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No progress? Help!!

guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
in General 365 karma
I started the 7sage core curriculum in March, and finished it last week.
My diagnostic was 153. Today, I took my first PT (after my diagnostic test) - PT39.
I scored a disappointing 151, with 161 for BR. ( I left 13 questions blank due to the ticking clock...)
My strongest section was RC, then LG, with my weakest being .... LR...
I am planning on taking the Oct LSAT with a goal of 168+.

WHAT SHOULD I DO???!!!! Help me out sagers...


Comments

  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    Take another PT. If timing was an issue when it hadn't been before then it sounds like you're just rusty when it comes to taking PTs, which is perfectly natural after spending 2-3 months or more just doing the curriculum and problem sets. Putting it all together is a whole different beast and can't be simulated without taking a full PT. Every single time you take a PT you should be taking stock of all the mistakes you are making, and I'm not just talking about wrong answers here. Did you sleep too little? Too much? Did you eat or drink too little? Too much? Did you forget to reset your watch for a section? Did you sink too much time on certain questions? Did you have bubbling issues? And there are tons more but I'm sure you get the idea.

    My first PT after finishing the curriculum was only 5 points higher than my diagnostic which was super disappointing because I felt I had learned so much. But the one thing you don't learn during the curriculum is what the test will actually feel like, and what strategies will work for you come test day. While others might recommend drilling for awhile, I think taking at least two more PTs in the coming week is the best thing you could do (and sure you could throw in some minor drilling here and there to keep yourself fresh). I was also like you in that my LR was the worst and I crushed LG and RC, even though LR was one of my better sections on my diagnostic. But learning the curriculum introduces whole new approaches to LR that take some getting used to and plenty of practice to sink in. It took me a few PTs to really find a groove and get used to testing again. Furthermore, I spent a few weeks working on the bundle before doing PTs and hadn't seen much LR in several weeks which hurt me a lot as well. I picked up a copy of the LSAT Trainer (which I would highly recommend) and it has brought a fresh perspective and renewed my motivation in spite of some early setbacks.

    On my first couple of PTs after the curriculum I made crazy mistakes because I was so out of practice. I decided to bubble in whole games during LG as I finished each one, but then forgot to do that once I finished the first one, so I had less than 60 seconds left when I finished and realized I hadn't bubbled in anything. I then made the same mistake on RC on the next PT and it really got in my head for a bit but I was able to focus and overcome that issue. Then one time I didn't set my watch and had to just guess for timing and that caused quite a struggle for an LR section. These are the kinds of mistakes one can make when starting out on PTs. But it is good to get them out of the way now so you don't make those mistakes on test day.

    And finally, one thing I've come to realize and that you should too (in fact it would help all 7Sagers) is that 7Sage is not a simple input/output where you pay them, go through the curriculum and get a 180. Not only do you have to put in the work to develop your understanding and skills, but just as importantly, you have to put in several months of working through PTs to develop your test day skills. It's like 7Sage gave you a bunch of tools and told you how to use them, but then you go to build your first chair and it looks like crap. Well of course it does, it's your first attempt. But over time your chairs get better and then you build a nice table and then maybe a treehouse or a garage and then eventually come test day, you build your house and by then, you should have the skills to make it a masterpiece.

    TL;DR: Keep your chin up, take at least two more PTs and then hit us up if you're still having issues, you'll be fine, good luck!
  • iiiSpooniiiSpoon Alum Inactive ⭐
    277 karma
    Hey guitarnara, one thing I noticed when completing the core curriculum was that my logic per question type was fine, and answering sets of each was not an issue. But when they were mixed and my brain had to switch between strengthening to weakening, to necessary, then to parallel and etc, I wasn't as proficient as I was before. You're skills might be fine but the scale of a real PT is something entirely alien, and you're only going to be able to blast ET back to wherever he came from by tackling more PT's (sorry for the metaphor but I really wanted to use it). I wouldn't worry too much since the first several will always be a train wreck; so long as you know the reasoning behind each question and it is simply a timing issue, this is most likely a period of adjustment.
  • brna0714brna0714 Alum Inactive ⭐
    1489 karma
    Focus on your BR score for now. You've seen great improvement there and the rest will come from repeat exposure/drilling/etc. Consider looking at the percentage you answered correctly of the questions you were able to attempt, extrapolate that out and figure your score for the entire section/test and then make it your goal to achieve that "check point" score.
  • brna0714brna0714 Alum Inactive ⭐
    1489 karma
    By the way, sounds like you left some completely blank. If you're running out of time, bubble in something (even if it's all the same letter) for every question no matter what. You could have picked up 3ish more questions that way, pushing your second test score either even with or slightly above your diagnostic. Just some food for thought, there is no penalty for wrong answers so nothing should ever be left blank.
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    Drilling has always improved my score more than anything. The Cambridge sets are good for that.
  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    @Pacifico Thank you so much for all of your input. I will definitely spend this week doing more PTs. I will keep it updated Thanks!

    @brna0714 Yea I am trying to look at the brighter side. I will focus more on improving my accuracy first and hope that speed will come with more practice

    @danielznelson I am using the Cambridge sets too :) I haven't gotten through all of them but hope to do so
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    1654 karma
    @guitarnara It sounds to me like you need to do more drilling and less PTs. There are only a finite amount of PTs and, taking them when you are not prepared is a complete waste of precious material. Watch the LR videos again and use the Cambridge drilling packets. Start taking PTs after, and only after, you start getting comfortable with the exam.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    I disagree, I think leaving questions blank is a product of timing issues from not taking PTs. It's worth it to use a couple more PTs to see if that is the case or if there are deeper logic and reasoning issues. I would assume there are, but one PT does not make a trend or give a real benchmark of where your current skills are.
  • MatthewJAMatthewJA Alum Member
    52 karma
    I think it's great how there has been some constructive feed-back towards guitarnara's initial post, and if you don't mind, I would like to air out some of my early concerns as well, and hopefully get some feedback. Please don't feel afraid to be straight-forward and blunt, I need advice, and will do what's required to address my struggles' so far.

    It has been roughly 3 week's now since the start of my curriculum (June 1st), and I am already falling behind in the curriculum, in large part, due to taking more time on each section than what is advised. I am currently working through the Sufficient Assumption logical questions, and I am not seeing much improvement. To be honest, I did not experience much improvement overall from my last PT (last week), and am feeling the heat so to speak, about where I will be at come October.

    I realize that I have only completed 25% of the curriculum, and that I guess it is still relatively "early" in my studying. However, I felt that I would grasp a little bit more, and have a much stronger ability to work through the curriculum, in comparison to what has been happening. Do you think that my expectations are a little high right now? Should I continue grinding through the curriculum, and review the more challenging sections again afterwards? I have no large scale distractions prohibiting me from putting more time into the curriculum, however, the more time I put in, the more I seem to get discouraged and burnt out (yes, I can affirm the burn out is real).

    Is it beneficial to drill more of my 1-39 questions, in addition to the problem sets provided by 7sage? I am currently working with the LSAT Trainer as well, and have enjoyed the simplified interpretation of the LR (100 pages in), but am nonetheless worried for the Oct. LSAT. If need be, I will write the LSAT again after my final year this year, but, would preferably be ready to compete in 1L for next year after my undergraduate degree is finished.

    Please provide me with any thoughts, or advise you have. Thank's everyone.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    @MatthewJA First of all, I disagree with Mike Kim's insistence on taking PTs while you are still learning a curriculum the first time. It sounds like you took a diagnostic PT 3 plus weeks ago and then started the curriculum and then took a PT about a week ago, is that correct? I think you're just setting yourself up for failure by not committing to the learning process from the beginning and instead you're trying to continually assess yourself on PTs as a means to reward yourself and justify your work on the off chance you get a good score. But this is a demoralizing way to prep in my opinion because you are going to be continually learning new things throughout the curriculum that will fundamentally alter the way your brain works once those skills sink in.

    Don't worry about getting behind on the curriculum as it's outlined for you with the study schedule. Honestly, I wouldn't even recommend using that page in your case because it seems to be producing unneeded anxiety. Instead, focus on learning and developing your skills. I'm guessing you bought 7Sage with the old problem sets, so I'd recommend using those first since they are more fully fleshed out, even though it might be a little clunky to check them off on the syllabus. Save your drilling packet for after you start PTs in order to help you drill problem areas. Just go along with the problem sets and you should be fine.

    My approach to the syllabus was to go through everything in order, and for all the LR questions that have videos, try to answer the question on your own before hitting play. Take as much time as you need. By the end of a given section, (e.g.- SA, NA, MSS), if I got more than one wrong out of all the video questions, then I did the first problem set. If I missed more than one there, I did the next problem set. That allowed me to strike a balance between gaining confidence in a particular area, while still preserving as many problem sets as possible. I started PTs a few weeks ago, but still have tons of problem sets to utilize as I need them during my PT phase and I think having fresh problem sets is invaluable once you dig into the PTs. Of course, don't sacrifice your ability to fully comprehend a concept simply to save problem sets for later.

    In closing, your expectations are definitely too high right now. It sounds like the LSAT has humbled you a bit but you're resisting fully acknowledging that fact. So my advice is to just be humble and pretend you know nothing about the subject matter so you approach it with an eager and curious humility. Keep working through the curriculum as it is laid out and don't take any PTs until you finish, and even then, be prepared for some disappointment because it takes a few to get used to the pressure of the full test. Finally, in order to avoid burnout you can take two approaches, one is simply to move to the next section that is a different category (LR/RC/LG) to give you something fun and fresh to do. Whenever I get bored slogging through LR or RC, but still want to prep, I like to bust out a few LGs to work on. The second approach is to only prep 5 or 6 days per week, exercise at least 5 days a week, and find a stress outlet for yourself, whether it's yoga, meditation, or some additional form of exercise.

    Hope this helps, feel free to hit me up anytime if you have questions. Good luck!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @Pacifico said:
    First of all, I disagree with Mike Kim's insistence on taking PTs while you are still learning a curriculum the first time.
    Well, there are only a few PT's scattered in there while you're still in the learning phase, at least in both of the 16-week schedules I did (I did 2 full cycles through the Trainer before I started incorporating other materials). And I'm not sure I would call the PTs' presence in the study schedules "insistence"—given the overall tone and demeanor in the book/materials, I would tend to describe such things as recommendations. Plus, the point of taking those timed PT's is to put the habits you're forming into practice. So, we could put several items in the "pro" column for Mike Kim's approach.

    Arguments can be made both ways. Obviously JY has a very specific opinion about this, and ultimately the sound principle of not burning through PT's that will never be 100% fresh again is what grounds that opinion. But, so far as I can tell, the LSAT has never stepped down from its throne and spake unto us, or anyone, saying that there is only one way.

    If that did happen, I imagine it would look something like this:
    image

    Thanks to LSATing, I'm learning to be more wary of my "one way = the only way" modes of thinking. I don't think I suffered by doing extra PT's "prematurely" (according to 7sage, with which I was not familiar at the time) per the LSAT Trainer schedules.

    In fact, I think I'm doing just fine. And I don't think I'd do anything differently in this regard, if I were to start all over again. I like taking PT's, and if taking some occasionally while still in the learning phase kept my momentum going and my spirits up, well ... that's a win-win if I ever did see one.
  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    @Pacifico So I took PT 40 today... And the results are similar.... 152 Timed 161 BR.
    Should I spend more time drilling to get more speed and accuracy before tackling PTs ? I also left 14 questions blank this time (out of the 14 unanswered questions I nailed 12 of them when I came back for BR) I think I have a habit of dwelling on difficult questions for too long. Urgghhhh... I know this is a stupid question.. but I've been hearing people say that you see significant improvements in score as you do more PTs. Is it normal for people to see their scores go from 152 to 168+ in a matter of 3 months?

    Thank you!
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    @guitarnara I went from 158 to 171 in 3 months. And my BR went from 162 to 173 in the same time span. So it can be done, but of course the higher your score the more you run up against curvebreaker questions that hold you back from going even higher. Your BR is about where you want to get your timed score up to in the next month or two. Obviously you're still missing ~20 questions on BR so you definitely have some drilling work to do, if not revisiting parts of the curriculum. But we also need to address your timing issues.

    What are you using to time yourself? If you're leaving ~3-4 questions blank per section, you need to get in the habit of taking stock at the 5 minutes remaining mark and figure out your best strategy if you have say, 5-8 questions remaining. There are many possible approaches to this scenario, but at a minimum you need to start filling in an answer for every question because if you keep leaving questions blank and for whatever reason you never fix this timing issue, then you will just be giving away several points when you could have probably gotten 20-25% of those right on average just from guessing, or better yet, making educated guesses by skimming and getting rid of ridiculous ACs. So before you do anything else, make this your mantra: Fill in a bubble for every question.

    I ask how you're timing yourself because it seems like you don't have a very good internal clock established. I would suggest some drilling some LR since that is your weakest area, and focus on how long an average question takes you. Get a stopwatch or something with that feature and start it the moment you start an LR question. As soon as you finish reading the question stem and stimulus, quickly jot down how long that took. Then read each answer, eliminating as you go along if there's anything you're 100% certain is wrong. If you haven't found the answer, record your time again, and go back a second time to parse out what you need to. Say the average stimulus is 4-6 lines or sentences. Then you need to know how long that takes you, just like you should know how long it takes you to read a given amount of lines during RC. I know I can read 30 lines in under a minute if I don't get hung up on anything, but it can rise dramatically from there until I spend up to 90-120 seconds on 30 lines (usually about half the passage).

    By figuring out how long it takes you to get through each question, you should develop a feel for your timing on individual questions, and if you're like me, at some point during an LR question you should get an "oh shit" feeling when you realize you've already hit 2 minutes and you're lost. The best thing to do is identify this feeling as early as possible, circle the question, and move on. It's not worth losing 4 points because you spent 4 minutes on one LR question and didn't get to 3 others because of it.

    While I definitely think you need to keep at it on the PTs, you really need to find a way to develop a better sense of time without even needing a watch. The PTs in the 30s and 40s generally have 0 or 1 hard questions in the first 10 LR questions so you should be able to speed through those in 10 minutes. I find this first 10 minutes to be among the most critical because it sets the tone and for me it's the easiest time to check your watch after each question to know where you stand. Now on the later PTs the difficulty distribution is more scattered, but these early ones can act as a primer for how to track your time.

    When I'm short on time at the end of a section, say 5 minutes left and 5+ questions I immediately circle all of them for blind review and then get down to business. One strategy could be to skim each question stem to find easier question types based on your skill sets, or do the ones with the least text so it's at least less reading for you. And when you check your watch and there is one minute or less left, go to the answer sheet and start filling in answers because you're not doing yourself any favors to leave possible points on the table.
  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    Yap so I have come up with a study plan to drill 2-3 hrs everyday (mostly LR) so that I can exhaust all the questions in 20 days while taking 2-3 PTs each week. I think it will be best to drilling and be taking PTs at the same time, since i only have 3months left until Oct.

  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    And I am going to program myself to circle and move on when I feel like I am past the 1.5- 2min mark on a question!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @guitarnara said:
    Yap so I have come up with a study plan to drill 2-3 hrs everyday (mostly LR) so that I can exhaust all the questions in 20 days while taking 2-3 PTs each week. I think it will be best to drilling and be taking PTs at the same time, since i only have 3months left until Oct.
    This is intense! Perhaps consider joining the BR group calls ?? Can help keep you accountable when doing so much LSAT (and also provide comic relief, especially if @DumbHollywoodActor is on there). And the social aspect can help keep the crazies at bay.
    @guitarnara said:
    And I am going to program myself to circle and move on when I feel like I am past the 1.5- 2min mark on a question!
    Yes, this discipline is crucial! We must not gratify our desires for perfection on this test by indulging the temptation to spend too long on any one question.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    "You don't need to be perfect to get a perfect score" - Mike Kim
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @Pacifico This image is from lawyerswithdepression.com

    image
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    That belongs in a Lilliputian Topiary subreddit
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @Pacifico said:
    That belongs in a Lilliputian Topiary subreddit
    HAH. You just won "comment of the day," a made-up award but one that comes with much enthusiasm.

    image

  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    Yea I know... it's intense but I am going to keep at it until I feel relatively solid in my understanding of the Logical Reasoning section. "you don't have to be perfect to get a perfect score" I will definitely keep that in mind! Thanks!
  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    I took my fourth PT today after a week of break. This time I was very conscious of the clock and filled everything in. 157 Timed and 167 BR! Things are looking optimistic for me! THANK YOU for all the excellent advice. One thing that definitely did help was picking up the LSAT trainer. It's been equipping me with more tools to get through the LR section. I saw a significantly improvement in the LR Section, although weirdly enough, the section I improved the most on was the RC section (-3). I hope to keep this pace throughout the next three months. Thank you again!

  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    @nicole.hopkins I'm not sure whether to lmbo or cry at the fact that there's even a website called lawyerswithdepression.com
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @guitarnara said:
    157 Timed and 167 BR! Things are looking optimistic for me! THANK YOU for all the excellent advice.
    Woohoo! Just keep in mind ... you WILL plateau. It's part of the process. I plateaued at 165, 169, and I seem to have very recently broken that plateau with a string of delicious 170-something scores. Huzzah. I'm coming up on my one year LSATiversary (started with the Trainer). That's why BR scores are so important: they will also get higher, and over time, you will close that gap if you keep moving forward.

    Trust the process and take your time. When you get stuck again, don't worry that you've "maxed out." Until you hit 175+ consistently, you're likely in another plateau. They happen at all different stages for different folks.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @guitarnara said:
    I saw a significantly improvement in the LR Section, although weirdly enough, the section I improved the most on was the RC section (-3).
    Holy crap! Look at you :D I know that feels good. Trust the process, my friend! The pace of improvement WILL change as you move up the score bands but keep moving forward.
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