December 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm #1093kellyParticipant
I’m trying to decide if I want to take the February or June LSAT. What are the possible drawbacks of setting my study schedule back 6 months? How likely am I to weaken skills/habits that I have now? I’m concerned that if I wait, I might actually put myself in a worse position because there will be so much lag time between when I learned the concepts and the actual test. In your experience tutoring, have you generally seen people improve with that much more time?
I have been using the LSAT Trainer with the 16 week study schedule, and I’m on target to start the string of full-length practice tests. If I follow the schedule, that would bring me right up to the February test date. However, I don’t feel confident about my timing overall, or the logic games in general. I took a full-length exam recently, and scored at the low end of my goal range (165-170) with taking about two minutes extra to finish each section.
So, it seems like I have two options: (A) finish the Trainer schedule on time, maybe squeeze in some extra logic games work, and take the test in February or, (B) take some extra practice exams, work through a specialty book on logic games, and take the test in June.
Of course, please let me know if there’s any necessary info that I left out. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
December 28, 2015 at 1:45 am #1099sarahfatimaParticipant
Hey kelly, just chiming in. I am no expert so you are most welcome to ignore what i say. From what i have read and understood so far, you need to give time to yourself to do your best in LSAT. Rushing through would not help you. If you keep practising tests once you get done with your core curriculum I don’t think you will “forget” what you learnt. These skills actually get better with time as long as you keep at it. I think giving the exam in June makes more sense since you ll get more time to practise tests and then analyse your weaknesses. Hope this helps. 🙂
December 28, 2015 at 5:55 am #1103dannypearlbergParticipant
Yes, no need to worry about forgetting the concepts that you’ve been working on 🙂 That said, it sounds to me like it would probably be worth your while to aim for taking it in February and see what kind of scores you get on the practice tests in the weeks leading up to it. It also sounds like logic games should be your main focus between now and February. Can you give more details about how you’ve been doing on the logic games?
December 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm #1124Mike KimKeymaster
Great q — you definitely fit into a gray area where it’s tough for me to say you should certainly take in Feb or June — but here are some thoughts to help you work through it —
1) In terms of a goal score, there are practical considerations (score you need in order to go to the school you want) and “in a perfect world” considerations (you should try to score as high as you possibly can, no matter what you may need in order to get into your goal schools)
2) there are also, of course, timing considerations — waiting until June means, among other things, perhaps delaying law school for a year (unless you were taking Feb with plan of applying in the fall)
3) in terms of your goal score, being at the low end of it, at this stage of the game, is great, and, as long as you’ve built a solid foundation, I expect your score to go up in the weeks ahead, hopefully to the point that you can go into the exam very confident you can achieve your goals.
4) it’s also not uncommon for logic games to better click for students at around this stage in your study process, and it may be possible for you to perhaps just spend a few extra days or a week or getting additional LG work in to get to a better place.
5) so, per all those thoughts, if you want to rev up for Feb I think, per what you’ve told me, that you are in a great place to do so.
6) if you do want to work on LG, what I would suggest (in addition to all the advice given by others) is that you start by reviewing the lessons you’ve already learned and the work you’ve already done. Go through all the games you’ve played and see how strong a big picture sense you can get of all that can happen in games, and how you should lay out basic diagrams. Go through all the rules you’ve seen and study the ones you weren’t comfortable diagramming and try to address those issues, etc. You may find some of the suggestions/exercises mentioned in this article to be helpful — http://thelsattrainer.academy/the-logic-games-assessment-quiz/.
7) You know yourself best, and if timing isn’t an issue, and you think you can be better prepared for the exam if you take it in June, my advice would be to wait. Because of how important and learnable this test is, you really owe yourself a shot at performing at your best.
Hope you find those thoughts helpful, and if you have any follow up let me know —
December 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm #1135tara-tutorParticipant
Just to reiterate some points already made. Generally I am a strong advocate that more time will always be useful and your score will go up if you continue to study for longer periods of time. The only reason you’d “forget” concepts is if you just stopped continually studying between February and June. However, it does sound from what your saying that you will probably be ready to write in February. But, keep in mind you still have some time to decide if you want to cancel or defer your test. You can get a partial refund up until January 12. And even though you’ll lose your fee you can even cancel the night before the test. So if as the February test approaches and you don’t feel ready you can always cancel then. Only you will know if you are ready or not. But if you do want to attend law school for fall 2016 then you should try to keep your February test date 🙂
January 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm #1393justicedstParticipant
Unfortunately, I did it again. I am completely burnt out and I am scheduled to take the February LSAT! The worse part is that I am still unsure about certain games and question types. Let me give you a little history: I started studying in March 2015 and I took the June 2015 LSAT. I have many books and online courses to reference: The Trainer, Powerscore, Manhattan, every Official LSAT Preptest, two paid self study online courses, etc. Initially (in 2015), I studied primarily from one of the paid online courses and used the Trainer as a supplement. I studied approximately three to four hours a day M-F and Sat and Sun, I studied 5 to 6 hours each day. I did this while taking care of a family and working full time. Looking back on the situation, I did not take any practice tests or timed sections because I wanted to master each section, first. However, I did not master anything, maybe understood it better, but thats it! Anyway, a month before the test, I was mentally exhausted and I could not get myself to study. This has never happened. I lacked the motivation to simply look at anything dealing with the LSAT, despite the fact that the test was right round the corner. When I finally got out of that state of mind and began studying again, I noticed that I had forgotten some of the information that I had learned. Nevertheless, I took the LSAT and did less than stellar. I re-evaluated what I had done and began studying again in Oct. 2015. To make a long story short (too late), I unintentionally did the same thing, again and burnt myself out. Now the Feb LSAT is right around the corner.
I will say, that in Jan 2016, I began studying the Trainer exclusively and I saw more progress in a short period of time. But now I am burnt out and it has been a week since I opened a book. I am also not 100% confident about this test. Putting law school off for another year is not an option, so I am thinking about changing to the June 2016 test because the schools I am apply will accept them. My questions are: 1) Would you advise me on how to master an LSAT section without burning myself out?, 2) Should I start your 16 week program or just study certain question types?, and 3) When following the study schedule, when and how often should I review the previous studied sections (for retention purposes). Your help is desperately needed! Thanks.
January 27, 2016 at 11:59 am #1408Mike KimKeymaster
Hi there —
I can definitely sense that you feel overwhelmed — in my personal experience, when I’ve felt something similar to what I imagine you describe as burnout, it happens when there is simply too much to think about at one time — your brain just has too many factors to consider, and not enough direction for how to do so, and it prefers to find excuses to get away from that mess —
You know yourself best, so as I often say, please feel free to ignore any advice that you feel doesn’t apply to you, but here are some thoughts that come to mind that I hope you might find useful —
1) If at all possible, wait to take until the June exam
In terms of conflicting info for your mind to consider, on one side you’ve got the frustration of having studied for this exam longer than you’d like (and the associated guilt, stress, etc.), and on the other side, of course you want to perform as well as you possibly can, and it seems, per what you’ve mentioned, that you have the sense that you haven’t put yourself in a position to do that as of yet.
It makes no rational sense that a 100 question multiple choice exam should play such a huge role in the lives of individuals who want to be lawyers, but the reality is that it does (the LSAT plays an even bigger role in admissions than your GPA, which you likely had to work 4 or more years to earn) — and so, because of the situation, I believe the smart decision is to spend as much time as you possibly need to score at your best. You didn’t beat yourself up for not graduating college in a year, and so you shouldn’t think twice about giving yourself more time to study for this exam.
When it comes to something as important to your career as this exam, I believe it’s a gazillion times more important to do things right rather than fast — again, I understand that this is an ideal and life can present other more stressing issues, but I think you know that waiting until June will give you a better chance to perform better, and so if that’s workable that’s certainly what I would suggest.
2) Take a few days off from your normal prep to do a general assessment of where you are now and where you want to get to —
The way I suggest you perform this general overview is by putting together, for yourself, a big picture outline of all the various things you need to master for each for the sections —
For example, for LG, you might list out all the different things you have to be able to diagram well, or different types of games or rules you have to be comfortable with, or for RC, you can list out the different things you want to be good at — such as having effective reading habits, or specific ways in which you know you can effectively attack each of the q types — and so on —
You can either use your own personal experience to create these categories, or you can use the layout of the Trainer — that is, you can make each of the points that the Trainer focuses on (for example, for LR, it might include general abilities such as finding flaws and more specific abilities such as being able to deal with each of the q types) —
Again, take plenty of time to do this, make several drafts if you need to, and know that just doing so also happens to a great way for you to review the work you’ve done in the past.
Additionally, I suggest that for each of those items you put on your master outline, you set up 4 different “check boxes” — one each for understanding (I understanding this topic), strategies (I know how I can deal with this on the exam), skills (I feel confident I can deal with this when I recognize it) and habits (I know I can consistently utilize my skills at the right time and in the right way) —
Now, moving forward in your prep, this outline can serve as a blueprint of all the things you want to accomplish in order to feel that you are ready to perform at your best.
As you go through the Trainer again (more on this later) and do additional practice work and so on, keep in mind that you want to be able to tick out those boxes, and work to do so — by the time all those boxes are ticked off, you will be ready —
And, should your understanding of what is important for you to master change during your studies, you can reflect that on your master notes/outline.
3) Focus on quality rather than quantity
Your score will not go up because you finish X number of learning products or take X number of practice exams or spend X number of hours studying —
Your score will go up when you improve your understanding, strategies, skills, and habits, and so you want to make those the focal point of your planning and practice.
Don’t worry about getting in a ton of practice and instead, make sure that when you do practice, you will not be disturbed and you can be totally focused (I think sessions that are roughly an hour to an hour and a half are best for this, but you know yourself best, and the length of time over which you can really keep focus easily and consistently should ideally grow during your prep).
And more importantly, make sure you are thinking of accomplishing something that directly impacts your performance, rather than thinking in terms of accomplishing a volume of work.
At the end of every single study session, you should feel that you have improved your understanding, strategies, skills, or habits — go into your session with these sorts of goals in mind, and evaluate the effectiveness of your session in terms of how well you accomplished them (and track off those boxes from the overall outline as your mastery of individual parts improves, which can be so, so, satisfying).
Again, don’t worry about getting in a ton of learning products or a ton of pts — plenty of people have gotten top scores just studying from the trainer (and plenty just studying from the other learning products you mentioned as well) — instead, choose your tools carefully and make sure to focus on maximizing their value.
4) Lastly, if you decide to go with the Trainer, I suggest that you utilize one of these two 12 week schedules —
Using a 12 week schedule will give you some more time should you need it to master something, or should you need to take a break should life get in the way (I have kids, too) and so on —
Again, per what you’ve told me about the various things you have to juggle, it seems that either of the above will give you the right amount of guidance while also allowing for enough flexibility.
Here are a few things I worked hard to build into the Trainer and those schedules that I think are most relevant to some of your concerns —
1) those schedules account for all the variety of work you have to do — if you follow them, you will cover everything you need to cover in order to cross off all those boxes on whatever outline you create.
2) the book and those schedules are designed to help you split up your work into manageable, bite-sized pieces that come together with “multiplicative” impact (as discussed in the intro of the trainer) —
I think that a great way to study is to
a) have small,clear, important, and manageable goals to accomplish &
b) have a structure where the mastery you develop comes together as efficiently as possible —
You mentioned returning to review things you’ve covered before — you certainly do want to do that at points, but, to highlight some of what I mean with the above points and what is already built into the Trainer —
Certain early chapters focus on helping you strengthen your ability to identify flaws in LR q’s in a general way, and then later chapters focus on show you how to apply this to a variety of different challenges presented by the different q types —
The planning of the drills and pt’s and such work in much the same way in that they present individual tasks (and specifically are most important for building skills and habits) — and flow naturally, and build upon, what you learn in the book (so that, for example, you learn about a certain q type/get strategies, and then drill that q type) —
All that is a very complicated way of saying that I’ve done my built to naturally build in the review and organization and such you seek into the schedule, and so following it should help you feel you are getting enough help with all of that.
Whew! Sorry for the length but I hope that helps — if you have any follow-up q’s just let me know —
Wish you the best with everything – Mike
January 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm #1409justicedstParticipant
A thousand “Thank you’s”! I really appreciate your time and advice….priceless. I have printed your response out and will follow and refer back to it often. Amazing, really…this advice is truly one of the wonders of the world. Well, to me. I have been on Lost Island for a while but your personalized advice from actual experience is the boat I needed to return to civilization.
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