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Author Topic: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep  (Read 3923 times)

DiggzDE

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I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« on: September 12, 2009, 06:32:33 PM »
I've been stalking this forum for the last 4 months or so and have (or thought I had) learned a lot on here.

I'm taking the LSATs in less than two weeks (Sept 26) and am freaking out. I have studied for almost 9 months and feel less prepared now than I did when I started. I know it is all in my head but it has begun to reflect in my scoring as well.

I started in December of 2008 with a NOVA LSAT prep book and studied rather lazily until June with it since I had class as a priority. During the summer I turned to more serious studying with about 2 to 3 hours a night from the book. When I was nearing the end of it in July I took the advice of this forum and picked up The Official LSAT SuperPrep book as well as the latest PrepTest (58?) from June.

I am done with SuperPrep apart from one of the actual preptests but this is where I have begun to freak out.

When I started, I averaged around 162 on my tests. And while I was happy with that score, I was hoping to bump it up to around 166 to 168. Now, after going through the SuperPrep book, within the last two weeks, my score has dropped instead. I average around 158 now and cant get out of my slump. My latest preptest was the worst.

Logic Games were my forte and I did great on them. However, this last preptest I had, I only got a 16! I was sitting there and just getting frustrated at myself during the game. I could see it but I couldn't remember how to properly do it.

   - One issue was the use of "If Y, then A or B (but not both)" I should know that but I just couldn't get the proper conditions from it.

RC is my hardest due to time constraints and while I tried to pick up on that I have yet to find an effective method to help me with it.
LR has also become a pain and while I have increased my score on it drastically since I began, I'm beginning to find I am missing more problems on those sections again. And I can't figure out what I changed to start messing up.


It is discouraging to say the least. Ugh. I've been living LSATs for the last year of my life it seems and I don't feel that I have much to show for it. I've even gone as far now as upping my time spent studying to 4+ hours a day in hopes of helping some last minute changes.


So please, if anyone has any advice or help for me I'd really appreciate it. If not, then perhaps just an encouraging word. It is too late to reschedule for another test and I am really hoping to go to Law School in Fall of 2010 so delaying much further beyond Dec would be impossible.


violaboy

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 06:44:55 PM »
I can tell that you're having a lot of anxiety. Just calm down (I know it's hard! I've been through it!).

First of all, you are much more prepared than you think you are. When you're in the test, just be confident in all of the work that you've done. If you're freaking out in the test, you're toast.

As far as any additional prep, there's not much you can do now, so close to the test (as far as methods). Just review ALL of the questions in your prep tests. That will help the most. Really attempt to understand what's going on in each question.

DiggzDE

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 07:24:09 PM »
I can tell that you're having a lot of anxiety. Just calm down (I know it's hard! I've been through it!).

First of all, you are much more prepared than you think you are. When you're in the test, just be confident in all of the work that you've done. If you're freaking out in the test, you're toast.

As far as any additional prep, there's not much you can do now, so close to the test (as far as methods). Just review ALL of the questions in your prep tests. That will help the most. Really attempt to understand what's going on in each question.

Thanks for the encouragement. Would it be detrimental for me to go back and reread some of the summaries of methods for solving problems from my NOVA book? To help me remember what I might have forgotten. Or should I spend most of my time now going through with prep tests and trying to practice my pacing?

I made the mistake of not considering bubbling until about a month and a half ago. Even that small amount of time to fill in spots has changed my habits.

Right now it takes me on average 9 minutes to read and answer all questions for a single RC passage. Is this normal? The passage reading usually takes 3 1/2 minutes to 4 (depending on how complex it is) so that puts me at about 5 minutes for questions. And I always feel rushed. I still can't figure out a way to shorten that time.

violaboy

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 07:38:42 PM »
Oh, I definitely think that you should go back and reinforce current practices, just not getting new ones this late in the game.

9 minutes is a little much. On a basic level, you need to be spending 8 min and 45 secs for each passage. I think that you should be aiming for 8 minutes/passage. I took between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 minutes on each passage, depending on how dense it was.

nooyyllib

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2009, 07:41:32 PM »
Like violaboy said, panic is kryptonite.

when i took my june 09 test, i got the infamous dinogame as the first section. panic rushed in after that section, and ended up getting destroyed the whole test because i couldnt take my mind off of how i did so bad on LG.  

so stay calm. that's one of my game plans.  

For me, I have about 12 more PTs left so I plan on taking all of those, around 8:40-9am every day. and give myself thursday and friday leading up to the test off.  Thursday would be review, friday would be movies and rest.

i dont know if you have any more PTs left.  also i never heard of NOVA prep so i cant help you there.  

it takes me about 3-3:30 mins reading an RC passage.  I try to hit the last two passages with 19-20 mins left.  of course bubbling in after every passage.  Also, some say finding a passage with the most question saves you time, but i disagree.  

DiggzDE

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 08:01:16 PM »
I could order another preptest book. Anyone have any more recommendations? I have only two real preptests left. But I go through and meticulously erase all answers and notes on each page of previous tests once I have finished reviewing. This is so I can go through and take it again. I also cycle when I do these prep tests however so I don't particularly remember any specific bunch of questions or passages.

So since it seems I am taking too long on RC, any simple tips that might help? Such as good ways to summarize each paragraph? Right now I look for transition words and perspective (opinion) words to note. But I try to summarize the gist of the paragraph in 3 to 4 words. (ex: "Counter to Claim" for a paragraph that presents a counter to a previous claim. etc).


For LR I found my most useful method is after each sentence (or with ; and , transitions) I pull out what I think it is in relation to the paragraph. SC = sub conclusion, C = conclusion, F = fact (premise), OF = opinionated fact (premise), CF = counter fact (premise), etc. This has helped me some with my LR. I just took a prep test section for it and while I was not positive about 5 questions on it, I only got 4 wrong. Although, my previous LR I got 7 wrong. :( Still, I wish I could lower that some.

Does anyone have any sources for prep tests that they would recommend. I worry that my method of reusing prep tests will cause me to simply become acquainted with the few I have. Free or pay-for, doesn't matter. I figure the least I can do is try to test every other day (with review between) or at most once a day with review afterward.

edit: I also am wondering why nothing I have studied for has supplied a two passage comparison for RC. My entire NOVA book didn't cover it one bit and the LSAT SuperPrep only glossed over it. None of their prep tests have it in there. Why?! Where are the practice tests with that?!

bluerose1482

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 10:27:36 PM »
I'm not sure if it'll help you with your reading comp, but I'll share the advice that I give my middle schoolers.  When you are reading the passage, imagine that some very attractive person that you would like to spend some time with is really, really interested in whatever you are reading.  You're going to see them later tonight at a party, and you need to pick one thing out of each paragraph and jot it down so you can discuss it later.  That technique has improved their standarized test performance quite a bit, but they were pretty low to start with.

LloydChristmas

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2009, 10:57:25 PM »
I think the best thing you can do now is stay relaxed and confident when you go to your testing center.  Maybe it's just me, but your confidence walking into the test plays a big role in your score.

Keep studying like you have and you'll do fine.  Panicking never helps, so just keep up what you've been doing.
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EarlCat

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2009, 11:59:30 PM »
I recommend reviewing things.  Go back and redo a preptest or two--on or off the clock, I don't care.  I don't care about your score either.  Just go back through questions that you're already familiar with.  I don't care if you remember that the answer to number 17 is C.  Focus on the structure of the questions, the patterns in the reasoning.  Look for things things you've seen them do on multiple tests.  After so much studying you should have picked up a number of the patterns or tricks that the test writers do over and over and over.  Make sure you're making note of those so that you'll recognize them the next time you encounter them.  For instance, what will you do next time you see "If Y, then A or B (but not both)"? 

Also, study the wrong answer choices.  Not just the ones you pick wrong, but the four wrong answers on each question.  Why exactly (and I mean exactly) are they wrong?  Can you articulate it?  Have you seen a wrong answer do that before?  (The answer should almost always be yes.)

haulin_oats

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Re: I'm stressing out... hard. Discouraged from LSAT prep
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2009, 12:47:49 AM »
You are putting way too much effort into this thing. Learn how to get a perfect score on the logic games, do some critical reading, then call it a day. There's nothing here to actually "study", you just need to learn how to take the test.