Mindset - Top Scorers

LawHokageLawHokage Yearly Member
edited July 2020 in General 129 karma

Hey 7sagers,

I'm back again to ask for the advice of members of the community who PT 170+ . What is your mindset in approaching studying, correcting mistakes, habits & routines, etc..? I believe that your mindset is often an overlooked idea, but it has significant advantages when applied correctly. I just want to understand the thought processes that are behind what top scorers are considering in various aspects of this exam. I appreciate the help as always and look forward to your responses!


  • The Great White SharkThe Great White Shark Alum Member
    1058 karma

    When correcting mistakes, I look for more than what I got wrong and why. I also look for what slowed me down and why. 7Sage is really helpful in how they show you how long you spend on problems. I also ask myself if I followed the correct approach for the various question types in LR.

    For RC I go over the passage again to see if I missed anything the first time through. I then ask myself what I could have done differently in order to have initially understood that part in the passage.

    I also think it’s important not to let your desire for a good score get in the way of reasoning. It can be a distraction. I have found it most helpful to focus on wanting to reason well and let your score be a reflection of that ability.

  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    edited July 2020 3481 karma

    Be aggressive in trying to understand what you got wrong. If I missed an LR question even after BR, I wouldn’t rely on just JY’s explanation. I’d watch his explanation, read the comments section, look up PowerScore and ManhattanPrep’s explanations.

    It’s important to make sure you actually understand what you missed and why you missed it, rather than just nodding along to JY’s explanation

  • seriouslyseriously Alum Member
    199 karma

    Totally agree with both of the posts above. I would also say: make it a habit to come back to the questions that you missed over and over again so you really can make insights about the questions you're missing. You should be looking to understand not only your mistake, but the way that the question/answer/trap answers were structured, and what major structural takeaways you can carry to other tests.

  • RaphaelPRaphaelP Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    1090 karma

    One important thing is taking every mistake really seriously - view no mistake as acceptable, and learn something from any error. At the beginning of my studies, I'd make excuses, telling myself a question was just "really hard" and not to worry about it, but that definitely held me back. I forced myself, for any question I missed (or flagged) to write a long reflection in my wrong answer journal on it. I'd watch the video, talk through my reasoning, write why each answer was right/wrong, and write several sentences about why I missed it. Implicitly, when you make an excuse and say a question is too hard, you're viewing yourself as incapable of getting it, and you should always give yourself more credit than that, since everything on the LSAT is learnable.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Monthly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27590 karma

    Diagnosing problem areas is a really intensive process. Diagnostics are really easy to overlook-- most people think they're just trying to get the right answer in review, but it really really isn't. You always have to find a meaningful answer for why you struggled with anything you had difficulties on. Once you've done that, you can identify a means of improvement. That's the goal. Non-meaningful answers, unfortunately, tend to be the defaults. Things like "question type" can often be attractive because it seems so clean and definitive. But did you really have issues because you don't know what a MBT question is asking you for? The answer may be yes, and then you've got to address that. But beyond the very earliest phases of studying, this is very unlikely to be a satisfactory explanation for your difficulties. Other explanations attempt to address the problem and just fail miserably. "Out of scope" is one that particularly irks me. (I'll spare you the rant.) Better explanations include misunderstanding the meaning of a premise because of mistaking the subordinate clause for the main clause in a complex sentence, not realizing the implication of the conclusion being a conditional, or failing to isolate a monster noun phrase which prevented you from having any idea what the hell an AC even said.

    A big part of why this process is so intensive is because you may not even know to look for these things. But what is learning if not the process of identifying something you don't know and transforming it into something you do? That's just got to be the goal, and it's a hard grind if you're actually doing it. Contrapositive: If your studies are not a hard grind, you're not actually learning.

    For timed work, top scorers tend to focus on executing a reliable process rather than on getting right answers. I don't obsess over anything trying to get a right answer. I execute my process to the best of my ability and I move on once I've done it. That process usually results in the correct answer, sometimes not. Under timed conditions, I actually don't particularly care. I care about how well or how poorly I executed on what I was supposed to do for a given situation. In review, all that changes, but the Test requires different skills and approaches than does review. Timed testing strategy is not just a condensed BR, it is something all together different which must be studied and developed.

    All of this stuff is particularly relevant to someone trying to break out of the 160's. Until then, the question of what 170+ scorers do is irrelevant. For example, students scoring in the 140's should really be more interested in what students scoring in the 150's are doing.

  • LawHokageLawHokage Yearly Member
    129 karma

    I really appreciate all the feedback that everyone has given me! I will reflect on what has been said and internalize the suggestions that were made and apply it to the best of my abilities. I asked this question to develop a mindset that would be beneficial to attaining my overarching goal of achieving a 170+ score, but the extent of my knowledge is not where I'd like it to be. I see the many crucial areas of weaknesses in my own approach and will take time to truly build & solidify my foundation and deliberately practice to make incremental progress. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed a piece of advice and steering a beginner like me in the right direction!

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