, I will still do the latter.......  But, the writing sample is NOT scored.  I'm sorry if you think its your greatest strength, but it still isn't scored.  If you get a 140 and write the best, most concise, most logically sound hand written argument ever made since 1990, you still get a 140 on the LSAT.  LR, LG and RC is all the is scored. The PR book should have explained that.  If they did not, they suck even more than I thought they did.

That said, I won't mention it again, good luck amigo.  I would have felt a little guilty not hammering the point home; the rest is up to you.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 15, 2011, 07:30:14 AM
That's honestly a bummer. Writing's definitely my strength as opposed to critical reading, LSAT aside. I'm over it, though - I'm just ready to get cracking on studying! I will enjoy these last few days of summer, then it's off to be books in 7 days. I will make sure to post my progress as well.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 15, 2011, 08:00:46 AM
It shouldn't bother you too much.  Writing is still one of the most important skills you'll need in law school.  The LSAT is just a brief tool you have to use to get you there.  Like I said if your strong at LG you are already ahead of the game.

Good job on finding the bibles so cheap, btw.  You got a great deal and the LR and the LG bibles are great.  I never tried the RC bible, please tell me what you thin of it.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 15, 2011, 02:02:28 PM
For the record - I am still in the midst of studying for the LSAT myself. So if others with more experience feel that, comparatively, the Kaplan books are not as good as Powerscore then take that with more weight. I can only compare Kaplan to Princeton Review and it is night and day better.

After Princeton Reivew book whenever I timed myself I was getting about: LG 80% at 15 minutes per game. LR 70% at 2-5 min. per question. and RC 60% at 10-15 min. per passage.

After Kaplan I'm getting: LG 100% at 5-11 min. per game. LR 90% at around 1.5-2.5 min. per question. and RC at 80% at around 10 min.

I still need a lot of work to get where I want but there certainly is a lot of improvement in a short amount of time. But who knows - maybe that would have been even better with powerscore?

As for Kaplan books, they are not so much "tip" or "trick" based as they are "method" based. They occasionally will make a "tip"/"note" on particular question/game types, such as common wrong answers, how to spot them etc. but they are really obsessed about tying everything back to their "method." I'll PM you my outlines.

Once you have a strong foundation with the fundamentals I would take as many real tests as you can. Julie Ferm mentioned this:

that fake test.  take real one.

Thats because the Princeton Review is one of the few, if not only, major prep companies that make up their own test questions. Though these are okay for further drilling (often they may actually me harder then the real test) you should spend the bulk of your time on real LSAT tests/questions. After you get really comfortable (some say around 165) then you can use PR material for further drilling, but still understand those are fake and you should still base your practice scores on real LSAT tests.

Currently there are around 60 real LSAT tests out there you can buy. Once you are in that 175+ range, hit those hard - at least 1 or 2 a week. If you only have time for 10 or so tests I would start with test #52 which is when they added Comparative Reading and will be the test most resembling the one you will take. If you have time for more I would set it up so the last practice tests you take are after test 52 and ends with the most recent one.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 15, 2011, 07:33:12 PM
Wow Miami, you seem way ahead of the curve.  I forget which Kaplan book I used, but it was thin and easy.  Sounds like you're fairing better.  I was going to say make sure you are testing with official former LSATs, but you seem to have that down too.

Only thing I can think to mention is be careful mixing methods.  People who have done that have said the contradictions hurt more than helped.  You're scoring better on your practice tests reaching 175, which is better than I did.  175 might even be in the top 1 percent, regardless its pretty awesome.

You might be the first person I've talked to that is doing that well with Kaplan.  Cheers.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: GC_Chem_BU on August 15, 2011, 08:53:17 PM
Yeah Miami, that sounds like you're doing really well. Here's to you!

My confusion still lies within timed vs. untimed. When do I move to timed? How much time is TOO MUCH TIME on untimed tests? I'm thinking about taking untimed tests once a week, since I don't have class on Tuesdays.

Also, where can I find full, legitimate practice tests for free as opposed to PR's? I noticed it wasn't full as soon as I started it, but I went with it anyway, figuring it would be a good benchmark. I really hope working through the PR book at all is worth it - I'm giving myself three weeks to get through the whole book (1 week per section). Then, it's moving on to Powerscore.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 15, 2011, 09:18:41 PM
Thanks... but it is important to note its still un-timed. The numbers I gave have been general averages (some have been lower some have been higher). My current avg. stats would, at best, allow for mid 160s timed. That is not taking into account fatigue and what not. Realistically I am probably high 150s low 160s. I have yet to take a full timed test so that is just speculation.

I completely agree with the worry of mixing methods. I am making my own as I go anyways though. There are, surprisingly, some things from Princeton Review that I like better than Kaplan.

The Kaplan books are not that thin at all - RC and LR books are about 450 page each and the LG is about 600. That makes the Kaplan set about 1500 pages worth of material to cover. Of course the majority of that is practice questions and review. That being said my outline (which just covers methodology) is about 75 pages.

Also, as a side note, I really like how the RC book is written. Its very positive and semi-motivational - its subtle how they sneak it in but its uplifting. The other two try to match that tone, but aren't quite AS successful.
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: Miami88 on August 15, 2011, 09:40:50 PM
My confusion still lies within timed vs. untimed. When do I move to timed? How much time is TOO MUCH TIME on untimed tests? I'm thinking about taking untimed tests once a week, since I don't have class on Tuesdays.

Also, where can I find full, legitimate practice tests for free as opposed to PR's? I noticed it wasn't full as soon as I started it, but I went with it anyway, figuring it would be a good benchmark. I really hope working through the PR book at all is worth it - I'm giving myself three weeks to get through the whole book (1 week per section). Then, it's moving on to Powerscore.

This may be best answered by someone with more experience, however, from my research it seems that early on there is no such thing as too much time. Of course, this is in an ideal world when you have all the time to devout to master the LSAT - which may not be realistic. Still, if you are using an EFFICIENT method do not worry that much. If the method really is efficient then with more exposure to that method and the LSAT your time will go down and your score will go up. Timing will come.

The point of untimed is so you get extremely familiar with the test and how it looks/is set up (all the different question types and each one of their problems) AS WELL as with the method you are using. So long as you are actively thinking and don't stop that train of thought and are working diligently through the method - take as long as you need to to be 200% sure the answer is right AND the 4 others are wrong.

You will soon begin to realize how the test really repeats a lot of similar ways of thinking throughout the three sections. Ways of finding deductions in LGs will, oddly, begin to somehow creep into your LR section and inferences will get easier to spot. Its at this point when you will begin to realize the LSAT is not so much a test to get into law school as it is a self prep course for law school (year 0 of law school). The skills you are learning will help you later (at least I tell myself that - hah).

Once you are getting around a 175+ on your complete untimed section then you can start worrying about bringing your time down. You will notice, however, that your time will naturally go down as you work through untimed sections.

As for the real tests - I don't know of any legitimate ways of obtaining all the real tests for free. Heres a link that lists where to find all the tests and where to buy them. I would shop around on amazon for the different books.

http://www.powerscore.com/lsat/help/pub_ident.cfm
Title: Re: Will this study method work for 148 -> 160's?
Post by: fortook on August 15, 2011, 09:56:36 PM
Miami, that was possibly the best and most concise intro/pep talk for LSAT new comers I have ever seen-  Well written, easy to read and completely to the point.  I can see no flaw at all to that approach.  If he has the time, December isn't that far away.  Please PM me those outlines you mentioned, I'm curious to see.

I noticed your in college GC.  Shhhh on this one because copies are limited.  You can usually find copies of the LSAC LSAT books at your university library.  Shhhhh, there is probably only one or two copies and for the love of God don't write in them.  People that write in library books are muff cabbage.