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Messages - HYSHopeful

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I made a lengthy post there about how I went from 152 to 177.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why am I not progressing with self-study?
« on: August 02, 2008, 11:19:43 AM »
Why does this seem to happen on most threads in this Forum? It seems as though 90% of all threads in "Studying for the LSAT" get derailed by Julie Fern and Cliff007.

It is frustrating to post well-considered, thoughtful advice only to realize that it is hidden between pages of nonsensical rambling between Cliff007 and Julie Fern.

Generally, the best strategy is to ignore them as much as possible. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder and harder to do so. There have been threads where I've spent an hour carefully answering the question of someone who legitimately needs advice. I come back a few days later only to find that these two have filled the following 4 pages with their tomfoolery. The thread dies, and the advice is never read by more than a few people who happened upon it before the thread was denigrated. This discourages individuals like me from posting legitimate advice, it makes it difficult or impossible for people in real need of advice to receive it. These absurd digressions are hurting the "Studying for the LSAT" board, and they are hurting the people who come here for help.

Julie Fern and Cliff007: I understand that you two are just having fun, but please consider how your posts are effecting those who come here to give/receive legitimate advice and engage in an actual intellectual discourse about a very difficult exam. Limiting this sort of behavior to Off-Topic boards would be very much appreciated.

Lindbergh: Replying to them only encourages them... and contributes to the pages of text that people have to sift through to finally find any real advice. 

EarlCat: Is there anything that you can do as a moderator to control and/or limit this?


Studying for the LSAT / Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« on: August 01, 2008, 09:06:31 AM »
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.

...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.

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 if you'd like to chat sometime.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« on: August 01, 2008, 09:05:43 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.

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.  

I'd definitely say that your first diagnostic should be timed. This will give you a good baseline score to work up from. It will also give you an idea of just how intense the exam is under timed conditions, which should inspire you to study like crazy.

Within a week following your first timed test, take an untimed test. Take 1 to 2 hours per section. Work very slowly and deliberately through each question, attempting to get as many correct as possible.  You'll do much better on this untimed exam, which will help to build your confidence (which was probably crushed by your first timed exam).

Compare the two results. Are you having huge problems with timing? Or are you having trouble with the fundamental comprehension of the material?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Reading Comprehension Advice Plz!
« on: July 30, 2008, 11:03:15 AM »
Let me first mention that I've searched all threads pertaining to RC, and have thoroughly read and follow their advice.

Now, the problem I have is with comprehension.  I'll read an entire passage, but when I get to the end, I'll forget what I read and can't successfully answer the questions.  I've tried slowing down, making notes, etc, etc.  Anyways, I tend to get 3 out of the 7 questions right for each passage.

However, I find that if a read a passage 2-3 times in row (before going to the questions), I tend to do very well (6 out of 7 questions correct).  Now, obviously there's no time to read a passage 2-3 times on the real LSAT, so does anyone have any tips on how I can improve my comprehension?

I'm very much regretting it now, but as a kid, I barely ever read anything... I was just interested in other things. Mind you, I still do well in school (GPA 3.82), but I'm in a purely technical field (engineering), where we seldom read large text.  I'm excellent with LR & LG (just a couple wrong per section), but am dreadful at RC :(

You don't need to memorize the passage. Try and focus on paying attention to the STRUCTURE of the passage. You don't need to remember the details of the passage, but it is important to remember WHERE those details are located. The passage is right there in front of you when you are answering the questions... you CAN and SHOULD refer back to it on any detail questions.

Experiment with underlining key words and phrases: "First, Second, Third"; "Furthermore"; "On the other hand"; "for example"; "namely"; "for one thing"; "In addition"; "Nevertheless"; "For these reasons"; "proponents believe"; "critics believe"; "But"; "However"; "According to"; "In contrast"; ""; ...goes so far as to claim"; "others argue"; etc. This is far from a comprehensive list. As you work through more RC passages, you begin to develop a sense for where the testmakers are likely to draw questions from. The goal is to anticipate where questions are likely to be drawn from, and remember where that important information is located so that if you see it later then you will know exactly where to refer to.

Be aware of shifts in tone, shifts from support of an idea to rejection of an idea, etc. While you are reading each paragraph, think "why is the author including this information? Does she agree/disagree with the information?"

It probably would take 3 or 4 readings to fully understand and memorize every detail of the passage, but it should be fairly easy to memorize and/or note WHERE the details are located within the passage in only 1 reading. Then, as you go through the questions, you will be able to quickly refer to the passage.

In sum, don't focus on memorization, don't focus on details -- DO focus on Structure, DO focus on Main Idea, DO focus on Author's tone, DO focus on shifts in opinion/tone.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Self Study vs. Prep Class
« on: July 30, 2008, 10:17:30 AM »
I think that it really depends on your learning style.

I was the type of student in college who wouldn't retain too terribly much from lectures in-class, but quickly picked up concepts and retained them quite well by reading the text outside of class. I would also describe myself as a "self-starter," who doesn't require much structure in order to keep myself on track. Knowing my learning and studying styles, I chose to self-study and found that to be very successful.

If, on the other hand, you are the type of student who finds lectures to be very helpful, or if you believe that you need the structure of a course in order to keep yourself motivated to study, then perhaps a course would be a worthwhile investment.

There is no right answer for everyone across the board. You have to take a close look at yourself and play to your strengths and your particular learning style and situation.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LR-is kicking my butt
« on: July 29, 2008, 08:49:45 AM »
If you've only taken 8 tests, then you've only gone through around 400 questions or so. You've got another 2500 or so questions to go through between the remaining 50 or so preptests that you haven't worked through. Keep working at it! You'll get there!

I don't think going through another 2500 questions if you're still not getting it is a good strategy.  REDO the ones you've seen already and get the concepts down before grinding through another huge set of them.

Right, I wasn't recommending grinding through another 2500 questions haphazardly. I was just trying to reassure and encourage the OP - they still have only had limited exposure to these types of questions, and they have plenty of material to work through to improve. The familiarity with the questions that comes from experience makes the LR section much easier as you progress through your preparation. Having said that, EarlCat is certainly correct - go through the questions that you have worked on already and be sure that you are fully understanding them. Why did you get this question wrong? Why did you get this question right? Are you making the same mistake over and over? What question types are you having difficulty on? In order to improve, it is essential to understand where/why you are making mistakes and (perhaps just as importantly), where/why you are excelling.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« on: July 29, 2008, 08:32:55 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, and I'm on gTalk fairly often.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: People PTing in the 170 - 175 range
« on: July 29, 2008, 08:17:51 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.

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