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Advice for breaking the final plateau (...and stretch)

acsimonacsimon Alum Member
edited August 2017 in General 1269 karma

...I haven't asked for advice on here yet (but always derive some good suggestions from others' questions), but I was wondering if anyone had any study tips for breaking past a last hurdle concerning the scoring on new PTs.

I originally didn't have any particular scoring goal in mind, but just had a kind of floor--that I didn't want to drop below--of 167-168. However, I'm now at a point where I'm trying to decide whether to take the September test or to cancel and take it in December (but at this point, I think I'll probably stick with the former) and am currently hovering around on the recent PTs (later than 65) at 172-173 (I admit that I have not BR'd these tests--right now, a terrible habit). As for the breakdowns, I usually get LR -1 to -4 total, RC -1 to -3, and LG -2 to -4, with the total amount wrong for any given (recent) test being around 8. Granted, these are better scores than I had in mind when starting out. However, it seems that it would be worthwhile to try to push beyond this final little plateau (to scores of 175 and above) if at all possible.

Now I know that I should foolproof the LG, and have really been just doing games the past 3 weeks while not studying the other sections, but I was just wondering if anyone had any knowledge of a plan of attack that would, over the course of 2 weeks or so, consistently yield a two or three point improvement?

I know that this is hard, since I would assume that it requires making a diffuse range of skills incrementally better and that there is no silver bullet to breaking this plateau. It is also not lost on me that this might sound like complaining about a score that I've no right to ask for. However, I still felt that asking was worth a shot from those who have broken a similar plateau or those who are aware of this strategies with this particular barrier.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Comments

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27815 karma

    At that level, the points you're missing are typically the most challenging points on the test. You acknowledged that not BRing is problematic, so I'll only scold you on that in passing, lol. The only thing I can think that might could help you at this level on that timeline is maybe develop better pacing if you aren't already finishing sections with around 10 minutes to spare. I don't score in my range because I never make mistakes, I score because I always give myself the opportunity to correct them. Otherwise, BR to start identifying the trends underlying your errors!

  • rene4231rene4231 Alum Member
    162 karma

    If you're planning to take the September test I would personally recommend committing yourself to totally conquering the LG section, thats where you should be able to see the most improvement in such a short amount of time. Even though you are only missing 1-2 questions thats the different in 1-2 points overall, plus like @"Cant Get Right" stated above the questions you are missing in RC/LR are going to be the hardest overall.

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    edited August 2017 3521 karma

    I hit a similar plateau three weeks ago and have broken through it for the past week, consistently scoring 175+.

    I agree with @rene4231, if you want a 175+ you just shouldn't be missing any questions on LG. Of all the sections, LG is the most predictable and formulaic, and after practice and practice nothing should surprise you. -1 to -2 could take you from a 177 to a 175 (ex: PrepTest 63), depending on the curve.

    This bit of advice helped me on LR and it might help you. Calm down. Don't try to speed-read the stimuli. Sit, clear your mind, and engage the text as slowly as you need in order to fully understand the argument and all its pieces. Also I was told to just skip flaw method of reasoning questions if they come up later in the exam. Chances are they will take 2-3 minutes, and if you don't skip you will have a tendency to read all 5 answer choices to "confirm" the right answer and waste even more time.

    RC - I hate RC. But something that helped me hate it less was tracking viewpoints - who said what and how does that conflict or comport with what other people said? Also vigorously applying a "fact test" to questions and being extremely skeptical of absolute language such as "inevitably, invariably, etc." I've found the LSAT authors love to place two great sounding answer choices side by side, both "correct," except one has absolute language and the other doesn't. The one without absolute language is generally the correct answer.

    This stuff helped me, hope it helps you!

    **P.S. - I also think it's never good to become complacent. 172-173 is a great average score, but this is when you are taking PrepTests at your own convenience in presumably great conditions. What if when you sit in September the guy next to you is coughing out a lung the whole time? Or the testing center's air conditioning broke and you are sweating bullets all throughout the exam?

    There are so many exogenous factors that could negatively impact your score on test day, potentially lowing your score by 3+ points. In this case, it would be better to have an average of 175 - 3 = 172 than an average of 172 - 3 = 169.

    Past success is not a guarantee of future success. Perhaps correlated, but not causal.

  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    1269 karma

    Hey, I just want to thank all of you for responding!

    @"Cant Get Right" > I'll only scold you on that in passing, lol. The only thing I can think that might could help you at this level on that timeline is maybe develop better pacing if you aren't already finishing sections with around 10 minutes to spare.>

    I'll definitely BR all of my future PTs. As for how quickly I do, I usually try to make sure that I'm reviewing questions for LR around the 28min mark at the latest. Although, sometimes that means that I have two parallel reasoning questions I skipped that I take a little longer than I would like on. But yeah, being able to go back I know is important. I'll continue to work there.

    @rene4231 > I would personally recommend committing yourself to totally conquering the LG section, thats where you should be able to see the most improvement in such a short amount of time.>

    Yes, I was thinking that too. I know that I should be to the point where I never get 3 wrong for LG, so it's annoying. I feel like I'm on the cusp of being one of those people that never misses any on the LG, but know that getting there will take a fair bit of work for the next week and a half or so.

    @"Paul Caint" > This bit of advice helped me on LR and it might help you. Calm down. Don't try to speed-read the stimuli. Sit, clear your mind, and engage the text as slowly as you need in order to fully understand the argument and all its pieces. >

    Yeah, I think that every section could stand to slow down a bit. Often, on LG, I'll now be doing a game within a timed section and realize that I misread a rule, and so I'll have to do my boards all over again and keep in mind that I have to make up that...what?...3-4 mins lost elsewhere in the test (the overall negative impact is probably more around 5-7 mins). So I think that slowing down and doing things slower in order to do things faster can help me on more than just LR. Anyways, hopefully I get a couple points better when I take the next PT on Sat!

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    I'd recommend taking in September. I'm not sure how much more you can do to improve your score by then, but I took in February with a 173 average going in and not much practice and got a 172.

    I feel like that has reduced a lot of stress for me going into my retake right now. There isn't much of a penalty for a low score since basically all schools predominately look at the high score. The same applies for you with a potential retake in December.

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