March 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm #1627
I am currently on track to take the June LSAT and have already finished the Trainer and begun going through the Powerscore books. As I am doing this however, I constantly find myself going back to the Trainer techniques because I am more comfortable with them and I feel that they are more intuitive. At this point, I am wondering whether I should continue going through the Powerscores or if I should just practice and review the Trainer techniques.
Has anyone been in this situation? I am not quite sure what to do.
I appreciate the help!
March 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm #1629Mike KimKeymaster
So this site is probably not the best place to get a fair viewpoint on your q, and I’m most certainly not the person who can give the most unbiased views (and for that, just so you know, there are lots of threads on TLS and Reddit/lsat about using the Trainer and PS together, Trainer vs PS, etc.), but at the same time…
I do genuinely believe that how effective a learning product can be is based on “fit,” and different LSAT study products, and different combinations of LSAT study products, fit different students best — so a big part of prep success has to do with figuring out the best method/combination of methods uniquely suited for you —
In terms of making that decision, here are some considerations that I think are very important and useful to think about —
1) I developed the Trainer to be a stand alone guide, and went to what I felt were extreme lengths to ensure that it could be depended on as such, and so you don’t need to feel any concern that you are leaving yourself thin by just using the Trainer.
In terms of the pudding part of the proof, there are now countless stories online of people who used just the Trainer + practice tests to achieve their goal scores. On the flip side, it’s hard to find many stories of students who felt the Trainer left them unprepared for something they had to face on test day.
2) The very same things can be said about the Powerscore products. And on top of that, in my time in the industry, and from my limited viewpoint, my sense is that Powerscore products have helped more people get top scores than any other LSAT study tool. You cannot discount that track record.
3) I think perhaps a good analogy for the situation is that they are like two different Algebra books — you don’t have to feel like you are screwing yourself if you find one to be enough, but, at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to use two if you think two would be helpful, and often, even if you prefer one more in general, the other can still provide valuable insight from a different perspective.
4) The biggest counter-argument that I see to utilizing multiple study products is opportunity cost — you may be better off spending that time doing drill sets or practice problems or reviewing your work or whatever.
5) And finally, again, figuring out whether you need more study tools or not is a decision you have to make for yourself, and I think your review process can be very helpful for making this determination correctly.
So, when you try problems and review them after the fact, it’s very helpful to try to gauge as honestly and accurately as you can whether —
a) you had trouble because your understanding of the issues behind the problem is incorrect, incomplete, or just as clear as you want it to be.
b) you had trouble because you feel you don’t have adequate strategies for dealing with a particular situation.
c) you had trouble because, even though you can understand the problem after the fact and see how you could have solved it more easily and correctly, you just didn’t execute in the moment.
d) some combination of the above.
If and when you determine that a) and b) are what are holding you back, that’s, I think, when reaching for other study products offers the best chance for added benefit. If you feel c) more of the time, then I think that’s when, generally, better drilling and review of work/learning you’ve already done will generally prove more worthy of your time.
Obviously making such determinations–figuring out why we are having trouble–is inherently subjective — and there are plenty of times when we are wrong in our own assessments —
Still, I think it’s is one of the best gauges we’ve got, and, on top of that, the very act of trying to make such determinations is, I believe, very, very helpful for getting better at the test — it is, in and of itself, great mental training.
Again, I realize I am not the best person to discuss this issue, and I’d love to hear what others have to say, but those are some of my thoughts and I hope you find them helpful —
March 30, 2016 at 10:21 am #1640
Thanks Mike, you are the man!
I also have another specific question on this topic that might make or break my decision: do you think that time is generally better spent drilling, reviewing, and practicing rather than learning more (given the circumstances that I feel comfortable with the trainer techniques.
April 1, 2016 at 10:16 am #1648Mike KimKeymaster
Hey Marcos —
“Might make or break my decision” — that’s a lot of pressure! —
Alright — here are my thoughts —
1) If the Trainer system works for you and helps you feel comfortable with the test, I feel that drilling is where it’s at —
I think of myself very much like a coach, and I can help show you what to do, but, in order to get better, you have to actually practice, in the way that Steph Curry has to practice — drilling is where you convert what you’ve learned into your skillset and your habits, and so if you feel ready I absolutely recommend you move on to focusing on drill work, and, if you are going to overinvest time in any one area of your prep, drilling (and review of your drill work) is the area I’d recommend for most students.
2) Review will be fundamental to how much you get out of your drilling / how much you improve, and if you feel, during your review, that other study resources might be useful, than I would suggest that maybe that’s when you consider also taking a look at Powerscore or anything else —
The ability to review well will, in large part, determine how much your score goes up. It’s the same 100 q test given over and over again — so, if you are able to learn from your mistakes, there is no reason your score shouldn’t improve. And if you are struggling to improve, chances are that there are issues in terms of how you review your work (or the issue is that you don’t review your work). So, I definitely think it’s worthwhile to spend tons of your prep time reviewing, and it’s very important to constantly try to get better and better at reviewing.
And part of that review is being extremely disciplined and neurotic about being certain of what you truly know/have mastered vs what you don’t/haven’t. And, when you find you need help, I hope the Trainer is sufficient to give you what you need, but, if you think an alternative voice might be useful, I think at that point you should certainly be open to also looking at other resources —
So that’s what I suggest — but you know yourself best, and as always feel free to ignore me if you’d like, and also feel free to change things up during your study process if something just isn’t working the way you planned — whatever u do, you can always see what I think and I’ll be happy to help as best I can —
April 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm #1656
Thank you Mike! I definitely think I will continue to use the Trainer techniques and practice them.
For anyone else who may be in the same position, I basically decided to stick with the Trainer because the techniques have worked for me so far. As far as what Mike commented on, I’ve already noticed getting much better because I’ve been carefully reviewing the questions I do and it has given me much insight as to what I need to work on. I don’t feel this would be possible if instead I just continued to learn other methods rather than practicing.
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