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Author Topic: Same old 165 story: need advice!  (Read 887 times)

hannahandmartin

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Same old 165 story: need advice!
« on: July 17, 2008, 01:08:52 PM »
Hi guys, I'm a long-time lurker, but I know finally feel like I need some me-specific advice (the egoism of frustration).

Like a lot of you, I took the test in June. Brief background story:

I've been planning on law school since forever, and so my GPA (3.94) has been on par with my expectations of T14 early on. I enrolled in a Kaplan "advanced" course after an initial cold score of 161 in February. By the end of March I was in my course, steadily progressing in timed and proctored practice exams from a plateau at 164 to consistent 168-170 scores by the beginning of May and continuing on through the exam date (with one trough at 165 on a particular badly timed practice session). I can't say I did very much outside of the course until the month before the test; during those weeks my practice wasn't that intense either. I would study and/or test about 4 days a week for about 3-4 hours at a time. One thing I did was to jog moderately before exams to bring the adrenaline, and therefore frustration levels, down before testing. This helped immensely.

On test day, I did the same thing and stuck to my routine, but panic (or idiocy) got the best of me anyway and I scored a 165 on the test, going up only 4 points from my cold score and successfully locking myself out of my top choice institution, the university of chicago. Needless to say after logging in and seeing this score I immediately registered for October.

Now I am out of the country with 15 preptests, taking them when I can in a timed environment and my scores are even lower, 163-164 an exam due to frustration and possibly just LSAT overload. I desperately need advice on how to make independent studying effective for the second round either from people who have done or who are in the same boat as I am. I've definitely toned down my expectations in terms of applications, knowing that a second much higher score is unlikely, but I would feel bad not giving a second try a shot. Any advice is appreciated.

Bernie

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2008, 02:32:32 PM »
First off, there's no reason to sell yourself short.  It'd be silly to lower your expectations now when you've worked so hard for this for so long.  So University of Chicago, here you come.

You're going to get a score in the 170s in October, and here's how you're going to do it:

First, you're going to completely master the material on the LSAT.  Most people in your situation right now think to themselves "But Bernie, I have mastered the content.  I understand the techniques.  I answer most of the question correctly, I just make a few silly mistakes."

Nope, you haven't mastered the content of this test.  You haven't even come close.  How do I know?  Because I haven't mastered everything on the LSAT, and I'm an expert.  The greatest wisdom in life is understanding how little you understand.

Let me define mastery:  You need to be able to not just find the correct answer, but have a reliably reproducable method for finding that answer each time.  You need to be able to confidently eliminate each wrong answer (often tougher than finding the correct one!).  You need to study untimed until you begin to spot the patterns in the wrong answers.  You need to study untimed until you get EVERY SINGLE question correct.  You need to study as if you were going to have to teach these LSAT questions to a group of junior high students.  You need to understand it that well.

You're going to study a MINIMUM of 3-4 hours a day.  Let's put top 10 in perspective:  Just over 2400 people will enter a top 10 law school each year.  Over 2600 people will play professional in the NHL, NFL, or NBA this year.  Did you ever have a kid tell you that they aspired to the NBA?  That's like you saying you aspire to U Chicago.

What would you say to that kid:  you'd better be ready to practice every single hour of every single day that you're not occupied doing something else.  If you're not willing to sacrifice a VERY large part of your life to study, then you don't want it badly enough.  Let someone else have your spot at a top 10 law school and go do something else with your life.  No more of this sliding on the studying like you did the first time.

You're going to leave 3 tests untouched for the very end for a timed run.  You'll need them for the two weeks before the test.  Until then, focus on STUDYING not on your SCORE.  Your score isn't good?  Fix it by studying your butt off, not by taking another test to make yourself feel better.  Study STUDY STUDY.



And enjoy getting that hard-earned 176 in October.  And enjoy U Chicago.  And when you buy a cute convertible with your first job's signing bonus, I'd love a ride.

flip side

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008, 02:33:28 PM »
i am in a similar situation, except for the foreign country part.  i took the oct. 07 lsat & knew i didn't score as well as i could have (163).  i also enrolled in kaplan advanced, & my score ended up going down.  i think many of kaplan's techniques are not very intuitive, for me anyway, so your concentration ends up going to the "kaplan method" instead of actually answering the question.  i didn't feel ready to take the june lsat so rescheduled in oct.

re: retaking, this is what i think-

1) bernie wrote a really good post with some tips for studying for a retake. 

2) i say throw the kaplan method out the window & try to use non-kaplan material to teach yourself the 3 sections.  the lg bible is not bad (at least is is good practice), and the lr bible is a huge help.  i'm also using nova for rc.  some people have said concentrate on one section at a time, in terms of in depth practicing/learing, and that's what i'm doing.  the kaplan mastery book is not bad either, as long as you disregard any tips they have & just use the questions.

3) i'm ordering any tests i haven't already taken.  for the ones i have taken, i'm retaking them all.  the score may be a little inflated, but it's not like you actually remember every single question from the first time you took the prep tests.  so, it's good practice for making sure you have the material down.  i'm doing at least 2 tests/week, & will probably also use the kaplan endurance tests.  eventually i'll do the kaplan pacing book too to help with timing.  even though kap prep is terrible, at least the materials are usable.

that's my 2 cents...

PaleForce

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2008, 04:00:40 PM »
Bernie thanks so much for your post, I'm sure it'll help a lot of us!

Few questions for you:
1- How many untimed tests do you recommend?
2- Is three timed tests enough, or is this the minimum?
3- What do you think of my study plan?

   -I've got the LR & games bibles and am working through them over the next few weeks,
    alternating chapters to avoid burn-out on a specific area.  I've also heard they
    work different parts of your brain, and it's more efficient to switch between the 
    two.

   -I'm then going to chop-up about half of my tests (I've got about 40), and put them 
    into separate binders by section type so I've got one binder of just games, one of 
    just LR, and one of just RC.  Then, I'll do these all timed, marking how far I get 
    within the time limit, but continuing on and marking how much time total it took to
    do that section.  I'll do a complete breakdown of each section, working on the
    questions until I can get every question right- or at least understand why it is I
    got it/keep getting it wrong.  My thought is that this will make it easier for me
    to stay on a schedule, since I wouldn't have to worry about making sure I have
    enough time to do the whole test every time I want to study, and taking the tests
    in smaller increments lets me know very quickly what I'm still struggling with.

   -Once I've worked through all of these and have gotten my accuracy down, I figure
    I'll do the other 20 tests all under strict test conditions to help with pacing
    (which, is really just a problem for me in the LG section).  Of course, I'll do a
    breakdown on these, as well.

   What's the verdict?

Thanks :)

nike6075

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2008, 04:03:41 PM »
Maybe you just aren't meant to do any better.  Sometimes you just have to accept the hand you're dealt.
dont worry guys, i had lotsof drinks, and now i feel better. hth.

FatUncle

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2008, 04:05:01 PM »


You're going to study a MINIMUM of 3-4 hours a day.  Let's put top 10 in perspective:  Just over 2400 people will enter a top 10 law school each year.  Over 2600 people will play professional in the NHL, NFL, or NBA this year.  Did you ever have a kid tell you that they aspired to the NBA?  That's like you saying you aspire to U Chicago.


Sounds like a great set-up for a 'flaw in the reasoning' question.

hannahandmartin

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2008, 04:12:48 PM »
Bernie; thank you very much. I read your other post and of course I will blame you if everything goes wrong. As to accepting that I won't score any higher, this is a very good point, but I would feel derelict in my duty as a student and a person if I just let it go.

MauveAvenger

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2008, 04:15:55 PM »
yeah i would also probably throw out the kaplan stuff. they're in it to make sure you go up 1 point, so they drill in their "kaplan" method at the expense of everything else. find what works for you!

hannahandmartin

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Re: Same old 165 story: need advice!
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2008, 04:45:44 PM »
Maybe you just aren't meant to do any better.  Sometimes you just have to accept the hand you're dealt.
Ever heard of playing the cards you are dealt? Ever watched poker after dark on TV? 

Many, many times. My favorite is always Helmuth, which says a lot about why I am obnoxiously not letting it go.