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Messages - Jeffort

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Writing the October 2010 lsat
« on: September 12, 2010, 03:11:02 PM »
Is there actually some sort of consensus on whether the October, December, and February tests are harder/ easier than one another?

As a general rule most people will agree that whatever date they they took the test will be the hardest ever... :)

I believe this has become known as Ferns Law!   :D

On a more serious note. From what I have been able to deduce, they really do seem to make a strong effort to ensure that the standardized test really is pretty close to standard. Good luck with preparation and test.

Which administration/test form you take doesn't effect your score.  How well you are prepared and your skill level when you take it DOES effect your score. 

It's kinda simple like that with standardized tests since they are designed to accurately rate/measure your skill/proficiency level at the time you take it regardless of the calendar month of the administration you sit for.

Whether you take the LSAT in February, June, October or December, to get a 170 you have to have 170 skills and perform at that skill level, to get a 160, have 160 skills and perform at that level, etc.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Must purchase books ?
« on: September 03, 2010, 11:56:02 PM »
So I have finished my shopping at amazon

PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible (quite helpful)
PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Bible (useful too)

Any other good books to purchase ?

Thanks !

All or as many of the previously administered LSAT's you can afford, especially including the recent ones from the last several years if you haven't already.

Powerscore has an RC bible too, plus I like the LSAC produced LSAT SuperPrep book.  The explanations for the 3 included tests are excellent.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: prep test 13 section 4 #1
« on: September 03, 2010, 11:46:19 PM »
Either your answer key is wrong or you read it wrong, the credited answer choice is (A) like you thought it should be.
(some self study books with full tests in them have errors in the answer keys, most notably those from a big company with a name that starts with Ka...)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Is one and half month prep realistic?
« on: September 01, 2010, 12:07:28 AM »
Unfortunately there is no one size fits all formula in terms of how much study time is necessary to be able to hit your maximum potential score.  The LSAT isn't a test you can reliably say X# of hours per week over Y# of weeks will equal Z# of point increase. 

Your mileage may vary.  Some people prep for it for 3 months, some for 6+ months etc. to get their performance up to a score they are happy with. 

Have you taken a timed practice test yet to get your starting off pre-prep/just started prepping baseline score?  Have you researched and figured out what score range you need with your UG GPA to be a competitive applicant to the Law Schools you are interested in attending?

It all depends on what your goal score is and where you start off.  If you are looking to break 170 and scored something in the 140's or below on your first timed practice test(s), expecting to break 170 with under 6 weeks of prep is a long shot. 

What is your target score and what are your target schools?  Not everyone needs or wants a 170+ to be satisfied and to get into a LS they will be happy with.  If you're talking about going from say mid to low 150's to 160+ or something like that in 5-6 weeks, that is reasonable and do-able with good dedicated prep.  If you are going for a 20+ point gain in 5-6 weeks, that is unrealistic.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT Freedom
« on: August 28, 2010, 09:21:54 PM »
I have no clue what you are talking about other than if want to be free of spending time dealing with and prepping for the LSAT you would have to decide not to pursue admission to Law School.  Nothing wrong with that if you have decided it is not for you and picked something else instead. 

But seriously, what are you talking about if you are a real person rather than a spam-bot?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Improving On Difficult LR Questions
« on: August 27, 2010, 02:27:32 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.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 26, 2010, 03:27:50 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

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Improving On Difficult LR Questions
« on: August 25, 2010, 08:17:43 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.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 24, 2010, 07:26:08 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.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT35-S3-Game4 (Oct, 2001)
« on: August 19, 2010, 09:04:38 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.

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