Help diagnose what my issue might be

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Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby MasterOfNone » Sun May 13, 2018 11:18 am

Hi all! This is my first time posting but not my first time on the boards; I've been lurking off-and-on for quite some time.

Anyways, I'm currently near the end of my Testmasters LSAT prep course, and, thus far, I have seen minimal improvement in my diagnostic LSAT scores. My first (blind) score was 147; by the third diagnostic, my score increased to 152, yet my most recent diag score declined to 149. I consistently seem to be missing about 25 questions across the two LR sections and 8-10 q's on each LG and RC section. Now, my scores on LG HAVE improved, and that's probably the largest gain from my Testmasters experience: i.e., a general foundation for logic games in general. Still, there are times (like on my last PT) where I encounter an LG that just stumps me.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm not studying for the test outside of class; I'm spending virtually all of my free time prepping for the LSAT, whether by doing the Testmasters homework or just drilling, drilling, drilling questions or reviewing my past diags. I think my biggest issue is time; when I am free of time constraints, I can usually get between 80-100% of LG and RC questions correct, and between 70-80% of LR questions.

I opted not to sign up for the June LSAT (which my Testmasters class is designed for) after I showed *literally* no improvement on my second diagnostic, and, at this point, I am dubious whether I will be up for the July administration. I am by no means pushing for a score in the 170s, but I *am* aiming for something in the mid 160s. My top choice is UC irvine. In any case, it has dawned on me that I am going to be studying for this test for much longer than the three months that most prep companies seem to say is sufficient for LSAT prep.

In terms of materials I have beyond the Testmasters ones, I have the three Powerscore Bibles (LR, RC, and LG), Kaplan's 2018-2019 LSAT Unlocked, and basically every LSAC Preptest book that you can buy on Amazon. I haven't really looked at any of them since my Testmasters course began in March, however. Once I lose access to the Testmasters online resources in June (because I don't want to spend $700 to have them extended), I think that I'm going to buy the lowest 7sage course (really just for access to the question bank and explanations) and then just really hit the Powerscore Bibles as hard as I can (in particular the LR one) and take at least one or two PT's a week.

So, given all of that, what do you think is my biggest issue and why have my scores so far improved so little? How can I maximize my prep and finally up my score to the one that I'm aiming for?


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby kcho10 » Sun May 13, 2018 12:28 pm


I would suggest doing what is going to get you the best bang for your buck. Logic Games is the easiest to improve, logical reasoning is harder than logic games to improve on but easier than reading comprehension. I would suggest purely focusing on logic games first until you are consistently scoring perfectly. That is the easiest to do, and doing that alone should shoot your score up considerably. Then, you can focus on logical reasoning and reading comp. Focusing on everything at once can actually hinder your improvement, so focus on isolating weaknesses and becoming sufficiently comfortable with at least 1-2 skills/question types before taking another practice test. In my opinion, practice tests should be used as an indicator of where you're at, not a tool for improvement. So after taking a test, find out what question types you're consistently missing and drill them until you are nearly perfect. Then re-do the process. Hope this helps


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby natemorris » Sun May 13, 2018 3:36 pm

Great questions - let me make a recommendation that could speed up your improvement a lot! (It worked with me when I plateaued, and I use it with all of my students and they're generally amazed at how quickly it raises their scores)

If you can get 70-100% correct untimed - that's great! JUST DO THAT - try to get perfect on your next prep test, and time yourself to see how long it takes -i.e. start the timer up from 0 on each section instead of down from 35min.

Take as long as you need to feel confident in all your answer choices. Don't worry about the time, just try to get perfect. This way, you're giving yourself a chance to actually improve at thoroughly thinking through the questions, rather than rushing through them.

Track your progress, and once you're hitting your target score, THEN try to get a couple minutes faster each time, until you're under 35min per section. This way you're learning to do something WELL before learning to do it FAST.

Think about learning how to do anything difficult...tying your shoes for example. Now you can do it in 5 seconds. But if you made that your goal when you first learned at age 7, and just gave yourself 5 seconds to do the best you could (essentially what people do when they take timed PTs), you probably never would have learned to do it properly. You would have made mistakes and then started to engrain those mistakes into your muscle memory.

As long as you review and master all the questions you got wrong on each test before moving onto the next one, it's impossible not to improve.

You can check out my post about taking tests untimed here if you're interested - ... s-untimed/

Otherwise let me know if you have any questions and best of luck!


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby Logic » Mon May 14, 2018 2:12 pm

Let me make another suggestion: Try analyzing the LR questions more in-depth and foolproof LG with the 7sage method.

If you foolproof diligently, it is almost impossible for you not to begin to PT at -0 on LG. I was doing really bad in LG, until I began watching the 7SAGE videos. What is nice about the videos is that you get to learn strategies that would be helpful in other games: Common setups, common rule types, and inferences. The more you familiarize yourself with this process and strategies involved, the better you'd be at attacking LG.

I've tried different ways of analyzing my LR sections, but none works better than typing them out. To me, typing out my reasoning is like explaining the question/answer to another person, making sure that I am taking no mental shortcuts. When I started doing this, I realized how much I took for granted. Before, when reviewing I would just read over the question then pick the answer that fits the most much like I did in my first attempt. But typing out my thought forces me to relate the details better in a clear and concise manner which in turn trains me at pre-phrasing precisely. Once you've done this a lot of times, you would begin to see clearly how structurally similar LR questions are. Moreover, you would begin to notice the most efficient approaches to attacking a question.

With regard to timing, my time began to decrease when I pointed out the things I waste time on unnecessarily. I noticed that I was literally reading the whole question stems which was not a good use of my time. So I decided to become sensitive to certain words that signifies what is needed to answer the question.
Also, do not underestimate the amount of time you spend on difficult questions that you end up getting wrong. If you're not aiming for a 180, then you will definitely get questions wrong. Thus it is good to develop a habit of at least skipping and maybe coming back to questions that seem to be "out of your league."


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby MasterOfNone » Sun May 20, 2018 9:59 am

So I took another diagnostic yesterday and - surprise! - my score went back up to 152. I am noticing a pattern here haha.

Same deal as before: exactly 25 missed q's across the two LR sections, and 8-9 missed q's in the LG and RC sections. Frustrating.


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby sparkytrainer » Sun May 20, 2018 10:37 am

Immediately stop taking full tests. You need to focus on section by section.

Another poster was right, the free points are in games. Games are 100% learnable and I guarantee you that they are free points.

Stop working on other sections. Focus on games, then move to LR, then RC. Your goal needs to be getting 0 wrong on each section type both under untimed and timed conditions before moving on. DO NOT TOUCH ANOTHER SECTION UNTIL YOU CAN GET 0 WRONG CONSISTENTLY UNDER TIMED CONDITIONS. I mean this when I say it. You are in this for the long haul, which you recognized by not taking the June test. You need to focus on one thing at a time.

To learn games, there are some really great videos online. Just PRACTICE and PRACTICE more. Get 0 wrong untimed, then start timing. Once you have games down, move to LR. You need to memorize the 13 question types and be able to recall EXACTLY what the question is asking of you. Once you do that, that will go a long way in helping LR.

In all, it took me a full year of studying to get a 175+. I was like you, I didn't see much progress for a long time. The issue was spreading myself too thin and trying to learn too much at once plus timing. You need to control for that by working on each section alone until you can master it. Then once you can master them individually, start putting it all together.


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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby MasterOfNone » Tue May 22, 2018 2:45 pm

I went ahead and got Mike Kim's LSAT Trainer, and I think that I will go ahead and do the Trainer's 12-week prep routine over the summer in the lead-up to the September exam. From what I can tell, the Trainer is designed to kind of reorient the way you think about the LSAT, which is something that I had *hoped* to have gotten from the Testmasters course; again, the Testmasters course isn't bad, but it has just given me a more technical understanding of the exam rather than the kind of broad reorientation of my thinking that I had hoped for originally.

M evanz

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Re: Help diagnose what my issue might be

Postby M evanz » Tue May 29, 2018 3:51 am

From my personal experience thus far, the best way to increase your score is to start with a good foundation. That is: being a pro at identifying argument flaws and argument structure. I highly suggest looking into the LSAT Trainer. I got to chapter 30 and noticed that my LR was still very weak. I went back to the earlier chapters and told myself I wasn't going to move on until I felt like I understood everything that I could. I have seen some pretty drastic improvements since then, mainly from focusing solely on argument structure and identifying flaws. This has carried over to not only my LR sections but also RC.

Went from LR:-11,-11 RC:-10 LG:-4
LR:-4,-6 RC:-3 LG:-3

The more you build this "foundation" the more you'll realize how doable getting a high LSAT score is. After you have a solid foundation then it's time to move onto learning about specific question strategies and habitualize the process with work, tedious work. You don't want to keep doing practice tests because you are just going to reinforce bad habits. Don't mistake quantity for quality.

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