Reply To: how to improve speed with accuracy

December 14, 2016 at 11:48 am #2908
Mike Kim

Hi — that’s a great question and a very important one —

Two quick thoughts about the design/nature of the LSAT —

1) Nearly everyone who takes the exam is impacted by the time restraints, and nearly everyone who takes it would perform better if given more time/untimed. So, ultimately, you do want to think of this not just as a test of how many problems you can get right, but rather a challenge where you try to get as many right as you can within a limited amount of time.

2) Also per the design of the test, and I think this is the point most critical to your studies — often, getting better and getting faster happen at the same time, and there are many steps you can take to simultaneously improve at both. On the flip side, you want to be careful about adopting methods/habits that cause you to sacrifice accuracy for time and vice-versa — for example, a strategy that promises accuracy but involves a ton of seemingly unnecessary steps that seem to take up a lot of time is almost guaranteed to be a bad one.

Two main reasons why LSAT accuracy and speed should naturally improve together are that

1) The LSAT is in large part a test of your reading ability, and, more specifically — your ability to focus on what they tell you focus on in the way they tell you to focus on it — as you get better and better at knowing what you are supposed to read for and how, and as you gain familiarity with the exam, you should get faster and faster at reading the test,, and better and better at reading it in a way that matches the design of the questions.

2) (related to the above) The LSAT is also in large part a test of your mental discipline — your ability to understand the tasks you are given and to focus in on them — as you learn more and more about what the LSAT is asking of from you, and as you get better and better at sticking to those tasks, again, you should get both faster and more accurate.

Putting it together, here are a few specific / fundamental / important ways that you can get both faster and more accurate at the same time —

all of these are, of course, heavily emphasized throughout the Trainer —

1) For LR — work to get better and better at accurately identifying and focusing in on the argument — the vast majority of questions will require this of you and will reward you for being able to do so. Being able to think about just the argument, as opposed to trying to keep the entire stimulus all organized in your head, allows you to simultaneously go far faster and be far more accurate.

2) For LG — work to get better and better at diagramming — with the end goal that your diagramming methods become so intuitive that you don’t have to focus directly on them — you can just focus on playing the game itself — again, getting to this level of skill will help tremendously with both speed and accuracy.

3) For RC — work to get better and better at seeing reasoning structure — again, this is something that will allow you to go far faster while also helping you focus in on the information that will be most important to answering the questions (which will help you be far more accurate) —

There are a million other steps you can take, but to me those three are the principle ones —

Whenever you learn and try to implement new methods — such as new LG diagramming techniques — it’s understandable that you may slow down at first — but, again, as I emphasized above, there are many methods that should, over the long run, help you get both faster and more accurate —

Those are the thoughts that come to mind — hope that helps and wish you the best — Mike