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Messages - Jeffort

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71
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Improving On Difficult LR Questions
« on: August 27, 2010, 12:27:32 PM »
hey Jeffort, thanks for the reply.

I've taken about 10-15 prep tests now, fully timed, 4 sections, 35 each, break between 3rd-4th section (10 minutes), and filling in the answer sheet included. Also no scratch paper. The prep tests I've taken are select ones from 7-20 (roughly 10) and then 5 from 20-30. I don't want to burn out prep tests (plannin on October 2010 official) so I want to focus in on my errors a little closer before jumpin back in and taking preps again.

I go back and review my tests, by marking the questions I get wrong (but not marking the right answer), then I review these questions and try to figure out the right answer, 2 hours or so after initially taking the test. In my review time, I usually correct 90% of my errors and score in the 175-180 range. The key however is to get those correct the first time through! lol

Often my errors are located in the advanced assumption, logical flaw, and parallel reasoning questions. I usually get down to 2 contenders (powerscore) and choose the wrong one. Then when I come back and review, it's usually the other answer that's correct.

My biggest issue is untangling those last 2 contenders, and SOLIDLY knowing with full confidence that the answer I'm choosing is correct. Usually I choose one or the other because i feel it "could be the most correct" and go with it.

Should I suspend my prep tests, go back and focus on those question types, and then do something like a Kaplan mastery book and hammer away at them? Or should I slow down, do a completely untimed prep test, and really spend as much time as needed to feel 100% correct about answers before moving on?

Also sufficient necessary diagramming I believe I'm good with, however sometimes I'll just plain diagram something wrong, when it's a more difficult question. I feel like the wording throws me off.

Ok, sounds like you have thought about and analyzed your current performance pretty well. 

Yes, relax on the churning through a bunch more preptests right away idea.  That doesn't meant totally stop, but ease it up and use that time instead to focus more on slow motion detailed study/review/analysis of the types you are consistently missing the most of as well as figuring out even more specifically what your performance errors are.  Continuing to just do the taking lots of practice tests 'churn and burn' routine without focusing on and fixing your errors is not likely to home in on and fix your current weaknesses without detailed post-test review.

Since you mentioned Powercore I'm going to assume that you got and studied from their bibles.  If so, re-read/review the chapters on the question types you mentioned.

By advanced assumption questions do you mean necessary assumption ones (The argument depends on the assumption that...) or sufficient assumption/justify the conclusion questions?  They both are referred to as assumption questions (depending on whos terminology you use) but the two types are drastically different in many ways and typically give students trouble.  Some of the hardest LR questions on each test that help separate the 160's from the 170's are the assumption questions. 

You also mentioned flawed method of reasoning and parallel reasoning questions, which like assumption questions test you on recognition of various reasoning patterns including differentiating flawed from sound reasoning.  Based on that I would suggest that you go through a bunch of the hard questions that you missed and really dissect the argument structure and identify the method of reasoning (whether flawed or sound) used.  Take the time to break each argument into its pieces and carefully analyze the pattern of reasoning used to go from each of the pieces to the conclusion.  Try to come up with your own descriptions of the reasoning patterns and why each one is flawed or why not. 

Once you do that with a bunch of problems you should notice the pattern of repetition of the same set of common methods/flawed methods of reasoning that are staple on the LSAT.  Once you are clear on them you are better able to spot each one a mile away and the harder questions based on them become much easier.

The staple list of super commonly repeated patterns of reasoning that appear in some form over and over on pretty much every LSAT is not super huge.

72
Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 26, 2010, 01:27:50 PM »
well, i think the "common sense" eventually convinces me, unflawed, it is uncommon for a professor to be hired twice or so in the same univer..  I just never thought common sense can be tested in the game section as well.  maybe such kind tough question only appears in the last of the four games. 

i also googled brain fart.  hope my brain won't have a major brain f..t  when i take the test!

Yeah, the LG section does occasionally test reading comprehension and common sense thinking to some degree here and there.  Typically, even if stuff is phrased in wordy or awkward ways or whatever in a game, the parameters are still presented to leave no reasonable ambiguity about the elements and constraints.  I'm surprised they didn't include the phrase 'was hired in exactly one of the years...' like they typically do in order to avoid leaving any arguable possible ambiguity about whether you can re-use the professor variables. 

If and when you ever have confusion about a rule or major parameter of a game, evaluate which of the two interpretations works with the game and questions.  If one interpretation leads to multiple questions appearing to have no correct answer or multiple correct answers then it is clearly incompatible with the game and you go with the other interpretation since every question clearly has one correct and four clearly incorrect answer choices.  Like what Earlcat pointed out about question #22 having 5 correct answer choices if you can repeat professors. 

lol that you googled brain fart!   :D

73
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Improving On Difficult LR Questions
« on: August 25, 2010, 06:17:43 PM »
Hey Guys:

Retaking the LSAT in october. I bought the Cambridge difficult questions packet, and I've taken 10 preptests so far (7-19, mixed) averaging around a 162. I know the more difficult LR questions are my problem, so I'm wondering if anyone has any hints/tips to rip through it? The smaller simpler arguments are obviously easier but once the wording gets a bit more complex I'm not sure if I get sidetracked and misled or just confused. Are there certain words I should be aware of to indicate what I need to know? I know the typical indicator words for most premises and conclusions, but should I focus on memorizing them? Also are there any additional words that are used more often on the more difficult questions?

I've gone through 60 questions in the difficult questions packet, and have scored 29/60. I feel like if I can fix this, I can easily make 170+.

I also picked up the Copi - Introduction to Logic book today to help shed extra light.

Thanks in advance.

Given that you are scoring in a very respectable range (assuming your ~162 scores are from taking fresh PT's honestly, hence timed, no breaks, no scratch paper etc.), increasing your accuracy on the more difficult problems is clearly what you need to focus on, especially since you are losing many points on those LR problems and probably getting most of the easier ones correct. 

However, at your ability level it is not as simple as memorizing lists of keywords (that you probably already know), it's about fine tuning your critical reasoning and analysis skills, identifying your specific weak areas and commonly repeated mistakes, etc. so you can focus on and improve upon them. 

Learning and getting good at making use of familiarity with common argument structure indicator words, quantifiers, sufficient and necessary condition indicators, etc. is typically a prerequisite to be able to get into the 160's range.  Past that it is about reading more carefully and critically (careless reading/skimming errors will rob your score blind!), being fluent with the commonly repeated patterns of reasoning and flawed methods of reasoning, being able to spot assumptions, making sure you understand and are properly applying sound techniques and strategies, etc.

Are there particular LR question types that you are missing more than others?  Is it suff/necc based ones?  Cause and effect ones? etc.

If you haven't been doing this already, do a thorough slow motion review of each timed preptest you take right after doing it and make sure to identify why you got each problem wrong that you missed.  Make a list of your mistakes/reasons practice test after practice test, condense the lists to see where and why you are making most of your errors and address them from there.  It is never as simple as 'it was just a hard question', there are always more specific reasons. 

It could partially come down to a timing/time management thing.  With the long wordy stimulus questions if you tend to rush through them or don't double check details when debating two tempting answer choices you could be throwing points away that way. 

Various other things regarding some of the simple mechanics of your approach/strategy that can easily be fixed could also be costing you points.  Figure out your specific mistakes and hopefully I and others can help you fix them.


74
Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 24, 2010, 05:26:08 PM »
Jeff something you need a break.  maybe you are so overwhelmed by LSAT and your life, but it's not necessary to be so personal in this forum, right? don't try to lose your control.

-------------------------------------
anyway, i still don't get why each professor can be hired once.  because R can be hired in 93, 94, and 95 without violating the rules.  if it is given in the game something like "each professor can only be hired in one year", then i could understand. but it doesn't?

I wasn't getting personal, sorry if you misinterpreted it that way.  Everyone occasionally has brain farts (especially while draining their brain studying for the LSAT), I didn't mean it as an insult. 

Each professor was hired in a particular year and common sense dictates that (s)he then became an employee.  Yeah, one could wonder about the possibilities of after being hired, parting ways for a while and then getting re-hired later, but this is not the logical reasoning section that involves having to deal with assumptions in arguments and such.  I think the two variable sets you are given to distribute amongst each other were defined clearly.  7 professors, 7 different years, no professor repeats.

I suspect that your confusion about the variable set use constraints is because you don't have to fill each of the years and can have 2 professors hired in the same year, leaving an unfilled year slot you think you need to fill in with something when you make the correct deductions creating your set-up.
 

75
Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 19, 2010, 07:04:38 PM »
In Game 4, why R can only be placed in 1991?  I think R can still be in 93, 94, or 95 since it does not violate the rules. Or maybe I just interpret it wrong about Rule #1, which states "Robinson in 1991", which means R can only be in 1991 but other years?  Appreciate your help!

Matt's previous response is much more forgiving and generous in the giving the benefit of the doubt to a ridiculous question category than I will muster since I think the thread question is bogus.

We don't even have to extrapolate beyond the literal text of the rule (that you included in your post) to answer your question.  R was hired in 1991, where lies the confusion?  Major brain fart when reading it the first time and before posting your question or something? 

Sorry to sound condescending but the question is a non question unless you are going for a Bill Clinton and trying to get people to debate what the meaning of 'is' is.

76
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Quick question.
« on: August 19, 2010, 06:44:58 PM »
  for the most part except for starting serious LSAT prep during your 2nd year of UG.  You can and should wait until bare minimum 3rd year to start going hard core with dedicated LSAT prep and practice. 

Getting familiar with the general parameters and content of the test, researching the ins and outs of Law Schools and the requirements for admission leisurely before 3rd year is fine while exploring post grad options.  However, it is not something to dive head on with at the cost of time for current studies at that point.  Wait until at least 3rd year when you largely have your GPA locked in and have been exposed to/explored various post-grad options before making the LSAT and LS admission your #1 priority and/or a major time dedication.

If I had suddenly jumped into dedicating myself to a many month study routine prepping to take the admission tests required for each of the various types of graduate programs I seriously contemplated during my 2nd year of UG I would have ended up spending all my time trying to prep for and take the LSAT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT and a few others all at the same time leaving me with no time for my UG classes and life. 

77
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Is it too soon for me to study for the LSAT?
« on: August 19, 2010, 04:56:32 PM »
Well, I don't agree with the never to soon sentiment when it comes to getting obsessed with prepping for the test right before or early into UG studies. 

Proceeding with it all one degree at a time, especially when transitioning from HS to UG seems pretty rational to me.  That UG GPA is a giant and the 2nd most influential factor for Law School admission. 

Of course that GPA takes 4+ years of steady work and dedication to keep up with many many graded tests and things along the way that cannot be undone later.  Unlike the LSAT you don't get second chances with your UG classes and GPA.  Once grades are on your transcript you are stuck with them. 

When just starting UG I think it would be prudent to focus a lot more of the next several years on getting and keeping that GPA high so that no matter how well you can and do score on the LSAT later you don't end up being a 'splitter' {low GPA high LSAT} having to compensate/make excuses for it later in your LS apps to convince some adcoms to let you in even though you didn't excel in your years of UG education.

There are no 'do-overs' to change your UG GPA unlike with the LSAT where you can cancel a bad day or take it again and expect the LS's to focus on your higher score like most LS's now do. 

It certainly doesn't take 4+ years of hard work and study to adequately prep for the LSAT in a way that ensures you achieve your maximum potential score.  Even if when you start prepping for the LSAT you flake out or 'F it up for some reason you still have more bites at the apple to try to lock in a great score. 

One screw up (or even more) on an administered LSAT does not tank your LS acceptance chances since you can take it again and expect most schools to look at and weigh more heavily a more recent higher score IN REPLACEMENT of a previous lower score. (of course it is much better to hit a great score the first time and not have to take it again)

In golf it is called a mulligan.  The LSAT and LS's (maybe cuz they are lawyers that have the time and $$ to golf for fun) understand and are willing to give mulligans on the LSAT but they are not with your UG GPA.  Even if with a mediocre UG GPA you go on to get a near perfect GPA in a masters or some other graduate degree program LS's DO NOT and will NOT substitute it for your UG GPA when applying their admissions index numbers scheme to your application when deciding to admit you or not.

As I said before, DO GOOD in UG, keep that GPA high, have fun, explore life and then get serious about setting aside a number of months for dedicated LSAT prep at the end of your UG years (or even later if you decide to take time off to travel the world, find yourself, start a band and try to get famous on youtube or something else in between).

As a side note:  It would be pretty funny to read an addendum to a LS app intended to explain away a sub-par GPA by telling them something like 'I didn't achieve grades that reflect my potential in UG because I was pre-occupied focusing my time studying to take the LSAT.'   :D


78
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Is it too soon for me to study for the LSAT?
« on: August 07, 2010, 04:20:34 PM »
I don't believe the OP and suspect it could be pickle or somebody similar attempting a flame thread. 

When I started UG I didn't have a clue about LS, graduate schools, etc., that type of stuff was galaxies away from my thinking and what I had learned about at the time.  I pretty much knew that high school was over, I was of age to get arrested and that I was supposed to start trying to do something productive in life by exploring a few directions and trying to pick one to go with. 

The odds of somebody that hasn't even started UG yet wanting to start prepping for the admission exam for a following 3 year program after the 4+ one that has not even begun are pretty darn low.

If this is real OP:  chill for a few years on the LSAT prep idea, enjoy UG, figure out what subjects you like/dislike, keep that GPA up, go out on dates, HAVE FUN while you can!

79
First of all, thank you so much for all the quality advice on here.
I hope to one day give back to this forum by sharing my experiences/knowledge of LSAT once I'm done and hopefully have mastered this beast.

I seeking some help for pt20 section 1 #17. I got the question correct but am a bit stumped by the sentences in choices (A) and (C).

In (A), the first sentence gives the conditional: 
        a business treats customers discourteously -> customers shop elsewhere

But does the next sentence that "Shopwell wants to keep all of its customers so they will never treat cusotmers discourteously" fit the conditional statement from the first sentence?

My thinking was that a conditional statement is on two concrete events and since 'wanting to' or 'will not be' doing something is a matter of intent and prediction respectively, that the sentences after the first can not be turned into conditional statement.
I also thought the same for (C) which again established a conditional in the first sentence but then uses different wording 'should' in the following sentences.
Can tell me if my thinking is correct? Or am I over-analyzing and are conditional statements more loose in terms of categorizing than I thought?

I think I get your question, correct me if I'm wrong. 

RE: Answer choice (A), second sentence, you are asking whether or not that can be translated into a conditional statement? and also asking how and if it fits with the conditional in the first sentence.  Is that correct?

The first sentence presents the conditional relationship between the two elements.  treat discourteously ---> DON'T keep customers

The second sentence tells you a fact and applies it to the general principle/conditional statement to form a conclusion about the factual truth of the other element.   

The conditional relationship between the fact established '...wants to keep all of its customers...' and the conclusion drawn, 'never treat discourteously' 
WANTS to keep customers ---> NOT treat discourteously
represents the METHOD OF REASONING the argument employs/path it takes to draw its conclusion from the combination of the fact and the conditional statement/general principle premise.

You shouldn't try to link the two sets together, instead you compare them to see if the application of facts to principle is logical or not and similar to the reasoning structure in the stimulus. 

Confusing your diagrams of premises with ones of the reasoning structure used to reach the conclusion can really mess things up. 

80
Acing the LSAT is more due to natural ability and work placed into it than just hard work. If you don't have the ability it will show. I have been scoring 180 every practice test so far and all the questions seem more elementary. When I do take the LSAT this fall I will score a 180 more than likely.

Anyone taking wagers on this?

I wouldn't even know how to calculate the odds of this being true about our board resident pickle.   

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