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Getting better until I get worse?

xander787xander787 Alum Member
Okay so I'm pretty much at my wit's end here with the last 2 or 3 tests I've taken.

As background, I used to be incredibly consistent on the Logical Reasoning section. I would typically miss 1 or 2 per section and would never miss more than 3 overall in both sections combined. This was the case for most of the PTs I took. Then PT50 happened. I thought I was just having a bad day, and ended up missing 5 LRs that test. Then on PT51 I missed 3 (not more than usual) but then today on PT52 I missed 5 again.

Ironically, I'm at the point where I'm getting 180s on nearly every single Blind Review I do. I'm overall pretty accurate at never missing questions that I don't circle, but now I feel like just as I've gotten really good at understanding how to answer nearly any LR question and answering them all accurately and not falling for any of the tricks (untimed) I've also gotten way worse on the actual timed PT. This is hugely frustrating for me since, before this started happening, I was consistently scoring around 174-175 and was weakest in the RC section (with LG nearly always at -0). I spent a week or two and really drilled RC hard and was able to get myself down from nearly -4 or -5 to -2 or -3 each time. But now LR has gone off the rails! I feel like I can't win!

At first I thought it was my strategy for balancing time on LR. Previously, I would skip almost any question I didn't immediately feel comfortable with or thought would take a while (even if they were easy MBTs that I just didn't want to diagram out). Now, I've tried to spend more time just going through the test a bit more linearly so that I don't feel strapped on time having to go back to a bunch of skipped questions at the end of the test. I thought this would be a good strategy but it seems now like I'm missing more questions anyway.

So I'm not sure what to do. On today's test it was hugely disappointing that 2 of the LR questions I missed were incredibly trivial and had more to do with the fact that it seems like I rushed through the question because of time than that I didn't understand it, and, again, I'm able to correct every mistake in Blind Review.

Not exactly sure what to help me improve at this point. I feel too confident to review basic lessons on LR questions (again, I get nearly a perfect score in blind review, so I obviously understand the concepts, its just that something mysterious happens on the timed tests) and I don't really know what else to do other than to look back at questions that I got wrong, but seeing as they're spread pretty evenly across different question types randomly, not sure how good that would do me either. Anyone experience anything like this before?


  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    So you used to get less than 3 wrong on LR and then you changed strategies and now you get more wrong? Am I reading that right? If it wasn't broken then what were you trying to fix? Also, you're always going to have outliers, it's the name of the game, so maybe if you got to the point where this was happening consistently then you'd have something to get worried about, but it sounds more like you just made a change in your strategy, expected there not to be any adjustment period, and started freaking out about not performing up to your previous standard. As long as your BR is that good and you take the time to understand why you're getting these questions wrong, then you should be fine. If it's just stupid mistakes then just know that shit happens. Maybe you'll make zero stupid mistakes on test day and maybe you won't, but if the rest of your game is tight then you've got nothing to worry about. And if you're already in the mid 170s then most everything above that is just test to test variation based on what jives with you and what doesn't. Get out of your head about it and keep on truckin'.
  • xander787xander787 Alum Member
    108 karma
    Sorry I guess I didn't explain that part well. It's not so much that I switched strategies and things started going south, it's more like, as I've become more and more confident at understanding the LR questions and as my blind reviews have been getting better, I've relied less and less on the test on skipping around. A big problem I had on tests before (and still do, honestly) is that I get really anxious about time, particularly on LR. So I would skip questions like crazy, but then I would be left with 4 or 5 questions that I had to finish after I got to the end of the section, which would make me more nervous about time.

    So what I've started to do was to skip less as I got more comfortable with the questions. I wanted to take a bit more time on each individual question and just go through the section more linearly. Unfortunately it seems that this may also be coinciding with me making a much higher proportion of basically stupid mistakes, sometimes where I predict an answer and then it turns out the one I chose was some kind of trick. So the stupid mistakes basically have made me reenforce this "new strategy" of slowing down even more on individual questions, but it seems like its not really helping.

    What's got me worried is that it seems like as I've become more comfortable with the LR questions in an untimed environment, I've seemingly become way more susceptible to making these sillier errors and am not sure how to combat them seeing as going fast and skipping around seems like a bad strategy time-wise and taking my time and going slow hasn't stopped me from making these errors.

    So I'm not sure what more I can do to make myself less susceptible to these kinds of things and to bring my timed scores more in line with my blind review ones seeing as I obviously understand the underlying logic and am more likely being screwed by the time pressure/some other factor on the actual test
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    It still sounds like the new strategy isn't doing what you expected it to. I'd go back to the old way and see how that works for you. You really should not be emphasizing spending more time on every question because ~15 questions should take under a minute and the other 10 or so should take between 90 and 150 seconds depending on how complicated they are. Your previous strategy sounds like it was working efficiently to find those 15 questions and get them done fast and then return to clean up the rest. You don't mention not finishing the sections previously so I just still don't understand why you would move away from an effective strategy. Skipping around willy nilly is a terrible idea, but if you are doing it in a way that targets the easy and medium difficulty questions first then you're more likely to score highly than if you get caught in a 5 minute time sink on a tough question. Also if you're BR scores are all 179/180, there's not really much you can do to get your timed scores to match that every single time. Even consistent 180 scorers on the timed test (think certain LSAT instructors) don't get a 180 every single time, so don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good (or excellent in this case).
  • c.janson35c.janson35 Free Trial Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2398 karma
    I would seriously recommend slowing down on the test. Don't rush through for time's sake, especially if it's costing you easy questions. Slow and steady, that's how you make yourself less susceptible to the kind of errors you're referencing. Be confident enough in your skills (180 BRs......) to know that you're not going to run out of time, that you need to take all the time that's necessary to answer accurately, which more than likely is gonna be less time than you think. Just don't rush.
  • xander787xander787 Alum Member
    108 karma
    So I just had another PT today and, while I tried to take my time more on the questions I still managed to get a total of 7 wrong on both LR sections combined. I still got a 173 which isn't bad (-0 on LG, and -2 on RC) but LR is truly killing me lately. What's more frustrating is that once again I was able to correct nearly all of my LR mistakes in blind review (although I did miss an unmarked question today).

    I'm beginning to wonder: have LRs changed in difficulty or structure since PT50? The other day I actually did a warmup LR section (from PT16 I think). Obviously it was a very old section, but I got basically every question correct (I didn't finish the last two questions I think because I had to get going to do my test, but up until that point I got 100% on it. So I'm wondering if I'm just having problems with how the new LRs are written. I've heard online that the answer choices have become much closer with more trick ones/less obvious correct ones which kind of mirrors my experience of having issues selecting between two appealing choices. I'm just trying to think of reasons why my LR would go from being so consistently good to so bad suddenly.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    I think the stimuli are much easier to read on recent tests in general, simply because the writing is better, even when they're overly convoluted, but there are some really excellent trap answer choices now and I think that's the biggest difference when people talk about what has changed.
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