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Currently stuck in low 170's: how to get consistently into high 170's?

HopefullyHLSHopefullyHLS Monthly Member
edited August 2021 in General 445 karma

I'm taking the October LSAT and have a bit more than one month left for prep. My goal is to break consistently into the high 170's.

So far, I've taken 18 full-length timed PT's incl. BR: J07 (161), 36 (180), 37 (169), 38 (169), 39 (170), 62 (177), 63 (174), 64 (176), 65 (171), 67 (171), 68 (177), 69 (172), 70 (173), 71(173), 80 (170), 79 (175), 82 (172), 83 (172) - in that order.

From PT69 onwards, I've really been stuck in the low-170's. I still have September to improve, and planned to do PT84-May20 & eventually PT81 and PTC2. The plan was to continue having faith in the BR process and rigorously review the test every time after I take it, understand why each correct AC is correct and why each is wrong, become certain why I was attracted by wrong AC and what drove me away from the AC etc.

However, I'm not really sure whether this will allow me to achieve my goal:

It doesn't seem to be an issue of focus or silly mistakes, since I typically finish the sections on time and the LR-questions I miss are typically the ones that I only understand all AC after very rigorous review (from PT79 onwards, I even got some of them wrong during BR - I feel that the 80's have way more hard LR questions and way more subtle wrong/right AC, which sucks up more time).

An averaged score breakdown from my last 7 PT's looks like this: RC -5, LR1 -2, LR2 -1, LG -1.

RC seems indeed to be my weakest section. Sometimes it's something that I either forgot or misunderstood in the passages which leads to wrong questions, but the majority of my mistakes are due to weirdly formulated or subtle AC that I typically get right after a very close look during BR. Even during BR, I get 1-2 questions wrong on RC.

  • It seems to me that it requires some further fine-tuning of my skills in order to get into high 170's. Will this fine-tuning likely come simply through BR (like I've been doing it until now), or would you recommend some other approaches?

  • Besides competency itself, what else could be factors to improve on? I admit that during the last 2 weeks or so I've slacked a bit off in terms of reading The Economist, but I started reading it regularly again and two days ago I went through my vocab list again. Otherwise I can't really think of other factors...


  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    26454 karma

    Yeah, your averages look inside the margins of error on LR and LG, so got to bring RC down. On LR, though, you shouldn’t be “typically” finishing the section. You should be reliably finishing the section with substantial amounts of time for review.

    That said, RC obviously needs some work. The subtlety in the AC’s, to me, is kinda the hallmark of the section. If you typically work these out in BR, you have the fundamentals and you need to work on the execution. Specifically, what is your study strategy for learning to hone in on these nuanced AC’s with consistency? You know the problem, now you have to workshop concrete solutions. I’d start by recognizing that you need to be reading for precise meaning on every AC. Let’s say your two contenders are (A) offers a demonstration of the phenomenon introduced in the first paragraph; and (B) gives an example of the occurrence introduced in the first paragraph. You need to immediately hone in on two differences: demonstration/example and phenomenon/occurrence. What exactly does each word mean? What’s the difference of meaning in each pairing? Finally, which is most appropriate to answer the question? You have to take RC AC’s like this very procedurally: Identify key words/phrases which require precise interpretation, reflect on their exact meaning, determine their application to the material. That probably doesn’t sound very advanced. It may sound kinda obvious. But you have to take it step by step and not try to roll the whole process into something more singular and nebulous. Deconstructing my processes to determine exactly what steps need to be taken in each situation is a critical part of my consistency within the upper 170’s, and I think it’s something that is probably nearly universal among top scorers.

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