Law School Discussion

Real Thing vs. Practice

mrserious67502

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Real Thing vs. Practice
« on: April 11, 2004, 09:03:27 AM »
I have taken several practice tests and have been very conscious of timing myself on each section and stopping at 35 minutes.  I complete the 2 LR sections, 1 RC and 1 AR.  Yet on the test day I know that there will also be the writing portion and another experimental section.  That is 70 minutes more than I am currently practicing when I take my practice tests. Did any of you who have taken the LSAT go about adding sections to your practice tests to simulate this.  I don't usually take the writing portion because there isn't anyone to grade it. Anyone have any thoughts?

Also, best of luck to all who are studying.

Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2004, 09:08:23 AM »
Good question.  I can't say that I have ever read any thoughts on that subject.  The only thing I have seen is the suggestion to spend no more than a couple of hours "studying" on how to complete the writing sample.  I plan on throwing in the WS to complete on my last 5 or so practices before the real test in June.  I know its not an important piece but I am approaching it defensively.  I don't want to stand out like a sore thumb because of a foolish response.  I just do well enough to blend in with everyone else!

Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2004, 10:04:35 AM »
It will be a good idea to practice a few of the writing exercises.  The books I had purchased noted that this was not very important, and to focus on the parts of the test that actually affect your score as the writing sample is negligible. 

I agree with this.  But, after being at the testing center for 7 hours, with 3.5+ hours on the test, and perhaps low blood sugar, my writing example was not organized and not very cohesive.  I just rambled off, without providing much structure, etc.  Leaving I felt bad about this, and in fact threw away the yellow copy of the writing sample you get to take with you.

Well, I was accepted at a few good schools in which my numbers were questionable.  I don't think they pay much attention to this statement, especially since it is written after a grueling test.

And for studying for the lsat, I was consistently scoring 160-161 on the previously administered LSATs in my practice.  I scored only a 155 on the actual test.  My problem, I think, is that I was not prepared for the duration of the test, and performing at a certain level throughout that period.  In my studying, I did one section at a time, and that was it.  Most times I did the section under a time constraint.

So, I think it is important to do a complete test once a week, and maybe have a friend (if they are willing) to proctor you.  I think my score would have improved if I had not broken the test so much into pieces, because when test day came, I was facing 5 sections in a row...

That's my opinion :D

midnight oil

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Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2004, 10:17:46 AM »
You raise a good point I have been curious about.  I imagine the impact of the cumulative time taking the actual LSAT must be grueling.  Does this wear you down during the test and affect your performance significantly?  By the way, how much time do they take between sections on the real test?  Do they get right into it...or take a minute to allow everybody to reset?

zpops

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Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2004, 11:58:52 AM »
You need to practice the test with a 5th section.  I advise photocopying all the pages from one test, and a whole section from another test, then shuffling the sections around, so you don't know which is experimental.  The writing sample is a joke though, so don't worry about it. 

Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2004, 01:02:30 PM »
zpops, I see why you got a 175. You know your stuff. That is a great suggestion about photocopying a fifth section.

MindTheGap76

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Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2004, 01:02:35 PM »
I would recommend looking into practice LSATs administered by the various test-prep companies.  Where I live (Austin, TX), every couple of weeks either Kaplan or Princeton Review will put on a free, proctored LSAT at 9 in the morning.  It's great because you get a real test atmosphere, and they do have a full 5 sections.  I get a lot of the information about when they are doing these tests from my pre-law fraternity, but I imagine if you have a test-prep office nearby, you could stop in one day and pick up a schedule.  Hope that helps.

zpops

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Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2004, 02:21:34 PM »
zpops, I see why you got a 175. You know your stuff. That is a great suggestion about photocopying a fifth section.

Thanks.  I actually never photocopied anything, but I always thought it would be great.  That's why it's important to remember the #1 rule about LSAT prep:  You will never do as much as you plan on.

mrserious67502

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Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2004, 09:25:03 PM »
Thanks for all of the suggestions!

nathanielmark

Re: Real Thing vs. Practice
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2004, 07:21:52 AM »
I actually think there are 2 factors that come into play with the long test. 

Yes, by the fifth section you will probably start to feel worn down, but provided you are not severely sleep deprived and have had a good meal with a small snack during the break, you should be able to get thru maintaining near maximum focus.  You may lose a question or 2 from the fatigue, but should not lose more than that.

conversely, you may find that section 2 3 and possibly even 4 you can perform at a higher level.  i usually get into a testing groove during long tests, where my concentration and rythym picks up as i go. 

obviously everyone is different, but this is how it has been for me.

i did take the LSAT over 5 years ago also + 3 monitored Kaplan LSATs, so i am not just blowing hot air here.

But yes, it would probably be ill-advised to take the test without having taken at least 4 back to back sections several times as the test approaches.