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LSAT Diary: Adjusting to Timed LSAT Sections and PrepTests (Part 1)

LSAT Blog Diary Adjusting Timed LSAT Sections PrepTests
This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Caroline, who followed my 5-month day-by-day LSAT study schedule and got some private LSAT tutoring from me.

(This is Part 1 of her LSAT Diary. See Part 2 here.)

She ended up scoring a 169 on the June LSAT and got a perfect score on the Logic Games section!

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 Caroline for sharing her experience and advice!

Caroline's LSAT Diary, Part 1:

I started thinking about the LSAT about a year ago. I had sort of-maybe decided that I wanted to go to law school last summer after a year of going back and forth between grad school and law school.

I found Steve's LSAT blog on a random online search when looking into various studying options. I didn't want to (nor could I afford to) spend thousands of dollars on a class. I'm also someone who has a very "I can do it on my own" attitude about most things, so I found the blog to be perfect.

After combing through Steve's blog extensively, I decided to buy the 5-month LSAT study plan and the accompanying books. While this was happening, I had committed to go live in South Africa for 3 months. I decided that I would start my studying while I was there and continue for 2 months when I returned home, all in time for the February test.

And so my studying began in South Africa. I was in a new place and could thus concentrate pretty well at night with few distractions. I followed Steve's plan to a tee—I did not do a single thing more or less to start out with. I had read about the LSAT in the weeks leading up to my study, but the fact of the matter was that I felt completely lost at first. Steve’s study guide was the perfect way to familiarize myself with the test and ease into it.

I did NOT take a diagnostic test, and I am extremely happy that I didn’t. I’m not someone who is naturally gifted at standardized tests, and I’m sure I would have bombed a practice test doing it without any familiarity, and would have squashed all hope of a great grade.

I was incredibly dedicated for those 5 months. I rarely fell behind in my study schedule and when I did, I made time to ensure that I was caught up. I began to obsess over the test, and obsess over the idea of getting a near perfect score. In a way this was good, because I made sure I always got my studying in. I was improving on time and in each section because I was dedicated and was working so hard. The bad side to this, however, was that I was setting the bar very high for myself, which made anything short of perfect a mini tragedy for me.

I took my first PrepTest 3 months into my studying. I scored a 162, and felt good. I figured I had 2 months to tirelessly do timed PrepTests, and I was sure to improve. I was right—my PrepTests were averaging in the low 170s as the test neared.

I would say that at this point my strengths and weaknesses really showed. When you are working on understanding the structure of questions in the beginning and not timing yourself, it’s a lot easier to think you are better than you are in real-LSAT conditions. During my PTing is when I found that I was struggling to finish logic games on time, often having to guess on the last 2-4 questions. I found out that how I did on reading comprehension really depended on the subject matter and my mind-set (and hence it was harder for me to improve on).

I also found that I yo-yo’ed and then plateaued with logical reasoning. It went from being my best to my worst to my best in a matter of weeks, which was frustrating. It was when I began to see a pattern in my weaknesses and strengths that I was able to hone in on and correct where I needed improvement. I wrote down the logical reasoning question types I was getting wrong and practiced those. Over time, logical reasoning was by far my best section. I should also mention that at this point in my prep (the last month or so), I was doing my own preparation and practice in addition to Steve’s plan. I think this was good for me because I was able to tailor my studying to work on my weaknesses while also doing timed PrepTests.

Logic games were a little tougher for me to improve on, and I think it was because I didn’t have a set system down for the tougher question types. I was taking a while to diagram and making stupid mistakes, like writing rules down incorrectly. Whatever the exact reason, there was a disconnect that, in retrospect, I didn’t address properly. More on that later.

***

Read on for Part 2 of Caroline's LSAT Diary.

Photo by bobaubuchon



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