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Studying for the LSAT / Re: yikes! I just took my first diagnostic LSAT
« on: September 20, 2008, 03:07:16 AM »
I've gathered from other posts here that it may be better to learn one method (PS/Kaplan, etc..) vs looking at many different methods and possibly becoming confused. I am interested in if you leaned towards one method over another.

I think the best approach is to develop your own method. I would advise looking over as many pre-conceived strategies as you can, pulling the useful nuggets from each one, and then incorporating those nuggets into your own method. I don't think this should be confusing; on the contrary, it should help you to learn what works best for you. As Yoda might say, "Seek wisdom wherever you can find it, but trust your own instincts and abilities."

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Retaking practice tests
« on: September 19, 2008, 02:19:03 AM »
I don't think re-taking any LSAT you've previously taken can be indicative of your true progress. It's highly probable that your "subconscious memories" have influenced your higher scores. Your phrase "pretty much took all the modern practice tests I could get my hands on before that" indicates that there are practice tests in existence that you haven't taken. I'd suggest taking those other tests and measuring your progress from the results of your scores on those tests compared to the scores you achieved on earlier tests.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Possible Burn Out Pls Read
« on: September 19, 2008, 02:04:28 AM »
Good job on the improvement.

I would advise you to take a 2-3 day break BIG TIME!

During my first 4 months of preparation, I put in 2-3 hours per day, 5 days per week. After that I felt comfortable with each individual section. I've spent the past 1.5 months taking timed practice tests (2 per week) to build up endurance. Afterward I spend an hour or two reviewing each practice test, and then I PUT IT AWAY. Some of my wrong answers try to eat me up, but I laugh at them knowing I won't make the same mistake twice...

If there's a particular problem type that's troubling you, now's the time to focus your energy on conquering that problem type.

Considering you have less than 3 weeks before game-day, I'd say the best strategy is to keep preparing but RELAX. Take 2 full practice tests per week, under timed conditions, but don't even think about the LSAT on the other 5 days per week! This is no time for cramming; this is the time to be confident in your training and make sure you can stay focused for the 210 minutes of pure pleasure we will all endure!

Studying for the LSAT / Re: yikes! I just took my first diagnostic LSAT
« on: September 19, 2008, 01:29:30 AM »
I was tempted to give up after my first diagnostic test (score=141). However, that was 6 months ago, and I'm feeling pretty good about my October 4 test. Although I haven't taken a course, I've done a lot of research and formulated a study plan which has brought me to a 165 average. I expect to score 168-172 come game-day.

I would suggest skipping the December test and taking the test in 2009. In my opinion, almost everyone needs at least 6 months to properly prepare for the LSAT to achieve his/her best score. This isn't a test many people can "cram" for to do well.

My study plan went as follows:

1) Obtain every publication you can regarding the LSAT and read through the various strategies. Find what works for you and go from there.

2) Use ONLY ACTUAL LSAT QUESTIONS for practice. Although publications featuring "non-actual" questions can offer good strategies for answering questions, the "non-actual" questions can actually hinder your progress. Some of the "non-actual" questions are so poorly written that they contain mistakes; others try to confuse you with overly-ambiguous wording. As an example, I was taking a "non-actual" Reading Comprehension section and one of the questions asked "The word X, as used in line 24, would most likely mean:". However, the word X didn't appear in line 24, it appeared in line 47. WTF? Real LSAT questions don't allow these types of obvious mistakes. I've taken 7 practice LSATs under timed conditions, and here are the results: #1(actual)163, #2(actual)161, #3(actual)162, #4(non-actual)148, #5(actual)168, #6(actual)163, #7(actual)165. As you can see, my results have been pretty consistent EXCEPT for the "non-actual" test. Stay away from "non-actual" test questions; I consider them to be on par with logic spewed by my perpetually drunk uncle-in-law...

3) Phase 1 - Start your preparation section by section. Take the first ones "untimed," but allow yourself only one hour. Then, immediately review your answers and figure out which question types trouble you the most. Make sure you know not only why you got some answers wrong, but why you got the others right! Once you're comfortable, take practice sections while allowing yourself only 35 minutes. During this phase you should learn which sections are the easiest for you and which are the hardest. DON'T STRESS, YOU WILL IMPROVE!!

4) Phase 2 - Dig into the sections/question types that still give you the most problems. Figure out why they cause you problems, and then figure out how to overcome those problems. Start slowly so that you develop a sound strategy, practice that strategy, and then (and only then) work under timed conditions.

5) Phase 3 - Put it all together. Once you're comfortable with all 3 sections (Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension), start taking timed full-length practice tests.

6) Phase 4 - Home stretch. Build your endurance by taking 2 full-length practice tests per week leading up to the test, but make sure you don't burn out! You want to time your training so that when you take the actual LSAT, you're right at the peak of your ability. Don't forget to write plenty of practice essays! Enjoy them, as they allow you the most opportunity to get creative on the LSAT!

When I started studying, I was horrified by the Analytical Reasoning section. However, after 6 months of training, I actually ENJOY the "logic games" and wish that they comprised 1/2 of the test!! I have made so much improvement in this area; I took a practice test two days ago [#7(actual)165] and ACED the AR section (100% correct). Reading Comprehension is now my worst section, so that's what I'm focusing on during my home stretch. I was also miffed by comparative reasoning questions in the LR section when I started, but now I get them right nearly all the time.

I think the most important part of preparing for the LSAT is knowing your own abilities and doing everything you can to improve your weaknesses while also continuing to develop your strengths. For some people this may require hiring a private tutor, for others it may simply mean studying specific question types. Ultimately it's up to you to make the right choices; if you put in the time, this will happen. Not everyone will score a 180; however, scoring 180 does not guarantee happiness as an attorney!


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