Law School Discussion

LSAT Preparation => Studying for the LSAT => Topic started by: razireem on September 29, 2013, 07:16:39 PM

Title: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: razireem on September 29, 2013, 07:16:39 PM
So I've been studying for about two months now for the LSAT. I've bought all the Powerscore bibles as well as many, many prep-tests. I've been dedicating at the very least 3-4 hours - much more on weekends - a day to studying and practicing (this includes doing multiple individual timed sections and as well as full prep-tests and reviews), but I have seen only about a 2-3 increase from my diagnostic score (which was a 153). I was really hoping for a at least 160, but preferably a 165+ and everyone keeps saying that on average most people improve about 10 points.

I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. My timing has improved significantly - where I could only do 3 LG and RC sections I now finish them all, sometimes with time to spare - yet my score didn't improve at all. It's just really frustrating to be spending all this time preparing and seeing SO little improvement.

Has anyone else experienced this or just have some advice as to what I need to do (that I haven't already been doing) to push my score up??

Thanks!  ;D
Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Miami88 on September 29, 2013, 10:43:45 PM
A few questions:

1) When are you taking the test?

If Oct. ... there's not a whole lot that can be done within a week. If Dec./Feb., then you have a shot!

2) How have you been practicing?

It sounds as though you have been timing yourself. Timing really should only come into play once you are scoring 175+ on un-timed practice (or at the very least 10+ points above your target). Un-timed practice is all about establishing the fundamentals (i.e. answering the questions correctly and efficiently). If you jump the gun on timing, you are robbing yourself from truly understanding how the LSAT works.

3) Where are you losing points?

You said you are completing more questions in the same amount of time, however, are getting the same score. This means, as a percentage of the total questions you attempted, you are answering less questions correctly. Pin-point exactly where/when this happens and slow down. You would probably be much better off with attempting less questions, snagging more of them correct, and guessing on the remaining.


Scenario 1: 35 min.; 16/24 questions attempted.; 75% accuracy; 12/24 correct
Scenario 2: 35 min.; 24/24 questions attempted,; 50% accuracy; 12/24 correct

Thus, its not really just about how many questions you attempt, but how accurately you attempt each question.
Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: razireem on September 30, 2013, 07:28:55 AM
Thanks for the reply!

I'm taking one in Oct., but most probably going to take it again in December since I feel that only 3 points above my diagnostic is not possibly the best that I can do - so I'm asking for the Dec. one.

I started off not timing, just taking the separate sections un-timed, then after I was getting all those right I moved onto timing and taking full prep-tests. I never took a full test un-timed - should I do that first? Will that help?

I'm not exactly sure what my losing points are. There isn't a particular question or time during the test when I start losing's kind of all over the place.
Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Miami88 on September 30, 2013, 02:19:28 PM
Hi Razireem,

As a preface, always consult a pre-law advisor before making any significant decisions, like taking the LSAT. Use advice from these online boards as a tool, not a guide. That being said, here are some of my thoughts.

I know it may initially seem like a good idea... to take the LSAT now, hope for the best, get some more practice in during the real test, continue to rock the studying afterwards, and dominate the test in a few months. However...

This kind of thinking is generally frowned upon by adcoms (at least, from what they say at seminars, forums, etc.). Think about it from their perspective, what does that process tell you about an applicant. If, as stated above, they walked in on test day and knew they weren't prepared, and knew the imporatnce of the LSAT (which is why they took it again), then the only logical reason for the apparent scenario is that they attacked the LSAT haphazardly and without much foresight. This is not the early signs of a strong lawyer.

So... unless you feel prepared for the real test, do not take it.

Now, here are some other direct comments on your LSAT prep/practice:

There is no way you could complete a full un-timed test in one sitting. To do an un-timed test correctly, it could easily take up to 20 hours. Why? Un-timed practice is far different than timed practice. Just because it is un-timed does not mean it is leisurely practice. You must stay engaged with the content at all times.

Why do you not practice with the clock if you are supposed to be engaged as though you are taking a timed test? Because you are doing faaarrr more work per un-timed question than in timed practice. You need to, via an efficient method (like powerscore), understand each moving part in the question. You need to have specific reasons why 4 answer choice are 100% incorrect and why 1 answer choice is 100% correct. Each of those reasons must match your prep material's reasons (or come really close). Write down those specific reasons. Dissect the answer to find general structures that were similiar to prior questions, even questions in different section types. This is un-timed practice. By the end of this kind of practice - once you are answering all of the questions correctly - your time will have naturally settled in a good spot.

Once you have that under your belt, you gradually transition into full timed tests. So, you would first start taking half a section under timed conditions, re-do it un-timed, address any issues, and move to the next half section. Once you have a strong accuracy and timing pace, you bump that up to 3/4 of a section, then a full section, then two sections back to back. After two sections back to back, drop the un-timed re-do of the sections and start tacking on sections. So now you are doing 3 sections back to back, then 4 sections back to back (maybe a 10 min. break after section 3). Then you are ready for full test practice: 3 sections, a break, then 2 sections.

By building your practice from the bottom up, you will slowly fold in section management skills, bubbling techniques, guessing strategies, etc. Do not be afraid to re-vist old tests/questions. Especially during un-timed tests, this is how you will lay down the mental bridges from concept to concept that the LSAT tests. This is what it takes to score in the 165+ range - especially if you are coming out of the low 150s.

Good luck my friend. It is a long journey, but one that will expand upon your natural talents. I thought of it as year 0 of law school, the conditioned training to take on high level reasoning.

Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: razireem on October 01, 2013, 08:14:45 AM
Thank you so much for the detail response. This helps a lot - I think I may have jumped into the timed sections too quickly.

It was a little disheartening to hear what you had to say about taking the Oct. test though, even though I completely understand the reasoning. It's just that it's way too late to get a refund now, and I just don't have enough money to just throw that away. Taking the Oct. test is not just for getting the extra practice, but also for weighing what my options are for the future (especially because, when I look at this realistically, I don't know even know if I will have the time this semester to study for the Dec. test - which was why I spent my summer studying for it. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by not taking this test, then realizing later that I don't have the time to study more and end up worsening my situation, by applying late in the application cycle for no reason. That's all stuff that I need to figure out on my own though).

Anyway, thank you again for the great advice. I really appreciate it.  ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Miami88 on October 01, 2013, 08:31:15 AM
Well that is a different and honest situation. If you are extremely concerned about having the time to study for the Dec. test and are thus almost certain you will not take it., then yea - take it now.

Good luck on Sat.! Remember that when it rains - it rains on everybody. Just keep moving on the test, be confident, and happy that you are one step closer to your goals.
Title: Re: Been Studying for 2 months & no improvement - What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 01, 2013, 01:01:11 PM
Miami's advice is solid. I would just add that at this point you just have to do the very best that you can and not get consumed by overthinking the test. I know that sounds simplistic, but it's true. Narrow each question down to two choices, pick one, and move on. Don't fall into the trap of spending too much time on any on question, and rack up as many "easy" points as possible.

Lastly, go into the test with a clear, calm mind. There is no point in fretting about the score until you know what you actually got. Frankly, most people don't score as high as they thought they would. The LSAT can be a sharp reality check in that way. After you get a real score, you can weigh your options.

Good luck!