On today's episode, J.Y. speaks with Riley, AllezAllez21. In eight short months, Riley improved his diagnostic LSAT score of 160 to a 177. They speak about Riley's background in debate and endurance sports and the advantages they brought to his LSAT prep. They also speak about the importance of mantras and doing untimed sections in the beginning stages of prepping to provide a solid theoretical foundation.
Links to other content mentioned in the episode
Blind Review method
Study Groups on 7Sage Forum
Please send your comments, questions, and ideas for future episodes to podcast@7Sage.com.
Other 7Sage LSAT content
7Sage LSAT course: 7sage.com/enroll/
Free LSAT preptest scorer and analyzer: 7sage.com/score-lsat-test/
Free LSAT proctors: 7sage.com/free-lsat-prep-tools/
Free LSAT discussion forum: 7sage.com/discussion/
Free video explanations for every question in the June 2007 PrepTest: https://7sage.com/lesson/preptest-june-2007-video-explanations-for-all-questions/
J.Y.: Hello and welcome to Episode 3 of the podcast from 7Sage. I’m J.Y. Ping, and on today’s episode you’ll hear me speaking with Riley, who’s known as AllezAllez21 on our forums. We spoke in November 2017, shortly after Riley received a 177 on his LSAT. I asked Riley to describe what his study methods were that allowed him to improve from a diagnostic score from 160 in a period of about eight months. Riley answered questions from me and 7Sagers in attendance. We talk about his background in debate and how that prepared him for the kind of rigorous argument and analysis all over LR. We talked about his background in endurance sports and how that gave him the proper framework for thinking of the long-term training that is preparing for the LSAT. We talked about his mantras that he would repeat to himself to remind himself of what's important, how those mantras were different depending on which section he’s doing and the evolution of those mantras from when he first started studying to when he was preparing for the real LSAT by taking fully-timed prep tests. We also talk about the importance of doing untimed sections in the beginning of your studies, because that allows you to properly focus on mastering the fundamental. That’s what's important at that stage. And lastly, Riley talks about his experience in the blind review calls and just what role that the 7Sage community at-large played in his training for the LSAT. So I hope you’ll enjoy, I hope you’ll find the conversation interesting and helpful. I thought Riley provided many useful insights, broadly applicable to LSAT students. So without further ado, I hope you’ll enjoy this episode.
Welcome everyone. I’m here with Riley, also known as AllezAllez21 on 7Sage. Riley just recently got a promotion to Sage for having scored a 177 on the September 2017 LSAT. Congratulations, Riley. To get started, Riley, can I just have you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your background, where are you physically, what your plans are between now and next fall when you go to a great law school?
Riley: Yeah, sure. Thanks so much for hosting this, J.Y. I’m honored and humbled to even be asked to do something like this. Yeah, so I’m Riley. I am from Colorado. I was born in Colorado, and I still live here in Denver. I graduated from college in 2014, so I’ve been out of school for a couple of years. And yeah, I was lucky enough to be pretty involved in speech and debate in high school as well as in college, and so I think that’s sort of given me a strong background in argumentation and just sort of critically thinking about things that might be somewhat related to the LSAT.
J.Y.: Riley, what did you study in college?
Riley: I was actually in a weird major called science, technology and society, which is this interdisciplinary major, which kind of focused on entrepreneurship and management and how that sort of intersected with technology policy. A bit of an unusual one.
J.Y.: Hmm. Is that like a feeder program for all the start-ups around the area?
Riley: Uh, not really, no. I don't know. It was definitely a growing population, or a growing major, I mean, but no. I think those kids did CS for sure.
J.Y.: OK, OK. I guess on first blush it just doesn't sound like it’s related to the law. Did you have a change of mind later or did you go into college thinking, “I’m going to do this in preparation for law school”?
Riley: You know, I actually went through college thinking I wasn’t even going to do grad school period, at all, which now in my somewhat more wise year of 25 years of age I see as a mistake. But anyways, yeah, no. I kind of went into school being interested in business and entrepreneurship, and I still think that’s really a valuable thing. But I guess really when I started getting interested in law school about a year and a half-ish ago, it was sort of an evolution of thinking about what I wanted to do in life, and I’d always been really interested in policy and public service. My family has kind of a long history of public service, and so I started thinking about where my skills could be best put to use and having a really long history of doing written and oral argumentation and speech and debate and a lot of research and writing in my work experience as well as my school experience. I kind of began to see how being a lawyer could sort of be the way I can maximize applying my sort of experience and talent in that realm, to sort of make that impact that I’m hoping to see in the future with public interest law or something like that.
J.Y.: Right. Would you mind telling us a little bit more about your family’s history with public service?
Riley: Sure, yeah. Well, my, actually on both sides of my family, my grandparents were pretty involved in various community organizations, especially education and affordable housing, and then my dad actually is devoted his whole career to basically government and non-profit work. So I think I’ve really been able to see the strengths and weaknesses of government and public service and how it ultimately does a lot of really great work.
J.Y.: Are you also looking more to the public sector, either government service or non-profit work for after law school?
Riley: I think that would be ideal for sure. I mean I know that a lot of those jobs are hard to get, so it’ll be challenge, but yeah, I don't want to commit myself to anything in particular yet, but I think definitely something in the public realm would be kind of my ideal outcome.
J.Y.: Right. Well I’m sure a lot of people here are wondering and very curious to find out how you got your 177. How about speech and debate? What specifically about that do you think helped out with the LSAT? And is that something you'd recommend for 7Sagers who are currently studying?
Riley: Oh man. I guess if you’re still in, if you’re in college, yeah, go for it, why not. It can definitely be a good thing. I think the way it really helped me was in just the massive amount of reading you have to do with a critical mindset. When you’re approaching a debate topic, you’re basically having to evaluate the strength of evidence and arguments at all times, whether or not it’s in preparation for a debate or actually during the debate. I think for the LSAT, especially logical reasoning and definitely still reading comprehension, you’re basically trying to be critical of every argument that’s presented. I mean I actually had, like I tried to develop a short two- or three-word mantra before each section of the LSAT to kind of quickly focus my mindset in on tasks for the section. And for LR, one of them was “be critical.” I think for a lot of the different types of questions on LR, it really helps to have that critical mindset, and I think that’s probably something that debate helped with.
J.Y.: We already have a question from Snorlax who says, “Have you ever participated in WDC?”
Riley: I have not. That’s like the World Debate Championships. So actually I predominantly did high school speech and debate and then sort of branched out with working in that realm in college where I was doing work stuff, as far as creating debate materials and stuff, so I really didn't participate that much in the collegiate level of debate.
J.Y.: I see. Some of you said, massive amounts of reading with a critical mindset, that’s the overlapping school for the LSAT.
J.Y.: How much time did you spend studying for the test?
Riley: A ridiculous amount. And I realized that everyone can't always do that. I really, really admire the people who are working a job and have family commitments and everything like that and still squeezing the LSAT in. That’s amazing. I was privileged and lucky enough to have a somewhat flexible schedule.
J.Y.: And I really probably did devote, well I started 7Sage in February 2017. So I guess that was about seven to seven and a half months of studying, and during that time I was probably doing 30 to 40 hours a week in the beginning, and then as time progressed, it probably tapered down to 15 to 25. But I think that yeah, I just think one major point, and you wrote this in a blog article on 7Sage is that studying for the LSAT takes way longer than people think.
Riley: And I kind of agree. I think you wrote, people should think about it as a yearlong process. And I think that that’s probably a really great point, because just the way you build knowledge requires time. Repeating those processes over, building those neural connections and everything, it’s almost more advantageous to, just throwing out numbers, but study for 10 hours a week over six weeks than study 60 hours in one week.
J.Y.: Right, right.
Riley: Like you kind of need that time to circle back and rebuild all those connections.
J.Y.: Yeah, that’s a good way to kind of just crystallize that distinction. Like 10 hours a week over six weeks is so obviously better than 60 hours a week. Basically you’re just, the latter is just a form of cramming. You can't really cram for this. About seven months, right.
J.Y.: Yeah. I don't know if you heard the AMA with Josh, but seven months is not that much time on the spectrum of how much time people can spend studying for this. You hold the record for the highest score a Sage has ever gotten at a 177. I think Josh maybe holds the record for the longest amount of time a Sage has ever studied.
J.Y.: At over two years. People are asking what your diagnostic was. Did you do diagnostic?
Riley: I did a diagnostic, and I got a 160 on that. So I definitely started out in a really good place.
J.Y.: What was the breakdown for the 160?
Riley: I think I got minus 5 on every section but LG where I went minus 10.
J.Y.: A five on every section but LG, OK. So yeah, that’s pretty typical, I think, for high scorers, where LG is your worst section starting off, right? Because it just looks so alien.
Riley: Yeah. Quite honestly that was probably lucky on LR, like only getting minus 5. I think I could have just as easily gotten way more wrong.
J.Y.: Right, right. So that’s what a lot of the prepping is for, it’s to minimize that volatility.
J.Y.: Yeah. And you only took the LSAT once, right?
J.Y.: Yeah, that’s great. We have someone asking, I guess the question is did you focus exclusively on section, and then once you mastered the section, move on to another section?
Riley: No. I definitely did all three, and I really, really strong believe in not focusing in on only one section at a time. I’m no scientist, but it seems like there's pretty strong evidence about the process of learning, that you want to have diversity in the tasks that you’re learning. I was reading an article about this guy who just decided, he’d never played golf before, and he decided he would try to become a professional golfer. That was sort of an interesting case study about how do you learn processes, and he ended up doing it by type. So he started out with putting, and then he works to his short game and chipping and blah, blah, blah. But the takeaway of that article is that actually there's a lot of neurological research about, it’s much better to sort of have this diversity and overlapping, and I really agree with that. I tried to make sure that I was hitting different types of things throughout my prep. A typical day for me, I would usually start out with LG, just because I knew I could hammer that out while I was doing foolproofing, so spend a good chunk of that time on LG. And then I’d go into particular question types or particular strategies on LR and work on that for a while, and then I might, from there, go on to do a reading passage or two or something like that. I think you could, anyone should and could go look up research on learning how to learn and stuff like that, but I feel decently confident in saying you shouldn't go do only one type of LR question or only LG for an entire month and then go back.
J.Y.: Right, right. Do you recall why that was? Why that diversity helps with learning?
Riley: That’s a good question. I’m not sure I really remember the mechanics of it.
J.Y.: Yeah. But the takeaway was just to make sure you get a diversity, yeah.
J.Y.: Cool. Let’s see. Amanda, are you here? All right well I’ll ask the question. Amanda said, “I’d love to hear more about the mantras before each section. How did that come to be a part of your preparation?”
Riley: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it started probably around the middle of my PT-ing phase. Basically I started to have, my scores dipped a little, and I felt like I was getting a little bit complacent, almost. Like, I’d been scoring really well around the middle of my prep and I maybe slacked off a little bit and saw some scores dip, and I started thinking that was, it was basically because I had thought that I’d internalized a lot more than I really had, and so I had thought that I could sort of lean on my subconscious more than I was able to. I sort of felt like, OK, if I can sort of say these mantras, No. 1, it’ll help me to get in the right mindset, and No. 2, just the act of doing something intentional before the section will remind me to not be complacent, to really attack this section. My mantras, and they changed through the prep. And maybe this is something I’ll talk about after this, but I really think that where you’re at in prep totally changes how you approach the test. But anyway, going back to this, so they changed throughout, but I guess the mantras that I remember for LR, it was “critical aggression and speed.” And again, scoring in the 170s and having, that’s where I was at at the time, I needed to stay critical, because I was just not, especially on flaw, strength and weaken, sufficient assumption, that kind of stuff, I wasn’t being critical enough. I was kind of just like, “Oh yeah. I’ll read the stimulus, and it’ll pop out to me.” But then during that phase of my prep it really wasn’t. It was kind of just like, “Oh man. All right. Well I guess I’ll read the answer choices.” And that wasn’t good, so I started really pushing myself to get back into a critical mindset, really trying to find the flaw in the argument before going to the answers. And then aggression and speed I think just kind of comes from in that last phase of preparation, once you’re scoring highly, it really benefits you to finish a section early with time to go back for a second pass. And so yeah, I was just trying to really motivate and remind myself to push the pace, because I think that was ultimately critical to bring those last few LR points onto the board. Yeah, and then for RC, I guess my two little sayings were, “read with empathy” and “the answer is in the passage; don't compare answers.” And so basically on the empathy thing it’s like, I was really, I found it really helpful to try to read the passage in a way where I was trying to figure out, OK, why is the author writing this piece? And what are they trying to really get across? I thought that sort of helped me to sort of develop an intuitive sense of the underlying purpose of the passage. That helped with some of those overview questions. And then the other sort of point about “the answer’s in the passage; don't compare the answers” is basically, in the beginning of my prep, I usually was down to two or sometimes even three answers on RC and I’d start comparing them to one another —
Riley: — and saying which one is more right or more wrong, and ultimately you have to be really objective and realize that all answers except for one are 100 percent wrong.
Riley: And so I sort of tried to really remind myself, “Hey. If you’re going to go looking for an answer, it’s in the passage. It’s not like comparing the two together.”
Riley: And that really helped on RC.
J.Y.: Yeah, especially, the vast majority of questions on the RC section are like the inference types or the “what was stated” type or the inference or “make an inference” type as opposed to the other way around, like the weaken or strengthening. I like what you said about the empathy bit. It definitely helps to, it helps to preempt for the purpose kind of questions. It also, I think it helps to preempt the attitude questions, like the author’s attitude.
Riley: And even the main point questions really, because a lot of the main point, sometimes wrong answers on main points will be factually correct.
Riley: But they just don't get the emphasis right. And so if you’re thinking about, “OK, well yeah, that was in the passage, but why did they really write this passage?” That steers you to the better answer or the one correct answer.
J.Y.: That’s right. LR you said the mantra was “critical, aggression, speed.” RC was “empathy, answers in the passage, and don't compare answers.” Now were those mantras sort of end stage mantras, like towards the end of your studying? You mentioned, I think you alluded to some evolution in that process.
Riley: Right. Yeah. And I think it just totally depends on where you are in your prep. So I come from an endurance sports background, so I did a lot of sports in college, and basically like when we were preparing for the season, the preparation we did during, it was a summer-ish sport, so the preparation that we did in the winter and in the spring was entirely different than the preparation we did in the summer. And I think it’s sort of similar as to where you are at on your LSAT journey, so to speak. Like you've got to start out not caring at all about timing, and not caring at all about executing. Like you’re entirely focused on the fundamentals of logic and argument structure and identifying things, and then as you progress you might become more task oriented to question types on LR or types of RC passages or something like that. And then from there you start adding on the, you know, the cherry on top of executing a particular strategy. So your mantra earlier on in your prep might actually be something more like “don’t rush” because maybe the nerves get to you enough that you'd rather focus on accuracy in the beginning or something like that.
Riley: Or you might have a particular question weakness, like an LR question type that’s really weak, and you have something to remind you about how to address that question type.
J.Y.: Initially you’re staying focused on just your core competencies, like you got to understand how causation logic works, right? You've got to understand how conditional logic works, how they’re different, basic grammar analysis —
Riley: Yeah. And actually just so I don't forget it, because this is reminding me of it. Honestly, my biggest takeaway that I would want to drill home to people is that timed practice, in my opinion, is way too overemphasized in the average student’s mind. I think, and to be fair, timing is super important on the LSAT, and that’s an end game thing, and yeah, 35 minutes is scary. But I see students in the core curriculum of 7Sage all the time asking like, should I be timing this? How fast should I be doing these questions? Am I doing them fast enough? And they’re just starting out in their studies.
Riley: And so I actually pretty much never did timed practice. The much more important thing to do is to set up a system and a process of attacking the questions in the optimal way and then practice that over and over and over, and as you gain mastery, your time will automatically take care of itself.
J.Y.: Right. That’s hard for people to see or believe, I think. But OK, so let me see if I got this right. You’re saying you did very little timed practice, at least in the beginning, I mean you weren’t taking PTs under full-timed conditions. You just were doing problem sets, like taking as much time as you need, just making sure you understand the logic of the question, right, the argument. And once you could do that, time, your speed just picked up naturally as a function of competence, as a function of increased competence. How? Like why would that happen? Why would becoming more competent help you be faster?
Riley: I mean I think it’s just the, once you start achieving more competence and mastery, you’re just naturally able to more quickly identify argument parts, argument structure. Once you've repeated a process, you know exactly your task. You know at first, sufficient assumption and necessary assumption questions seem incredible foreign to me and everyone else.
Riley: You’re just not used to doing something like that.
J.Y.: Yeah. Like logic games, right?
Riley: Yeah, and like logic games, exactly.
Riley: I just think like, and it kind of depends on where you’re at. Actually, there was someone on the forums today talking about this. But basically I think that if you schedule it out enough that you’re putting in enough practice tests, that’s going to be generally enough timed constraints on your own. So I, and I think someone asked this at one point, but I ended up doing over 35 practice tests, and each one of those I did fully proctored using the 7Sage app with a timer.
J.Y.: Right, so just to be clear —
Riley: That was all of the timed —
J.Y.: Yeah, that was timed, that was 100 percent timed to —
J.Y.: Yeah. So it’s just when you were, before you got to that point of taking lots of PTs, mostly you were focused on doing not timed practice.
Riley: And then all other drilling, all other drilling that I did, even during the PT phase was still untimed.
Riley: So the only timed work I did, basically, was the actual proctored practice tests.
J.Y.: Yeah. Thirty-five of those.
Riley: Which is a lot, yes.
J.Y.: Yeah, that is a lot.
J.Y.: I mean starting from, if you started from 36, that’s up to 70.
J.Y.: I’m trying to think, I’m guessing you still had some fresh PTs saved in case you were going to take it in December or something?
Riley: Yeah. I started out with 36 and then right around 50-ish I realized that I just wouldn't have time to do all of them anyway, so I jumped ahead and pretty much skipped most of the 50s.
Riley: And then started back up in the 60s.
J.Y.: Yeah. And what was your improvement in your score like. Was it just like straight going upwards? Did you ever experience a plateau, or did your score ever dip below your initial diagnostic of 160?
Riley: No, it didn't. After I did the core curriculum, the first test I took after the core curriculum I jumped up to a 168. I generally started rising, but there is variation. And to be honest, there was variation in my scores throughout the process. I don't know if that’s a function of on the upper end it’s just really hard to consistently score at the tippy top, but I think it’s natural to have variation throughout. Yeah, it was definitely a battle. And I think too there were certain points throughout my prep where I struggled with certain things or others. Like for example, I really tried hard on logic games. Actually, just to back up and talk about that, I mean I did so many logic games. I think at the end of the day I did well over 700 attempts at logic games.
J.Y.: Wait, 700?
Riley: So that’s a lot.
J.Y.: Seven hundred logic, there's four games per section.
J.Y.: So over 10 prep tests, that’s 40 games. Over a hundred prep tests, that’s only 400 games, so you’re saying you definitely did the same game multiple times?
Riley: Yeah. I did every logic game from one through 35 at least five times. I mean I did 35 prep tests, in each of those it’s the times take the BR and then I did most of those at least one other time.
Riley: Sometimes more.
Riley: Yeah. I mean, to anyone out there, we always get questions on the 7Sage forum, like does foolproofing work? Yes, it really does.
Riley: There's a reason it’s called the foolproof method. You just, you really just got to grind out the volume.
Riley: In any case, I bring that up because even I had slumps. I mean I had a point where it just felt truly like I was on top of the LG world. I remember taking prep test 57, which has two notorious games in it, and just destroying, like absolutely dominating it, and then I went on vacation for like two weeks and then suddenly started missing four to five questions on LG, several times in a right-of-way.
J.Y.: Oh no.
Riley: Yeah. I think no matter what, everyone’s going to have their slumps, and you got to get back to the grind and keep at it.
J.Y.: Yeah. And your point about the variation in the test scores earlier, it’s, I think it is to some extent unavoidable, especially when you are already in the high 160s, 170s, you have this, your margin of error is just so tiny. So just an extra few questions, right or wrong, could translate into a big scaled score jump or a decrease. So that factor, I think, I just, I always call it just luck. You can do everything you’re supposed to do to prepare, but at the end of the day, there is some element of lucky that you can't really control.
Riley: And I think, especially earlier in your prep, you just shouldn't be worried about it. What you should be focused on, you should be focused on this throughout, but especially early on is like your BR. Your blind review is absolutely the more important thing than the timed test.
Riley: And those scores should be generally more consistent, when you have the time to sit down and work through all the problems and do your due diligence and put your effort into the blind review, there's probably not so much variance. I mean I’m looking at my analytics right now, and especially early on in my prep, I had eight to nine point swings between timed tests in the beginning. And I think that was basically like yeah, I just wasn’t really practiced and experienced with doing a whole timed test in a row. But my BR scores were all basically the same.
Riley: So I think that’s important.
J.Y.: Yeah, that’s really important. You got to get your BR scores to be consistent. I mean that, because the BR score is basically a way to take one of the factors, one of the components that affect your time score, out of the equation, and that component is time, right? So the BR score is just sort of a clean look at your understanding of the material, not under stress, not under time.
J.Y.: So that’s a good way to figure out, like am I getting things wrong because of time, or am I getting things wrong because of lack of understanding? Right?
J.Y.: So if your BR score isn’t at a 180, then there are clearly gaps in your understanding.
Riley: And that goes back to my whole idea about don't focus on timed work.
Riley: It’s like, I think in the beginning of people’s prep, your timed score in the beginning of your PT phase, it is what it is, it doesn't really matter that much. You should be way more focused on your BR score. That’s the thing you should or should be proud of.
J.Y.: That’s right.
Riley: Really try to push that up as high as you possibly can.
J.Y.: Yeah. Right. So I think we’re getting a lot of reactions to your point of not focusing on timed sections. On that point, LG, LG section was your weakest section throughout most of your prep. Even for LG, did you not try to do timed section drills? Or did you make an exception for LG?
Riley: Yeah, I would say that’s the one exception was LG, but even then I was trying to be really cognizant of not rushing. So it was never like, oh, the target time on 7Sage is five minutes, so I’ll set my timer at five minutes and see if I can get it done in that time. It was more just like, “I’m going to set a stopwatch or a clock that counts up, and I’m going to make sure I do all of my processes, do all of my inferences and my setup and answer the questions and then whenever that’s done, I’ll click stop and keep track of it.” And I think that mostly just served as a confidence boost over the months to be like, “Yep. This is definitely working. I’m clearly seeing the times drop.” Like when I started out, I have the log, I definitely set up a log where I recorded, trying to maybe even pull it up here, I recorded the game that it was, the date I was doing it on, how long it took and then kind of just a one to 10 rating about how confident I felt.
Riley: And I mean starting out, yeah, there were plenty of games where I pretty much maxed out at like 25 minutes to do a single game or 15-plus minutes. And then by the end I was consistently doing entire sections in around about 15 minutes. Those were sections that I’d already done four or five times.
J.Y.: Oh, I see. OK. Yeah.
Riley: Yeah, yeah. Although, yeah, I mean at the end, very end occasionally I really did get a totally fresh section done in 25 minutes maybe.
J.Y.: That’s great.
Riley: I think, for LG for sure, repetition and foolproof method, doing the same game over and over —
Riley: — way to go.
J.Y.: You participated, when you were studying, you participated in some blind review calls that we had the students organize on the forums.
Riley: Yeah. I did the September study group that we had.
J.Y.: Yeah, can you talk a little bit about that? Like what was that like? How did that get started? What was participating in that call like? In those calls? Yeah, just really anything.
J.Y.: I think a lot of people here just have, don't know about the study groups, or if they do, have never participated in them.
Riley: Yeah, actually just to kind of back up and address the larger point of the 7Sage community and participating in it, I am sort of a quiet social media and internet presence. I don't really like commenting and using things. But the 7Sage community was just like so clearly welcoming and friendly and nice that I really don't think I could have done this without them. Like I think I would have scored fine, but there was something about getting involved in this community that really gives everyone a lot of motivation. You just know that so many other people are going through the same struggles as you.
Riley: You’ve got people to ask questions and help with. So I think the act of participating in this community alone was a unique motivator that really stood out, and that started with me basically commenting a ton on the core curriculum, on all the different videos and morphing from there, and I thought that was so incredibly helpful. Because at the end of the day, there's nothing more revealing about your own knowledge than trying to explain something to someone else.
Riley: Because you have to confront all the assumptions that you’re making. So I really encourage everyone, and this is something that Josh would say and so would David, his username’s AccountsPlayable, but yeah. Just get out there and comment on everything you can, and it’ll help you and it’ll help everyone else. But for the calls, yeah it sounds, it basically seems like pretty much every test, like little group gets together and we had a pretty large group. We basically just met once a week, we predetermined a schedule, and again I think that was just so helpful, because I think, otherwise you would just sort of feel alone. Like, you'd do this test, you were blind reviewed on your own, and then I don't know where you go from there. It’s just so much more helpful to have unique, sorry, so much more helpful to have varying perspectives and also it’s just kind of fun, especially when you’re blind reviewing the calls and you genuinely don't know the answer.
Riley: And two people are both advocating for different answers, that can be really rewarding and entertaining to figure out, OK, what's the actual answer here and how do we get there and that sort of thing. So yeah, I really enjoyed that process, and I would encourage people to join those. There's definitely one going on for December.
J.Y.: Yeah. So how, I guess just nitty gritty questions, how many people would participate in the calls?
Riley: We had a ton of people in the beginning, probably 15 or more would show up on any given week, so that meant that even more were in the group, because some could occasionally not make it.
Riley: I think we had almost 30. Of course once we got closer, some people started making the wise decision to postpone, because they weren’t ready, and that was fine.
Riley: So it got down to a core group, but yeah, I mean there's definitely, I think we ended up having a good balance of enough people that we got a lot of varying perspectives, but I think there ended up being two different groups, and that was good because then if there's 40 people on the call, it would be harder for everyone to participate.
J.Y.: Right, right. And you’re saying that the rule was you’re not supposed to look at the answers before jumping on this call, so that everyone is truly blind about what the right answer is to facilitate discussion?
Riley: Yes. So the way I would do it is I would blind review it on my own before showing up, and then we’d go ahead and talk through the difficult questions people had challenges with.
J.Y.: Right. How long would the calls last?
Riley: A long time. And we ended up splitting, sometimes we split into two different calls. Like one was an LR, and one was an RC call.
Riley: Which might sound intimidating, but ultimately it really wasn’t. I mean it was up to you to join when you could. If you had to leave, you had to leave. But I think overall people really enjoyed it because you start to realize how many great, smart people are around and you connect with them and you learn a lot from them.
J.Y.: Yeah. It’s more fun than blind reviewing by yourself.
Riley: For sure.
J.Y.: It’s like yeah. I think it really helps to give perspective on how long blind reviewing takes. It’s supposed to take a long time. Lisa, are you here? Is your mic working?
Lisa: Yes, I’m here.
J.Y.: Hi, Lisa. How are you?
Lisa: Good, how are you?
J.Y.: Good. You had asked some questions, so would you mind asking, Riley?
Lisa: I was curious how long you take to finish the LR section comfortably, and how many minutes you usually have at the end to check over your questions, and do you usually feel that, “Oh, I think I got 100 percent on this section”? Or do you know, “I definitely got No. Whatever wrong. I don't have a good feeling about it.”
Riley: That’s a good question. So again, it definitely evolved throughout the process. So yeah, I would say initially I was probably getting five to seven wrong per section, and then that sort of narrowed down to anywhere between two and five and then finally it dropped down to zero to two. And that, I changed my approach throughout. So initially in that phase, in the very beginning phase, I was still very, very focused on LR question types, so yeah, I think if you’re scoring in the 160s, you still have the capability to think about the fundamentals and to really orient yourself to what particular question types they’re asking and to try to master those question types. And then from there, you can start thinking more about execution and that sort of thing.
And so about midway through my prep, I was finishing LR sections with maybe two to five minutes remaining, depending on the difficultly of that particular LR section, and then I’d maybe get to quickly look over two to three questions at the most. And as I got closer and closer to test day, I really changed my mindset, and I think a lot of that was from help from other Sages like Josh, and also there's a really great webinar on skipping that everyone should go watch that J.Y. did a while ago. And I think, yeah, people who are scoring in the 160s and lower 170s are probably committing, well more in the 160s, are maybe occasionally committing overconfidence errors where they don't necessarily know the right answer, but because of time constraints, they choose it and move on. But then once you get up more toward the 170s, you start having under-confidence areas, so basically on the questions that are easier, you’re spending too much time on them. So I really tried to develop this sense of like, “OK. You've done hundreds of these LR questions before. You know that this answer is wrong because of this reason, so eliminate it and move on.” And that’s where I sort of developed that aggression and speed mantra going into LR, and that really changed the way I did LR, and I started finishing with 8-, 10-, sometimes 12-plus minutes at the end of a section where I was just really ripping through it. I felt that that ultimately paid off. I mean from a quantitative standpoint, I kept a rolling average of how many I was getting wrong and I definitely picked up at least a point and a half at the end there by switching strategies. Because basically I thought, OK. Every couple of tests I’m probably going to have an overconfidence error, but the one point I lose because I was overconfident on this question will more than pay for itself when I have 10 minutes at the end of the section to go back to three hard questions and make sure I get all three of those right. That ultimately ended up being my strategy for LR was to become hyper-aggressive. I think when I first started out on my prep, I was really convinced that I had to read every answer choice no matter what. I do think that that probably is beneficial and the right way to go when you’re in the 150s and 160s and maybe even the lower 170s, but I think after having done hundreds and hundreds of questions, and starting to consistently score above a 175, it began to pay off to skip answer choices on the easiest of the questions, because that’s basically time you’re banking that you can invest later on. And now, to be fair, on the real thing in September I got a main point question wrong, and I can't wait to see how that comes out on 7Sage analytics. I bet it’s like a one- or two-star question. Like, hey, on the real thing my gamble, it got real.
Riley: I got a question wrong, and I looked on the analytics afterwards, and I had gotten one other main point question wrong in all 35 of my PTs.
Riley: And so if I hadn’t had done that, I would have had a 179, but I don't think I would do it again. I don't think I would do anything differently again, and that’s because who’s to say if I hadn’t have blasted through the beginning of that section that I wouldn't have, I had that time to devote to the harder questions.
J.Y.: Yeah, yeah.
Lisa: Did you get the easy MP question wrong because you skipped on the answer choices?
Riley: I actually did not skip the answer choices on that one. It was, it is what it is, and I happened to miss that question, but again, I think ultimately I do remember being super nervous sitting, because that was the first section, sitting down and just being extraordinarily nervous, then magically I finished the first 12 questions of that section in about seven and a half or eight minutes. I think even though I got a question wrong, I think it was question 10 maybe or I don't even remember, it might have been, somewhere around those first 12 questions, it was in there and I got that one wrong, I really think it ultimately still pays off.
J.Y.: Yeah. I think the takeaway, everyone, is that it’s worth it. Like these occasional overconfidence errors like Riley just talked about, it’s worth it, because you end up just getting more time you can spend on other questions. OK, so thank you Lisa. Next we have Megan who’s got a question for you, Riley. Megan, is your mic working?
Megan: Hi, yeah. Congratulations on your score, Riley.
Riley: Thank you.
Megan: And thank you so much for your time. I just wanted to ask, because I noticed that you answered a question on the forums about handling overconfidence errors, and I wanted to ask what your thought process is like or what your approach is like when you need to eliminate all five answer choices. Because I’m really struggling to eliminate that really bad final answer choice. And I know that it will probably be the best way to eliminate all five and then sort of go back to the stimulus and go through the answer choices again, but it’s really hard for me. I just wanted to ask what your experience was like.
Riley: Yeah, I think that’s a great question, and I think you’re on the right track, and it’s definitely hard to do, but I think eliminating all five answer choices is way better than choosing one and feeling really mixed on it. Because if you eliminated all five, you’re already getting like, “Huh. There's got to be something about this that I’m not getting.” And a lot of the times that I ended up getting a question wrong, especially on LR, it was like I didn't understand something about the stimulus, so I ended up eliminating the correct answer choice and then picking something else and being like, “That’s a really weird right answer, but I eliminated everything else, so I’ll go with it.” And so I think that having the mindset of through your first sweep, just trying to eliminate answers is probably the best way to go. So rather than being like, “I’m looking for the right answer,” instead be like, “I’m looking to eliminate all the wrong answers.” And now there's exceptions for that if you really, if it’s just super easy question or you just get that question, then fine, there are times where you’ll know the right answer and you’ll go looking for it. But if you go through a stimulus and you’re like, “Hmm, not sure,” then definitely first sweet look to eliminate answers before confirming the right one, and then yeah, I would say it’s really about developing sort of a Spidey sense of really thinking about, this is an unusual right answer or there's just something about this answer that just sounds odd. And that’s really where going faster or skipping generally. Regardless of how fast you go, skipping is super helpful, because as people will tell you and have said in previous webinars and advice, the second pass can be a totally new experience, and you can see the question in a different light. So I would say those instances, if you’re down to two, I don't know. Play with whether or not you circle one before moving on you just totally don't circle either and then come back, but regardless, yeah, skip it. And I think the thing is people will debate whether or not to put a hard time limit on how much to spend on a particular question or not, but I like to think of it more in terms of problem-solving processes. As long as you feel like you are doing the right kinds of things to move towards the right answer, you’re really actually thinking about how the argument is structured or you’re really comparing an answer choice to the facts of the stimulus, something like that, then keep working on the question. But if you’re just like sort of rerunning over thoughts you've already had in your head or you start being tempted to compare the answers against one another, then just skip and move on, but yeah. So overall my answer would basically be, think about eliminating wrong answers before circling what you feel like is the right answer and skipping is your friend.
J.Y.: Thank you, Riley. Next we have Debbie.
Debbie: Yeah. So have a question regarding skipping RC questions. I was wondering what your thought, Riley, is on when to return to these questions, whether it’s at the end of the passage or at the end of the section. I know that I’m sometimes tempted to just revisit those questions I skip at the end of the passage, just because I feel like I remember it more, I’m more familiar with the details, maybe that will give me an edge. But at the same time, sometimes I want to come back at the end of the section, because I feel like it would give me a fresh perspective, although I’m also afraid of me having to spend more time rereading parts of the passages that I might have forgotten. So I was just wondering what your approach would be on that.
Riley: It’s a good question, and I think the unsatisfying answer is maybe both, or maybe that is satisfying. But I would say both, and I definitely did both. I think, for me the big thing on RC was to truly not get hung up on debating answers. No matter way, you just can't spend very much time on any one RC question. That’s something that I definitely struggled with more than LR, but I think you got to be able to answer RC questions fast, and that’s not because you’re suddenly magically better then, it’s just you kind of have to tell yourself, “I’m not going to just spend two minutes on this one question, because it’s not worth it.” So I would say yeah, first pass definitely at the end of each section. You get to the end, so skip, if it’s a hard question, skip immediately and keep going, because sometimes doing the other questions in the passage will kind of help your mind work through what the passage is really all about, and then I can help you with the hardest questions of the passage. So skip, come back at the end of the passage when the whole thing is still sort of fresh in your mind. But I think the danger on that is you can't get in this mindset of, “Oh man, if I go into the next passage, then I’m going to forget everything about this one, so I have to answer every question, and then suddenly you’ve spent 11 minutes on a single passage because you just can't move on from it. I ended up going minus zero on the actual RC for this September LSAT, and a lot of people thought that it was pretty hard. But even then, I went back at the end. I remember finishing the entire thing with about four minutes left, maybe, and I remembered going back to the second passage and then the third passage and I think just like LR, your brain has a way of holding in the information and subconsciously processing. So you can still definitely make important insights and approach the passage with new perspective. So yeah, I would say skip, don't spend too much time on any question, skip the hardest ones, come back at the end of the passage, but if you still can't get it very quickly, then move onto the next passage and come back at the end of the entire section.
J.Y.: Thanks, Riley.
Debbie: Thank you, Riley.
J.Y.: OK. Next I’m turning this over to Serena. Serena had a question from earlier. Serena, is your mic working?
Serena: Yes, is it working?
J.Y.: Yes, hi.
Serena: OK, perfect. Hi. Hi, Riley. Hi, J.Y.
Serena: I’m actually going to piggyback a little bit off of Debbie and Megan in terms of RC, just because it’s so much fun. For RC questions, do you feel like, because it’s not as methodical as LR and LG, is there a general theme with the reading comp questions? Is repetition going to help there as well, in terms of anticipating? And then I guess my second question is, I guess you can ask them at the same time is for test day, the night before or walking into the LSAT, did you feel 100 percent prepared? Because I know that I’ve never felt that way about any test that I’ve walked into. Just wanted to see what your personal experience was with that.
Riley: RC. Well one thought that I had when I was answering Debbie’s question and that I want to say before I forget is that I think maybe re-reading isn’t so bad. I think a lot of people are afraid to reread the passage because they think it’s going to suck up time, and you’re going to have to just play with this concept yourself and figure it out. But to me I felt like, hey, actually I could really briefly skim and reread significant portions of the passage pretty fast. And because I had already read it once, I could absorb that information better. So play with this and figure out if it’s true for you or not, but that really helped to alleviate some things. Especially in the beginning of my RC prep, I was consistently missing “stated in the passage”-type questions, because I didn't retain that information, and I was too afraid to go look for it, because I thought it was going to suck up all the time, so I basically ended up guessing a lot. And I realized, hey, actually once you've read it in detail in the first pass and then you start answering questions, you can go back and re-skim pretty quick and still have a return on investment. But to answer the rest of your question on RC, I actually think that repetition is hugely important and about halfway through my prep I started realizing that more and started doing a sort of a form of foolproofing on RC, which I really think did help. So what I did was I’d read a passage and I had a Word document where I would type out a once sentence summary of each paragraph, then I’d write down the main point, the purpose, the tone, viewpoints and structure. And each of those would end up being between a third of a page to an entire page single-spaced. Yeah, I would just do that for, you know I’d try to do a passage a day, maybe, sometimes if I was ambitious more. But I think in that sense, it was sort of a foolproofing, in the same way that you’re training your LG mind to automatically make inferences, you’re training your RC mind to see the underlying purpose, to see how the viewpoints conflict or agree with one another. So I would definitely say do that. I think that was good.
J.Y.: Yeah, actually to add onto that. I really liked that. It’s very, RC I guess it’s more opaque whereas compared to LG I think it’s more transparent where you see that they’re just kind of testing for the same thing every single time. Like it’s very transparent how similar logic games are to each other. But I think RC is also similarly similar to each other. They’re kind of always asking for — like Riley, you were saying, what would you right down for each passage?
Riley: Yeah, so I did. One paragraph summary, main point, usually just a line, purpose.
Riley: And that could be just a couple of words about advocating for a new approach to research or debunking a myth or something like that.
J.Y.: Yeah. So like always they’ll ask the main point. The purpose you can anticipate they’re going to ask for that. Just getting very short summaries of each paragraph is going to help you see the structure, how the paragraphs run into each other, how they connected to each other. Like author’s tone, again it’s highly repetitive from passage to passage.
Riley: I’m seeing one other quick question here before I’ll answer how I felt on test day. Where was it, I think it was just from Jennifer about running out of time and not reading a passage. I mean I think fundamentally you've got to just keep practicing RC and get to the point where you can hopefully do all of them, but my thought on both LG and RC is to attempt every passage or game. Because I think that there are easy questions in every passage and game, and there are hard questions in every passage and game, so I think it’s better to do every game and do all the easy questions and to just skip the hard questions than it is to try to get the hardest questions for one passage and then not even see the other passage. So that would be my short answer on that. How I felt on test day. You know, good question. Nervous. I felt, I definitely scouted out the test center. I had obviously taken all of the proctors, so I knew all the instructions. Everyone on 7Sage is a huge advocate for mindfulness and meditation, and I 100 percent agree with that. I did that, and I think we should do that regardless of the LSAT. It just helps your everything. But no, I definitely felt very nervous. I mean I walked in there and I had Brought a warm-up, I had a brought a warm-up, and I intentionally got the easy questions to do a warm-up for, and I tried to sit down and do the warm-up, and I just picked the wrongest of the wrong answers on the easiest of the questions, and I was like, “Oh man. Wow. That’s not a good sign. I’m not even going to do the rest of this warm-up.” Even having done 35-plus practice tests, you’re going to be nervous and that’s OK. I guess when the first section was called, it was almost just like I mean this was the real thing. What was I going to do? There was nothing left for me to do but start answering the questions rather than — my biggest concern going in to the test was that I was going to be doing a meta evaluation of my performance, because on practice tests I definitely did that. Throughout I was like, “OK, I’m probably minus this at this point through the exam. I’m probably minus this through this section.” But on the actual test day, it was just like, “Well, I’m just going to go,” and trust that all the work I’ve done is there and luckily that immediately paid off. Like I said, I finished the first 12 questions in eight minutes, and so that sort of put it all to rest. I truly feel bad for the people who had the experimental RC to start, because that was apparently one of the hardest sections of all time. So sucks for them, because I’m sure that devastated plenty of people. I would be genuinely curious to know if there was a statistically different score between those people and the other people. But yeah, nerves are going to be a factor for everyone.
Serena: Thank you.
Riley: Yeah, thank you.
J.Y.: Let’s see. We have Mitsi. Did you want to ask a question?
Mitsi: Hi, can you hear me?
Mitsi: Hi. So just going back quickly to RC, I haven't spent too much time there, but you did mention that you were notating a passage per day, and I’m sure you were doing that for a while, so just after doing that for some time, as you’re speed reading under timed conditions, were you able to just naturally pull those things because you had been doing it for quite some time? How did it, how did that pay off as you’re timing yourself?
Riley: Yeah. That’s a good question. I think it is kind of similar to LG. It’s like just all of a sudden, and you start seeing LG rules just automatically have certain inferences depending on the game board setup. It’s sort of was like that in RC, just automatically. If every time I did an RC passage untimed in my little practice, I knew, hey, in four minutes, after I’m done reading this passage, I’m going to have to go right down to purpose, so of course I’m looking for that purpose right now to go read through it. And that eventually translated to the actual timed practice. It’s like you just naturally start reading for purpose. You naturally start looking for clues that give you the main point. You naturally start looking at the meta structure of the passage. So I think having to be forced to explicitly write it out during your untimed repetition practices, it’s with enough time you’re going to start looking at the RC passages in that way, yeah. So I would do that. And I mean you said speed reading, but definitely don't speed through the RC reading. I put in at least three and a half usually more, like four minutes, to reading each passage. But yeah.
Mitsi: And sorry, just one more question. How long do you do that? How long did it take you until you started seeing that pay off?
Riley: Awhile, like at least three weeks, probably more like six weeks. I started off doing RC practice a lot less intentionally, and just kind of doing the RC, reading a passage, doing the questions, BR-ing the questions and seeing where I was at. And then I realized, again about halfway through my prep, so with a couple months remaining, that I needed to be more intentional, and I would say basically it paid off in eliminating some variation. So I had the potential to do well in RC and I did score well early on in RC, but I would still have times where I would get double the amount wrong. And as I approached test day, I think implementing that strategy I would consistently not miss more than two, usually only one.
Mitsi: Oh wow. OK. Great. Thank you.
J.Y.: Thanks, Mitsi. So we have about 10 minutes left, and if you guys have any questions, now would be the time to ask. I think I made it through the list. I might have skipped over some people.
Riley: I see one here from Ian.
J.Y.: Oh, right.
Riley: He says, did you start PT-ing immediately after finishing the core curriculum? Or did you take some time to drill and foolproof first? I guess it kind of depends on your own personal schedule, but like Josh and David, AccountsPlayable, would tell you, don't burn through your practice tests if you don't have to. They’re precious resources, there's only a couple of them. So I did start, I did one prep test basically right after I finished the core curriculum, but then I didn't do another one for like two weeks. And during that time I was doing drilling and I was doing foolproofing, and then I did another one and waited another two weeks, and then slowly narrowed that down to 10 days and then seven-ish, and then by the end, I was doing about two PTs, sometimes a little bit less, every week. So yeah, don't waste your PTs. If you’re feeling under-confident about where your skills are at, you’re always better off spending more time drilling and foolproofing before you start PTs, because especially early on in the prep, PTs aren't really that important. You know you need to learn more. You know there's plenty of points left on the table, so a PT is just going to tell you the obvious, and you've got, you still have so much to learn that pinpointing a particular weakness isn’t as high of a priority. So yeah, I would say once you finish the core curriculum, loop back on the things you’re struggling the most with, keep up with LR and RC drilling and foolproofing, and then slowly wade your way into PT-ing.
J.Y.: Nice. So we got three really good questions here. I’ll just ask them in order. Alex is wondering if there's anything you'd do different if you could go back and do it all over again.
Riley: Great question. I would do way more mindfulness, I would do way more meditation, and more exercise, for sure.
J.Y.: You mean like physical exercise?
Riley: Those were huge, yeah, yeah.
J.Y.: A lot of people think are resistant to try meditation, because it sounds like, you know, it sounds new age-y pseudoscience bullshit.
Riley: And it’s really hard in the beginning too. It’s actually really difficult.
J.Y.: Yeah? I mean, yeah, I also, I think meditation’s great, I just like, so I tell people —
Riley: I think once you stick, if you stick with it for like at least three weeks, you’ll just start feeling amazing afterwards. You’ll just feel so much more relaxed and focused. And I think especially with the way the internet works these days, we’re all being trained to have two-second attention spans.
J.Y.: Right. Yes.
Riley: So more mindfulness. More exercise. And then I guess the other thing would be even more intentionality in my practice. So even more deliberate in-depth analysis of LR questions, even more in-depth analysis of RC. I mean quality over quantity for sure. The highest amount of high-quality training is obviously the best, but just diving as deep as possible.
J.Y.: Great. And on the point about meditation, it’s, there's actually a lot of hard scientific evidence backing its effectiveness. So it’s not at all —
J.Y.: — like pseudoscience. Yeah. So definitely try that if you guys haven't done it. I just, I personally find it to be calming, like you have this constant noise in your mind that you’re not really even aware is there. A lot of that just kind of goes away. OK. And then Jennifer is asking, since there's only a month left until the December test, and she’s thinking about how to best use that time to improve LG.
Riley: Yeah. LG is hard to give nuanced advice necessarily because it’s a lot of about the grind and about just repeating games. I mean I think repetition is important, almost more than exposure to new games is exposure to old games, to really engrain how to do those. So do as much volume as you can without sacrificing quality. I mean, focus on the ones you have trouble with. But I think the other thing too is a hard logic game is hard for everyone, you know? If you give me a hard logic game, it’s still going to take me 10 to 13 minutes to do it. The key is that I can do the easy logic games in three to six minutes, so that I have the time. So I don't think the advice is, “Just do the hardest games, and then you’ll get better at everything.” It’s like, you have to do each type of game on a repetitive level so that you can get really fast at the easy games, and you can learn how to handle the hard games. But yeah, I guess for this last month, it’s still just try to get that volume in, as much as you can get volume in without sacrificing quality.
J.Y.: Yeah. And Jennifer, if you haven't ever taped yourself doing a logic game, you should do it. Tape yourself doing a game.
J.Y.: And watch how you do the game. You can compare it against a lot of the live commentary footage we have on 7Sage.
J.Y.: One thing I’ll say, like on reviewing, I guess always trying to put out more of these live commentary videos, but this current footage I’m reviewing right now. I notice that most students just don't have a set, like a checklist. “I do this first, then I do that.” So they end up skipping these things that if they were calmer they would know to do, and as a result of skipping them, they just make these minor errors. So I guess Jennifer, for you I would say make sure that when you start a brand new logic game you are always pencil down, reading the opening paragraph, and looking at the rules real quick, and even looking at the first question, especially if that first question is an acceptable situation question, because those three pieces of information tend to reveal what the game board is going to be. If you know the game board just from reading the first two lines, that’s great. But still read the rest of the paragraph and the rules and the first successful situation question just to confirm that in fact you have envisioned the right game board in mind. And then when you’re going through the questions, as soon as you read a rule, you want to go to that first acceptable situation question, and use that rule to eliminate an answer choice, and then return to the rule, to the next rule, and then eliminate the next answer choice, return to the next rule and then eliminate the next answer choice. Right? So that’s the second step. And then the third step is of course is your standard game board setup, you turn all the rules in a visual, into something visual, and then you set up a game board. And then the next step after that one, when you hit the questions is you want to make sure to always approach the questions that give you additional restrictions, additional premises first, right? Because some of the questions will be like, if M is in 3 then which one of the following could be true? Like, those kind of questions you want to do first before returning to the naked must be true or the naked it could be true, like no additional. So if you follow that, and finally the last thing is when you’re done with a game, just reset. Put your pencil down, maybe take on deep breath to just reset before rushing into the next game. So that’s kind of what I mean by a checklist so that there's this procedure that you’re following.
Riley: Yeah I would strongly reiterate a live commentary. There's a woman that J.Y. has a live commentary with, the earlier logic games. I can't remember her name but she’s really good, and J.Y. does a great job of breaking down what she’s doing right, and I definitely remember earlier on in my prep seeing her do it and being like, wow, that’s really good, and kind of mimicking some of your stuff. Leah? Yeah, I think it is Leah. Yeah.
J.Y.: Yeah. Yeah, so that’s, it’s very important. You won’t know these things that you’re doing or these things that you’re not doing until you start watching yourself either do or omit the best practices. OK, so lastly Lisa, you’re asking if Riley ever got stuck in the high 160s and low 170s and if so how did you break through that plateau? That’s a good question, that’s a tough place to get stuck at, and I think a lot of really high potential 7Sagers do end up getting stuck in that 168, 169 range or sometimes break into 170 but they can't consistently do it.
Riley: I think like it — where’s your BR score? Because for me that’s always the first thing. If you can push your BR score up a few points, then your timed score’s probably going up with it. So focus as much as you can on the BR. I don't know if there really is a magic bullet. I think once you start getting into that range, you do want to start thinking about execution, so doing a confidence drill. Your BR is always between 177 and 179. See, that’s pretty great. So from there I would say yeah, you need to start thinking about some execution strategies. So do a confidence drill. That’s where you try to do a section of LR as fast and recklessly as you possibly can to see whether or not you’re being under-confident in your sections, really think about executing a section as fast as you can without sacrificing accuracy and then going back. I mean, I think filming, like J.Y. already said, filming is a big part of how you do a section. Filming was helpful to me because it really helps to get your internal clock set up so that you’re not burning too much time with any one question. It’s just really hard.
J.Y.: It is really hard. And Lisa, I think, I don't know if this applies to you, but this is just a generic answer to a lot of students who I’ve seen struggle in that range. It’s, you know it’s not like they can't answer the harder questions and not like they don't get the logic of certain curve breaker questions or whatever. And your blind review score testifies to that. You just you blind review close to 180, right? So the issue is just with how you apportion your time. A lot of times it’s, you know, these students are spending way too much time on these easy, 1-star, 2-star questions, right? There's no need to. It’s not like if they cut the time, let’s say they spend 60 seconds on average on one-star questions. If they cut that time by one-third and spent 40 seconds, it’s not like they’re, what do you call it, it’s not like their accuracy would drop by very much at all. But then what you do gain on the other hand is a bunch of time, and that’s the time that you need to do the harder questions. So I’ve just found, again, I don't know if this applies to you, but just that sort of generic answer that I know applies to some people is reapportioning the time that you’re spending. So this goes back to what Riley said earlier about being under-confident, under-confidence being an issue for sort of high-scoring people. You should have moved on already from these easier questions. I don't know does that make sense?
Lisa: Yeah, thank you so much, both of you.
J.Y.: Sure, yeah. And people are asking about the recording, yeah, just you know, with your iPhone. Mostly your smartphones now have cameras that can record very high pixel rate. You typically want to do 1080p or 4K because the text is quite small, so if you record it at any lower resolution, it’s going to be difficult to see when you look at the footage. OK so we’ve come to the end of this AMA. Everyone, thank you so much for being here, and Riley especially, thank you for sharing your time with us. To make sure people can still reach you after this AMA, would you mind sharing how they could do that if they want to continue the conversation?
Riley: Yeah. I would say just feel free to message me on 7Sage. You can see my, you’re here, so you obviously know my 7Sage username is AllezAllez21. I definitely talked to J.Y. and Josh about holding office hours and things like that, so feel free to send me a message or start up a thread on just the regular forum and I and other people can help out, and then hopefully I’ll be around on some office hours and some of the other weekly workshop-type things too.
J.Y.: Great. Well thank you so much, Riley. And thank you everyone.
Riley: Yeah, thank you.
J.Y.: Have a good night.
Riley: Take care.
Hi there, J.Y. from the present. Thank you for listening to Episode 3. We have a lot more information on the topics covered in the episode on our website, 7sage.com. On the page for this podcast you’ll find the links to the webinars Riley mentioned like skipping strategies as well as show notes. And please send us your questions or comments or ideas for future episodes of the firstname.lastname@example.org. I really want to make this podcast better, and to do that I need your help. So thank you.
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