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Sharp drop in scores (179 -> 167). Where to go from here?

DallasOnFireDallasOnFire Legacy Member
edited August 2016 in General 249 karma
Hi Folks,

I have been studying for the LSAT for roughly a year now (on and off for first 8 months, but full-time in these last 4) mainly utilizing 7Sage's curriculum, although I have also done the Trainer and PowerScore Bibles. In this time, I went from a diagnostic score of 161 to about 179 at my peak (PT56) and today I got 167 (PT78). Lately, my scores average has fallen by about 6 points from 173 to 167 in the PT 70s. My average scores for each section are (LR: -3.3 / LG: -2.3 / RC: -3.7).

I am pretty disheartened by this decrease as I originally thought I was really prepared. Seeing as how the breakdown of my sections also seems to be similar across the board, I think I may be hitting my plateau. Is 170 impossible for me by September? What can I do now that I am nearly running out of materials and recent PTs to take?

One of my main issues I find is that I almost always have more questions wrong than I mark for BR. This feels even worse because I don't even know that I am missing something. Does anyone have any tips for the final stretch?

(I have attached a screenshot of my analytics. Please disregard the BR line, because I use a different account for that. My BR is always about 5 points above PT score). http://imgur.com/a/vfLz0

Comments

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @DallasOnFire said:
    Is 170 impossible for me by September? What can I do now that I am nearly running out of materials and recent PTs to take?

    One of my main issues I find is that I almost always have more questions wrong than I mark for BR. This feels even worse because I don't even know that I am missing something. Does anyone have any tips for the final stretch?
    First, a 170 is absolutely beyond a doubt possible next month. You are already there, it is just a matter of figuring out the 70sPTs. Perhaps you might have to think about waiting until December if you are still having trouble closing the gap. But it is 100% clear you have the potential for a 175+.
    I think @DumbHollywoodActor put forth a really good theory that the 70sPTs tends to exploit our weaknesses differently than the other tests. There seems to be so many people who find the 70's LR especially difficult. I haven't taken a PT in the 70s yet, so I can't personally speak on it, but it almost seems to be the norm to have a little bit of a hr time adjusting.

    I would say to redo them! You can often learn a lot from re-doing tests. Redo some of them and do really thorough blind reviews. I think you'll start to catch on to the differences and score what you are obviously capable of. No one scores in the 170s, let alone a 179 by luck. You know you stuff, the 70s are just testing that knowledge in a way you have to get acclimated to.

    I think others who are taking in September and are further along in their studies will be better suited to help you with the specifics. But I thin
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I agree with Alex. PT 70s are exploiting your weaknesses in an unprecedented way. Spend time thoroughly blind reviewing those tests and retake them under timed settings. Your 179s are not crazy flukes but neither are all your 167s. Focus on those tests to think about what went wrong. Typically we do this by looking at the types of questions we missed. However, why don't you take a look at the arguments you are missing? If it's not that, do you notice any trends in the trap answer choices you're falling for? Spend some time getting comfortable with those tests. You're in excellent shape for the test - just hammer on these potential weaknesses.
  • DallasOnFireDallasOnFire Legacy Member
    edited August 2016 249 karma
    Thank you both for your encouragement. I'm thrilled that you think there is hope for me.
    Typically we do this by looking at the types of questions we missed. However, why don't you take a look at the arguments you are missing? If it's not that, do you notice any trends in the trap answer choices you're falling for
    In the last ten tests (largely 70s), my lowest accuracy areas are Evaluate, MBT, and Parallel. My accuracy for all three is below 80%, even 60% for Evaluates). Everything else is about 85%+. Beyond that I no longer think there is a consistent trend to what I get wrong, although the Principle and MSS type questions tend to give me a hard time.
    I would say to redo them! You can often learn a lot from re-doing tests. Redo some of them and do really thorough blind reviews. I think you'll start to catch on to the differences and score what you are obviously capable of. 
    I have been doing this lately and my score on redo always ends up 170+, but keep in mind I have already seen the explanations for every test I have done so the usefulness of a re-do is compromised. I do understand what I am getting wrong but it just does not carry over into the next PT.

    As of now my only fresh PTs in the 70s are 75,76,77. Should re-do the other 70s I have completed until I can 180 them before attempting them? Would that be useful you think or should I just drill the weaker question types?

    I've noticed that question stems in the 70s seem to be getting more subtle and unique (more subtle principles and MSS especially). I am not sure the Cambridge packets from the previous tests would be any good. Am I just psyching myself out?

    Thanks again.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    Ooo, the principle, MSS, and parallel questions felt harder for me too, which was a shame because my accuracy used to be near perfect for these. What I realized is that the difference between the trap answer choice and the right answer choice is one or two words in the stimulus.

    For example, there's a principle question in one of the LR sections in PT 71 that tripped me up in the timed setting. The stimulus mentioned that, the only way someone should get find for an overdue library book is if some of the overdue books were not children's books and if the person had been fined before. I picked the trap answer choice, only to realize during blind review that it mentioned the fact that the books the person checked out were children's books but failed to mention they were overdue. Everything else about the answer choice was right. I feel like this concept of "1 or 2" words makes or breaks a question has been more common throughout the upper 70s. Typically, I felt like in the older tests, I could "get away" with just identifying the assumption/flaw. In the newer tests, not only must I be crystal clear in my identification but I also need to be more diligent in recognizing keywords in the stimulus that might not have been so key in the past.
  • DallasOnFireDallasOnFire Legacy Member
    edited August 2016 249 karma
    Yes, I am 100% with you on the one word differences. I remember that library question without even looking it up - it was a doozy and could really prey on any false assumptions you might have. It's one of the questions where you circle A only to realize that B does the exact same thing and you need to agonize over some single word difference. I have fallen prey to many, many of the trap answers for these and I think it might be because I am moving too quickly and not reading deliberately enough (although I only barely manage to finish each LR section with 3 minutes remaining).

    Often, I will go back to a failed question and see that I very deliberately crossed out the credit choice and circled the trap answer. For example in PT 73 a parallel question (amanda only writes blues/punk rock songs) was a real struggle. I could diagram the stimulus just fine, but one answer had just "the next pet" and the other had "any pet they ever own". I completely glossed over this critical piece.

    @blah170blah Going back to my last post, do you think I should save my fresh PTs for 75/76/77 until I can re-do the last tests with 100% accuracy? The worst case scenario is I take all my fresh tests and I end up scoring the same upper 160s score for all of them, with no improvement. I have seen the explanations/answers for all the questions, but I guess I can still force myself to reason through it.
  • CalPoliSciCalPoliSci Member
    236 karma
    Wow are you me? I've also been studying for over a year now. This summer I've been hitting the tests hard, and I was peaking at 169 in the 50s/60s tests. The last 6 tests I've done however have been in the 70s and I'm averaging low 160s. Today I scored a 161 on 78. It's very disheartening to see all my hardwork regress, especially after I've experienced scoring an ideal score several times already. I feel like I'm back to being a newbie as I plateaus at 160/161 for a very long time.

    We just gotta be resilient and keep going. We learned this test before, we can learn it again.
  • ariellentbariellentb Member
    57 karma
    A similar situation happened to me before I took December. I was scoring near target, and then a month befor the test, score dropped. I psyched myself out so much. At the time, for various reasons, I couldn't take a proper break or I'd risk not having enough experience with the full 3 hours, but that was a huge mistake.

    You are doing well. Take a break and try not to psych yourself out. Redo some tests you did a while ago (perhaps untimed? It will give you more time to think out what's going on, like a BR the first go-around), and your score will go back up. That confidence will boost you into your next exam, and your score will get better.

    My biggest mistake the first time around was not just that I let myself get psyched out, but that I doubted that I even psyched myself out in the first place. I had a lot of subconscious test anxiety.
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    @DallasOnFire I think it is worth it to redo those tests before using your clean ones. If you've scored 179 before, why not on these tests? That's something you want to know! Or maybe you'll notice something new or subtle in a particular question type that you hadn't before. BR until you've got those 100%. Congrats on your 179s!
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4176 karma
    I would definitely redo the 70s you've already taken to get accustomed to the new stuff before taking the fresh PTs. You're on the right track and almost there! It seems almost everyone experiences some hiccups with the newest tests. But let the many stories of individuals, myself included, of overcoming those pitfalls and eventually getting back to normal encourage you. Your progress is not a fluke; you're just being exposed to some slight differences. Once you've seen them and have taken note of them, you'll be just fine.
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