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StoneSkipper

Forced to take a course?

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Diagnostic: 147

PTs: 157-163 for the 5 most recent PTs

 

LSAT: Dec, 149; Feb, 149

 

After investing 6 months into studying Manhattan Prep and the Bibles (during full-time work I should add), taking over ten PTs, I had no considerable progression on the LSAT.  

 

My thoughts are that I require realistic test conditions, which is principally offered through a course. I brought my games section up to a consistent 18+, with LR 16-22 and a large RC variance 14-23.  During the later end of my prep before each test I was scoring ~ 160, which is where I would like to be for the most part. PT conditions were timed using a proctor app, but were taken alone in study rooms <- is this the problem?

 

My thoughts are that I require realistic test conditions, which is principally offered through a course. Does my admission to law school ride on paying for a course? (considering my other stats seem at or above the average applicants' -- 3.5/3.75 + MSc + interesting and well rounded volunteering and work experience).

 

I have one attempt left, for an application to next cycle, thus I feel almost coerced into taking a course. Seems a bit unfair, given that those who can readily afford these courses do so with little to no financial anxiety.

 

 

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Your admission to law school does not in any way "ride" on paying for a course, and you certainly are not being coerced into taking a course.

 

Your assessment that you need realistic test conditions for effective preparation may or not be accurate, but in any case, paying for a course is by no means the only way to replicate realistic test conditions. If you need help doing this, your UG/grad school institution may have an LSAT club to help. You could also do this with the help of a friend or family member. So there are avenues for doing this without paying for a course.

 

But, personally, I don't believe the difference between practice test conditions and the real thing is what caused the two scores of 149.

 

It is unfair that some people can afford to pay for study guides, tutors, and courses to help improve their score, while others can't, but absent extenuating circumstances (e.g. a health condition), practicing the test in near test conditions (i.e. timing yourself, using a bubble sheet, marking yourself accurately, etc.), and then drilling down on the results (e.g. "LGs are my lowest scores, I'll review my LG strategy and practice those for a few days and re-take"), should be enough to get a competitive score. If not, then perhaps the LSAT just isn't your strong suit.

Edited by conge
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a) 149 with your GPA and having successfully completed grad studies does not put you 'out of the running', I wouldn't think - you're in a pretty good place already!

 

b) I can understand your desire to improve, if possible, for your last attempt.

There are a lot of free resources at your disposal - for example LSAT podcasts which provide many great insights, tips and tricks.

I'm currently listening to The Thinking LSAT Podcast, and would recommend it.

Additionally, 7sage had videos of all game solutions.

 

c) I have heard that a public library is the best place to study - quite, but not TOO quite .... comparable to test-taking environment.

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a) 149 with your GPA and having successfully completed grad studies does not put you 'out of the running', I wouldn't think - you're in a pretty good place already!

 

b) I can understand your desire to improve, if possible, for your last attempt.

There are a lot of free resources at your disposal - for example LSAT podcasts which provide many great insights, tips and tricks.

I'm currently listening to The Thinking LSAT Podcast, and would recommend it.

Additionally, 7sage had videos of all game solutions.

 

c) I have heard that a public library is the best place to study - quite, but not TOO quite .... comparable to test-taking environment.

 

149 is not good for admissions. I would characterize it as "out of the running" at most schools in Canada, and it is certainly not "pretty good place already". Baseless cheerleading doesn't help. 

 

OP, aside from LSAT, you could be a competitive applicant. You may be able to gain admission at some schools in Canada, I'm not entirely ruling that out, but I suspect very few applicants have been accepted with a 149.

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You need to improve that 149.

 

Test conditions are often about controlling anxiety and maintaining focus. Sometimes the preparation you need to do is more about coping mechanisms than more studying. I think this is what you are getting at when you say you need to experience test conditions - can you offer some info about how you feel / react on test day? Are you running out of time? Are you blanking on strategy? Do you find the ambient noise or lack of it distracting?

 

People may be able to provide more specific tips with more specific info.

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I acknowledge exaggeration in saying my admission "rides" on taking a course, but its reasonable to assume a course will increase the probability of a successful LSAT - especially considering the status quo isn't working for me and its the closest thing to realistic conditions I can think of. Also, given that I have only one shot left, if I do not take the course and score a 149-153 I would forever regret not taking a course. So, it may not be coercion, but there is definitely pressure, which I assume others can or will relate to.

 

 

You need to improve that 149.

Test conditions are often about controlling anxiety and maintaining focus. Sometimes the preparation you need to do is more about coping mechanisms than more studying. I think this is what you are getting at when you say you need to experience test conditions - can you offer some info about how you feel / react on test day? Are you running out of time? Are you blanking on strategy? Do you find the ambient noise or lack of it distracting?

People may be able to provide more specific tips with more specific info.

 

I think my problem is anxiety, in that I become too distracted thinking about the test taking process rather than having confidence to answer each question. In each test I missed 3 or 4 questions, without rushing myself and because I wrote in February, I only have feedback from one test. My scores for each section were distributed evenly (12-16) 

Edited by StoneSkipper

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It can be hard to truly create test conditions (especially your mental state) cuz a practice test is still just practice and the result doesn't matter. I have never taken a prep course so that might help you, especially if they do full practice test runs

 

 

Otherwise, you should go write in a library quiet section. Where there is no loud noise but you are surrounded by people and natural noises of people shifting in their chairs, writing, drinking water, walking etc. If you have a friend willing to help, maybe ask them to monitor you so it feels even more like a test. (Tell them to bring work so they can sit there and study/read and you're not wasting 3 hours of someone's life). If they are willing to, ask them to grade you afterwards and give you the score. This might not work for everyone but I think there is some level of anxiety in an exam that comes from someone watching you, grading you, and you losing the ability to just get up and walk away.

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If the only thing you were using a course for was to recreate exam conditions, you plan on wasting money.

 

The good news is, your 149s can still be overcome. If your heart is set on Alberta, then bad news is, you need a 180 (they average; 149, 149, 180 gets you 159). Everywhere else looks at highest score, so get something respectable, and your old ones will be forgotten.

 

Your Feb score will be non-disclosed, but you should use the booklet from December to identify where you went wrong. In addition, you should be reviewing your practices. Every single marked paper you have, go back through it, and write out, by hand, beside every question why the right answer was right and the wrong ones were wrong. This will force you to internalise the logic of the test. If you don't understand something, ask for help. 

 

At 160, you still have substantial weaknesses to overcome (it's a substantial improvement over 149, but above about 165, 167, 170, you can reasonably call the improvements needed tweaking, minor things - up to that point, there are fundamental logical understandings at play). To reliably score there on the day, your PTs should probably be about 163. Reality is, most people get nervous on the day. Up to that point, you can fudge it. Your friend calls time, you keep bubbling the last 2 questions even at random. You're marking it, you see you really meant to pick the other one so you give yourself the point you totally earned. Your experimental games section is insane so you throw it out and grab a different one. It's human nature to not be as harsh on yourself as the day really is. 

 

When you do want to have realistic test conditions, you need only a friend. Or Youtube. Or even a phone set for a 35 minute countdown. If you choose to take a course it should be to pick the brains of the tutor to help you understand the reasoning behind the questions (and most people don't do that, they get where they want to by themselves, or asking around for help). The only real financial outlay LSAT prep requires is buying the old tests in the first place.

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It seems like you're getting a wide range of scores on individual sections, even in practice (maybe that's normal, I have no clue). Are you going over each wrong answer on your practice tests, looking up explanations, really figuring out where you went wrong, and considering how to apply that info to future questions?

 

A course may help you, but I also doubt it would help for the simulated test conditions. Take them with a proctor app in a library or coffee shop, somewhere you'll be faced with distractions. Still, I have the same problem as you, where I get distracted by the fact I'm taking an important test, and sometimes start thinking about how I'm doing, rather than focusing on the business of just doing it. Unfortunately, I don't know how to simulate that for practice exams, because it's just a result of the excitement/pressure of test day for me.

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If you want realistic test conditions, get a friend or family member to read a book while proctoring you for a day. Have this person do the scoring too, but wait to tell you what the result is for a week or three, without telling you in advance what the actual date will be. And instruct them to publish your score, no matter what it is, on facebook, and to tell all of your friends and relatives how you did to add some pressure and give the result some meaning. There ya go. Just saved you $1000.

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@ericontario :) the level of attention that this requires is too absurd for me, but I'm sure it would make all the difference.

 

I'm surprised that regional mock LSATs haven't been arranged through this forum. One could simply advertise a mock test here, book a room at a university, charge $5 and then use the proceeds to support some sort of club or cause....

 

Throw that on your application :)

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I'm surprised that regional mock LSATs haven't been arranged through this forum. One could simply advertise a mock test here, book a room at a university, charge $5 and then use the proceeds to support some sort of club or cause....

 

As conge mentioned, a lot of universities do have clubs that do exactly this. Why don't you look for one? Or why don't you organize something?

Edited by ericontario
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I'm aware these exist already, however I'm no longer a student and so they aren't advertised to me. For those who are, or those in a law society type club, this seems like a practical way to generate some funds and help members of the community such as myself.

 

(and for the record, I wasn't directing my "throw that on your application" comment to @ericontario - I meant for it to be generalized)

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I'm aware these exist already, however I'm no longer a student and so they aren't advertised to me. For those who are, or those in a law society type club, this seems like a practical way to generate some funds and help members of the community such as myself.

 

(and for the record, I wasn't directing my "throw that on your application" comment to @ericontario - I meant for it to be generalized)

 

If you're looking for something a bit more practical than what ericontario suggested (which I actually think is a good way to simulate enough anxiety as the real test) then again maybe ask a friend to administer the test under test conditions, not give you the score for a few days, and agree to pay them a substantial but not unreasonable amount of money (or an in-kind favour worth an equivalent sum) if you get a score below X. Perhaps the monetary pressure will be enough to stimulate your anxiety. It would probably still cost less than the course.

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Hell, if you pay my flight to Ottawa I'll spend up to 2 weeks glaring angrily at you while you write practice LSATs, occasionally coughing or loudly muttering to myself. Before each test I'll give you a lecture about how your entire future depends upon this test and your results today. I'm sure that'd make you anxious and would be cheaper than the test. Plus I get a free flight to Ottawa. 

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Hell, if you pay my flight to Ottawa I'll spend up to 2 weeks glaring angrily at you while you write practice LSATs, occasionally coughing or loudly muttering to myself. Before each test I'll give you a lecture about how your entire future depends upon this test and your results today. I'm sure that'd make you anxious and would be cheaper than the test. Plus I get a free flight to Ottawa. 

 

...this is not only hilarious, it's also fairly accurate.

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Diagnostic: 147

PTs: 157-163 for the 5 most recent PTs

 

LSAT: Dec, 149; Feb, 149

 

After investing 6 months into studying Manhattan Prep and the Bibles (during full-time work I should add), taking over ten PTs, I had no considerable progression on the LSAT.  

 

My thoughts are that I require realistic test conditions, which is principally offered through a course. I brought my games section up to a consistent 18+, with LR 16-22 and a large RC variance 14-23.  During the later end of my prep before each test I was scoring ~ 160, which is where I would like to be for the most part. PT conditions were timed using a proctor app, but were taken alone in study rooms <- is this the problem?

 

My thoughts are that I require realistic test conditions, which is principally offered through a course. Does my admission to law school ride on paying for a course? (considering my other stats seem at or above the average applicants' -- 3.5/3.75 + MSc + interesting and well rounded volunteering and work experience).

 

I have one attempt left, for an application to next cycle, thus I feel almost coerced into taking a course. Seems a bit unfair, given that those who can readily afford these courses do so with little to no financial anxiety.

 

I took ~30 practice tests in the six weeks leading up to the LSAT. I wrote them in a busyish room in the library, timed almost all of them and I felt like they were pretty close to "realistic test conditions" minus the experimental section and the waiting around

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Hell, if you pay my flight to Ottawa I'll spend up to 2 weeks glaring angrily at you while you write practice LSATs, occasionally coughing or loudly muttering to myself. Before each test I'll give you a lecture about how your entire future depends upon this test and your results today. I'm sure that'd make you anxious and would be cheaper than the test. Plus I get a free flight to Ottawa. 

Post of the day

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Hell, if you pay my flight to Ottawa I'll spend up to 2 weeks glaring angrily at you while you write practice LSATs, occasionally coughing or loudly muttering to myself. Before each test I'll give you a lecture about how your entire future depends upon this test and your results today. I'm sure that'd make you anxious and would be cheaper than the test. Plus I get a free flight to Ottawa.

 

The thought of having to go through this is hilarious. However, I would only do it if you were a certified anxiety stimulation specialist, with testimonials from anxiety prone applicants.

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(and for the record, I wasn't directing my "throw that on your application" comment to @ericontario - I meant for it to be generalized)

Given that I'm a lawyer and haven't had to practice for the LSAT in about six or seven years that makes sense.

 

Anyway, I echo the others' comments that test conditions don't seem like the only thing holding you back. Writing a timed and proctored practice test isn't going to magically bump your score. If that's what you think the missing piece is though, there are plenty of available options. Good luck.

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