Breaking the curve - how to get a 170+

sururfatemasururfatema Alum Member
edited March 2014 in June 2014 LSAT 28 karma
Hi Everyone -

I'm looking to collect some best practices because I work full time, so I need bang for my buck during study time. I hope this forum will benefit others in my situation!

I took the LSAT a while ago and scored in the low 160s with very little preparation. I thought - HEY! If I try really hard and use an awesome course (like this one!) I have a chance of breaking 170! By using this course, I've improved in terms of my raw score. I get almost 50% fewer questions wrong per section, but this only improves my actual LSAT score marginally.

Now, the thought that I've reached the capacity of my intelligence has crossed my mind. But I think this may not be the case - after some very serious self-reflection. Because I immediately understand why I get something wrong, I feel like this is more about synthesizing all of the skills in a test taking environment.

Can we start this discussion to share "curve breaking" tips? They can be any kind of suggestions - how to study, when to study, how to approach certain problems, strategic skipping, active reading strategies, timing strategies... Any thing you got - I'm all ears!

Thanks in advance everyone!



  • SFlorida93SFlorida93 Alum Member
    96 karma
    Have you completed all of the lessons in the 7sage course and taken all of the PrepTests (with Blind Review)?
  • bfischetti9bfischetti9 Alum Member
    13 karma
    In somewhat of the same boat as you are. Looking to score in the same range, and my PTs are consistently in the low 160s (though I have given those a rest since the beginning of February/start of this course - so, hopefully, I may have improved).

    What I have learned, and probably see as the most valuable skill, is time management. You really need to take the time to ingrain in your MEMORY the most basic skills, they HAVE TO be second nature. On my first time taking the LSAT I understood the "lawgic" language, all the indicators, what was a premise/conclusion, etc. But, where the LSAT owned me was the amount of time it took in recognizing and identifying these elements. I would understand the concepts, but it took me farrrr too long to get to that point. For example, I use the flashcards for the 4 translation groups and the folding cheat sheet, at least 2x a day. Even though I can identify these words and groups 100% correctly every time, I want it to be the point where I'm not even thinking it's just coming to me as quickly as possible.

    Another thing that has really cut my time spent on LR questions, although it seems minute, is (in Step 0 of JY's method) skimming the QStem and just identifying a word or words that tip you off to what type of question it is. Before, when I was taking far too long with each question, I would read the entire question stem, rather than identify a single word such as strengthen or undermine. This may seem like a difference of only a second or two, but they add up in a hurry. I figured using this method, wasting time doing so, I was probably losing a minute - a minute and a half for each section.

    Finally, Logic Games are my strongest section and I consistently usually miss only 1 or 2, with a bit of time to spare. But, wanting to miss zero on the LG section, I found the "How to get a perfect LG section" on here to be extremely useful.

    In terms of when to study, how to study, skipping problems, etc. - it all depends on what you're most comfortable with. I have found that having breakfast, working out, then coming home and studying is what has been most effective for me - that seems to be when I have the most energy. But, everybody is different. Try different routines and see what works best for you. Same goes for strategic skipping, some people find for the LR section doing 1-10 then starting at the end and working backwards to be most effective, give different methods a try and see which works best for you.

    I'm sure this is all very basic advice, but it is what I have attributed my elevated level of comfortability to. Hope it helps!

  • ENTJENTJ Alum Inactive ‚≠ź
    3658 karma
    @bfischetti9 : I believe it is prudent to read the whole question stem. You could have the phrase "most strongly supported" in the question stem--but that doesn't necessarily imply it will be a MSS question. For example, you could have "If the above information is true, which is most strongly supported...", that would be your typical MSS question. However, you could also have, "which one of the following if true, most strongly supports..." which would be an assumption question.

  • Llaima01Llaima01 Free Trial Member
    230 karma
    I am like you sururfatema. Scoring 162-165 at the moment. I have created a list of "tricks" (they are not really tricks, they are things I have learned as I watch JY or Jonathan answer questions/go through problems). I have such (ever expanding) lists for LR, RC and LG. For instance, for LR, regarding conclusions, if the conclusion is categorial (should, ought, must, etc.), then the correct answer will have categorical language. Some "tricks" are question-type specific, and others apply to all question types. In parallel, I am creating a list of best practices: for instance, for RC, my main objective is reduce the time I spend on a passage. So, my list is: #1. Do whatever it takes to read a passage in 4 minutes or less by #2. skim over the first question because it is usually a MP question so just glance at it and immediately go to the answers; #3. "translate" (long) questions in your mind. The author states blah, blah, blah" ---> translates to "author thinks x because", etc.
    Additionally, I think a key element is to identify your weaknesses and work on them systematically. This is easier said than done because it is very difficult to be introspective without and outsider pointing out your areas for growth. I personally, at the end of each study day, review my notecards and assess every area: for example, today in LG I learned that the rule /P2-->P5 means P is in 2 or 5. Also, I learned how to diagram a game that has 6 variables and 2 people reviewing each of the variables (J & R) [both lessons from PT 24]. Based on my assessment, I add to my list of "tricks" and/or "best practices".
    I am probably rambling...the trouble is that this is so personal because every student is different, at a different stage of the learning process, and with different potential. Hope this helps. You can contact me directly if you think it would be beneficial for you. The best of luck and I truly hope you reach 170+!
  • trowell101trowell101 Free Trial Member
    2 karma
    I'm in Decatur and looking for a study partner
  • chinobonitochinobonito Member
    105 karma
    sigh...i have such a long way to go...getting problems wrong are so depressing... but we can do it!
  • sururfatemasururfatema Alum Member
    28 karma
    Thanks everyone!
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