My 180 study method

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fra
Posts: 307
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My 180 study method

Postby fra » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:06 pm

I've had a couple of questions about my study method - so I wrote up an outline of how I studied to get a 180.

Diagnostic: 172 (PT 29, untimed)
Tools used: Powerscore LG Bible (Old version - 2009), Powerscore LR Bible (Old version - 2009), three books of Official LSAT Prep Tests, Cambridge packets of most difficult questions (LR, LG, and RC), LSAT Trainer (I didn't find this helpful, I only read half of it)

Time spent: Approximately 2.5 months

Philosophy: Everyone learns differently, no one method will work for everyone. Look at how other people have studied and use the methods that you think will work for you.

Background info: I studied while working full time + (more than 40 hours per week). I spent between 10 and 20 hours a week studying. I took a month off from studying in the middle for personal reasons, so I studied for 1.5 months, took a month off, and then studied for the month before the test.

Study method:
The method that I used broke studying into 3 phases.
Phase 1: Foundation (books and untimed practice problems)
Phase 2: Application (timed sections and exams)
Phase 3: Increasing difficulty (timed exams with increased difficulty)

During all phases:
Blind Review EVERYTHING
http://7sage.com/the-blind-review-how-t ... at-part-1/


Phase 0: Optional diagnostic and mandatory data tracking.
If you want a diagnostic to make your improvement graphs more accurate (because you're keeping track of your scores in a spreadsheet or score tracking tool) then take this timed. If you just want to see how comfortable you are with the questions, or want to know what section to study first then take it untimed.
You will need two data tracking tools (everything in a study method is flexible and optional except for this. DO THIS NO MATTER WHAT.). Tool 1 is a data tracker. You can create your own, or use lsatqa or 7sage. I started out using lsatqa, but switched over to an excel spreadsheet because I didn't like lsatqa's graphs. Things that I kept track of in my spreadsheet: raw score and scaled score for full PTs, number of credited and total questions and percent correct for sections. Tool 2 is a record of 'difficult questions'. You can cut these out of your resources and store the clippings somewhere, or you can type up the problems in a document. These are not only questions that you missed. These are questions that you missed, questions that you guessed on, questions that you were only 99% sure of. Use these two tools for your entire prep!

Phase 1: Foundation
Read through your books and work on the problems suggested by your books. Once you've studied the book for a section and have moved on to the next section, don't stop maintaining the first section. For example, I worked through the LR bible before the LG bible. While I was doing the LG Bible I was also working through LR sections so that I didn't forget what I had learned fro the LR Bible.
I never put much emphasis on diving LR and RC questions into types (must be true, main point, whatever), and I certainly never drilled by type. If that works for you, then awesome. I thought that it was a waste of time. I always drilled full sections of tests. The earliest book of 10 official PTs that I bought I just used for individual sections for drilling. I reasoned that the test has a jumble of question types, and that part of the difficulty of the test comes from switching between question types often and quickly - so I wanted to practice that skill.
Move on to Phase 2 when you feel like you have gotten all that you can from Phase 1, or when you start experiencing diminishing returns on your study time. Return to Phase 1 when you feel you need to.

Phase 2: Application
Start doing timed sections and timed 4 section exams. Use a proctor (I used the 7sage phone app) so that you get used to the 5 minute call and get your timing down. Continue to blind review everything and record every single difficult problem. Review your compiled difficult problem list occasionally. You can take questions off of your difficult problem list, but the bar for removing a problem from the list should be pretty darn high.
Move on to Phase 3 when you are happy with your percent of correct answers and your scaled score.
Go back to phase 1 as often as you need to. No shame.

Phase 3: Increase the difficulty
Add in an experimental section to your PTs. I used the Cambridge most difficult packets for this at the end. I would do the next 4 LG or RC sections, or the next 26 LR questions that I hadn't solved yet and do them as a timed section. Take the PTs in this phase in as close to actual testing conditions as possible, or in worse testing conditions than you anticipate.
Take your PTs with a proctor (phone app is still fine), with an experimental section and writing section. A ton of people skip the writing section, but I think that it helps you get in the mind set of the actual test. Get to your 'testing location' at your actual check in time, you can even wait around for an hour twiddling your thumbs and feeling your bladder fill up while you wait for your 'proctors' to figure things out and for the 90 people who brought their damn cell phones to the testing location to throw their stuff in a bush outside. Bring the snack that you plan to have on actual test day to your PT, eat the same breakfast. You get the idea. You can also make the tests more difficult than the actual test. Give yourself less time per section (I never did this), take the test in terrible conditions (I did this), add extra sections (I did this, but only a few times), etc...
Continue to blind review everything, and keep adding to and reviewing your difficult questions. Go back to Phases 2 and 1 as needed.
Also during this phase I decreased my TV and mindless distractions, and used that time to read nonfiction. I read 'The God Delusion' and I think that it was incredibly helpful because Richard Dawkins, like LSAC, is argumentative and kind of an asshole. I highly recommend reading some nonfiction, especially something where someone is making an argument. Look for flaws in the arguments that you read, and think about what kind of information could fix those flaws.


Phase 4: Take the LSAT!
This is just another practice test. You've been taking tests in similar locations, under worse conditions for a while now. You've got this!

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Smallville
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby Smallville » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:29 pm

so what I gathered from this is... your smart
jk but solid, thanks for the right up

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ChemEng1642
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby ChemEng1642 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:36 pm

Congrats again! :)

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fra
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby fra » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:39 pm

ChemEng1642 wrote:Congrats again! :)


Congratulations to you as well!

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mornincounselor
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Postby mornincounselor » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:45 pm

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fra
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby fra » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:16 pm

mornincounselor wrote:I feel like I did most of this for the September test. Not breakfast and sleep regulation, not testing in weird places, nor non-fiction reading though. So I will defintely implement them into my retake.

Can you go over how exactly you utilized the 7sage lsat analytics information?

Thanks and much congratulations on the amazing performance.


I used lsatqa in the beginning then switched over to an excel spreadsheet for my PT data.
When I used lsatqa I entered all of my answers into their PT grader, and used their graphs to see which sections I needed to improve. My excel spreadsheet kept track of
PT Number, Date taken, Raw score, scaled score, # of credited responses on each section (LR, LG, and RC - I combined both LR sections), and number of questions in each section. It calculated and graphed the percent of correct answers in each section as well as my scaled scores over time. It also calculated a running average and standard deviations in my last 5 scaled scores.

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sfoglia
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby sfoglia » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:42 pm

fra wrote:Diagnostic: 172


Get out of here!

No, I'm just kidding. This is fantastic advice. Congratulations on your score!

rebexness
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby rebexness » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:47 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fra
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby fra » Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:34 pm

rebexness wrote:So basically Noodleys retakers method?

gotchu.


Possibly. I don't know, I never retook.

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ugg
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Postby ugg » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:47 pm

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DiniMae
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby DiniMae » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:00 am

Thanks for the post.

Since you have a FT job like me, when did you find time to devote 20 hours per week to studying and read a book?

Did you do PTs/studying early in the morning? Early evening after work?

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lawjag2015
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby lawjag2015 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:26 am

My untimed diagnostic was 164. I have a 163 (June) and 160 (September).

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fra
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Re: My 180 study method

Postby fra » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:57 am

DiniMae wrote:Thanks for the post.

Since you have a FT job like me, when did you find time to devote 20 hours per week to studying and read a book?

Did you do PTs/studying early in the morning? Early evening after work?


I would do two full PTs on the weekend - one on Saturday morning, one on Sunday morning. That + reviewing is about 10 hours on the weekend. I probably only did twenty hours per week for the first two weeks when I was reading through the powerscore books. I read and worked problems for about two hours every weekday before bed, then did practice sections and reviewed on the weekend.

I also did practice problems (2 sections of logic games, 2 sections of RC, or a handful of LR questions) during my lunch breaks or whenever I was waiting for something. I always had my Cambridge most difficult packets in my car, so if I had a doctor's appointment or whatever I would be working problems in the waiting room.

I read for probably an hour before bed every night, including the night before the test. Once I cut out TV/mindless distractions I had lots of time to read.

10 hours is really not that much, but it's probably a sufficient amount of time for lots of people. It's important that its quality study time however. If you aren't super focused then go do something else and come back to studying when you can give it your full attention.




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