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Feeling Discouraged

in General 296 karma

Hey everyone - I started studying for the LSAT in January and have been putting in 10-20 hours a week. I first began with Mike Kim's LSAT trainer and finished that curriculum by Mid February. I've taken 2 PT's since starting to study, and only saw two points of improvement after about 8 weeks of studying. I then decided to switch to 7 sage in late Feb. I started the curriculum from the beginning and have only been focusing on LR. I just took my first timed section after getting through the majority of the 7sage LR curriculum, and still have THE SAME SCORE as my last full LR section I took in Feb. My Blind review score was a lot better than the timed take of the section, but I'm not sure why the gains I'm making on BR aren't reflecting in my test taking.

I'm getting really discouraged that I can't improve, and that maybe I should give up on this path altogether. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this too early to be getting disappointed? This marks about 12 weeks of studying, and my original hope is to take the test in August.

Comments

  • ConstantineConstantine Alum Member
    edited March 2021 1009 karma

    I've been there. Few months with the books give me minor improvements. You need to change the method. It's tough to learn from the books. It will help if you learn from LR itself. In my view, It would be best if you took an untimed section and fully prove each argument and answer chose. I did it, it took me like 10 hours, and I got - 0. It super-boost my confidence, and after two months, I got my first -1 on LR timed section. Don't give up!

  • WoodsCommaElleWoodsCommaElle Monthly Member
    358 karma

    DON'T GIVE UP, MICHELLE!!! DO. NOT. GIVE. UP!!!

    The fact that there's a discrepancy between your BR score and your actual score only shows you how much you can improve!

    12 weeks seems like a lot, but when you think about it, it's actually not that much time to soak in all that you're learning to the degree that you can execute the right skills at the right time in unfavourable conditions. I mean, you're literally building new neural pathways!

    I feel like most LSAT students focus on getting through the CC/prep book as fast as they can. Sure, they know what the concepts are, but can they apply them quickly and effortlessly like second nature? Doubtful. It's not enough to just know what the difference between a sufficient assumption and a necessary assumption, you need to be able to recognize it without even realizing that you're recognizing it. That knowledge needs to become straight up intuition. Why? Because "only knowing" is already way too slow. Only counting on "knowing the concepts" is a recipe for disaster... especially when you haven't even factored how nervous you might be on test day.

    So, it's a three step process: (1) Learn & understand the test/concepts; (2) Practice so you can develop the right technique; (3) Practice over and over again + in different conditions so that those techniques become ingrained. Imho, 3 months is not enough to even finish steps 1 and 2. All of these steps build on each other, so invest in each of them! Don't rush step 1 just so that you can get to step 3!


    If I may offer you an analogy:

    One of my UG majors is in music, and the most important thing that major taught me is the importance of preparation. If you prepare poorly, you'll pay for it dearly.

    At my school, we had to re-audition at the end of the year in order to guarantee our spot for September. The minute I selected my audition pieces, I'd invest time away from the piano to understand the pieces (like how we would with the CC concepts), break them apart (like how we would ask and answer questions in the forums) and then put the whole piece back together by memory, one line at a time. Once the "theory" of the pieces were successfully locked in, I'd choreograph my movements to ensure that things like repeatedly leaping multiple octaves would become effortless. Then, I'd take trouble spots and drill the heck out of them over a period of time. Now that I've got the theory + muscle memory down, I'd proceed to stress-test the piece by running through them in non-ideal situations (in front of as many different people as I could, with noise-cancelling ear plugs, on a bad piano, with my eyes closed, in a new key, only with my right or left hand, etc.) Before you have the privilege of enjoying your performance, you need to invest in preparation.

    The LSAT is a 3h30 recital programme that you'll be playing. You still have so much time before the August test. Invest the time upfront so that when August comes, you'll be able to (dare I say it) enjoy taking the LSAT.

  • Burden.of.FloofBurden.of.Floof Monthly Member
    edited March 2021 1035 karma

    The fact that you aren't seeing improvement right now doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with you, or that you're not capable. This is just a very, very difficult exam that takes a lot of time. The number one word that comes to mind when I think of this exam is flexibility. We all come to this test from different points and we have expectations going in about when we want to achieve a certain score by, and I think being flexible with those goals as you progress is important. Dates may need to be pushed back, etc. I remember when I first started the CC, I thought I would finish it in a month haha. It took me 7 months.

    @Constantine alluded to this, but your untimed score can give you a really good idea of where you're at with your fundamentals. When you finish the CC, you should be BRing a 180... (that was my goal, at least) getting no questions, or very few questions incorrect. If it's much lower than that, stop taking PTs and focus on your foundations. This can be done by going back over the CC, or finding other prep material that works for you. Once you can go through a test and get very few questions wrong, then you can start focusing on timing. If you're there already, that's great! In that case you and I are in the same boat and I don't have a lot of wisdom haha.

    **editing because I was super tired when I wrote this and I feel like I didn't convey myself super well... The goals I mentioned were specific to me, what someone should or shouldn't be doing is entirely up to their individual goals! My point was, at the end of the day, with time and hard work, I really believe anyone can achieve what they want to on this exam. If you have a few minutes, look up Carol Dweck and her work on the growth vs. fixed mindset. Her TED talk is really inspiring.

  • Burden.of.FloofBurden.of.Floof Monthly Member
    1035 karma

    @WoodsCommaElle you're a music major??? We'll talk!

  • equallyyokedequallyyoked Alum Member
    edited March 2021 135 karma

    @WoodsCommaElle ...WELL SAID!!!! I am encouraged by your response.

    And thank you to the original poster @michellepereira96 for the question. You can do it. It's possible that you need to prepare a different way. When you prepare the right way...you may begin to soar. You have a little over 15 weeks to prepare the best way for you....you can do it!

  • T-200 or bustT-200 or bust Alum Member
    46 karma

    In the same boat. Started with the Trainer in December, and started 7Sage last month. As I've heard on here, and on countless r/lsat posts, most people start to see substantial increases when they drill PTs. There are many that see no improvements after finishing the core curr. , but after they take 30+ practice exams. I'm also shooting for the August exam, maybe we can start a study group if you're interested. Good luck.

  • tahurrrrrtahurrrrr Alum Member
    1092 karma

    Progress doesn't always happen the way you expect. I did a similar thing to you where my past couple practice tests have been the same score, but my BR score went up between tests.

    I like to think of it as trying to drag something heavy uphill. You (BR score) are ahead of the object you're dragging (timed score). The object will get to your spot after you dig in and pull it there. But you may need a break. It may roll back a little because of gravity. But if you're persistent and smart about how you go about getting the object up the hill, you'll make it where you want to go!

    That was real tacky....but some people find tacky analogies encouraging, and all encouraging things are positive. Therefore some tacky analogies positive!!!!!

  • galacticgalactic Yearly Member
    690 karma

    @WoodsCommaElle I was also encouraged by your words as well - thanks! Don't give up @michellepereira96, there have been countless others who have been in your shoes before and have gone on to crush this test. Agreed with what others above have said -- Change your approach when necessary, yet be sensitive to when your patience is required in the process. Keep hustlin!

  • 296 karma

    @WoodsCommaElle @tahurrrrr @davidsarmiento131 @"Burden.of.Floof" @Constantine Thank you all for your kind words! Your comments literally gave me the strength to sit down and do more BR again today!

    It gives me quite a bit of solace to see that many people have been in my shoes before, and I know that I've just got to put in the hours. Really appreciate all the encouragement and camaraderie here :)

  • 296 karma

    @WoodsCommaElle wow what a great analogy! This really helps to put it in perspective. I find myself thinking that because I've been a student for my whole life, this should be easy, but to your point, just like anything else we've all learned how to do, you have to invest time and thought if you want to become a master. Thanks for sharing your experience rehearsing. I was a volleyball player in college, and I think the LSAT is much more akin to something like sports or music than it is to a regular test... After all, I spent hours and hours in the gym for one game or even one point. Same thing with the LSAT.

    @"Burden.of.Floof" this is a great way to think about the Blind review goal of being able to get a 180 coming out of the core curriculum.Thank you for all of the tips and mindset shifts!

  • GoatAdvocate_0L_SLSGoatAdvocate_0L_SLS Alum Member
    264 karma

    @michellepereira96 said:
    Hey everyone - I started studying for the LSAT in January and have been putting in 10-20 hours a week. I first began with Mike Kim's LSAT trainer and finished that curriculum by Mid February. I've taken 2 PT's since starting to study, and only saw two points of improvement after about 8 weeks of studying. I then decided to switch to 7 sage in late Feb. I started the curriculum from the beginning and have only been focusing on LR. I just took my first timed section after getting through the majority of the 7sage LR curriculum, and still have THE SAME SCORE as my last full LR section I took in Feb. My Blind review score was a lot better than the timed take of the section, but I'm not sure why the gains I'm making on BR aren't reflecting in my test taking.

    I'm getting really discouraged that I can't improve, and that maybe I should give up on this path altogether. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this too early to be getting disappointed? This marks about 12 weeks of studying, and my original hope is to take the test in August.

    Have you completed the core curriculum on LR? I (and others) generally don't recommend jumping right into timed-PT's unless you've mastered the basics of argument structure. Otherwise you're just spinning your wheels. Here's how you know you're mastered the basics of the stimulus:

    1: You can immediately identify the:

    a. Speaker(s)
    b. Premise(s)
    c. Major Premise/Intermediate Conclusion (if present)
    d. Conclusion
    e. Context
    f. Superfluous Information

    2: You can immediately provide:

    a. The assumptions that the argument relies upon, which in turn inform you how to weaken/strengthen the argument

    2 is difficult, no doubt. But you should be able to read a stimulus and say, "Wow, this is the worst argument I've ever read in my life". Why? Because you can identify the assumptions the argument relies upon. To strengthen the arg, reinforce those assumptions. To weaken the arg, attack those assumptions. If you can't identify any assumptions, you don't understand the stimulus.

    Keep a Wrong Answer Journal and dissect every stimuli into their premises and conclusions. Identify the most important assumptions the argument requires. Mastering LR comes down to your ability to pull apart the parts of an argument and identify the nature of the relationships between the argument's constituents.

  • GoatAdvocate_0L_SLSGoatAdvocate_0L_SLS Alum Member
    edited March 2021 264 karma

    @"Burden.of.Floof" said:
    @WoodsCommaElle you're a music major??? We'll talk!

    OMG I'm a music major too.

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