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If anyone is able to assist, when writing the LSAT how long should each question take, per section to achieve a higher score in the 160's? Currently looking to see how long each question should take when solving for the answer. As always all responses are appreciated, but preferably those who have already taken the test before in the past.

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1 hour ago, Scourage said:

If anyone is able to assist, when writing the LSAT how long should each question take, per section to achieve a higher score in the 160's? Currently looking to see how long each question should take when solving for the answer. As always all responses are appreciated, but preferably those who have already taken the test before in the past.

What I was taught from PowerScore was to simply take the allotted time and divide it by the number of questions in the section.

If you immediately are struggling with a question, go to the next question. Keep doing this til you reach the end of the section THEN go back and re-try the questions you struggled with. If you have no time, just make an educated guess and move on.

It's a bad use of time to get stuck on a difficult question - plow through the easier ones to guarantee you score those points and come back to the hard ones at the end.

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For logic games I divided the total time equally by each problem set (around 8minutes for each set I believe) and memorized the timing markers ( ie 27, 19, 11 minute marks) so I knew during the exam if I had excess time or if I was ahead of the clock.

For logical reasoning I always found the last five questions to be most challenging due to brain fatigue and stress so I always tried to allot more time for these questions. During the exam I liked to have finished the first half of the questions by the 20 minute mark so I didn’t feel rushed at the end.

For reading comprehension the timing was more unstructured. Ideally you want to allocate equal time for each passage. Some passages are definitely more of an easier read than others and on these passages you want to move quickly as possible (without getting them wrong). This way you can create extra time for the more difficult passages.

As @canuckfanatic said do not get stuck on a question and move on immediately. If you’re like me even though you move onto the next question your mind may still fixate on the previous question. Train your brain not to do that and you’ll save valuable time!

This is the timing scheme that worked for me, but everyone’s different so find out what works best with you using practice exams under exam simulated conditions.

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I will just say that the further into an LR section you go, the longer questions will take, but this isn't always linear. There can be a few curveballs or 4-5 star questions (as 7sage would rate them) in the first 12-13 questions so there's no problem in taking a bit longer with some of those. After 14 anything is fair game, and every question can be sus. 

Edited by toastedguac
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On 1/26/2021 at 12:49 AM, canuckfanatic said:

What I was taught from PowerScore was to simply take the allotted time and divide it by the number of questions in the section.

This is sound advice as an average. But there are distributions of question difficulty in LR that most assuredly need to be accounted for to achieve optimal results. 

The general heuristic we teach is this: the first game, the first passage, and the first 10-12 questions in LR tend to be easier, on average. To be crystal clear, that doesn't mean there cannot  be hard questions in that group, just that the average difficulty is not as high as the overall blend of a typical section. 

PowerScore has published some data on LR question difficulty here. I've discussed this dataset at some length previously on this forum so I won't reshash it. The gist is that in general we agree, but believe the last 5 or so questions appear more difficult on average (based on correct response rate) than they really are due to confounding variables such as fatigue. 

The great news about that breakdown is one can absolutely put that knowledge into practice! For example, in LR we now know that one should take less time on the first 10-12 questions then the remaining set. How much less? That's a good question and heavily dependent on the individual. If you are not getting to all the questions, for example, how long you spend on the first 10-12 will be different from how long someone who gets to all the questions will spend.

For that reason I like to ratio things into a % of time taken (relative to the average time taken) before applying it broadly. For a test taker who plans to tackle all of the questions a good rhythm is to attempt the first 10 in 10 minutes. Again, make sure to keep in mind this is an average. Some sets a little more. Some a little less. But 10 minutes, on average, is pretty much the standard. If they attempt all questions they take 1.4 minutes / question (35 minutes / 25 questions...duh!). So taking 1 minute per question is 1/1.4 ~ 70% of the average question time. 

Lets apply that that to someone who only attempts say 20 questions. The average time spent is 35 / 20 ~ 1.75 minutes. So our hypothetical test taker should take approximately 70%*1.75 ~ 1.25 minutes / question for the first 10.

Heuristics for after the first 10 are a bit tricky because the level of difficulty is far less clean cut. That said, I generally follow this for the section: first 10 in 10, next 10 in 15, next 5-6 in 8, and 2 minutes for review. Now if you aren't getting to every question that does not apply in terms of actual time spent but the % of time can be applied using the same formula I did above.

Games and Reading Comp are slightly different. I said the first game / passage tends to be easier, which is true. But that doesn't offer much help in terms of timing for the rest of the section. It's more of a feel based on game / passage type. After studying for so long you will develop an internal clock, which will tell you - given a certain level of game/passage difficulty - how long it should be taking you. As long as you don't fall behind that internal clock you'll be fine. After all, it will be calibrated to how you normally do (and how many games/passages you attempt)! 

Edited by AllanRC
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For LR, I used this timing system (more or less, depending on the difficulty of the questions) to help give me a good guide of where I should be. Since I found some of the later questions (15+) to be harder than the beginning few, I would time myself for a minute a question until that range. So roughly two minutes per question from 15-25. 

As for games, it really depended on the difficulty of the games. I know it wastes precious time, but I found that taking a quick peek at what type of game each of the 4 sections was before I started to do questions to be particularly useful. Doing this allowed me to better spread out my time so I knew to spend less time on easier games and more time on harder games. For instance, if the section was split into four games (Easy Linear, Easy Grouping, Hard Grouping, Circular), I might give myself 6 minutes for the easy linear, 8 minutes for the easy grouping, 10 minutes for the hard grouping, and 10 minutes for the circular (with a minute leftover in case something goes wrong). It's not a strict schedule - for some, linear games might be more difficult and grouping games might be easier. But as @AllanRC said, it's like an internal clock. I recommend drilled, timed sections of LG/LR to help you really get a feel of how long each type of question should be taking. 

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