Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

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Frozinite
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Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Frozinite » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:04 am

I have had some people asking me for my study method, so I decided to write this up so I could share with everyone. I started studying for my LSAT in March 2013 with a cold diagnostic score of 153. Just to give you an idea of where I started out, I have an engineering background and have also been out of school for 5 years, so my entire life has been numbers and code. I also wasn't a big reader and hadn't read anything at all advanced/high level/difficult since high school. I worked myself all the way up to a PT average of 176, finally scoring a 173 at the October 2013 LSAT (test jitters during the first section got to me!)

Here is my guide to what I did while studying and looking back, what I should have done. As usual, this method doesn't necessarily work for everyone, so take everything with a grain of salt and adjust it for your own style, abilities and time constraints. This is also in no way a guarantee. Be mindful of the hours that I've listed and know how much studying and effort is required during this entire process.

Books:
1. Powerscore Bible - Logical Reasoning, Logic Games
2. Manhattan LSAT - Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension
3. The LSAT Trainer

Drill packets:
1. Cambridge LSAT - PT 1-38 grouped by type - Logical Reasoning, Logic Games ** See Update On This In Below Post **

Question Explanations:
1. 7sage videos (LG)
2. Manhattan LSAT forums (LR + RC)

Practice Tests:
1. PT 39-69 (obviously append to this as time goes on)

My schedule:
The first part of my studying started with the Powerscore books. I was spending about 1 hour per weekday and 2-3 hours per weekend day.

1. Powerscore Logic Games - There is a general consensus amongst TLS that logic games are the easiest section, and should score you full points. It's a skill that is mastered with time and practice, but doesn't require as much nuanced brain power as LR or RC. For these reasons, I decided to start here to help with morale. I started with Powerscore LG bible. This was a pretty decent book, but it wasn't amazing. It taught me all the basics and made me realize that it was possible to get -0. I didn't bother drilling since I was still learning the general structure of games, and doing so would have "wasted" several games. The way they teach you to waste 5 minutes on each game diagramming and finding all the inferences was very annoying, and I made a conscious decision not to do that (in fact, this caused my testing to become even slower). However, there were a few inferences rules they taught you that is useful later that no other book actually explicitly states. Don't worry if you hate a lot of the "strategies" they teach you to use here. It didn't work for me either, but it doesn't mean you won't learn a thing or two. I got my final LG "style" from 7sage (see item 3 below)
2. Powerscore Logical Reasoning - At this point, I took a break from LG (as you should) to move to LR. Logical Reasoning is actually a huge can of worms and its good to mentally prepare for the fact that this section will most likely be at least 50% of your entire studying time. I went through the Powerscore book and familiarized myself with the different question types and what they were testing and asking for. Powerscore did little more than help me familiarize. I think I got through the book in two or three days since the material bored me (i.e. I generally started getting the hang of it and it didn't teach me anything I hadn't already started to figure out) The one thing thing I toook away from this book was the conditional statement rules as well as the Some/Most train rules. At this point, I still felt very uncomfortable with my LR skills, so I decided to find more resources. I was still not using the drill packets as not to "waste" them.

This stage took about 1 month. I took maybe one or two practice sections that were included in the books as well as a couple of the lower number PTs. I was scoring in the low 160s at this point with no time constraints (During this point, you should not be timing yourself whatsoever, it will do more harm than good.).


The next stage of my studying were with the Manhattan books. I also began using the drill packets and working through the PTs. I began to increase my study time to 2 hours per weekday and 4+ hours per weekend day plus one rest day.

3. Cambridge Logic Games Packets - I didn't actually use any books from here on out. I started drilling the packets and using 7sage.com video explanations to teach me how to improve and where I messed up. I was getting an average of -1 per game (meaning some were -0 and some were a horrid -3/-4). I also started timing myself, but not by countdown. Instead, I would use a count-up timer (you can find websites that do this easily), and write down how long it took me to do each question. I was averaging around 8 minutes for easy questions and 12 minutes for hard questions. Anything I didn't do "perfectly" (-0 and within the expected time: 6 minutes for easy ones and 10 minutes for hard ones), I would print three copies of that particular game (expect this to be 90% of the games at first). Then watch the 7sage video for the appropriate game, and immediately retake that game with the count-up timer. If I got a perfect -0 within a good time (which the majority of the time, you will since you just watched the explanation), then I would move on. If not, then I re-watched the explanation and take the game again. You will have two extra copies of that game afterwards. The first one, you will take again the very next day at the beginning of your study session (as a warm-up, and refresher). If you get -0 with a reasonable amount of time (expect it to take longer than the day before), then you can move on to new games. Otherwise, repeat the rewatching step. For the last copy of the packet, you will take one week from that day to avoid memorization of the answers (if you have really good memory, you can make this delay longer, but not too long otherwise you won't drill the strategies into your head).

You will begin developing your own personal style here and you don't need to copy 7sage's notation 100%, but many of them were extremely useful and made a huge difference (some others were totally confusing and made me slower - you'll know which ones these are when you get there).

By the end of the 3rd or 4th packet (about 20-30 games under my belt), I was getting -0/-1 pretty consistently with the random game that would completely stump me for a -3. Also everytime I switched to a new question type/packet, I would have to adjust and missed a few due to that.

4. Manhattan Logical Reasoning - This book is amazing. It was solely due to this book that I started to hit the upper 160/lower 170 range. Go through each section of this book and drill the appropriate question type. (Use this chart to map between Manhattan and Cambridge: http://www.cambridgelsat.com/resources/ ... ion-types/) . Don't worry about the fact that they don't quite teach you all of conditional statements until the middle. They give you a small preview when you need it. Besides, that's what the Powerscores were for :). During this period, I got through about 75% of the LR packets. See my section below for drilling LR using the packets.

5. Manhattan Reading Comprehension - At some point during my PTs, I realized that my RC wasn't all that great, so I needed extra help. This book wasn't it, though. It said more or less what I already knew, and didn't help my score at all. It's also a tiny book and probably wasn't worth the money.

This stage took me about 3-4 months, due mainly to the fact that there are just so many questions in the packets. I was also taking PTs on a set schedule (1/week at first, and increasing to 4/week near the end). I began taking them timed (count-up only) as well. See my section below for taking PTs. By the end of this, my range was 168-172 with the odd 176+.

During the last part of my studying (squeezing out the last few points), about 2 months, I was doing 3 hours per weekday and 6+ hours per weekend day. Again, please don't forget to take a full day break every week. It's extremely important to prevent burn-out. Some of you may need more or less time, but please be mindful of the dreaded burn-out.

5. The LSAT Trainer - For my final two month push, I wanted to eke out the last few points to get myself squarely into the 170s to account for any test-day jitters or bad luck. This book was probably the best thing that happened to me besides finding TLS. The lessons were so clear and takes a completely different teaching technique than any of the other books. It taught me exactly how to find the conclusion, the premises and the logical gaps. Most other books merely tell you what to do, but doesn't drill it into you like this book does. I would recommend this 100% and would even say don't wait as long as I did. Get this book at the same time as when you go through Manhattan. If I had started on this book earlier, I definitely would've scored in the upper 170s.

The RC section of this book was only medium helpful. It turns out that RC is one of those sections where it's extremely difficult to improve on if you don't already have strong reading experience. Having said that, this book definitely solved some fundamental problems that I had with my RC section and completely changed the way I approached all the questions, though this only translated to 2-3 more points.


Drilling LR packets:
I had a very specific way of organizing my LR packets that many don't use, but it worked for me, even though it took quite some time to get it set up correctly. I wanted to get a good sample of all levels of difficulty while still slowly challenging myself as I went on and got better.

I will use an example for a packet with 100 total questions, 40 level 1, 25 level 2, 25 level 3 and 10 level 4. You want to generate multiple 25 question "sections" with the same proportion of difficulty. So find the percentage of each level to the total number of questions: 40% level 1, 25% level 2, etc. Then find out what that means in a 25 question section: 10 level 1, 6.25 level 2, 6.25 level 3, 2.5 level 4 for a total of 24 question (I rounded everything down). Go through your first packet and write down all the question ranges for each "section" that you've just calculated.

i.e. Section 1 : 1-10, 41-46, 66-71, 91-92
Section 2 : 11-20, 47-52, 72-77, 92-94
etc.

In each section, you will have easy questions as well as challenging ones and as you progress, the sections themselves will start to get more difficult. As you take each section, use the stopwatch and do a count-up timer, writing down your score as well as how long it took. As you start, you can expect to be taking up to 45 minutes since you will be taking your time and working through the steps. Eventually, you will want to get this down to 30-32 minutes. This doesn't apply for the parallel reasoning / parallel flaw sections, those take forever.

While you take each section, circle every question that you have ANY ounce of doubt as well as the ones you miss (blind-review method). Then go onto the Manhattan LSAT forums and find that particular question and read the explanations. Make sure that your thought process matches closely to the official answers (sometimes the answers will be difficult to understand and if you can't convince yourself after several attempts, move on and come back to it later). You should reprint these pages and retake those questions one week later.


Taking Practice Tests:
First of all, I would recommend buying as many of these in pdf form as possible (you can get these from Cambridge LSAT). However, if you're trying to save money, you can buy official multi-test books (available on Amazon).

For the first 5 LSATs, I did not time myself at all and I took breaks in between each section for as long as I wanted. Make sure you let yourself take breaks. This is extremely important for mental endurance as well as morale.

For the next few tests up to PT 51, start using a count-up timer and writing down the amount of time you spent on each section as well as circling questions you had problems on.

PT 52 is when you start seeing comparative reading. Don't be intimidated. This is the same as any other reading comprehension. The books will be helpful in explaining how to handle these.

For the last 15 PTs, you MUST time yourself with a 35 minute limit and force yourself to not take any breaks except for a 5 minute break between sections 2 and 3 (Remember that you should be finishing with 3-5 minutes to spare anyway). The last 5 of those, you should add the 5th section and also you should use the watch that you will be wearing on test day. You want to build your mental endurance as well as introduce distractions such as having to check your watch for time.

Make sure you have a schedule for taking these tests. You must take at least one per weekend, but you should adjust this for how much time you have for your own studying. For the first month, 1-2/week is about right. For the next month or two, it should be 2-3/week. Then for the last 2-3 months, it should increase to 3-4 a week up until the week before your test. Stick to your schedule and only give yourself one free "pass" a month, where you can procrastinate a test by a few days if you're having a bad day. The week of your test, you should take no more than 2 LSATs, and NO FRESH ONES, only reused tests. You will not be learning anything during that last week anyway, you just need to stay on the top of your game and help your confidence.


Reviewing Practice Tests:
This is a source of contention for most people. Everyone has a different way of reviewing their PTs, from full review to blind review method to missed questions only. Personally, I would recommend choosing the most time consuming one that your patience is able to withstand. For me, this meant blind review and missed questions only, depending on if I was short on time. Again, I would refer to 7sage and Manhattan LSAT forums for any questions that you need additional help figuring out. Use LSATQA to store your PT information as it will help you determine which question types are your weak areas.


Sorry for such a long post, and thank you for reading! I will answer as many questions as I can in this thread, and anyone and everyone should feel free to send me a PM for any personal or specific questions.
Last edited by Frozinite on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Frozinite
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Frozinite » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:04 am

Reserved.

** Cambridge LSAT Drill Packets **

It seems that Cambridge has discontinued selling the LSAT Drill Packets due to a licensing issue. There is no direct replacement for this product. However, Cambridge did release a "Drilling Companion" that attempts to provide the same information as what the old packets had: a mapping of the problems and where to find them (which PT#, Section #, and Question #). In my opinion, this seems like a very cumbersome way to drill the questions, because you have to keep the Cambridge book open, and flip between multiple different practice tests. You also have to buy the practice tests separately. It doesn't make for a very good test taking experience, but it may be the best option.

You can find it here: https://www.cambridgelsat.com/lsat-prob ... companion/ (Surprisingly, it's cheaper on Cambridge's website than on Amazon).
Last edited by Frozinite on Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

McBrunson
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby McBrunson » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:44 am

Incredible guide, thank you! Sent you a PM with a few questions and would really appreciate some answers.

ramendoz
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby ramendoz » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:58 pm

Sweet guide, I'm definitely going to get the LSAT Trainer now!

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Louis1127
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Louis1127 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:51 pm

Thank you so much, Frozinite. When people who have made it to the top of the mountain look to help those of us who are working to get there, it is very encouraging, to say the least. The road up there sure isn't easy. People like you help make it conquerable, though.

I am going to shoot you a quick PM and if you think it would be better on the forum I'll put it one here. Thanks again.

teenerds
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby teenerds » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:33 am

Hi Frozinite,

Did you register for the Ultimate course through 7sage?

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iiibbystar
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby iiibbystar » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:39 pm

Hey,

I just wanted to say thank you! It was a very helpful and well thought out post. We appreciate it! :)

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Tyr
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Tyr » Fri May 02, 2014 9:13 am

I just found this thread and it deserves a bump. Great information.

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vracovino
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby vracovino » Tue May 20, 2014 10:35 pm

Thanks for this...particularly the bit about drilling logic reasoning. I was trying to figure out how to divide the difficulty levels in a way that accurately represented the test, and found that with your post.

Thanks!

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Frozinite
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Frozinite » Sun May 25, 2014 1:31 pm

teenerds wrote:Hi Frozinite,

Did you register for the Ultimate course through 7sage?


I did not use any courses or materials that I didn't mention in my post. I knew that 7sage provided some sort of course, but didn't look into it.

JazzyMac
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby JazzyMac » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:15 pm

Thanks for this. I needed a pick-me-up to get in the mode of studying.

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Deleterious
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Deleterious » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:13 am

tagging

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ltowns1
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby ltowns1 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:25 am

Great post, you might want to copy and post in the 165+ thread as well. I think that's a rite of passage for anyone who gets to your level lol. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=396

Buddha180
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Buddha180 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:03 pm

What about using lawschooli 3 month study plan instead of the lsat trainer

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Frozinite
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Frozinite » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:38 am

Buddha180 wrote:What about using lawschooli 3 month study plan instead of the lsat trainer


I've just looked into this right now and unless I'm mistaken, it looks like the lawschooli 3 study plan is merely a study schedule. It does not provide material or references – just helps you stay on track. In fact, the schedule recommends LSAT Trainer, which you must buy separately.

ironchild
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby ironchild » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:34 am

Great post! I have the exact materials that you had and the step is fairly similar, hope I can achieve the score you got! Though as a ESL taker my fundamental is far weak from you... :cry:

bivory3
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby bivory3 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:42 pm

Great post.I found it very helpful.

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Monkey D Luffy
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Monkey D Luffy » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:59 am

Super inspirational!

Thanks OP!

Hope123
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Hope123 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:14 am

Hello!
I'm currently studying for the LSAT and I find your story inspiring!
Can you please provide the link to the Manhattan Logical Reasoning book you used? I just want to make sure that I'm buying the right one.

Thanks!

beantheshadow
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby beantheshadow » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:01 pm

Would you guys recommend the Trainer or the MLR first? I just got paid and want to get one of them! LOl

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King Dong
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby King Dong » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:08 pm

tag

LitigatingLiar
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby LitigatingLiar » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:25 pm

Regarding your comment about LSAT trainer helping with identifying the conclusion and reasoning gaps. I felt that way when I went from Powerscore to Manhattan. I thought Manhattan does a good job of breaking down the stimulus, but LSAT trainer is really that much better than Manhattan. I still have an issue when I deal with questions that have intermediate and main conclusion.

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Frozinite
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Frozinite » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:00 am

Hope123 wrote:Hello!
I'm currently studying for the LSAT and I find your story inspiring!
Can you please provide the link to the Manhattan Logical Reasoning book you used? I just want to make sure that I'm buying the right one.

Thanks!


Here is the link from Manhattan's website: https://www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/stor ... gy-guides/
They also sell them as a combo-pack.
However, you'd probably want to buy from Amazon, since it's cheaper: http://www.amazon.com/Logical-Reasoning ... C14MCNW06Q

I used the 3rd edition. The most recently are 4th editions. I'm not sure what the changes are, though.

beantheshadow wrote:Would you guys recommend the Trainer or the MLR first? I just got paid and want to get one of them! LOl


If you're tight on budget or time, go with the Trainer. However, the progression is better if you do MLR first, then Trainer.

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Billy Madison
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby Billy Madison » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:27 am

Great stuff OP

beantheshadow
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Re: Another LSAT Guide & Story : 153 to 173 in 7 months.

Postby beantheshadow » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:38 am

Frozinite wrote:
Hope123 wrote:Hello!
I'm currently studying for the LSAT and I find your story inspiring!
Can you please provide the link to the Manhattan Logical Reasoning book you used? I just want to make sure that I'm buying the right one.

Thanks!


Here is the link from Manhattan's website: https://www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/stor ... gy-guides/
They also sell them as a combo-pack.
However, you'd probably want to buy from Amazon, since it's cheaper: http://www.amazon.com/Logical-Reasoning ... C14MCNW06Q

I used the 3rd edition. The most recently are 4th editions. I'm not sure what the changes are, though.

beantheshadow wrote:Would you guys recommend the Trainer or the MLR first? I just got paid and want to get one of them! LOl


If you're tight on budget or time, go with the Trainer. However, the progression is better if you do MLR first, then Trainer.


I'm taking the December exam so I have some time! So I bought the Trainer last night and got through the 1st chapter. It seems I have been training like Wilbur! Lol :(

Hopefully this will help me build a better foundation!




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