LSAT Diary: 10-Point LSAT Score Improvement


LSAT Blog Diary 10 Point LSAT Score Improvement
This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Corey who got a 161 on the October 2012 LSAT after using one of my day-by-day LSAT study schedules.

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at LSATUnplugged@gmail.com. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Thanks to Corey for sharing his experience and advice!

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Corey's LSAT Diary:

A bit about me...

 - I'm a divorced dad (have custody 1 night/week and every other weekend)
 - I work a full-time job
 - My undergrad was in Engineering
 - I've historically been a good test-taker, but this was the first meaningful test I've taken in over a decade

When I determined I might be interested in law school and started researching, I realized the importance of the LSAT score.  Without researching the LSAT, I found the full sample LSAT on the LSAC website and took it (Steve does not recommend you do this, but I hadn't come across this website yet).

I took the sample LSAT timed, and with no practice or idea of what was on the test, I scored a 151.  I knew that, given the law schools I'm applying to, I wanted a target score in the 155 range, I was sure that with some studying and prep I could reach that goal.

Here's my section-by-section "advice." Hopefully some of these tidbits will help.  Going by each section of the test...

Logic Games:

 - Given my math/science brain, the logic games came SOMEWHAT easily to me.  For other people with the same strengths, I would challenge them to thoroughly complete the set-up every single time.  For me, it was very tempting to cruise through the simple set-up without making any inferences - jumping to the questions and start knocking out the general questions and then "powering through" the rest.  During the study process I was able to kick that BAD habit.  For me, learning when/how to make inferences or to create the possible scenarios to the games was more difficult than actually doing it.


Logical Reasoning:

 - I saw the least improvement here, no matter how hard I tried.  It was frustrating that I couldn't narrow it down to a couple of question types.

 - The pattern I did notice once I started practicing complete LR sections was that I did well on earlier questions in the section, but poor towards the ends when they're harder... which leads to:

 - The most important lesson I learned with LR was the pacing.  I could easily get this section done in 25 minutes but would also always miss 7+ questions by doing that.  I trained myself to look at my watch after the first 10 questions, hoping to be at the 10 minute mark; after question 17, I wanted to be at 20 minutes; finish the section at/around 32 minutes, and go back and re-examine any questions I "circled" because I was unsure about my answer choice.  This kept me on a pace to knock out the easier ones, and from going too fast during the harder parts.


Reading Comp:

 - This is the section that I feared the most but I actually ended up liking it.

 - What worked for me was to read and notate/underline sparingly but often.  By this I mean underline any word - not sentence or phrase - words you think you might need to key in on while answering the questions; put a quick Before/After or A1/A2 when a opposing viewpoints come into play, etc.  And after finishing the passage I would do a quick mental outline of how the passage was structured.  Was it a linear trip from one point to another?  Was it an examination of a historical event?

- What really helped me when answering the questions is to remember the answer exists somewhere in the passage.  It's there.  You just have to prepare to be able to go and find it.


General test prep:

 - I used Steve's 6-month LSAT study guide exclusively, and obviously it worked. I think the guide maximized my score, given the amount of effort I put in. I adjusted it quite a bit around my work/parenting schedule.  It was pretty stressful at times, but I also know law school will be worse.

 - Get the watch Steve recommends - or for God's sake something like it - and use it when working under timed conditions everywhere the Study Guide tells you to.

 - Simulate test day conditions as much as possible.  Take full tests in a coffee shop, library, empty classroom, anywhere there will be mild distractions.

 - Get used to not checking Twitter/email/texts/FB/etc!


Test day:

 - Be prepared for the LONG wait before the test.  You'll get there early, wait in line to check-in, go to your room, wait for everyone else, wait for booklets to get distributed.  Then it'll take forever to fill out your name, SS #, etc on the test sheet.  Don't get yourself amp'ed up too soon.

 - I wore layers and was glad, even though our October LSAT was in the middle of an Indian Summer.  Some other test takers were freezing in shorts/t-shirt.  I wore cargo pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt under a short-sleeved t-shirt - perfect.

 - Someone else posted this, and it's true: the LSAT you take will be the PrepTest someone else takes a year later.  Your test isn't any easier or harder than anything else you practiced, so grind through it like you did your Prep Tests.

 - While taking full-length PrepTests, practice moving on immediately after you think you blow a section.  Think of how it will be on test day.  This happened to me... my strength is/was logic games, and one of the four games totally stumped me.  I guessed at 4 of the 5 questions in that game (got 1 right).  And this was a section I was supposed to excel on!  But from the practice, I was able to grimace, curse to myself, and move on immediately.  Be prepared for frustration and then to remember every question counts and have a short memory when you think you struggled on a question or a section.  If nothing else from my diary, remember this as you study, train yourself for it.

 - Another note about the game I struggled with... I got 2/5 correct.  But MOST other test takers struggled on a game with 7 questions.  I aced that one.  So even though I was disappointed, I ALSO didn't know I had killed it on the long games other people were struggling with.  Take it one section and one question at a time, I'm living proof because...

All that said, LG scare included, I scored a 161/83rd percentile.  Much thanks to Steve and others on this site.  Hopefully something from my experience/advice will help you write your LSAT a bit better!


Photo by bobaubuchon



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