2 Weeks before the test in desperation

    • May 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm #1900

      I’ve officially come to a standstill in my score exactly now two weeks before the exam.

      I’ve scored a 158 on the last three PTs that I’ve gotten. Anyone got any suggestions? I’ve just about had it with this exam.

    • May 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm #1902

      You probably have to give a little more info for help from some people, such as…

      • how much studying / prep time have you put into the LSAT so far? for this preparation?
      • is this score where you started or where did you start? have you scored higher?
      • what sections are you getting most of your questions wrong on? is it a specific question or game type?
      • what is your target score / school that you would be happy attending?

      There are people better equipped to advise you here than I am, but they will be able to help more if they are provided with more information.  My guess is that you could consider delaying until September, or relax and just take it.  You may do better, and, if not, it can provide you better insight as to how the actual test is.  IIRC, schools don’t really care that much about multiple takes…especially if it’s only two.  Two weeks is [realistically] probably too short of a time frame to see a marked improvement unless it’s one or two very specific things that are really hurting you.

    • May 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm #1904

      My original goal was a 170, ambitiously wanting to apply to Columbia law school. I’m a Junior (technically now a senior) and have a 3.71 GPA. 158 has been the highest score (for the past three tests) and I started with a diagnostic of 140. I chose to self study.

      I’ve studied now close to 20-30 hours a week about every week since January (didn’t go on spring break or anything). I was able to give this much time because I took time off the internship I worked at the Florida Capitol and a job as an ambassador of my university for the entire semester (I used to work both). That way I could study for this exam and also focus on my classes.

      I’ve gone through the LSAT trainer, Powerscore LR and LG bibles, and now currently have taken to 7sage for some extra points, but to no avail.

      LR is definitely my weakest section since it is half the test. I miss about 8-10 per section on average, but this varies and sometimes I’ll only miss 4 or 5. The question types here are all over the place, so I can’t pin it down to just a few question types and drilling them over and over, because then I’d just be doing the whole section.

      I’ve read all the info, I know the stuff, I know the logic (I’m a philosophy major), its just a matter of execution under timed conditions. I was already originally (still am, I suppose) a slow reader and I know the test won’t reward that. So it only makes it more difficult to read, understand, and analyze these stimulus’ and answer choices in 35 minutes. The time constraint is my biggest issue; its just not enough time to go through it and do as well as I want to.

      I originally planned to take it now in June because if I didn’t do well I could take it again in September and I could apply still to Columbia for early admissions.

      I think thats about everything relevant to this story! — The most disappointing thing is that the 4 hours of this exam will determine where I go to law school although I’ve given it my best effort.

      This score is not the result of lack of studying or time of preparation or knowledge I’m missing. I really don’t know what else to do at this point, which is why I posted on this forum to see if anyone else has any last bit of hope for my score!

    • May 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm #1908

      Hi Marco,

      Your story sounds exactly like mine. Although I’m not usually a slow reader, I find I MUST slow down for accuracy. It is very discouraging for a Summa Cum Laude undergraduate to get a 141 on the LSAT! Yeah, I took it in February after studying the Kaplan book but once I got into that test room I went into panic mode. I know that I’m more thoroughly prepared now after the LSAT trainer and the LRB, still going through the LGB, just finished Mike’s ‘The Mastery Challenge’ game section and I feel STUPID. But, but, but, we still have 2 weeks and I do think that drilling will help improve our scores, you just might get close to that 170. Like you, I’m coming in at 158. Too bad you don’t live in Tampa, we could study!

      MIKE, HELP US!!! Only you can.

    • May 25, 2016 at 11:17 am #1913
      Mike Kim

      Hey Marcos —

      Sorry, but I don’t have anything magical to say — here are some thoughts though —

      1) You’ve probably heard me say this elsewhere, but this close to the test, I recommend that you consider the general improvement phase of your prep done, and switch the focus of your prep to ensuring that you score at the high end of your range of possible scores — basically practicing specifically to make sure that, per where you are at, you score as well as you can.

      I understand it’s tougher to think about things that way when your range of results isn’t where you want it to be, but that is what I think is best for helping you get as high a score as you can on test day. On a practical level, this means really making sure to focus on practicing efficient test day strategies, and making sure you do well what you know you can do well (as opposed to trying to change things up, which is what you’d be doing if your focus is on improving drastically in some way).

      For more tips on this, please check out the final chapters of the Trainer, and these posts on drilling and practice exams — especially #7 about taking your final pt’s.

      2) Having said that, in terms of one area where you can perhaps hope to try and improve and see a tangible benefit from that, I’m willing to bet, per what you’ve written, that you are having trouble focusing in on the argument in a stimulus, and on benefitting from that focus when it comes time to evaluate answers — being better able to focus in on the argument (or the equivalent areas of importance on non-argument based q’s) is the biggest key to making both timing and accuracy improvements, and again, I have a feeling that that’s an area where you might be able to see some gains.

      So, here’s a suggestion — as always, you know yourself best so please feel free to ignore me if you think this doesn’t apply to you/won’t help —

      a) Think of LR as a test of reading ability and mental discipline. You said yourself that you are already strong at the reasoning, so, considering that success requires you to bring reading, reasoning, and mental discipline together, it makes sense to try and manipulate the situation to make up for the reading/habit issues that you are having —

      More specifically, think of the stimulus as representing a general reading challenge — which is to see how different parts of the stimulus relate to one another and which parts make up the argument — and a general challenge of mental discipline — which is to focus in on the argument (and, related to that, the ability to allow everything else to fade into the background).

      And you can use this general understanding to get rid of most answers during your first glance through them, but, when it comes time to evaluate the most attractive right and wrong answers —

      At this point it’s time to shift gears —

      And you want to think of the reading challenge as specifically being about matching up and comparing exact words in the answer choices with the exact words used in the stimulus, and, in terms of focus — your job is to evaluate whether the answer matches the specific argument (again, as opposed to the other information in the stimulus) and the specific task (given in the q stem). —

      To me, it’s very much like RC, in that a huge challenge is that you are expected to see both the big picture and specifics, and the best way to do both well is to start by focusing first on big picture concerns and then to get more and more focused on specific concerns (such as exact wording) as you get closer and closer to zeroing in on a right answer.

      Hope that all makes sense — again, your brain will naturally want to spend the majority of its energy thinking about the reasoning — that’s what it’s designed to do and that’s what it’s used to doing — it’s not used to thinking about how you are reading something, etc. — by telling yourself it’s a test of reading and mental discipline, you can help give those areas more of the attention they require.

      3) You can always retake, and schools only care about your top score.

      4) The last point I’ll make is that 140 to 158 is a huge improvement — I know that you want higher, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if at the end of it all you end up with a 170+ score — but a) you can’t beat yourself up for “only” coming this far and b) looking back at how far you’ve come should be some of the best proof your confidence needs for knowing there is still plenty of room to continue improving.

      Hope you found at least some of that helpful — good luck to both u and Carmen! — MK

    • May 26, 2016 at 12:41 pm #1917
      Mike Kim

      And, if you are looking for a little motivational pick me up, especially right before test day — try clicking on the autotelic at the bottom of this page.

    • May 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm #1924

      Dear Mike and Marcos,

      I was really ready to give up after doing half of PT 37 and getting 11 wrong in each of the first 2 sections. But i read your autotelic and was inspired to keep going for the next 9 days. Do you keep that same entry or do you change it periodically? Love the Arena image, remember Ben-Hur, “There is no law in the arena.” Great movie.

      Marcos, how are you doing?

    • May 30, 2016 at 6:30 am #1935
      Mike Kim

      Oh gosh – I do remember Ben-Hur — in fact, I think I pretty much base my image of what an arena was like from that movie —

      I don’t change up the quote — before I mentioned it to you, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who even knew it was there — just a little pick-me-up whenever I need it — have a great week 🙂 — mk

    • May 30, 2016 at 11:01 am #1936

      Carmen, I’m from Orlando and I’m taking the test here! Close enough, huh? Last week after I finished looking through my PT and posting on here I decided the best thing to do was to take a break for the rest of the week. I collected all of the books I’ve read and all of the PTs that I’ve taken and took a look through mountain of material that I had gone through. I realized that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be and know as much as I need to know, now its just a matter of execution.

      I’m going to take a few more practice section, maybe another practice exam or two just to stay sharp between now and Monday, but that will be it. Might even go drinking around the world at Epcot some time this week to get my mind off this test hahaha!

      Honestly, when I checked that last PT and decided to take a break, it almost felt like I was already getting denied from my dream law school, but I know I shouldn’t think like that. Anything can happen!


      Mike —

      Thanks for the response and being so dedicated to all of your students! I took what you said to heart and tried to readjust. For the most part, though, I don’t really have a problem focusing in on the argument. I always read the stimulus and find the conclusion, then ask “okay, why?” So then I find the premise(s) and see how its supports the conclusion. I think about what problem(s) there is with the argument and head on down to the answer choices.

      I think the tough time I have is mostly in the answer choices; most of the time what will happen when I get a question wrong is that I’ll be between two and I’ll pick the wrong one between those two. And I leave the other one I didn’t chose un marked so that I can see if that is what happened after I finish the section or test. I just don’t feel like I have enough time to reason the answers out and need to move on (and thats because I don’t, because most of the time I get to the last question and finish it with only seconds to spare). I do as you say and check the specific words of the answer choices to the stimulus, but I’m still missing plenty of questions.

      Like I said above, I think at this point its just a matter of execution on the day of the test and I feel plenty ready and plenty confident though I’m still feeling anxious about it.



    • May 31, 2016 at 10:46 am #1939

      Hi Marco,

      I’m with you, going to practice my game skills and do the last 3 tests, 75, 76, 77 before Monday. If you want to text me, my number is 813-784-7810, we can share notes after practice sessions if you have time. Absolutely, go out with your friends, sometimes coming back gives you a new perspective. Being in ‘lockdown’ causes stress for me anyway. Which is your dream law school? What kind of law do you want to practice? I’m only interested in criminal law, my heroes are Clarence Darrow and Alan Dershowitz. Hope to hear from you!

      Hi Mike, yes, thank you for all your support and I’m sure I’ll be checking in during the week. Actually did the grosbeaks and the shrikes, haha, I STILL can’t see how jays and shrikes could be in the forest at the same time but maybe it will dawn on me later on. The arena in Ben-Hur IS the way I picture the chariot races. One day we’ll have to do a compare/contrast between Ben-Hur and Gladiator. Wish we all lived closer together, we need a ‘game night’ ala Trivial Pursuits’ using LSAT material along with movie trivia. OK, you can see I’m digressing…..off to logic games practice.

    • June 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm #1943

      Mr. Kim, Do you still recommend the test from 2007, or more recent ones? Thank you!

    • June 2, 2016 at 9:50 am #1947
      Mike Kim

      Hi Trasi — the 2007 exams are still very relevant, but the newest tests will be slightly more representative of what you are likely to see on test day — hope the studying is going well! — Mike

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.