Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

What kind of drilling do you do to close the BR gap?

calftempcalftemp Free Trial Member
in General 121 karma

Hey 7sagers!

My BR scores are in the mid-high 170s (woohoo!), but my actual scores have been stuck in the mid-160s for a while now. I know the BR gap is a common problem, and I've seen a lot of people advocating to drill and BR, especially for LR. As the June test approaches, I'm wondering what kind of drilling would be best to raise my score at this point. For example, should I be drilling individual question types (untimed)? Timed sections to work on speed? Something else entirely?

For those of you who have successfully made the leap from the 160s to the 170s - what types of things/aspects of LR questions did you specifically focus on learning during your review? For example, were you focused on argument structures? Your skills that led you astray? Specific vocab? Characteristics of wrong answers? Perhaps I've been focusing on the wrong things during my review and not improving as a result.

A few strange things I've noticed about my scores-
- Not sure if there's any significance to this, but my raw score is pretty consistent, regardless of the curve/difficulty of the test. As a result, my scaled scores have actually fluctuated a lot.
- Sometimes, there is a wide gap between my scores on different LR sections. For example, for the 2 LR sections on a single test, I'll score -8 on 1 section (and be short on time), and -1 on the other section (and finish early). Does this happen to anyone else? If so, what does it mean and how do you get consistently better?

TIA for all your help! Happy studying!


  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Free Trial Member
    edited May 2017 3072 karma

    The most important thing to do while studying for the LSAT is to maintain a high degree of self-awareness. When you make a mistake on a stimulus or a passage, you need to dig into the text and figure out EXACTLY why you answered incorrectly. For example, you should ask yourself things like, "Did I read a word incorrectly? Did I transpose words in my head? Did I misunderstand a word? Did I identify the conclusion incorrectly? Did I identify the premises incorrectly? Did I fail to understand the structure of the argument/paragraph/passage? Did I rush myself? Did I identify the question stem incorrectly?" There are so many different ways to make mistakes on the LSAT, and your job, essentially, is to make sure you become cognizant of the mistakes you make. When you are able to identify your mistakes, you can work accordingly to fill in the gaps of your understanding. The inevitably varied nature of your mistakes will require a number of different remedies, far too numerous to list here, but you should be very deliberate in HOW you remedy your shortcomings. Make sure to take note of all of your mistakes (literally write them down so you're able to review them later), the context in which they appear, and how you plan to improve next time you encounter a similar situation. (I like to take pictures of every question I answer incorrectly so that I can browse through them whenever I feel the urge.)

    What you'll need to master the LSAT:
    1. Familiarity with flaw types
    2. Familiarity with question types of all three section types
    3. Specific strategies for each question type
    4. A firm grasp on concepts of formal logic pertinent to the LSAT
    5. An ability to recognize when you are not sure that your answer choice is the correct one
    6. A willingness to skip questions if they're taking too much time, with the intention to return later, even if only after you answer the next 1 or 2 questions (this is very important for time management, and perhaps one of the most valuable skills you can learn when you're low-/mid-160s and looking to break into the 170s)

    I think the LSAT, more than anything else, wants to transform its students into more self-aware, more informed manipulators of logic. It forces us to face our own weaknesses, no matter how small, and constantly challenges (read: dares) us to remain mentally vigilant (that's what the timed component does). Many people will say, "The LSAT has nothing to do with the law or law school!" Well, maybe the ideological content of the LSAT isn't always explicitly related to either of those things, but becoming familiar with the abstract underpinnings of the LSAT undoubtedly works to make all who study it into better thinkers, and, consequently, better lawyers.

  • rafaelitorafaelito Alum Member
    1063 karma

    Hey @calftemp I am in a similar position as you. My BR is in the mid to high 170s and testing is hovering in the mid to high 160s. I've been told to get more "aggressive" in LR. Specifically, to get better at pacing, to get back to the basics and trust my intuition, and to get more critical about why I've missed questions (like what derailed my thinking or confused me as opposed to just understanding the stimulus and right/wrong answers). My RC has personally been holding me back but I've done a lot to try to get that down to -3 or less. LG also has to be -0, maybe -1. What you said about LR makes a little bit of sense to me. I don't go -8 vs -1 but I always feel like one section is harder than the other. That feeling isn't necessarily reflected by a wide margin because I'm -4/-5 and -3/-4.

    I'm not trying to convince you at all but have you considered postponing till September? If so why have you chosen not to? Currently contemplating this.

  • calftempcalftemp Free Trial Member
    121 karma

    Hey @RafaelBernard!

    Thanks, that's great to know! That's definitely something I'll try to take into account during review. What do you mean by get back to the basics? And what kind of LR drills do you do?

    Also - regarding postponing, I feel like I'm sooo close and I just want to get the test over with. And worst case scenario, if I don't hit my target, I'd be taking in September anyways...

  • rafaelitorafaelito Alum Member
    1063 karma

    @calftemp said:
    Hey @RafaelBernard!

    Thanks, that's great to know! That's definitely something I'll try to take into account during review. What do you mean by get back to the basics? And what kind of LR drills do you do?

    Also - regarding postponing, I feel like I'm sooo close and I just want to get the test over with. And worst case scenario, if I don't hit my target, I'd be taking in September anyways...

    By getting back to the basics I mean getting back to a more "natural" way of taking the test. I asked @"Cant Get Right" for insight as he's a sage and 170+ tester on this. I'm tagging him in case I say anything egregiously incorrect. So in the beginning of our studies with the LSAT we read the questions, try to understand the stimulus and question task as best as possible, and then choose largely based on intuition. While we learn about conditional logic, argument structure, what constitutes an argument flaw or error in reasoning, question types, etc. we at the same time start to develop more rigid approaches. Like hunting for SA questions, MBT, flaw. We grow reliant on POE. We diagram in LR. Well at some point the approach gets too constricting. At that point we need to return to a more intuitive approach because we have gained the knowledge and the fundamentals. I personally am super wary of abandoning ship on using POE because I wouldn't say I have the greatest common sense or the best grasp on the convoluted grammar language structure the LSAT uses to trick us (raised bilingual, typically I'm a very out of the box type thinker, not the fastest reader - those are the "causes" I see anyhow) but I do see merit in becoming more intuitive again in my approach. I just need to be extra careful and personally continue to build upon my fundamentals especially for flaws. Million types of ways for an argument to be flawed. I guess these last few weeks I just have been telling myself to focus on conclusion, premises/support, where's the flaw (where's the crux of the argument, the reasoning) etc. Just kind of stripping myself of thinking "sufficient assumption, 100% valid" or "inference not quite 100% valid" in my mind and just doing the question. Cause I know - it's second nature now that SA is 100% validity. I don't have to tell myself during the test that MSS is going to worded in more passive way. I know that.

    So yeah that's what I meant by getting back to the basics. A little bit of a ramble but hopefully that clarifies things!

    For LR drills I've been drilling sections from 1-35 and working on PTs from the 40s onward. I've taken PTs from every year. I know that there is a school of thought that you should take them in succession but for various reasons I didn't do that (one of which may have been foolishness). I also find while older tests are super "weird" sometimes, like you, my score has remained remarkably consistent no matter what year of the test I've taken. Like when I made a jump from the 150s to the early 160s that jump was consistent throughout all the PTs. Now I've made another jump to the mid to late 160s and that's been consistent for all but the most recent test I've taken. But yeah in terms of drilling, I just use older material. However, I was thinking of drilling retakes - meaning from the PTs I've taken twice

    I postponed my test date to September today. I knew about a month ago I wouldn't be ready but cowered under family pressure. Ah well what's done is done.

    What about you? What do you see is your greatest obstacle to making that actual score jump up to your BR score? I know that was the point of your post haha. We can close the gap!

Sign In or Register to comment.