September 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm #3289ElliotParticipant
I’m a grad student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I am looking for some advice. My Plan A, which was to write the LSAT successfully and forget about it all, doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Time for a plan B and I need your help in making a good plan.
Here’s my situation: I started studying for LSAT in late June. Registered for the test in September which is next Saturday.
Initially, I thought I had enough time to prepare. I first started with the Powerscore LSAT prep books. They were helpful for a while until I got to the point where the strategies/solutions in the book are just too heavily oriented towards solving LSAT questions with technique. For the next month and a half, I spend 8 hours a day, 6 days a week (on average) studying the types of questions that I had performed poorly.
Fortunately, I had bought a copy of the LSAT Trainer as well. I started reading the Trainer when I finally came to the point that the tips in the Powerscore was getting me nowhere. I personally like the LSAT Trainer more because it helped me to at least have a sense of how the questions are structured. I also like how it emphasizes on the importance of focusing on reasoning structure.
However, I was not following the study schedule and didn’t used the prep test (even though I have two copies of Prep test book recommended in the Trainer) until the last minute. It sounds silly but I thought using the Trainer as a supplement would have been sufficient. It was probably because I had mistakenly thought the Powerscore has given me a good “foundation” on how to approach each types of LSAT questions.
The Powerscore gave me some sense on how to go about solving LSAT questions. But trying to get the best of both books was the biggest mistake I made in my LSAT study. Not only that I have to adopt to new habits, I was not getting enough practice. I realized that I was studying like “Wilber” (refer to CH 1) who study one question at a time and forget most of what he learned the day before.
Later, I realized that I should follow the schedule. By then, I only had enough time to follow the 4-week schedule. Had some success. For the logical reasoning section, I’ve became good at spotting the point and the support, and at least making an effort to think what the flaw is. Still not good at spotting the missing dot between the point and the support for assumption and various flaw-related questions. Inference is a big issue for me too.
Surprisingly, I do “ok” on logic questions. Before, I could not even solve a single question. Still have a trouble with the grouping questions. But the third question in the Mastery Challenge (CH 29 in 2015 edition) was a breeze. But I have difficulty in solving questions in a timely manner.
Reading comprehension has been the toughest. I try my best to read for the reasoning structure every time. I’ve become somewhat better at spotting the main points, but it’s not 100% accurate. But I often find myself constantly focusing on the details, and ended up getting very little out of it. Worse yet, I sometime find myself “black out” and start daydreaming, despite my best effort to stay on track.
For me, the biggest problem is in time allocation. I often find myself taking an awful long to understand the questions or finish reading the passage.
In sum, the 4-week schedule did not work for me. Thought I could do it. But turns out that I’m not a LSAT genius.
In addition to the practices in the Trainer and in the prep books, I’ve done two full prep tests, with no time limits (45 min average for each section). My scores are 147 and 146, (Prep test 62 and 67) respectively. Performing same if not worse on the second test was a great disappointment.
Currently, I’m at the third week of the 4-week schedule. Just finished the dreadful Prep test 67 and finding myself in a quagmire like never before. With whatever I have achieved in the last couple months, I don’t think I can get a good score if I go and write the test on the 16th. I fear that the score will be about the same as I got on the two tests, if not worse.
So here is my question. I know it’s too late to change the date but I can still withdraw from the test. Should I withdraw from the test on the 16th, take a break for a few days, and start study from the first chapter with a 12-week schedule? Or should I just keep trying to do as my practices as possible until the 16th? It looks like I have just enough time to complete the 12-week schedule before the test in December. If I’m still not prepared by then, I can write in February 2018. But honestly, I wanted to get this done before Christmas.
Luckily, I am a grad student and I can afford to take the Fall semester off if that’s necessary. Making time for LSAT is not a problem. But doing it right is. If you can offer me any additional advice on how to study by the schedule or give me general advice based on what you read, I’d be very grateful.
Apologies for giving you so much detail on my study progress. But I thought it would help you to visualize the LSAT mastery level I’m at now.
September 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm #3294Mike KimKeymaster
Hey Elliot —
Unfortunately I don’t think I can offer any opinion about whether to withdraw or not — it’s too personal and too important a decision — I will say that, in my experience, right around this time, pretty much every student who is preparing to take the LSAT thinks about ways in which he/she could have prepared more or prepared more effectively, and it’s natural that many students consider whether they ought to postpone — it’s like cold feet the night before a wedding —
I think two questions you want to ask yourself are —
A) Do I have a chance to perform at or near my best, or do I know for sure that I haven’t put myself in that position?
B) Regardless of the answer to (A), do I have a chance to get a score I’m happy with, even at the least to have in my back pocket as I prepare for a retake?
I think your answers to those questions should guide your decision — in addition, for more specific assessment help, please check out the Readiness Checklist, available here —
In terms of what to do with your time before the exam, my suggestion is to focus on pt’s, but the key is to make sure to take the time to carefully study every practice test you try, with the goal of getting to understand, as clearly and correctly as you possibly can, exactly how each question works, and what methods you could have used to arrive at the right answer. Studying that can be beneficial for both the short term (prepping for the Sept test) and the long term (prepping for December).
Then, after the test, you can start the 12 week schedule fresh, and fit it into fewer weeks if need be (the schedules are designed to be flexible and it should be easy to move assignments around, etc.) —
Hope at least some of that is helpful and wish you the best —
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