Law School Discussion

October vs. December

October vs. December
« on: July 26, 2004, 11:29:41 AM »
I started studying for the LSAT a few weeks ago, and I'm already doing *quite* well on the practice tests I've taken. However, because this is a test you effectively only have one real shot at, I'm leaving nothing to chance, and I'm studying as hard as anyone. My goal is to have taken all of the released preptests by the time I go in for the real thing. This way, there's close to nothing they can throw at me that I won't have already seen, and my timing will be as good as it can be. And honestly, I have nothing better to do these next few months.

I had planned on taking it in October, but after seeing so many people devote upwards of six months to studying, I'm wondering if it might be wiser to put it off till December. Assuming that I'm not going to experience any "burn out," and that my basic plan to work through all the preptests stays the same, would I be better off waiting? My concern is that from now until October, I'd have about 30 tests to take, which is one every other day. I actually enjoy the tests, and I have the time to take them all, but I'm wondering if maybe I won't be getting as much out of them as I could by burning through them so rapidly -- not having the chance to really work the games over a bunch of times, etc. The other issue is that if I get to October 2nd and I don't feel completely ready to take the test, then I'm SOL because I will have exhausted all the available study materials. The downside of waiting until December is just that it's an additional two months I have to think about this thing, and also there's a very good chance that my returns on studying will be extremely diminished even before October; stretching it out two more months might just be overkill and a big waste of time. Any suggestions?

nathanielmark

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2004, 12:32:02 PM »
take it in october.  the 2 months will not help you increase your score, what they will do is result in your app coming in late in the cycle and thus decrease your chances of admission.

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2004, 12:59:37 PM »
Sorry, I forgot to mention, I don't even plan on applying to law school for at least another year. Time really isn't of essence.

take it in october.  the 2 months will not help you increase your score, what they will do is result in your app coming in late in the cycle and thus decrease your chances of admission.

nathanielmark

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2004, 01:03:10 PM »
i can only say this.  i started prepping in late january (1 hour a day x 5 days a week), though i picked it up towards the end.  it gets old as hell after a while and you will just want to get it over with.  since the only portion of the LSAT that can probably be improved over the long term is RC, i would guage how strong you are on that section and if you are particularly weak, you might take extra time and just devote yourself to reading, otherwise i would take it as soon as you can get it over with...

jayhawk

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2004, 01:33:50 PM »
I think you should take it in October.  Although the LSAT is a test that can be prepared for through familiarity with the type of questions and learning to work in the time constraint, it is also a test of ability, not memorization, like many tests taken in undergrad.  Because of this, I think that you will get to a point where you will be as prepared as you are going to be, and anymore studying will probably just lead to burnout.  The amount of time necessary is different for everyone (I only spent three weeks and felt entirely prepared and was very happy with my score) but I think the amount of time you've spent thus far should be enough.  Also, the quality of studying is so much more important than the amount of time spent.
Whichever you choose, good luck!

swifty

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Re: October vs. December
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2004, 03:00:49 AM »
I'm getting extremely concerned that LSAC is going to start throwing a lot more surprises at us.  They know TM and PS are helping people achieve really what should be unreachable scores,
and now we have more prep tests to study from.  The stats may say that the scores are relatively the same over the years, but I wonder when they will decide to start changing things to throw off TM PS and other prep courses training methods. Cances are it will be this October.  Yes, I am paranoid.

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2004, 07:40:19 AM »
I agree, take it in October.  There is such a thing as studying way too much for too long with these standardized tests.  I'm taking TM and our classes started July 13th, and will continue until about October before the test, so it's a perfect amount of prep time. Obviously even TM thinks so since they've prepared their lessons within this amount of time (then again maybe it's about money, who knows).  You're on the right track, don't over do it.  Before TM I was already trying to read more in general (short reads only, not novels), so I would suggest that to compliment your studying.  It helps on your reading comp. 

I took the GREs 3 years ago and I spent a year studying for that thing. I even took a PR course. By the time test day came I was so sick of it and wasn't as excited or hyped up like you should be on game day.  And that's not good, you need to have that energy/adrenaline that only comes natural on game day.

Goodluck!

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2004, 10:03:42 AM »
I'm getting extremely concerned that LSAC is going to start throwing a lot more surprises at us.  They know TM and PS are helping people achieve really what should be unreachable scores,
and now we have more prep tests to study from.  The stats may say that the scores are relatively the same over the years, but I wonder when they will decide to start changing things to throw off TM PS and other prep courses training methods. Cances are it will be this October.  Yes, I am paranoid.

You raise a good point. After practicing on tests from 10 years ago, I took the June '04 test and was surprised by how different it seemed. I scored about the same as I've been doing, so I can't really say that it was more difficult per se, but the newness of it all (particularly the tougher RC and the somewhat different format for many of the LR questions) threw me off a bit. It also looks like they may be bringing back some older styles of games, and one would guess at some point that they'll introduce new ones altogether. I suppose comfort can be taken from the fact that anything they throw at you will have had to have been in an experimental section before, and given that people usually can't tell which section is experimental, it follows that there won't be anything *completely* out of left field on the test. I wouldn't be surprised though if we continue to see tougher RC passages. This is really the only section that can't be studied, so they're able to make the entire test arbitrarily more difficult (without having to do mess with the LR or LG sections) just by tossing in some more complex passages.

Is the overall effect of TM and PS on LSAT scores more than just a blip? I kind of doubt it. Unless you're the type of test-obsessed person who goes on a forum like this and reads up about the different courses, chances are you'll be taking Kaplan or PR if you take any course at all. Also, unlike the SAT's where a lot of people are scoring at the high end of the scale and thus neutralizing the test's ability to discriminate between them, the LSAT still has quite a bit of room up top. Prep courses might boost the median by a point or two, and they might lead to a few more high 160's/low 170's than before, but as long as the overall distribution of scores maintain a bell curve shape, it's still a perfectly valid test as it is. There'd be no need to make it any tougher unless it wasn't doing as good as job at discriminating between any two test-takers.

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2004, 01:29:53 PM »
Per my TM instructor, the LSAC comes out with a new test every June administration. So June is not a good time to take the LSAT.  That may be why you got a totally different test when you took it in June. 

Re: October vs. December
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2004, 01:42:23 PM »
Per my TM instructor, the LSAC comes out with a new test every June administration. So June is not a good time to take the LSAT.  That may be why you got a totally different test when you took it in June. 

Weird. So they just come up with a batch of totally new, never before seen questions for each June test? I wonder why they would do that just for June, and also, how they're able to make sure that the level of difficulty is pretty much in line with all the other tests.