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Messages - Jeffort

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41
My experience with the LSAT is that the first 30 hours or so of study are going to give you a significant boost.  Your next score bump comes after about 150 hours of study. 

The writers of the LSAT have stated that a person needs to study for 6 months to do well.

The good news is that you have plenty of time left.  The LSAT is so important that I would recommend that you take a live prep class.  I know it is a lot of money.  But, isn't getting into a tier 1 school worth that money?  I think the 160's are within reach for you, whether or not you take the live class.  The live classes tend to avg. +3-5 points.  I think it's because you will get an experienced coach who can watch what you are doing and help you to tweak it.   

Regardless, take a bunch more practice tests.  Good luck, and let us know what happens!

Obviously the OP needs to put in additional quality prep/study time to further improve his/her score, that is a given.

However, I take issue with your generalizations and the supposed statistics you claim to be true (especially the above bolded parts).

If you have reference sources that support your claims and stats I'd love to see where you got your info from, since I'm pretty sure none exist.  To my knowledge LSAC has never taken a position about how long it takes to adequately prepare for the test or made any specific 'how to' or 'how long' LSAT prep recommendations aside from the study guides and test question explanations included in their SuperPrep book.

How did you come up with the idea that live prep class students average 3-5 points improvement?  From my many years experience teaching classes and tutoring students I think your figure is low.  However, since outside of the internal stats prep companies keep about their students (which they don't make available to the public) there is no available large empirical data source of students first practice test score + final reported score, which makes your claimed statistic merely a guess. 

Please don't guess/make up generalizations or numbers and try to pass them off as facts/statistics to students. 

There is no "One size fits all" formula to successfully prepare for the LSAT and significantly improve ones score.   Skilled experienced LSAT teachers/tutors generally do not/will not make claims along the lines of:  X # of hours per day/week of study/prep, Y # of weeks/months of prep, or taking X# of timed practice tests should or will or are needed to achieve Z # of points improvement or whatever scaled score, since no such formula/metric exists.     



To the OP John1990:

You have plenty of time ahead of you before the June 2011 LSAT, so you should not be worrying about timing (finishing sections in 35 minutes) and taking timed practice tests now.  Instead you should spend your study time working and analyzing the questions in slow motion, reviewing the concepts and applicable strategies and techniques, reviewing the concepts, questions you missed, mistakes you made, areas/concepts/question types that are giving you more trouble than others, etc.

Simply doing the "churn and burn" routine of taking a bunch of timed sections/full tests does not do much to improve your understanding of the concepts tested and your resulting analytical/reasoning skills that you need to apply to the questions in order to answer more of them correctly.  You should spend a good portion of your study time reviewing everything and balance that in with practice/working problems time. 
 
Focus more on accuracy and understanding right now instead of simply trying to work on your timing.  Timing improves naturally with better understanding of how to analyze and go about approaching each question/section type (meaning improved skills = improved accuracy and less time needed to solve each question correctly). 

One thing you might want to try that would be a good way to help you identify weak areas/concepts/etc. you need to work on/review/improve is to take a a full test you haven't seen before untimed in one sitting with the goal of getting as many questions as you can correct (try to get a 180 untimed without cheating and also without time pressure). 

Just you and a fresh preptest for a day.  Work through each section without ever checking the answer key or looking at other prep materials until you have selected what you believe to be the credited answer choice for each question.  Doesn't matter if you spend up to an hour or more per section and take some breaks as long as you do it all in one sitting/day without looking at/using anything else to help do it other than your pencils, eraser and maybe scratch paper.  When you are done and have made a firm decision for every question, then score it.  You will probably be surprised at the result since most people incorrectly believe that they or anybody else can/will get a 180 when not faced with the time pressure.   

The questions you answer incorrectly when you do this will highlight your current reasoning errors, concept mis-understandings/weaknesses and lots more stuff that is helpful to know in order to guide further directed study aimed at shoring up your weak areas/vulnerabilities.

42
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Should I take the LSAT again?
« on: January 13, 2011, 11:02:16 AM »
Although law school admissions is primarily a numbers game, I think some of the comments in this thread are underestimating the influence and importance of soft factors.  Admission committees do pay close attention to and place significant weight on personal statements and LOR's, etc.

It's impossible to assign an across the board percentage to how much weight is placed on soft factors since it varies by school.  Some LS's are numbers whores, whereas other admission committees go with a much more holistic approach in making admit/reject decisions. 

Treat soft factors as insignificant/unimportant and submit a half-baked/low quality personal statement and LOR's  at your own peril! 

A crappy personal statement and/or weak LOR's can easily tank admission chances and cause rejection of an applicant that would otherwise be an auto-admit by the numbers alone.  I've heard of many instances of people with a high or near perfect GPA and high LSAT score getting rejected by schools they were at or above the 75% index numbers for.  Typically those people didn't take the PS and other application components seriously, didn't put in the effort, and submitted crap because they figured their numbers would cover for it and carry the day. 

As far as work experience is concerned, having worked in a law office or as a paralegal does not impress admission committees or even raise an eyebrow.  It does not give you any sort of edge over applicants that haven't worked in a law office/in the legal field.

PS:  please people, use the enter key to paragraph when making a long post, it makes it a lot easier to read.  ;)


43
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Bay Area Private LSAT Tutor Recommendation
« on: January 13, 2011, 09:59:30 AM »
I sent you a PM.  For anyone looking to hire a tutor, I'll repeat the advice I gave:

"I recommend answering a few tutor ads on Craigslist.  Any tutor confident in their ability to help you should at the least offer to chat on the phone with you, or some sort of moneyback guarantee after the first lesson if you don't find it useful.  Quality varies greatly between tutors, so I recommend talking to a few of them.  Ask about their teaching philosopy, or ask them to explain a question you found confusion, check what concepts they'll teach you.  At a bare minimum they should be able to teach you the skills I mentioned in the post above.  "   

Also, take a look at rates in your local area.  Most tutors will come down on price a bit if you can cite an alternative which charges less.  Score is important, but it's not the only thing.  They should be able to understand why you're NOT understanding, and explain things in a way which makes it "click" for you.

I 2nd this advice, especially the part about requesting a free trial session/consultation in order to screen potential tutors before making a commitment and handing over $$$.

Any good tutor should be willing and able to spend an hour or so on the phone with you to assess your situation and needs as well as to give you some free tutoring time to prove they know their stuff and can help you.  I always give a free no obligation hour or more consultation to students interested in hiring me as a tutor.   

44
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Score Release Details (a question)
« on: January 06, 2011, 11:15:18 AM »
If you have already received an LSAT score, I have a question for you:  On the release date, when are the scores released?  Are they available at 12:01 AM on the release date, or are they released after an e-mail is sent later in the day of the release date, or are they in the system at the close of business on the Friday before the release date, or...?

All of those things vary from test to test.  The constant is that scores have been released earlier than the LSAC stated score release deadline for every administration since Al Gore invented the internet.

Just hang loose and try not to obsess about it.  You will most likely get an email from LSAC with your score sometime before Monday the 10th;  late Friday - Saturday afternoon at the latest if there aren't any holds on your account.  The hour of the day you get the email and can access your records on release day is not predictable.

45
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Please Remember After Today's LSAT
« on: December 13, 2010, 12:36:53 PM »
Along the lines of the December LSAT, I don't complain about employees at their work, but there was a lot of cell phone rule breaking at my test site that wasn't enforced. Multiple people had cell phones and were only told to turn them off. One person's cell phone went off after the break during section 4 and it was only confiscated for the test. I thought bring a cell phone to the test site warranted automatic dismissal? I am not going to call and complain because I don't like to affect people's employments, but perhaps it should be stressed more firmly to the proctors that cell phones are STRICTLY prohibited.

That sucks, sorry you had to endure the distractions.

Maybe this will sound like an 'old guy' rant, but I just cannot understand why people think they cannot or actually cannot live and function without a cell phone/all in one mobile iDevice in their hands whenever they leave home, not even for half of a Saturday when they know ahead of time where they are going and about what time they will be done.   

It's really not that hard to arrange for a ride and pick-up in advance if you don't drive yourself to the test center.  Nothing earth-shattering requiring your immediate attention is going to pop up on facebook or twitter that cannot wait until late afternoon or evening for your comments. 
   
I think you should lodge a test center complaint with LSAC about the lax proctors not enforcing the electronic device prohibition.  From what I know LSAC is putting a lot of resources and effort into quality control of test sites and proctors, but they only know of problems that need to be addressed if somebody tells them since they are not at the test sites and the proctors are contracted/hired by the test center.


46
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preptest(s) help please
« on: December 09, 2010, 08:35:39 PM »
Hey Michelle,

Your logic about the question from preptest 61 and why the correct answer is correct is spot on perfect.   :)

But what's with the extreme sleep deprivation thing ??  Assuming you are taking the test this saturday, you better be getting some good rest tonight and tomorrow night in order to be in your best shape to tackle the test.


47
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preptest(s) help please
« on: December 01, 2010, 01:31:46 AM »
Thank you, Marcus Aurelius and Jeffort for the responses! I greatly appreciate the explanations. They are extremely helpful.

Jeffort, I selected answer B. Thank you for the explanations of the other incorrect answers though! Much appreciated.  ;D

Hmm, why did you go with (B) ? 

Did you get mixed up about the question type and/or just make a semi-random guess to keep moving after getting sucked into the problem for too long?  It's a pretty dense/difficult question.

Given that it is a 'what can you conclude from the information provided above' question with no evidence presented to support a conclusion about what will actually happen in the factories in the future, I'm curious about what went wrong that lead you to decide (B).  Just trying to help you figure out where you went wrong when you attempted it so you can hopefully not make the same mistake again.


48
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Preptest(s) help please
« on: November 30, 2010, 07:24:29 PM »

marcus-aurelius explanations were on point.

Preptest 16, St 2, #11 - sewing machines

The stimulus gives us info about the operation methods of two different types of existing apparel factories (traditional factories {AKA slave labor sweatshops} and automated factories) and then offers a conclusion that predicts what the automated factories are likely to do in the future.   

Even though it is a conclusion question (find the answer choice that states something than can be concluded from the information presented in the stimulus), unlike most must be true/what can be inferred/validly concluded/is supported by the info above questions, the stimulus presents an argument, not just a set of facts/information. 

Due to the question type you have to accept all the info presented as being true, even though part of it is a conclusion that is not logically valid based on the presented evidence.  Argument analysis, looking for flaws/assumptions is not appropriate for this question type even though the stimulus does present an argument with flawed reasoning. 

Since, as stated, both traditional factories and automated apparel factories have or will have procedures to regularly observe and monitor the performance of each needle in order to know when one is worn out and needs to be replaced,  you can reasonably conclude that the hours of use life span of sewing needles is not a reliable constant number.  Meaning that you cannot reliably predict how many hours of use a given needle of the same type will endure before it is worn out. 

It's similar to light bulbs, you buy a box of several of the same type and some of them burn out and need to be replaced after less hours of use than others from the same box.

Answer choice (D) states this. 

I'm going to bet that you went with trap answer choice (E).  If not then you likely went with (A)

Answer choice (E) is a very crafty trap answer with how the question is constructed.  If the question stem was changed to make it a Strengthen the argument question type, answer choice (E) would be the credited response since the stimulus is an argument and (E) clearly provides support for the conclusion. 

To ad insult to injury in terms of how (E) is an attractive trap answer based on the construction of the problem, the question stem uses the phrase 'most strongly supported'.  If you are not reading carefully and critically it is really easy to mistake the question stem as a strengthen the argument question instead of an inference/conclusion question type.



49
General Off-Topic Board / Re: MAS: Welcomes Our New Socialist Overlord
« on: November 14, 2010, 10:37:32 AM »
Wally here.

I thought that it would be nice to check in as a 3L.  Not knowing what else to say, I thought I would share two observations:

1) As utterly ridiculous as my neuroticism was (and I am embarrassed by it, in retrospect), it may have been warranted.  How ironic: every last anxiety-ridden bit of it has become something of conventional wisdom.  T6 still not a good idea at sticker?  Check.  Studying for daylight?  Check.  Not counting on any BigLaw position?  Ditto.

2) Ideally, life is long and full of surprises.  As cliche as it sounds, I hope that the last two years have made all of us more open-minded about what qualifies as our future.  When I was a few years younger, I was always stressed because I tried to will certain predetermined outcomes.  I would map out my future and then panic if anything went awry.  These days, I just focus on living.  Eating.  Enjoying whatever it is I do.  Miss one job, I hope I find another.  Not this girl, I hit on another.  "One doctor, one ecstasy, one illness, one woman, one man / May hide another.  Pause to let the first one pass . . . It can be important / To have waited at least a moment to see what was already there."


Because wally should always be quoted for posterity.

That was beautiful.

Yes, yes it was.  I was moved by it.

I remember the days when he was a 0L prepping for the LSAT and blowing up the LSAT boards with questions and other stuff.  It has always been lots of fun interacting with him.

Wally, please put us in your memoirs!

50
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Old tests
« on: November 13, 2010, 01:54:16 AM »
Hey...

For some reason, near me, there's a little street shop that sells copies of every LSAT test and their answer keys. It even has the one from October 2010. Is it illegal to share or post these online? I'm assuming it is, but I figure they'd be helpful to a lot of people when studying for the tests..

Do they reuse the same questions a lot?

LSAC does not reuse questions from previously administered LSAT tests that have been disclosed.  Similar concepts and constructions are repeated though since it is a standardized test.

Since the little shop is already selling copies of the October test, they are probably breaking the law by pirating the tests, printing copies of them and not paying LSAC the required licensing fees to reproduce them, but you would have to ask them about what they are up to.  People that have ordered a licensed copy of the October test from LSAC (cost = $8 plus shipping) have not yet received a copy since it takes time to print them with the nice book cover and fulfill orders.

If the shop is selling individual  copies of recent tests for less than $8 each and/or is selling them in electronic form they are certainly violating copyright law by not paying licensing fees to LSAC to do so.

Individually sold recent tests should have a nice thick color cover that looks like:




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