6 Months with The Trainer

    • December 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm #1012

      Hey Mike,

      Just purchased The Trainer and joined the site.

      My question is related to pacing with a 6 month schedule.

      I bombed the December 2015 LSAT to the point where I think a re-learning of the fundamentals is in order. Instead of retaking in February, I have decided to simply get my essays in order and take the June 2016 LSAT.

      I noticed that the maximum length of the pre-made schedules you have available is 4 months.

      Do you have on any recommendations on how to tentatively plan to use those extra 2 months to keep things as fresh as possible? Other sites have said simple more full-length PTs, but I know you tend to not go with the cookie-cutter answer and would love to hear your thoughts.


    • December 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm #1020
      Mike Kim

      Hey JayD —

      Thanks for trusting in the trainer and joining the site —

      I think it’s great that you are giving yourself plenty of time to study and I think it gives you the chance to really do things right —

      You know your situation best, and some of my thoughts may not apply to you (per the work you’ve already put in, your strengths/weaknesses, etc.) — but in general, what I would suggest is that

      1) you start off with the 16 week, 20 exam schedule +

      2) an understanding that you have an extra cushion to address certain needs as they arise —

      You can even make #2 more “real” by printing out 12 (or however many additional weeks there are until the June exam) extra blank weekly schedule sheets, and knowing that you can assign them to yourself as you see fit —

      A big reason I suggest this is that different prep schedules are ideal for different types of students, and, in order to fit your schedule best to your needs, it really helps to have some flexibility — having these extra weeks and unassigned problems gives you that —

      More specifically, by starting off by just assigning 16 weeks and 20 exams worth of work, you can —

      a) fit in additional learning materials/study time if you feel you might need that

      b) fit in extra drilling if, for example, you notice it really helping your score and you want to keep doing more of it —

      c) during the practice test phase, if you find you still have some gaps in skillset / weaknesses, you can take the time to go back and fix things

      d) worst comes to worst, you won’t need any of this, and you’ll be ready before test day, and you can just keep taking more pt’s to fine tune your skills —

      Obviously, it’s really important to set goals and expect yourself to accomplish them, but it’s also important to give yourself the chance to get in whatever extra work you might need, and I think that starting off w/the above plan is a great way to accomplish both of those things —

      I hope that helps — if you have any follow up just let me know, and I’m happy to offer more specific advice along the way if and when you need it — MK

    • December 12, 2015 at 7:44 am #1041


      I really appreciate the in-depth answer; it really helped me solidify my study plan as well as not make me “freak out” about taking some extra time.

      My question this time pertains to drilling:

      I just got done with Chapter 9, and struggled with a two questions on the “Argument-Based Question Set”. I made notes about these questions and what went wrong in my thought process in the study-plan book.

      While these questions are eating at me, I know it is not the time to begin drilling questions types.

      My question is: When do you think it is appropriate to classify a question type as weakness and perhaps put in some extra drill time on the side?

      Thanks in advance,


    • December 14, 2015 at 4:43 pm #1047
      Mike Kim

      Hey JD —

      Glad to help and great q —

      If if I were you, I would wait until you have gotten through specific instruction about each of the q types and have tried at least one go-around at drilling them — more specifically, for LR, that would be after you read the chapters on individual q types (which start in lesson 16) and go through your first assigned drill set for each type, for LG, I think your first main assessment can come after you’ve finished your first set of drills and read up through at least lesson 27 (29 if you want to wait), and for RC you can plan on assessing after going through your first set of drills and up through lesson 36 — it’s great to constantly assess yourself, as you seem to be doing, but I promise that at those later points, it’ll be much easier for you to recognize strengths and weaknesses, and you should expect to have a lot better sense, by that point, of exactly how you can overcome those weaknesses — and, assessing at that point will still give you more than enough time to get in whatever other work will suit you best —

      Hope that helps and if you have any follow up don’t hesitate to reach out — MK

    • December 18, 2015 at 7:24 am #1072


      I know this is covered a little bit in the free study schedule packets, but I wanted to see if you could go a bit more in depth.

      I am about to embark on the first Logic Games drill set. I’ve looked through the book and official site and cant really find anything that answers these two questions:

      1) How are we supposed to manage timing in these drill sets? I know in the book you listed recommended times, but said not to worry; do you have any overarching advice for timing the games sets?

      2) There are a lot of ways to solve the games out there, and I know you mention that we should focus on process more than “use this diagram” type of solutions. With that being said, do you have any recommendations for ensuring that we are setting up efficient diagrams, and not making things to hard on ourselves?

      Loving the trainer so far; I feel like I am making significant and real strides!


    • December 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm #1077

      Even I was wondering about the timing. When we do the questions at the end of each chapter and the drills sets what should be our timing strategy? How much time? What do we do if we end up taking too much time? Does that mean our fundamental understanding is weak? Or should we not worry about it?


    • December 21, 2015 at 11:45 am #1082
      Mike Kim

      Hey —

      So, in terms of timing, you can think about your concerns as being two distinct ones:

      1 – you want to get good at utilizing the time you have in a section efficiently — you want to get better and better at getting more and more points out of 35 minutes worth of work &

      2 – you want to get faster and faster at solving individual q’s —

      If you prepare for the test in the right way, the amount of time problems/games/passages take you should change drastically (mostly because your process will change drastically) — and the great news is that improved mastery and improved timing coincide — you get better in large part by focusing better on the right concerns, and this will be the most significant factor that cuts down your time —

      And so I believe it makes sense to focus as much as you can on timing concern #2 first (and do so in terms of improving time by improving focus/process, rather than trying to “think faster,” which you can’t do) — and then, closer to test day, when you basically “are” the test taker you are going to be on test day, shift to also focusing on timing concern #1 —

      So with all that said, more specifically, I suggest —

      1 – in the back of your mind, remember that you want to end up at about 1:20 per LR (or less if possible) and 8:30 per LG and RC (or less is possible) — but keep in mind that individual q’s and games and passages can vary drastically from this — a tough game, even when played well, might take over 10 mins, and an easy game you played in 7 minutes perhaps could have been played in 5 — so, do make sure your overall averages aren’t extreme, but beyond that, keep working to get as fast as  you possibly can on each individual q or game type, or RC passage, again, fully recognizing that there can be a significant amount of variation. As an added bonus, keep in mind that if you can get crazy fast at a few common q types that happen to be your strengths — for example, if you can solve flaw questions, on average, in well less than 1 minute, or if, on average, you can finish basic ordering games in 6 or 7 minutes (or even less), it gives you a great cushion for the tougher q’s.

      2 – Time everything drill you do, keep track of your time, expect your average times to improve, and, once you are deep into your learning, focus on knowing well when you are about to spend too much time on a q and practice systems for mitigating potential damage (I’ll discuss this type of stuff more in later chapters) — generally speaking, I recommend that you develop certain habits for retracing steps, re-evaluating answers, and whatnot, and that you rely on this habits to tell you when to move on from a problem so that you don’t end up spending too much time — I believe this is better than, for example, simply telling yourself something like “I have at most 30 extra seconds when I get stuck on an LR” — this type of thought can be useful, but again, I think it’s better to tie timing strategies to habits (so that you aren’t fighting yourself) and you can do that by aligning your timing strategies to the strategies you have for solving q’s (that is, you come up with efficient strategies, and focus on using them effectively, and use that as your way of getting faster and faster) —

      3 — however, for the most part, other than trying to get better at cutting loose on a problem where you are clearly wasting time, don’t limit yourself because of time — that is, don’t stop work on an RC section because you hit the 35 minute mark, and so on — instead, go as fast as you can, but go beyond that time (for now) if necessary — if, in order to implement the strategies you want to employ effectively, it takes you 45 minutes now, no matter how fast you try to go, well, you want to know that, and you want to improve it, so keep timing yourself but not being limited by it, and make it your goal that as you get better and better your timing goes down to 42, 40, 38, 35, 32, and so on —

      4 — to summarize — don’t every be lazy about timing (your ultimate goal is to get really fast at taking a time-pressurized exam) but don’t beat yourself up over it — not yet 🙂 — you have plenty of time for that later — for now, try to assess it accurately, try to use it to see where you need to get better, and try to improve it as you get better and better at solving q’s —

      Keep in mind that I do have a lot more about timing strategies and whatnot deeper into the book, but if you have any concerns for now that I haven’t addressed, just let me know and I’ll be happy to continue talking about it —

      Next, in terms of setting up efficient diagrams — I definitely think it’s hugely important to work on this — and this will be a big focus of the latter LG chapters, so, it might be best to hold off on q’s about this for now (though I’m more than happy to help with anything if it’s blocking your path at this moment), and, if those chapters don’t take care of everything for you, we can tie up any loose ends together here — MK


    • December 21, 2015 at 10:20 pm #1085

      Alright! Thank you. For the time being this is more than sufficient. ?

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