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LR: tips to hit -0

Hey Everyone,

I just scored a 16-high on the November LSAT (with a small proctoring issue), and am signed up for the January exam, hoping that another sitting will get me a slightly higher score. I'm averaging a 170 on practice tests, and that's my goal score heading into the January exam.

My strategy to prepare for this upcoming test is to try to really master LR, since I'm consistently between -3 and -0 on this section. I've noticed that when I go -3 I make a some sort of simple mistake on an easier question I know how to do, and then I get stumped by one or two hard ones at the end. There aren't any specific question types I struggle with, and I feel like my blind review scores are at a point of mastery - there's rarely a question I can't solve. The questions that stump me at this point are just hard questions....

Does anyone have any advice on how to consistently be able to break that -0 mark? My strategy right now is to drill the back 10 questions (15-25/26) every day, since that's where a lot of my errors are.

Comments

  • Universalitea_Universalitea_ Alum Member
    edited December 2021 138 karma

    Not at all helpful to your conundrum but how have you been hitting -3 for LR? Any specific strategies other than the core curriculum? I'm ranging between a -5 to -9 (getting the toughest questions wrong) and need to get this number down as much as possible :|

  • 296 karma

    @Universalitea_ haha no worries - happy to share some advice. Here's a summary/recap of my LR journey. I started out at around -7 +- a few points.

    Phase 1- learn the basics. I started using the LSAT trainer. After about 3 months of studying, I switched to 7 Sage.

    Phase 2- relearn the 7 sage core curriculum. There was a lot I didn't know. To master LR you need to be completely fluent in lawgic. I'm at the point where I don't think twice about translating a sentence or doing a tricky negation. If you're not at that point yet, I'd recommend doing a deep dive again to refresh yourself.

    Phase 3 - drill questions 1-15 timed. For those aiming above 170+ you should be able to finish the first fifteen questions in 15 minutes. I started out being able to finish around 20 minutes. I just slowly moved the timer down each week until I got to around the 17 minute mark. For me, I'm comfortable with this benchmark because I actually find that my brain works a little faster on the harder questions. I think this is because I benefit from a warm up.

    Phase 4- drill questions 16-25 UNTIMED. These are the harder questions. Focus on getting them right at first before putting on the time. If these are the questions you're consistently missing, missing them with the time on won't do you any good to improve. Once you feel you can get at least half of them correct, then start with the timer. Depending on your time for questions 1-15, you should have a little more than half the test left for these questions, which means you get to spend almost two minutes a question.

    Phase 5- drill entire sections with time. Rinse and repeat. Obviously should go without saying but blind review is super important.

    For me, the thing that catapulted me from the -5 to the -2 range was actually just throwing all of the strategy and tips I learned out the window. Things like 'for weaken questions you should expect this kind of answer' or 'always chose a weakly worded answer for a necessary assumption' were what was holding me back from getting better. The moment I let go of all my question type strategies was the moment I started getting better. It's good to let the question stem guide you to a certain degree, but the most important thing is to read what's on the page in front of you and to understand what the text is saying. There's an infinite amount of diversity in the written language, and hard and fast rules won't be able to help you for the questions that stray from what JY calls 'cookie cutter'. Once I understood that test makers are testing your ability to read and to reason, rather than you ability to employ testing strategies, I was much more able to adapt to specific question types.

    Additionally, I started doing all of my pre-work for the question before even looking at the answers. I try to summarize the argument in my head and then have an idea of what I'm looking for before I look at the answers. OnPredicting the right answer or describing the flaw before looking at the answers enabled me to be swayed/manipulated by what wrong answers were saying.

    Anyways hope that helps.

  • Universalitea_Universalitea_ Alum Member
    138 karma

    @determinedpugrat this is great! Thanks so much for the tips - I agree, I find that while going over untimed questions and drilling I tend to focus more on the different question types and all the strategies but I don't think that's the best fit for the real test per se. Will definitely look to drilling the questions you mentioned as well. Thank you and good luck on your LSAT journey!

  • nachooooonachooooo Monthly Member
    41 karma

    @determinedpugrat wow that was super helpful!!! I think trying to employ the specific "short-cuts" has been holding me back too but since most of the training books suggest them I've just kinda been trying to power through??? Do you have ANY tips for RC strategy at all?? Literally anything would help I am fucked for RC and I fluctuate in scores HEAVILY

  • 296 karma

    @nachooooo When I started studying, RC was around -8. When I posted this, I was averaging around -5 on RC, but my scores would fluctuate anywhere from -2 to -7. Since then, my scores have now consistently jumped up to -2. Honestly I'm not sure what I did to warrant the improvement, but I did take about 2 full weeks off between taking my November test and getting the result/deciding to study again for January. I was studying A TON before November, especially focusing on RC. I think I needed the two weeks off not just to rest, but to allow myself time to process the information I had just crammed into my brain. I am not sure if this is a common experience, but distance from RC helped me see the patterns - common themes in passages, common passage structures, narrative threads, similarities to LR and LG, etc. I think what got me over the hump for RC was just doing a ton of practice truthfully.

    I also think a lot of my trouble with RC was misreading, and not taking the time to really process and think about each question. I suspect this is likely because I was moving too fast. In the past, RC used to stress me out because I felt like I was racing to the finish every time. There are just so many words! Whereas LR and LG I could manage my nerves, RC always felt like a catastrophe. I would make silly mistakes because I would not really understand what the stimulus is asking. Unlike LR, you have to pay very very close attention to every single word in the stimulus. My panic also clouded my ability to retain the information in the passage. I was an English major in undergrad, and have always been a strong reader. I was perplexed why I couldn't master this section....But the truth is, with the type of reading you do in college or for pleasure, you aren't under the time constraint or the pressure. Mastering that aspect is what is challenging about RC - not the actual content. Doing a lot of practice helped me gain more confidence and realize that 35 minutes is plenty of time for this section. Once I learned how to better manage my nerves, it was like I was seeing the section for the first time.

    But here's a recap of my RC journey if you're looking for a more in depth summary.

    Phase 1 - Master the Passage. Don't even look at the questions at first, just focus on the actual passage. Like LR, you should try to do all of your pre-work in the passage. When you read, you want to be like trying to anticipate things the testers will ask about - more often than not, this is the author's opinion, the main point of each paragraph, what the critics think, what evidence the author uses to support their point, the structure, etc...

    I would do this little exercise where after every passage before heading into the questions, I would fill out a table I made in google sheets. The columns were all of the points I listed out above. You should be able to do this by memory. Only after that exercise, would I look at the questions with the time off.

    Phase 2- Once you've reached mastery on the passage, THEN you can start focusing on the passage + questions together. Depending on where you're scoring and where you hope to end up, I think it's okay to drill with the time off at first. Like I said above, if you can't get these questions right without time, you definitely won't get them right with time.

    Phase 3- Full sections. Just rinse and repeat.

    Anyways, hope that helps!

  • Dzzy12328Dzzy12328 Monthly Member
    56 karma

    For LR, I've been getting around -9. I definitely need to review logic. When you do LR, do you translate the sentences into logic on a sheet of paper or in your head? I don't write anything down during the LR section, and I'm starting to think that I should spend time translating things on the page for harder questions. @determinedpugrat

  • Scott MilamScott Milam Member Administrator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    822 karma

    @determinedpugrat

    You’ve already done the hard work of identifying what’s keeping you from getting to -0, now you just need to figure out a method for tackling them!

    For your first issue (making goofy errors on easy ones), drill lots of easy questions. Make entire sections out of them! Get into a good pace (not so fast that you reduce accuracy, not so slow that you lose time for hard ones). Every time you screw one up, examine why you made the mistake. Typically, those mistakes aren’t flukes - they are mistakes the test was trying to force you to make. Figure out the ones you tend to fall for!

    For the second issue (hard questions in the back half), the answer is rigorous wrong-answer evaluation. Dig into why the wrong answer was appealing to you, or what logical error you made. I find it helpful to teach the question to someone else, since that forces me to truly understand it.

    Finally, don’t stress the difference between -0 and -1 or 2 too much!! I got a 180 my first time taking the exam in June, but I don’t get -0 on every section every time. I don’t know anyone does (and I work for 7Sage!) Even pro basketball players miss some free throws now and then. The effort spent getting to that -0 in LR might be better spent getting more consistent on the other sections!

  • mollyjoy1mollyjoy1 Member
    27 karma

    How did you get your score breakdown for November?!

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