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AllanRC

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  1. Improving on the Logic Games really comes down to three things: first, find a diagramming method that works for you, two drill games, and three, drill more games. Since you’re using PowerScore, I would be unsurprised if it was the diagramming that was the culprit. If you’ve already drilled a good amount and are stuck facing the same score, usually it’s the diagramming method that needs to be tweaked (assuming you have the ability to do better, which based on your score sounds like you do). The PowerScore Bibles are what I self studied with, and they are certainly the legacy books of choice to recommend. However, their diagramming methods are rather dated and today other options exist, which IMHO, are far superior. As Ricky mentioned, 7Sage is good as is Manhattan LSAT. The Manhattan guides are typically what I recommend for those self studying. At the very least, those two options will give you a window into new diagramming methods. The good news is that they are close enough that you don’t need to relearn everything. And the better news is that the few seemingly simple ways that they diverge from PowerScore can give you the extra time you need to get the score you want. To give you some personal reassurance: I was a -10 or so on LG using PowerScore but as soon as I learned a new method (not either of those above but they are very similar. I actually took a course in Toronto with a different company) my score went to near perfect in only a couple weeks. The capacity was there but the method held me back. Hope that helps!
  2. To echo erinl2, the appropriate time to take the LSAT is when you feel confident with your PT results! Your plan to take the June exam prior to final year is definitely a good choice. It gives you time to re-write, if needed, and still apply the same cycle. As far as the amount of study time needed, you’ve given yourself ample room. Once again, I’ll echo others and say that a year may be a bit long. But at the same time, it depends on what other activities you’re doing and how much of that time is actually allocated to the LSAT. I don’t recall exactly how long I took to study, but I believe it was in the realm of 6-8 months including a prep course, and it worked out well for me. Let’s put it this way though, if you give yourself a year and you start PTing near your target score early on then you yell “HELL YEAH” and take the rest of the time to drink or read or do something else! In case you don’t achieve your target score at that point, also great because you’ve given yourself enough breathing room to keep going! Best of luck
  3. There is no one size fits all when it comes to studying for the LSAT. It depends on your natural aptitude for the exam (i.e. if your diagnostic is a 165 then your study trajectory / approach would be much different then if your diagnostic was 140) as well as your learning style. Some people learn better in groups or in a class setting, whereas others do better 1v1 with a tutor and still others prefer self-study or some combination thereof! The first thing you need to do is take a timed diagnostic test and see what your score is. From there, we can better help you formulate a study game plan! If you need to satisfy your curiosity in the meantime, you can peruse these forums for guides that some past test takers have posted. There are also a good number of guides on the TLS forum, but as a word of caution, they tend to be quite over the top for most students. Having said that, I do have some favourite materials that I usually recommend. I am a big fan of the Manhattan LSAT series for self-study. The PowerScore bibles are the legacy recommendation of choice, but having gone through both in detail, it is quite apparent that the Manhattan guides are superior in pretty much all ways. If you are more geared towards a course, you can look locally to find one in person (I’m sure one of the big test prep companies offers something in your area) or for one that offers online instruction. EDIT - I wasn't even thinking about Covid when I wrote this 🤣 in class may not be an option anytime in the near future. Local tutoring in person may be available though (depending on restrictions in your area). Manhattan offers online instruction. And these days, so does HarvardReady which is the prep company I work for. Yoni is the founder and can be found on these very forums! If you go the instruction route, my usual caveat is that the most important thing is to make sure that the instructor’s line of thinking / method of interrogating the test is something that resonates with you (before you sign up for the course!!). A mastery of the exam is a definite requirement for an instructor, but that doesn’t mean that every student will receive a great benefit from their instruction. Minds naturally think differently so it’s no surprise that one instructor may be great for one student and another instructor be better for a different student! Best of luck
  4. Can confirm, Yoni knows his stuff! I wouldn’t work for him otherwise 😉 Yoni’s reputation is well deserved, and it is very likely that you’ll be happy with the tutoring package. But it is important to keep in mind that when deciding on an instructor/tutor, the tutor knowing their stuff doesn’t necessarily translate into tangible benefits for every student they teach. Naturally minds will think about things differently and how a particular instructor explains the exam may resonate for some but not for others! That’s why I always recommend booking a single session before committing to a package or course (this goes for any prep company / tutor you’re looking at). That way you can decide if a tutor’s method of thought resonates with you. If it does, you’re good to go! If not, then great, you didn’t drop money on 10 lessons that you’ll be annoyed that you signed up for! With HarvardReady specifically, if you shoot Yoni an email, I’m sure he’d agree roll a single session into a package of 10 if you decide he’s the right fit. If you have any other questions about Harvard Ready feel free to send Yoni an email or ask me here!
  5. I agree with the above posters who suggest that you should primarily be concerned with accuracy before worrying about your speed. But if you are indeed getting to three passages with relatively high accuracy (-1 / -2 per passage) then you are in a great spot, ESL student or not! Three passages with a high degree of accuracy is fantastic! When you are getting to 3 / 4 passages with accuracy generally what keeps you from being able to attempt all 4 is too much backreading. It is paramount that you understand the stimulus in detail before attempting the questions. There are many ways to do this but my preferred method is to think of yourself as having a dialog with the stimulus. After each new piece of information ask yourself: does this make sense, do I agree with this, what else would I like to know in order to evaluate this position, how does this fit into the overall structure of the stimulus, what is the author thinking here, etc. It is this dialog and the hypotheticals that it brings about that will help you better grasp the stimulus, and thus, have an easier time on the questions. Stbajeff is right when they say that you don’t need to know RC passages like the back of your hand. But it certainly helps. At the school I instruct at we have a firm belief that a better understanding of the passage will lead to a much easier time on the questions. In fact, we have a drill where we spend about 8 minutes on the passage and only 15 seconds or so per question. The crazy thing is that students often get most of the questions correct with that insane timeframe (15 seconds is not a lot of time / question) if they have spent the full 8 minutes actively attempting to understand the stimulus! Best of luck!
  6. It is not a one size fits all! What is best for one student may not be so for another and the relative utility of a class versus tutoring pack will vary greatly depending on the person. That said, in my experience if you can’t identify what specific areas you need help with (other than entire sections), tutoring basically becomes a very expensive class. In which case the dollar per hour is much better value in a class setting. However, if you already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals then tutoring can be much more efficient because you can drill certain areas without having to wade through copious amounts of class material you are already comfortable with. It is also worth noting that some people really do enjoy learning in a classroom environment. It is not necessarily the instructor so much as one’s peers that facilitate their learning via discussion inside and outside of class. Unfortunately, not every student takes advantage of this 😟 Let me know if there are any other questions! Full Disclosure: I am an instructor at HarvardReady. And I took the course during its incubation period but upon reflection, given my level of understanding I had prior to the course (I had studied with PowerScore for several months in advance) I would have gone the tutoring route.
  7. That’s a pretty broad question! The snide answer is: it depends 😋 There is no one best way to approach the LSAT. It is an entirely individual endeavour and what works best for one person is not likely to be the best fit for someone else! It depends on how far along the road you are. For example, someone who hasn’t even taken a diagnostic test should be approaching things differently then someone who has done some review and is PTing in the (insert arbitrary LSAT score here) range! Your goals are also important. Are you aiming for a 170+ to compensate for a lower GPA or are you looking to maximise score to effort ratio after a certain score threshold is met? The answers to these and similar questions will help form the basis of your study plan! Okay, okay. That probably had a bit too much razz in it, but I really do mean it when I say that your goals matter in how you formulate your plan of attack! However…in very general terms, I would recommend studying all sections at the same time. Not necessarily at the exact same time, but it is not usually wise to skip review of a particular section for a prolonged period of time. I find this is particularly true of Logic Games. A key component of the LSAT is to be able to recognize patterns in questions / answer choices. It’s hard to maintain the ability to identify patterns within question sets (quickly) if you’ve stepped away from that section for a non-trivial amount of time. Moreover, you don’t want to forget what you’ve already learned by not reviewing a section often enough! The key is to learn the basics of each section before moving on. Once you’ve got a firm grasp of the concepts, you can drill those sections (untimed) until the logic becomes second nature to you. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to increasing your speed by drilling sections timed. At which point you’ll look for incremental improvements. For example, if you have mastered the games (i.e. can get perfect or near perfect on most untimed sections) then you can move on to increasing your speed. If your average time to complete a game is 11 minutes, then on your next drill set you would be looking to complete each game in 10.5 minutes, on average. And the next in 10 minutes. And repeat this process until you reach the speed you desire! Once you’ve hit the timed drilling stage, it would be wise to sprinkle in some full PTs so you can start to get used to the effects of doing 5 sections back-to-back. But to be clear, mastery of the concepts first is key before starting to worry about time or even PTing! If you’re fast but inaccurate, what was the point anyways?! Hopefully that helps!
  8. I enrolled in some of the first classes offered by HarvardReady nearly a decade ago. Can confirm, Yoni knows what he’s doing! That said, while mastery of the LSAT is a necessary component of being a good instructor/tutor, it is not at all the most important thing! When vetting prospective tutors, it is incredibly important that the student gets a sense of a tutor’s style / general way of reasoning; or at the very least, the student needs to know that they can appreciate the tutor’s way of thinking about things. This is crucial because it doesn’t matter how well a tutor knows the material / can reason through it themselves if they can’t impart that wisdom onto their student. And it is very hard to do that if a student and tutor think very differently! In general, I would recommend requesting a 15-minute consult before signing up for a session (most tutors / prep companies will oblige), and then if you feel comfortable, go for a single session. If you feel that you and the tutor connect, feel free to dive in and sign up for more! Usually packs of sessions get discounted as you buy more upfront (but don’t do this until you are sure you and the tutor are on the same wavelength). Best of luck!
  9. This. It is hard to fathom that an admit/reject decision regarding an otherwise acceptable candidate would hinge on the writing sample; save for a set of very unusual circumstances.
  10. I agree with the above posters who say that you should NOT cancel. It’s almost universal for test takers to feel that they did poorly walking out of the exam; that is even true for high scorers! The only time that cancelling might make sense, IMHO, is when something terrible / out of the ordinary happened. For example, you normally finish 4 games but only finished 2, or you had to use the restroom for a prolonged period of time during a section, etc. These are times when cancelling may make sense. But even then, when applying to schools that only take your highest LSAT it may not even make sense in those cases!
  11. The report indicates that of the 3,789 people in 2016-2017 who requested accommodations, 3000 people were granted accommodations (79%). This compares to 2012-1013 where 729 people were granted accommodations out of 1,581 who requested (46%). To be fair to Lawstudent97, this represents a rather stark increase in the amount of requested / granted accommodations. Moreover, according to LSAC 109,354 people wrote the LSAT in the 2016-2017 cycle (https://www.lsac.org/data-research/data/lsat-trends-total-lsats-administered-admin-year), which means that each cycle the amount of people being granted accommodation (mostly in the form of extra time / breaks per the same report) is approximately 3% of the test taking population. That’s nothing huge but it’s not trivial either. For comparison, in the 2012-2013 cycle only 0.64% of the test taking population received some form of accommodation. I personally don’t think it’s a big issue. But it’s an interesting trend to be sure.
  12. In general, the advice given in this thread is quite good. The length of your study will depend on your goals, your raw diagnostic, and your work/life schedule. However, 7 months is certainly more than adequate and I would caution you to space out your studying as to not burn out / rip through too many PTs too quickly. Also since most law schools in Canada take your highest LSAT you really don't have too much to worry about taking too soon. Go for it! In addition, as Deadpool mentioned The TLS forum has several good threads / guides to self-study and I would recommend that you peruse them! As an instructor I agree that there are diminishing returns once a certain number of study hours have been reached. However, improvement once that point is reached is not at all unlikely. While improvement on the margin tends to be tough after a substantial amount of studying; a sudden, massive improvement is not at all rare. This can be counter intuitive but sometimes all it takes is the material to be presented in a slightly different way for it to really click / sink-in. And of course, this is true mostly for students at the lower range of the spectrum with lots of headroom (e.g. a dramatic jump from 155 to 165 is more likely than from 168 to 178).
  13. I’ll offer a slightly different perspective! I personally preferred the combination of rigorous self-study with subsequent enrollment in a course. The self-study provided a good handle on the basics, which really allowed me during the course to focus on areas I was sub-par; and to lean on the instructor in those areas (e.g. ask questions during/after class, ask for specific recommendations, etc.). If you don’t have exposure to the exam prior to enrollment in a course, they can go quite fast, and you might spend more of your time just trying to learn the basics as opposed to really drilling on the areas you need assistance – which you won’t be able to identify until you’ve actually done quite a bit of the course! I also preferred the self-study / course combination to the self-study / tutoring combination. The reason for this is that sometimes I didn’t really know I had a faulty understanding of the material until the instructor verbalized their line of thinking in front of the class / answered questions from my classmates. I wasn't aware of my errors because I was performing reasonably well on those question types; and in a tutoring scenario, I feel I would have been more likely to focus on question types I was getting consistently wrong. As opposed to correcting my understanding of the base logic that effected my performance on all areas of the exam. That said, a tutor can definitely be beneficial for drilling your weaknesses, whereas a class is more general and relies more heavily on you to identify / address those areas. In either case, self-study prior to a class or tutoring is what I would definitely recommend. But what journey is ultimately best for you is entirely dependent on your learning style. I know some students struggle with self-study but learn much better in groups. Others are the opposite. Go with what you think is best for your own needs! Best of luck!
  14. I concur with lookingaround about the line references for the various answer choices. One of the great things about “mentions” questions in RC is that the answer is either there or it is not! If you can’t exactly pin-point where the author mentions something (as lookingaround has done) then it just isn’t there! Now, this question is actually a little bit different. It’s not a straight “mentions” question it also allows for what might be suggested by the passage (since is asks for what “the author mentions or suggests”). In effect, this question is a hybrid between a straight up information question (what is mentioned and what is not) and an inference question (what does the passage suggest). So, because of the hybrid nature of this question you may be thinking “hey D isn’t exactly mentioned but it is suggested!” But is it? Let’s look at answer choice D. (D) Does the passage mention or suggest “the specific knowledge on which trades are based”? But wait a second. Wasn’t it professions that are based on knowledge gained at the academy (see lines 28-31) and not trades? What were trades based on? Let’s take a look. Upon re-reading we don't actually know what they were based on but it seems like professions are the only areas based on knowledge and other areas of work (including trades) are either based on know-how (line 32) or something entirely different! This is strongly suggested because being based on knowledge was put forward as a reason for a profession being a profession (lines 26-27); and if it's a sufficient condition for a profession to be called a profession, and a trade is not a profession, then trades cannot be based upon knowledge. Now we might ask…is “know-how” knowledge?! I mean it seems like it might be, right? But the passage gives us that answer because it CONTRASTS knowledge with know-how indicating that they are very different things. See where it says (lines 31-32): “professions…..are founded upon inquiry and knowledge rather than mere ‘know-how’”. From this contrast we can clearly see that the author is making a distinction between knowledge and know-how. Actually, to me also seems to be suggesting that know-how is somehow inferior (note the “mere”)! To summarize the above, it is strongly suggested around line 30 that trades are not based on knowledge! If the trades are not based knowledge how could the passage actually be suggesting what specific knowledge they are based on?! It would actually be a contradiction if it did that! Bingo, the passage does not do this. D is correct. Cool, right?! Here’s the thing: LSAC is usually nicer than we give them credit for. Most of the incorrect answer choices in a hybrid question of this type will be explicitly mentioned, and any inference type answer choice will either be contradicted by the stimulus, strongly suggested to be the opposite, or strongly suggested to be the case. Usually there is very little ambiguity about what the passage does / does not suggest (usually folks. Not always!) I say that is nice of them because if we know that inferences generally fall into those three categories then it becomes easier to identify which is which; as long as we have a good grasp of the stimulus! P.S. Next time when asking a question put the PT Number, Section, and Question # in the title of the post! Also, if this wasn't a question related to RC then just giving us the question number 25 may not help us figure of what section you are referring to (and we'd like to help!)
  15. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any guidance on your particular situation given that it is a situation I have never even tangentially experienced. However, I wanted to say that your questions / reservations do not at all seem anxious. In fact, everything you’ve mentioned in your post sounds prudent to this life altering decision. Good for you for acknowledging the complicating factors (as opposed to overlooking them, like most). The only general advice I can offer is that your instincts to maintain bridges are spot on. In my line of work, it’s called “playing nice in the sandbox.” And where possible I’ve found it of great benefit to leave places of employ on good terms. I wish you all the best and hope the council you receive (from this site or otherwise) leads you to the best decision for you and your family. Best of luck!
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