LSAT Retake Advice

  • June 11, 2018 at 10:53 pm #136167
    georgegao93
    Participant

    Hi Mike and Dan,

    As an avid reader of the LSAT trainer, and having been able to score somewhat consistently in the 170-175 range on my PT’s after following the book’s instructions, I was very disappointed to get 165 on my LSAT last December. I enrolled to take the September LSAT and is looking for some advice on steps moving forward.

    I believe the biggest factor to my failure was my nervousness. On some questions my head went mush and I had to repeat reading the question a few times while on others I felt the question was too easy and yet I was inconfident in answering them. This rarely occurred while I did the PT’s. The problem was especially bad for the LG section as I typically score -0 and yet scored a -5 on the actual. This was after I failed to diagramm one of the games.

    Having that said, do you think I should continue to self study and solidify habits so I am better able to keep my cool under pressure? Or perhaps I should seek out a tutor to give a second opinion on underlying weaknesses that I might’ve missed? I even tried a prep class from ManhattanPrep recently but found too much overlap with what I’ve learned from the Trainer, but perhaps structured learning is helpful in my case considering how self studying did not help with my first attempt?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    George

  • June 13, 2018 at 10:02 am #136168
    Mike Kim
    Keymaster

    Hey George —

    I am an extremely nervous person myself so I can certainly understand the challenge —

    It also sounds like you didn’t do too bad other than that one game, so, if it wasn’t for that, you could have still gotten into or close to your range —

    It’s obvious you are “right there” in terms of your score, and I expect that regardless of how you choose to study, you’ll end up with a score that you are happy with in September —

    In terms of continuing to drill and work to get better, I have two specific suggestions for you —

    1) See if you can really push yourself to get even faster than you are now, so that, on a good day, you can finish a section in 30 minutes, or something like that — having a little bit of relief from the time pressure can be of huge benefit when you are nervous (or, more accurately, feeling pressed for time feels absolutely terrible when you are nervous and so you want to try and mitigate that as much as possible). This type of speed can obviously be most helpful for LG and the off chance you run into that bizarre game that takes longer to get through.

    2) For LR and RC, make sure you are really pushing yourself to arrive at the right answer two ways — by finding specific reasons for why wrong answers are wrong and eliminating them, and finding specific reasons for why the right answer is right and choosing it.

    Especially at the highest levels, this sort of “two-way authorization” can be hugely beneficial for catching any mistakes you might make in real time / getting around some of the tests’ biggest challenges in real time (for example, some of the hardest q’s are ones where the right answer isn’t obvious, and the key to success is your elimination skill).

    In terms of tutoring — if done right, I think it can be really, really useful for you — exactly for the reasons you mentioned —

    Problem for you is — it’s going to be tough for you to find a tutor who is actually much better than you at the test / knows much more about the test than you do, and, amongst these potential tutors, only a very small portion will be any good at using what they know to help you get better. So you’ll want to pick carefully —

    Obviously, I have a connection with Manhattan and think their tutors are great —

    And, even more fortunately, Dan Oakes happens to, in my opinion, fit those criteria very well, and he literally charges a quarter of what I think he should per hour — so, if you are interested, you should definitely reach out to him for tutoring as well — http://www.acmelsatprep.com/

    HTH and let me know if you have any follow-up or need anything else —

    Mike

  • June 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm #136169
    georgegao93
    Participant

    Thank you Mike, for such a thorough and insightful response.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, my goal should basically be to really nail the basics so my performance is more consistent and reliable.

    I recently got the ManhattanPrep Strategy Guides to help with that. If you have any good tips regarding how the Strategy Guides can work in conjunction with the Trainer to maximize results then please let me know.

    In the meanwhile I’m waiting to hear back from Dan.

    Thanks again and all the best,

    George

  • June 18, 2018 at 6:33 pm #136170
    LSAT Dan
    Participant

    Hi George (and Mike).

    Apologies…I’ve had a hectic week and hadn’t checked in lately. I think Mike’s advice is excellent (as always). I think practicing 5-section full-length exams (which I know from your email is something you weren’t going last year) is very useful, both for simulating exam conditions as closely as possible and also mental stamina. I’d be happy to work with you in advance of the September exam.

    In the meantime, maybe I’ll quadruple my rates…

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