Law School Discussion

Careless Mistake Avoidance Advice (Oct. Test)

Careless Mistake Avoidance Advice (Oct. Test)
« on: September 29, 2008, 07:51:00 AM »
I'm in a bit of a bind. The last few times I've taken the test, I do significantly worse than what I would like to be doing/what I know I am capable of. When I check my answers, I have about 10-13 careless mistakes, and 7-8 actual mistakes (including skipping a logic game because of time and guessing (all d's or e's as lg bible suggests)). I do things like forgetting random conditions on LGs and answering questions too quickly on RC and missing a qualifier in LRs. Sometimes I even bubble in the wrong answer after I circled the right one on the page. There are maybe 5 questions I don't understand per test, and 3-4 I just get wrong.

I know the obvious solution here would be to slow down, but I'm not really left with that much extra time, maybe a min or two on each section thats not LG. I have been able to get where I wanted on each section in individual tests, but can never seem to not mess up every section on a single test. Does anyone have any advice on how to stop these mistakes (besides slowing down and relaxing, although techniques for that would be helpful as well)? I'm taking the October test and want to make sure I don't mess it up for this reason.

Re: Careless Mistake Avoidance Advice (Oct. Test)
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2008, 08:41:22 AM »
About a month ago I was in your exact situation.  I thought the whole "slow down to speed up" advice was cliche and wouldn't work if I was already running out of time.  So I tried it, and it did help.  I drastically reduced the number of questions I missed for carelessness (ie. I was going to fast and didn't bother to read all of the answers.)  It actually slows you down if you try to go to fast because you end up having to go back and read through the question again two or three times.

Take it or leave it, but here's my advice.  First, read each question thoroughly, don't speed read, as you might miss something.  Think about what you're reading and what the question is asking.  A lot of the time, you'll be able to guess the answer.  Second, remember that there is a right answer.  A lot of my mistakes were because I thought I had found a "good" answer, and didn't bother to find the right one.  I think doing that also significantly dropped the number of carelessness mistakes I made. 

You probably don't want to hear about changing you mindset, but that helps as well.  Being confident in such a way that you know that you can find the right answer helps a lot.  It's not "I know I'm going to ace this" but that "I know I'm good enough to find the right answer." 

Anyway, back to your problem, it really does sound like you need to not worry so much about how long you're taking.  Don't worry so much about how long it takes to read the questions, and when you have found the right answer don't dwell on it for a long time.  Hope some of that helped.

Re: Careless Mistake Avoidance Advice (Oct. Test)
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2008, 12:43:48 AM »
"Slowing down to speed up" is solid advice.

I had an LSAT nightmare in which everyone taking the test was stepping on a gas pedal while the proctor counted down "3...2...1...GO" Although we were in a college lecture hall, everyone around me was in a race-car; I looked up and saw the lights flashing from red to yellow to green...

The thing that has helped me the most is active reading. I take a lot of notes, and, more importantly, I take notes that actually help me. As soon as I recognize the main conclusion, I circle it and brand it. Similarly, I mark the spot and draw a side-note when a word, phrase or sentence clarifies the meaning of a passage, regardless of length. I consider good note-taking to be an essential quality of a highly-successful attorney, and the LSAT tests this ability in a variety of manners. I've also discovered this can make some answers seem to jump right off the page at me...