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Messages - lsatbeard

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Studying for the LSAT / 153 to 162: Bent on Breaking 170
« on: September 22, 2010, 05:46:01 PM »
I've taken the PS course, and I've had decent results, but I REALLY want to break 170. Indeed, I feel like I should be able to (I've had close to perfect and sometimes perfect sections), but I'm really inconsistent with both LG and RC.

Games: If I see a game that doesn't seem to be "normal," I spend too much time trying to "decode" it, and have trouble quickly building hypotheticals (see: "Bus Stops" and "Alphabet Soup"). Once I re-examine a game that I've screwed up, I understand why I missed the question, and eventually figure out the best way of diagramming and getting the answers. When I re-take these sections, I (naturally) do better. "Processing speed" is the big issue here. EarlCat has advised me to re-take sections, even though I'm familiar with them, so that I can see the patterns. This *seems* to work, given that I don't always remember exactly how I set up the games or the answers, but I'm not sure it helps with totally new scenarios.

Reading Comp: I'm not a speed-reader, so I have to push myself to read quickly, which sometimes comes at the expense of comprehending the material (although I can spend much more time on a passage and still miss a bunch of questions). I've found that "VIEWSTAMP" and underlining/diagramming slows me down considerably, without any noticeable improvement in my comprehension. I tend to remember where things are, and who thinks what, but sometimes the questions just throw me for a loop and slow me down. Sometimes I'll miss 1 question, and sometimes I'll miss 5. I think this is due to the "balls-to-the-wall-pedal-to-the-metal" speed with which I move through the passages/questions (if I don't, I run out of time).

I'm currently working on reviewing a practice test and writing out 1-2 sentences for why each answer choice is right or wrong. I find much of it to be rather pedantic, but multiple high-scorers swear by it, and I'm out of ideas.

I would appreciate any advice you might have to offer.

Also, how long should I spend on reading passages? I've found that if I exceed 4 minutes, I will almost certainly run out of time, since it takes me about 45 seconds to 1 minute to read/answer each question.

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 17, 2010, 10:12:20 AM »
Do you think a practice test or two per week would be sufficient? Perhaps taking one timed and one untimed? Timed work is still very important to me, because it lets me "feel" how much "room" I have in which to operate (if that makes sense), so I don't want to abandon it until the week before the test.

Oh, you weren't talking about patterns in Games? I see the patterns in LR arguments and answer choices pretty clearly.

I have almost every published LSAT, so how many times should I take the newer (mid-2000s) ones?

Sorry if you've said this already, but I don't feel like rereading the whole thread.  Are you self studying or in a class?  Or did you already take a class and just working alone from now on?

A practice test or two a week is probably enough.  You want to touch enough material that you're exposed to all the things the test might throw at you, but you don't want to just be doing test after test after test.  This is more about quality than quantity, so really spend some quality time with these.  Write down why the arguments are flawed, why each wrong answer choice is wrong, why the right one is right.  Literally write down a sentence for each of those things.  Forcing yourself to explain it forces you to understand it.   

Same with games.  What type of game is it?  How do you know?  What other game have you seen that is most like it?  How is that game different?  What is this particular question looking for.  What's wrong with the four wrong answers?

Same with RC.  What's the thesis of the passage?  How many points of view are there?  Does the author take a position on the topic?  Who are these "critics"?  And again, what is this particular question looking for.  What's wrong with the four wrong answers?

A lot of courses will give you homework problems organized by type.  I find these quite valuable for finding patterns, which exist within all the sections of the test.  What you begin to discover is that there are only so many things that the test covers, and it does them over and over and over again.  Eventually, for every problem you see you can say, "been there, done that."

I took the PowerScore full-length course, which ended just before the June LSAT. I feel like I have a good understanding of most of the LSAT, but my time on Games is dismal.

Thanks for that advice. It definitely seems like it would let me see the patterns you speak of in Games.

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 16, 2010, 10:38:35 AM »
I didn't mean that I wouldn't thoroughly review them. This is my system: 1) Take tests and mark questions I'm not sure about. I will review these even if I get them right. 2) Review marked questions and questions I missed.

I don't remember him mentioning any patterns in class, especially not regarding the mid-2000's change. I don't think he went beyond what the PowerScore books teach.

That's cool.  I'd also advise doing a lot of work off the clock.  Taking preptests is okay, but taking time to really dig into questions is another.  Like try and get a 180 off the clock.  Take as much time as you want--take a couple days if you need to--but be sure of every single answer before you score it.

The evolution of the test isn't that important.  I was talking about patterns as in how different types of arguments work.

Do you think a practice test or two per week would be sufficient? Perhaps taking one timed and one untimed? Timed work is still very important to me, because it lets me "feel" how much "room" I have in which to operate (if that makes sense), so I don't want to abandon it until the week before the test.

Oh, you weren't talking about patterns in Games? I see the patterns in LR arguments and answer choices pretty clearly.

I have almost every published LSAT, so how many times should I take the newer (mid-2000s) ones?

4
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 15, 2010, 10:32:09 AM »
He actually meant that I SHOULD burn through more tests, saving some (presumably the later ones) for last, so they're still "new" to me. This directly conflicts with your advice, since that would make seeing the patterns substantially more difficult, if not impossible.

Well, okay.  I disagree with burning through them (i.e. working tons of tests without thorough review), but saving a test or two for the end isn't the worst thing in the world because they can be used to measure your scoring range.  Not the most important thing in the world, but a lot of people like to have an idea where they stand.  Whatevah.  It's doubtful you'll actually go through all 50+ tests anyway, even if you were trying to.  I'd vomit if I tried to do so many.

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He never mentioned these patterns in LG's, so it's very likely that he's unaware of them (or at least bound by PowerScore not to discuss them).

If your instructor isn't aware of patterns in LG, I'd get a new instructor.  I'm doubt this is actually the case with a PowerScore instructor unless he really doesn't know their material.

I didn't mean that I wouldn't thoroughly review them. This is my system: 1) Take tests and mark questions I'm not sure about. I will review these even if I get them right. 2) Review marked questions and questions I missed.

I don't remember him mentioning any patterns in class, especially not regarding the mid-2000's change. I don't think he went beyond what the PowerScore books teach.

5
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 14, 2010, 11:38:31 AM »
Thank you for this. I guess my PowerScore instructor doesn't see this stuff, because he advised me against burning through all my practice tests.

Well, I would agree that you don't want to just burn through all the preptests, but I mean that in the sense that you want to take things slowly, work problems off the clock, dissect them, analyze them, etc.  IMHO it's better to do 10 tests 5 times than to do 50 tests, so in that context I would advise against burning through all the tests.  But regarding my earlier comments, I just meant that you shouldn't worry about running out of material because there's a ton of value in recycling it.

He actually meant that I SHOULD burn through more tests, saving some (presumably the later ones) for last, so they're still "new" to me. This directly conflicts with your advice, since that would make seeing the patterns substantially more difficult, if not impossible. He never mentioned these patterns in LG's, so it's very likely that he's unaware of them (or at least bound by PowerScore not to discuss them).

6
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 14, 2010, 10:23:59 AM »
It's not that I remember that an answer is C. My problem is that if I've seen a game before, I find it hard to divorce myself from knowing how things are supposed to fit. This contrasts sharply with seeing brand new games on Monday and being like "WTF do I do now?"

Here's the dirty little secret.  You're not going to see brand new games.  You're going to see slight variations of games that have already been published.  If you're intimately familiar with every game type in the last, say, 5 years, chances are there will be no WTF surprises on test day.

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Are the mechanic patterns behind LGs and RC as strong as they are in LR? LR is my strongest area, and I've noticed VERY strong patterns. Even if I don't know why an answer is right, I can usually tell you why the other four are wrong.

I'd say they're stronger in LGs.  There are fewer patterns than in LR.

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Also, is there a cut-off point for LGs? The ones from the early to mid 90s seem to be easier.

I haven't done any in-depth analysis, but games appear to had gotten more consistent and straight-forward going into the mid 2000s, and they have since started adding in some interesting twists.  The first one that sticks out in my mind is Oct 2005 where you had a circuit panel, and the number of circuits on constituted the "load" of the circuit.  I don't worry about "difficulty" because that's pretty subjective and people disagree on what sections have gotten harder or easier.

Thank you for this. I guess my PowerScore instructor doesn't see this stuff, because he advised me against burning through all my practice tests.

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 10, 2010, 10:27:24 AM »
october test be hardest ever.

Marry me?

8
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 10, 2010, 10:26:57 AM »
Don't worry about having things memorized.  Practice scores don't count anyway, so who cares if they get inflated a little bit? 

What's important is that you understand the mechanics behind all the questions, and that tends to be a lot easier to see when you're already familiar with them.  So reuse your materials.  Then reuse them again.

So you've seen such-and-such problem, and you remember the answer is C.  So what?  WHY is it C?  What other games/arguments/passages have you seen that work exactly like this one?  What's wrong with the other four answers?  Where have you seen wrong answers like this before?  That's what you need to get into to break through that ceiling.

It's not that I remember that an answer is C. My problem is that if I've seen a game before, I find it hard to divorce myself from knowing how things are supposed to fit. This contrasts sharply with seeing brand new games on Monday and being like "WTF do I do now?"

Are the mechanic patterns behind LGs and RC as strong as they are in LR? LR is my strongest area, and I've noticed VERY strong patterns. Even if I don't know why an answer is right, I can usually tell you why the other four are wrong.

Also, is there a cut-off point for LGs? The ones from the early to mid 90s seem to be easier.


9
Studying for the LSAT / Preparing for OCTOBER
« on: June 09, 2010, 04:48:22 PM »
I took the PowerScore full-length course and the June 7th LSAT. After improving from a 153-158, I hit a plateau. I was able to complete LR sections with 165+ accuracy, but wasn't getting anywhere with RC and LG sections. Then, late last week (Saturday night/Sunday), I actually started to see BIG improvements. I was finishing RC sections with high accuracy, and even finished some LG sections with similar accuracy (something I never even dreamed I could do). Although most of the test went extremely well, and I choked on the LG section. (I was having more difficulty with the post-2000 game sections than the early ones...)

Anyway, I'm pretty confident that I can actually do well on the test, but I don't want to lose this edge that I've gotten over the past week. At the same time, however, I don't want to burn through every PT and have everything memorized when October rolls around. What should I do?

10
Studying for the LSAT / Sex & LSAT Focus
« on: April 11, 2010, 03:28:03 PM »
I received some odd advice for preparing for the LSAT (thanks, dad  ::) ), and I don't know what to make of it, especially the fourth item. Any experiences confirming or refuting it?

Here are some of the pointers for your LSAT course and exam which you can implement immediately:

    * Make sure you get at least 8 hrs of sleep every day. If you missed it, make it up the following day - it does work.
    * Use imagery guided relaxation for 10 - 15 minutes before you retire for the night to enhance the quality of your sleep.
    * Start taking vitamin B-1 250 mg 1 x daily for mental stamina (not B-12, B complex, nor variations of vitamin B).
    * Refrain from sex (until after exam) for optimum physical and mental focus - like Martial artists, boxers, & Olympian athletes' training before competition.
    * On testing day, 1 hour before exam, take another 250 mg of B-1 ( it really works).

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