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Stuck in the 170-172 range!

blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
in General 3545 karma
HALPP!!!! For all you 175+ scorers, how did you get from the low 170s to the mid to high 170s? My BR scores are 177-180 but can't seem to get those few points to translate into my practice tests.

On a related note, have you guys identified weird quirks that nobody really talks about (preptests) but that got you to realize what's making you misread a question? I rarely get questions wrong because I miss the argument but there are times when (1) I don't 100% understand what's going on in the argument or (2) when I don't really understand what the answer choice is saying. I want to take this knowledge of my lack of understanding and dive further but don't really know where to start. I've talked to a few people and they mentioned things like, "I realized I misread the word 'and' in a stimulus and therefore didn't know what it meant" or "I didn't fully internalize what the difference between 'presumes without warrant' or 'fails to recognize' for flaw answer choices." Mine thus far have been missing a specific type of causal argument where you're implicitly given "2" causes for "1" treatment, which I know is a big no-no in LSAT land.

What are your strategies? What are your quirks?


  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    BR group :-) And study buddy sessions. For real, tho. If you've already double-covered your bases where fundamentals (and possibly complementary materials like Trainer and Manhattan RC) are concerned then it might be the social aspect that helps integrate everything, expand your perspectives, reveal additional weaknesses, etc. I think this is especially true for Rc though LR as well (and always nice to see how others diagram/solve tricksy LG).

    Otherwise, I'd ask @amanda_kw ...

  • AlejandroAlejandro Member Inactive ⭐
    2424 karma
    i have your exact same problem @blah170blah
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    @nicole.hopkins Planning on joining for Saturday! :] I'm actually really excited haha
  • amanda_kwamanda_kw Alum Member
    383 karma
    @nicole.hopkins lol. Thanks Nicole!

    @blah170blah I'm having a hard time hitting those scores consistently too. Right now, honestly, it's feels like I'm juggling plates. Like I improve a bit in one area (like RC), then realize LR is slipping, run over to catch LR, then LG. I could be in the circus, for real.

    But I think once you're at the point where you need like 3 more correct answers - it's about fine tuning/ state-of-mind/ balance between the three categories.

    But don't look to me as all-knowing. My score range is still 167-177. what is that about.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I'm inclined to start an excel of "quirks" to minimize the amount of variability. My upper range is not as high as yours (max I've hit is a 175) but same boat. Sometimes, you're just ON FIRE and every argument clicks, you pick up on the assumptions and know exactly what the evil LSAC writers are doing, and then there are other times where you're just like, "Are you freaking kidding me?! NONE OF THESE ANSWER CHOICES MAKE ANY SENSE!"

    Obviously venting a little bit. SOLIDARITY friend, SOLIDARITY
  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    3462 karma
    I wish I could help but I'm still not in the 170s =/ lol but how about keeping an excel sheet with which ones you're missing and drill the problem sets for that question type... watch the videos in the course for that section.. and basically just keep track of everything.?
  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    Lol I *wish* I were stuck in the 170-172 range! Still stuck in the upper 160s :( What'd you guys do to make it to 170+?
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited April 2015 3545 karma
    @mes08 I had a couple of plateaus.
    Plateau 1: 158-162
    My diagnostic was a 151. I went through the Blueprint curriculum first which marginally brought up my LR score but got me to donut/-1 on LG fairly quickly.

    My personal belief in my knowledge of fundamentals was about 70%.

    Plateau 2: 165-168
    I used Manhattan to focus on my LR, where I was averaging -10 to -12 total. I used Manhattan in combination with Cambridge packets to drill my LR weaknesses (NA, SA, weaken, strengthen, flaw, MBT). It was also during Plateau 2 that I realized mentally verbalizing certain phrases (particularly, "What's the conclusion?" --> "Why does the author believe this?") when I'm approaching assumption questions was vital to me really engaging with the stimulus. RC was always consistently a -4 for me pre-comparative passages and -6 post-comparative passages. I was stuck in plateau 2 for close to a year.

    Knowledge of fundamentals: 80%

    Plateau 3: 170-172 (current)
    Thorough thorough thorough review. After going through Manhattan, I went through a phase of just taking PTs without seriously reviewing my weaknesses, which was a huge mistake. I think not reviewing particularly hurt me since I get tripped on the weirdest things. It's no longer been me consistently getting weaken questions wrongs or NA questions wrongs. It's certain kinds of causal arguments, or certain kinds of subject matter that seem to throw me off or require more of my time. I would not have picked up on my weird quirks without reviewing the crap out of every single question and answer choice.

    I'm hoping that figuring out more of my little quirks and drilling Reading Comprehension will allow me to get a raw score of 94/95 (mid and upper 170s). I know that there are still some questions and some answer choices where I don't exactly understand how the writers of the LSAC are trying to confuse me.

    (Current) knowledge of fundamentals: 90%
  • lakers1234lakers1234 Alum Member
    edited April 2015 16 karma
    @blah170blah did you run out of pts? you've studied for a while so Im curious how you went about sparing pts. I studied for a previous test so I ran out of pts except dec 2014 (havent seen it yet). Because of my prep course/ manhattan/ trainer/ pts, I recognize alot of the stimuli and arguments are easier for me to see/comprehend at first read. Also Im finishing LR sections on time with about 3-5 minutes to spare on those tests Ive seen before..

    p.s. I have the same weaknesses as you (weaken, NA, MBT, flaw)!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @blah170blah said:
    After going through Manhattan, I went through a phase of just taking PTs without seriously reviewing my weaknesses, which was a huge mistake.
    Word to this—such a pity that other curricula neglect the irreplaceable resource of weaknesses uncovered in drilling/PT'ing. I feel like I didn't learn very much from PT's before learning to BR—I just took them to see "how much I was improving" and that is not the purpose of PT's. It's to uncover weaknesses apparent only in 1) timed conditions and 2) a variety of questions!
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited April 2015 7468 karma
    @blah170blah I so needed to hear that it’s taken over a year for you to get to where you are. While I’ve improved 13 points from my initial diagnostic, I’m nowhere near my goal score (Heck, my BR score hasn’t hit my goal score). Your post reinforces my thinking about taking PTs at a rate of about 1 per 2-3 weeks and spending time after each PT/BR OBSESSING over each weakness and drilling more and more fundamentals. If it takes 18 months, it takes 18 months. It kills me when people throw up a post saying “I’m taking the LSAT in 2 months, How do I get from a 149 to 170 by then?” I always want to answer, “Time, kid.” but I know it'll make me sound like an old person.
  • mariii_mmariii_m Member
    32 karma
    This is me exactly. I finished the core course a few weeks ago and have gotten exactly 171 on every PT since. While this is a significant jump from my pre-7sgae scores of 160-166 it makes me feel like I have somehow reached my limit. I consistently get one of the parallel flaw questions wrong (but only one!), a few NAs (and then get them right on BR) and a few MSS (also can usually get them right on BR). I have been meaning to drill these specific question types before my next PT, but have not had time. Will see if that causes any improvements. I think I need to start doing intensely timed NA and MSS questions.

    Also this is kind of weird but when I first started doing LSAT prep I was really intuitively good at RC (english major may explain it), I even went -0 on my diagnostic. However, as I study and improve LG and LR my RC intuition has been decreasing pretty horrifically. I have no idea why or how to fix this! Lately I consistently do better on LR than RC, which I never expected. I also can usually catch my mistakes for LR on blind review, but this has not been the case for RC. Just wondering if this has happened to anyone!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    edited April 2015 7965 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor Yes, the preponderance of those kinds of posts in these months/weeks leading up to June = excruciating.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @mariii_m I was a German (Program in Media/Aesthetics) major and extensively studied literary/critical theory; the bulk of my education consistent of extremely close reading of texts. My diagnostic was also considerably higher than several of my later scores in RC. Part of the issue is that—while the ability to closely read a text is better than a lack of that ability—this is an entirely different game than what we did in undergrad. For one, the time constraints for reading/analysis were radically different (if not wholly absent); and, the necessity of reading for reasoning structure over/above content is quite different from that kind of analysis.
  • mariii_mmariii_m Member
    edited April 2015 32 karma
    @nicole.hopkins Thank you for the extremely articulate response! I fully agree that RC is a completely different game and that any experience with textual analysis is not necessarily helpful. I'm glad I am not the only one with this problem though, I was definitely feeling a little hopeless after my last RC drill. I think it is time to go back to the Trainer/7sage RC basics, which I did not engage with fully the first time around. Thanks, LSAT, for shattering my confidence on a weekly basis!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    Haha @mariii_m well put—just remember that you're uncovering weaknesses that you are in an excellent position to address with the resources at your disposal. I find our discussion of RC in the BR groups to be particularly fruitful—Sat/7pm EST (PT56) Mon/8pm EST (PT57), PM me with Skype handle if you'd like to join (I feel like a broken record but repetition signifies how important a resource these BR groups have proven to me!).
  • mariii_mmariii_m Member
    32 karma
    @nicole.hopkins thanks, that sounds great! I will message you now!
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited April 2015 3545 karma
    English (and language) majors for the win! My diagnostic RC was also better than I ended up averaging as well!

    I think the biggest difference is that, during our diagnostic, we can intuitively rely on the skills we used as close readers in our classes and apply it to the lsat. Then we hit stage 2 where we're learning all these techniques and essentially learning a new lanaguage, which I think messes up our intuition and actually makes us hesitant to rely on our intuition to answer things correctly. This I think accounts for us doing worse on later PTs when compared to our diagnostic. I think for some people it can end at stage 2 because very few people really understand how to break down RC and meticulously dissect the section like they do for RC and LG.

    I'm in some weird transition because I'm getting back to my old diagnostic score for RC (-3 to -4). I think improving on LR is actually responsible for me getting back to where I was for RC. I'm hoping drills will get me to a place of improvement.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor UGH I KNOW! I do think it's possible for some but it's so rare. What I've come to realize is the lsat is such a personal process and requires a ton of introspection. For some people, all they need is 1 or 2 course materials to break open the test, which allow them to see the nuances the LSAC writers make. I'm so jealous of my friend, for instance, who room Blueprint for 3 months and jumped from the 150s to a 172 on test day. For others like myself, I've gone through everything and have needed to come up with my own schemas to seek improvement. That takes so much longer.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    On the question of PTs, I have about 20 I haven't seen at all. For the bulk of them, I don't remember enough of the questions to make an impact. There are some questions between PTS 1-38 where I know exactly what to do to get the question right. This is different than encountering a question and remembering the right answer. I found that retaking some of the earlier PTs and especially the ones in the 1-38 range where j remembered the right way helped cement my LSAT logic.
  • VegMeg55VegMeg55 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    587 karma
    @blah170blah I LOVE this! Sorry to hear that you're stuck in the lower 170s but I'm so appreciative that you've shared your journey with the 7Sage World. You've put so much effort into the LSAT and you deserve every gain. I might, just might, put law school off for another year to really meticulously break down every question type and review the fundamentals again. I'm aiming for a 175+ but my PT score needs some work (used to be on PowerScore, now finishing 7Sage Ultimate). You are an inspiration! Thanks for the post!
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    Awwwww @VegMeg55, you are too sweet! Thank you so much for your kind words :)
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