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AllanRC

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  1. 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!
  2. I am undoubtedly biased since I work at HarvardReady but I would definitely recommend our tutoring services. Given the current market rates, the tutoring hours offer incredible value and Yoni (the founder) has assembled a pretty great team of instructors who have all come from his own course. That said, there are a number of great LSAT tutors out there. Not all of which necessarily work for a big named company (Manhattan, PowerScore, Princeton Review, etc.). Many are individuals or work for small outfits. In my opinion, the biggest thing when evaluating if a tutor will be a good fit for you is does your way of thinking stack up well against theirs? Someone can be a great tutor for some students but not for others only because of how people's brains are wired. You should also ask for a 30 minute consult (free of charge) with any prospective tutor; that way you can make sure you are aligned before signing up for hours or a package! Hopefully that helps some and good luck in your search!
  3. LSAC allows you to cancel 6 days after the exam (https://www.lsac.org/lsat/taking-lsat/lsat-scoring/canceling-scores). If I am not mistaken, the the 2019 November exam was administered on Nov 25th so tonight at midnight would be the deadline to cancel. To the OP: if you plan on attending a law school that utilizes your highest score in the admissions process (which is most of them) then I would take the score. The fact is most people think they bombed the exam coming out of it; and this is true even of high scorers. This is one case where listening to your gut may be a bad idea. Realistically, I would recommend cancelling only in the event that something really odd happened (e.g. you finished 2 games but usually get to all 4 with time, you had a very upset stomach and had to leave mid-section, etc.). Also, say your worst fears are correct and you score in the 140s on the Nov exam. But subsequently get 153+ on your next sitting. Do you think it's more likely that the admissions committee will look at your scores (the 140s and the 153+) and go "hey, emlaw isn't fit for law school!" or that they will go "hey, emlaw scored in the 140s but the jump to 153+ is clearly more than luck since the LSAC band is +/- 3. It also shows he/she has demonstrated resilience to keep going in face of less than ideal circumstances. Also, our policy is to take the highest score so lets do that." For the record, it's the latter!
  4. RC can be the hardest to improve on the margin for some people. It's definitely possible to improve, even quite a bit, but it's unlike LG where knowledge of a certain diagramming technique (for example) can take you from getting 1/6 to 5/6 on any given game. In other words, there is no magic trick to reading fast or finishing on time. However, there are some general things one can do while studying that will help them improve over time. First is to understand the stimulus. If you rush the stimulus, you will be absolutely lost of the questions. A good way to know if you are understanding things is to stop after each paragraph and ask yourself: "What argument / evidence was just introduced? How does it relate to everything I've read before? Does this make sense to me?" If you don't understand something it is much better to be honest with yourself while reading the stimulus. That way you can check your understanding on the spot as opposed to waiting until you hit the questions, which will result in a lot of wasted time due to flipping back and forth from question(s) to stimulus. Second thing is if you really understand the stimulus you are in a much better position to prephase the questions. In general, there are quite a few questions that can be prephased in RC. These are the kinds of questions that you can answer confidently in 20 seconds or so and bank some time for harder questions or passages. You should also be using a 2 pass approach to questions and not be overly concerned with knocking off the 4 incorrect answer choices. That is, it is quite okay to pick an answer choice that seems most appropriate without having to spend time completely disqualifying other answer choices. This is in contrast to LR where you really want to knock off all incorrect answer choices before moving on. There are definitely some good good resources available. The TLS forum has a number of threads with some pretty solid advice, and Manhattan LSAT has a good RC book for self learners. Although, I prefer my own company's approach but I may be a bit biased! At the end of the day, RC is much more individual then any other section, so feel free to try out different strategies Good luck!
  5. This is most assuredly true of games. Your goal should never be to commit the games to heart. Your goal should be to develop and understand a set of fundamental approaches to different game types that are deeply engrained. As long as you have done that, it will not go away. You will undoubtedly be rusty having taken some time off. But if you have the fundamentals down (e.g. elastic bands for sequencing, chained conditionals for in and out, etc.) they will come back to you relatively quickly.
  6. As MP mentioned, the LSAT is a logic-based test and this makes it less likely for one to “forget” what they need to know! Sure, consistent studying help keeps you sharp. But at some point, the trade-off between keeping sharp and burning yourself out becomes apparent and this is surely one of those cases. I can promise you that even if you took the entirety of December off to rediscover life, you will not lose/forget the skills you’ve learned to date. Take some time off to get yourself in the best possible frame of mind; and leading up to the January LSAT take a couple weeks to get back into the swing of things. Having said the above I very strongly endorse MP’s recommendation about waiting to see your score before studying again. You may be pleasantly surprised (almost everyone thinks they bombed it, even those in the highest of percentiles).
  7. If you are considering Skype tutoring sessions, I would recommend Yoni at HarvardReady. His rates are very reasonable and are posted on his website. There are a number of his former students on this forum and you can search for their reviews! Full Disclosure: I took Yoni’s course approximately 10 years ago and am currently a part-time instructor at his Downsview location.
  8. I run a business in a very different field then law and I could not agree more with realpseudonym about relationships. In my experience, developing relationships with good people (even competitors) and helping them out when you can, will offer many times the benefits back to you in a variety of ways. Although I am very far removed from this conversation (not being a lawyer nor having attended law school) I felt the need to chime in to let the OP know that developing relationships with competition that you respect, can be a very good thing. This is true in almost every line of work I can think of and is naturally true of graduate schooling where some of these relationships develop. Good luck. Share the knowledge. You will be better off.
  9. Since you haven’t taken the exam, I’m going to take it to mean that you’re PTing around the 155 mark when you say that you’re afraid that your score will remain there. In order to better assess your chances for a score increase we would need to know how much you’ve studied to date, what the 155 represents (consistent PTs at that range or your cold diagnostic), what sections are giving you the most trouble, etc. However, in general I would say that going from a 155 to a 160 in a couple months even under non-ideal conditions is not impossible. Actually, it could be a very likely score increase depending on your worst section (e.g. if it’s logic games, then it’ll be easier to get those points on the margin). Others can better comment on your admissions chances.
  10. It’s difficult to say if the schedule you’ve outlined will be sufficient for you to achieve your goals. On the other hand, it seems as reasonable as a study plan one could make this far out from your intended re-take. Here would be my general notes: The Manhattan series is excellent; good pick! Once you feel you have a solid grasp of the concepts, then PTing on a more frequent basis is probably a better course of action. As AJD19 mentioned, several PTs per week with full review would be ideal once you get to the stage where timing is the critical factor. If possible, always PT with 5 sections. Have a friend or family member insert a 5th section into the PTs so you don’t know which section is not from that exam. Make sure the sections aren’t placed in an order in which it’s obvious to tell (e.g. don’t place a section 4 as the first section of the exam…you will see the 4 at the top and know that’s not quite right). I’m unfamiliar with the “blind review method” you mention, but in my experience as both a student and an instructor, the best way to take-up questions is review why incorrect answer choices are incorrect and why correct answer choices are correct. Don’t just go for the correct answer choice; you have a lot of information / knowledge that you can glean by taking up the incorrect answer choices as well. Also, pay particular attention to answer choices that you identified as contenders (i.e. left open after the first pass) and why you spent more time on them than you should have; maybe you can make yourself aware of some systematic habits that cause you to get hung up on particular answer choices (e.g. sufficient language in necessary assumption questions).
  11. It’s difficult to suggest a better way for you to approach the games without knowing how you’re currently setting up the problem / processing the questions. Just generally I would recommend a review of your approach to diagramming. If you’ve decided to concentrate on 3 games per section then you should be aiming for perfect or near perfect on those games; which is certainly more than doable with an average of 11-12 minutes per game (even for those that typically struggle with games). But you still need a good approach to diagramming, which is why I think you might want to take a look at that first. PowerScore is great for the basic setup but their approach does need some tweaks. Don’t be afraid to mix / match approaches depending on what works better for you. The games aren’t rigid. They are flexible. You need to be with your diagramming as well.
  12. It wouldn’t have been low had it been a cold-diagnostic prior to any serious LSAT studying. However, since you have been at it since August, it is a little concerning. That said, it’s definitely possible for you to increase your score from that mark, and probably by a not-so-insignificant amount. Sometimes the material takes longer then desired to sink in before you get the “a-ha!” moment. It's not so different from a course during school where you don't understand anything until the week before the final exam! So, at about a month and change of studying, I wouldn’t fret. Although I do think it useful to take measure of how your current study regimen has felt for you so far. If you think the materials you are using may not be the best fit, there’s great news; you can change them! Manhatten offers a wonderful RC prep guide that you could try. There are many, many alternatives as well. You should feel free to start experimenting! Private tutoring is also an option. The key for me in this is seeing that you typically score 4/7 on untimed sections. Not only is that likely to be a killer to your score when you get to timed sections, but if you can get 4/7 you likely have the ability to get 6/7 (5/6) or 7/7 (6/6) consistently (on the untimed sections). Focus on that. Really dissect your prep sections and see why you went astray: did you get tripped up on language in the AC, did you misread the stimulus, did you have a hard time between two answers and picked the wrong one, etc. Figure out why you are getting the questions wrong (and to a lesser extent, why you are getting the others correct). Address your key issue and practice again. Once you can get the answers more or less correct (say 5/6 per passage) consistently on untimed sections, move on to timed sections. You’ll probably find that once you’ve slayed your demons (that is, figure out why at the moment you get the questions wrong that you do) that timed sections will become easier because the time won’t be such a burden. Because the above takes a good deal of time I would recommend the January write as others have suggested. I would also, depending on how your studies progress, consider deferring for a year. If your A1 school is Alberta and they average scores, it’s better to wait than potentially have to write off that option. Hope that’s helpful.
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