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A word on LG goal setting: the process that worked for me

BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
in General 8684 karma

One thing I have been asked and am starting to take note of is goal setting on LG. Generally speaking, LG is looked at as a section very amenable to improvement. I believe this is rooted in the fact that upon first encounter, for many test takers LG is the weirdest section of the exam and that unfamiliarity translates into a lack of correct answers on one’s diagnostic or first attempt. It is often after one has gained familiarity with the games and developed a systematic strategy to approach the games where one starts to see their scores improve.

This post is dedicated to those who are what feels like a lifetime of prep away from their goal score on LG. It took me over 2,000 games to get from where I was (maybe 1 or 2 questions correct on the entire section), to close to where I want to be (a -1 for the whole section). I’m writing this for people who are -10,-12,-8 or even -5 on an LG section.

Let’s pretend you as the reader are attaining a -10 on a fresh, timed LG section and you want as your goal a -3 come test day. From someone who has put in so much work into the games, what do I recommend?

The first thing I recommend doing is figuring out precisely where your current problems are emanating from, is it a failure to make inferences? Do you occasionally misread rules? Is your understanding of conditional logic weaker than it should be, ie, not as sharp/quick/confident as it should be? Are you failing to keep track of your game pieces in a cogent way and therefore you have missed “floaters” or MBT placements? These are some of the possible places where errors might be introduced into our approach. The first step I recommend here would be to record yourself doing a section and review and watch the video on 7Sage for the game and see precisely where you failed to do something. Note here that you want to focus on the big things you missed, there might be smaller, stylistic differences between how you and MR. Ping set up a game board, sometimes, this is not a problem, other times it might be, in short, we are looking for substantive areas that are missed and not stylistic areas per se.

Next, use the filtering option on 7Sage’s question bank to find three or four games similar to the one you messed up on from a section of exam history you have dedicated to drills: for many this section of exam history is PT 36 and below: 35,34, etc, for me, my fool proofing/drilling “bundle” at this stage was PT 49 and below. Do these games several times along with the game you missed questions on. Look for similarities between the games on a deep level, how many rules chained together along with the inherent constrictions of what the game board allowed, for an inference on an in and out game? Where did you know to look for s possible inference? One small clue I will dispense here is that if you want to search for inferences after or during the writing of your rules: start with a piece mentioned in more than 1 rule. If a single piece as multiple restrictions/rules attached to it, there might be an inference attached to that piece!

All of this is outlined by 7Sage and by 7Sagers. Where I want to go with this post is , where to next?

After you’ve done the supplemental drills, located and hopefully fixed an issue, the next section you take (5,6 maybe 7 days later because you’ll be consciously drilling away the issue you discovered) your goal for that section is to not get a -10 or more missed questions. Your goal for that section is a -9 and maybe even a -8. The goal here is proximate: to be slightly better than where you were, meaning you have fixed something small and in addition to that kept everything else consistent. -9 here is a victory, you’ve survived and are no worse for the wear.

A quick detour: I’m reminded here of the first Pacquiao vs. Marquez fight. A thrilling match. Manny Pacquiao is, even to people who don’t follow boxing, one of the all time greatest fighters to ever live. Certainly (for my money) the greatest left handed fighter to ever live. Manny Pacquiao posses one of the greatest combinations of speed, precision and power ever. Tremendously physically gifted. But Marquez is brilliant, he knew he was outmatched in the physical areas of boxing and had to rely on what boxing experts call “ring generalship” or “boxing IQ.” In their first fight, Marquez got very badly knocked down several times in the first round: about as bad a start one can get fighting Pacquiao, who jumps on wounded opponents with precision like no other.

The fight was an inch away from being stopped by technical knock out. The round ended and Marquez went back to his corner: not defeated and deflated, but curious as to what he could do better the next round. Sure enough his corner started noticing things that he was doing wrong: not enough head movement, not enough jabs etc. From each round forward Marquez started implementing those things into his approach, one by one. His goal in the second round: stay alive and don’t get knocked down again. His goal in the third round: shake out all those cobwebs and start moving your head. Inch by inch all those things that got him into trouble in the first round, were being removed from his approach. He started winning rounds!

Sometimes we are going to get knocked down by an LG section, much like Pacquiao knocked down Marquez. But we’ve got to get to what went wrong and the next time we do a section (round) we implement that skill. Round by round Marquez started implementing all these things! And when the 12 rounds were over, it was a draw! A guy who had been knocked down three times in the first round by one of the greatest fighters to ever live was able: inch by inch to get back into the fight! If you’ve bombed a section: find one of the issues and drill it away. Bring that lesson into your next section, next time find another issue and drill that away! Marquez wasn’t looking to knock Pacquiao out in the second and third round, that would have been too much of a mountain to climb, Marquez was looking to win inch by inch. In your next section, don't look to crush the section and move from -10 to -2, instead look to turn that -10 into a -9. There are enough sections out there to implement this strategy across time.
Take a 6 minute brain break and watch the highlight:

So once you’ve improved by 1 point and you’ve improved something specific, it’s time to thoroughly review that new section, what went wrong and what went right? Your first goal is to stay consistent and your second goal is to improve upon that consistency. Consistency is improvement: for Marquez, consistency not getting knocked down again was an improvement! Drill via the question bank for the next week: your new goal is a -8 or maybe even a -7. Rinse and repeat, every 2 points in improvement taking an additional 3-5 days to drill the supplemental material along with the game in question. We do this because as you get better and better the problems might become more nebulous. Meaning, where once your improvement rested upon confidence in conditional logic, now your improvement relies on not making the inferences quick enough. Everything is great, it's just not fast enough to net a score improvement. These issues are going to take a bit more time to improve, but in the meantime you have hopefully attained a new normal when it comes to your score: a -7!

This is what I mean by LG goal setting: your process of diagnosing what is wrong and keeping the good things and fixing a single issue is a game of inches. I see many people not happy that they haven’t gone from -11 to -2. For some people-myself included- thats not how it works for us. A -11 to a consistent -7 is amazing progress and is something great to improve upon. More specifically, going from a -11 to a consistent -7 is tremendous. We want structure our goals piece by piece with games. People don’t climb Everest in one shot, they climb 200 feet and camp out, 400 feet and camp out, the next day there is a storm and their goal is: don’t lose an inch, stay where we are (consistent) and then they climb 200 feet and camp out when the weather is better.

Inch by inch, when we add up all of our progress, we will make it into that -2/-1 range, as long as we are honest with our mistakes and implement the solutions consciously. I should add in closing here that for many, this is not a linear process, there are going to be setbacks, but as long as we are focusing on sustaining where we are and building upon the foundation: improvements should come.

For further questions, feel free to reach out to me.



  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    Amazing post as always! Can I hire you as my life coach?

  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma

    Wonderful post, Dave! I enjoy when you compare components of the LSAT to other (not so similar) situations. Thank you.

  • jcraigcanjcraigcan Alum Member
    44 karma

    Thanks for sharing. I've been stuck at -5/-6 forever it feels like

  • Pride Only HurtsPride Only Hurts Alum Member
    2186 karma

    Great post. and I didn't get sucked into an hour long spiral of watching boxing videos on youtube so that shows serious growth on my end. lol.

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    edited October 2018 2134 karma

    @keets993 said:
    Amazing post as always! Can I hire you as my life coach?

    Can I be the second life coach client???

  • thayraythayray Free Trial Member
    66 karma

    Thank you for this inspiring and uplifting post. (Also, thanks for the vid.)

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