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Blind Review feels like an inefficient way to study (50% extra time, scoring ~170 right now)

NNNNJJJJNNNNJJJJ Monthly Member
edited August 2022 in General 54 karma

I'm 6 months into studying full-time, and I've been using 7Sage. My first LSAT sitting will be in September. My goal score is 175+.

I've hit 170 a few times and I got 50% extra time like 3 weeks ago. This has allowed me to spend a lot of time thinking about each question (3-5 minutes for the hardest questions on LR and RC).

I just don't get the point of Blind Review. It was pretty helpful when I studied with 35 min for each section. But now I feel like during the 53 min, I reach a point for every question where a) I'm between 2 ACs and I just have no idea which one is better – it's like a coin flip; b) I recognize that the problem itself is hard, but I am locked into my answer and no amount of time will make me change my opinion; c) I had no idea how to answer the question because the ACs were all unexpected (different from what I pre-phrased) or I can't find any clue to verify/reject the ACs (this happens for RC inference questions).

In conclusion, I reach a point during the test itself where more time wouldn't lead me to change my answer.
So Blind Review wouldn't lead me to change any of my answers.

It feels much better to find out what I got wrong and why I was so convinced that a wrong answer was right & the correct way to solve the problem.

Why spend 15 min agonizing over 1 problem, knowing that I am not confident in my approach, when I can literally just click on the explanation and find out why I'm wrong?

Please give me advice on how to improve! (LR and RC are the problems; I'm perfect on LG)
Please give advice while taking into account my explanation about why my 53 min/sections lead me to feel like it's the same as untimed Blind Review.

Comments

  • mneinaesmamneinaesma Monthly Member
    7 karma

    Thank you so much for articulating this. I am having the same problem. I would also appreciate such advice.

  • If Glory then GutsIf Glory then Guts Alum Member
    edited August 2022 175 karma

    Well there's a lot to unpack there. I'm going speak on two different cases. They differ in that they depend upon the score you're aiming for in timed. If your goal score is anywhere from mid to high 170's (if it isn't, just skip this lengthy paragraph), then the fact that your blind review is very similar to your timed score tells you that you're simply not ready and that you need to further your understanding in order to be capable of such a score. Whether it's because of reasons A, B, or C as you mention, they all fundamentally point back to a lack of understanding rather than a lack of time. Aiming for such a score, the fact that you're not changing answers from timed to BR means that there might be some faulty habits have become entrenched in your way of thinking about LR and RC, which presumably get exacerbated by techniques that the test writers use in more difficult questions (extremely dense language in stim and/or ACs, very subtle language shifts, answer choices that use the same core but are each modified slightly etc.) People in my study group aiming for 175+, where we BR between 178-180 consistently but by no means achieve such scores in timed consistently. But our philosophy is complete understanding as to why each and every answer is right/credited, and why each and every answer is wrong/not credited. It sounds like you are chasing that understanding but can't get their yet. So, you can throw in the towel and check the answers, saving time sure but thereby eliminating any chance you have of overcoming the thing that's causing you to hesitate by yourself. Or you can force yourself to realign your perspective, this is something many high level scores talk about and with which I must agree. You do this first in BR, and then eventually, you can actually employ the same forced perspective shift in timed sections as well. It's genuinely amazing and I've found that it actually works. Hyper-skipping questions during a timed section and then returning to them once you've finished the other questions is just the BR on crack. If that's something like your end goal, keep BR'ing properly, i.e. tracking answers to questions that you are 100% sure are correct AND also 100% sure that the other 4 are wrong. If you get questions wrong when this happens, as it sounds like it can in scenario B for you, you must take note of those questions, and to use JY's phrase, must quickly undo your reasoning. Distinguish those types from questions where you're 100% sure an AC is right, but can't articulate why another answer is wrong. Also vice versa for questions solved by POE. And finally, the questions where you're just lost, which sounds like scenarios A and C for you. A and C are objectively better stages to be at compared to B. At least you know that there's something missing. After all, the BR is an internalized Socratic method par excellence---you're honing your mind's ability (if it were a car) to quickly react to an oversteer, an understeer and every other type of possible misstep under the sun---but it is incredibly time consuming, mentally fatiguing, and quite often utterly frustrating. But if it were easy, we'd have a 180 mean score.

    On the other hand, if you're consistently scoring at or above your target score. Then it sounds like the blind review has done its job. It's gotten you to the point where you want to be and that's awesome. In order to maximise the time you have left before your actual test, it may be worth pressing ahead to explanations of the questions that are causing you grief. Take in the explanation, see if their explanation makes sense and aligns with your reasoning. If something specific, such as RC inferences are typically troubling you, double down on the methods you are using (re-watch the RC vids in the curriculum, specifically some of the "harder RC passages" where you focus on inference questions exclusively through drills). Remember inferences are on the far end of the Explicitly Stated vs. Strongly Implied spectrum but they very much still require implicit support. I could give you plenty of little tips that pertain to RC inference such as trappy answers tend to copy verbatim parts of the passage, they also tend to go way too far by inferring primary causes etc. Learning these patterns may be more useful and applicable for your actual test rather than devoting significant time to any one question. So, assuming you're at or above your target score then I believe you are probably better off spending the majority of time shoring up the techniques that could gain you an extra point or two rather than spending it on a couple of individual questions during BR with your test coming up soon. That's a lot of words but hopefully at least somewhat germane.

  • NNNNJJJJNNNNJJJJ Monthly Member
    54 karma

    @"If Glory then Guts" Thank you for such a detailed and thoughtful comment. I updated my post to clarify that my goal score is 175+. So I made sure to read through your first paragraph multiple times.

    I definitely realize that my lack of understanding is an issue. I'm especially lost on how to improve on RC. I get 1-2 questions wrong evenly on hard RC passages of any type (not just bombing science or something), but I do know the inference stem is my biggest weakness according to analytics. It's hard because the RC lessons in 7sage's CC are basically all case studies -- explanations for specific passages/questions. As opposed to LR and LG lessons which teach broad principles/strategies/techniques and tests with specific steps (like the 2-part flaw test... how to do grouping w/ chart games...)

    Do you have advice for how to improve my understanding on RC? I do have a positive trend for LR, which is more assuring. RC tends to fluctuate between -6 and -4

  • If Glory then GutsIf Glory then Guts Alum Member
    edited August 2022 175 karma

    @NNNNJJJJ No problem, you are most welcome. I definitely agree that the RC theory is lacking. But a rigid approach towards RC, like that of LG, is pretty much impossible. That's also part of the reason why I think LSAC are making RC harder and keeping LG fairly consistent. As to advice for RC, a few things come to mind. First, actually aim to make your mistakes in RC rather than LR or LG. 175+ is roughly 4 mistakes, so something like -1 in LR and -3 in RC I think is pretty achievable when LG is clean. I think breathing room in terms of mistakes made is best left for RC, specifically because of some of those hard passages, questions will have 5 pretty bad AC's, but one stands out as "better than everything else" rather than as "good". Secondly, I would actually avoid published stories that are condensed for ease of reading. This type of writing has done the hard work for you. I think there's some merit to using such sources to familiarize with the jargon, but it sounds like that's not the issue for you. My advice, and I would only suggest this to people aiming for that type of score, is try find some texts that are verbose, unfamiliar, and overwhelming. The first person who comes to mind for me is Hegel. I also think reading Hegel kills two birds with one stone, not only is his writing notoriously dense but his philosophy is somewhat relevant to the logic of the lsat. Let me give you a quote in a foreword to his Phenomenology of Sprit (online for free in pdf form) made by J.N. Findlay. "Hegel does not confuse the necessary with the unique...he does not identify a necessary sequence of phases with the only possible sequence that can be taken". Sound familiar haha? Just diving into a chapter will be incredibly overwhelming, but I think it could be valuable for you. Skip the preface and go to an early chapter and aim to take on a few paragraphs at a time and parse them out for a semblance of meaning. I guarantee it'll be far harder than anything that will ever appear on an lsat. Same can be said for the journals section on Science.org, where their target audience is not the average reader. A couple of paragraphs from such an article is way harder than any passage we could be given. Ok, and finally, I would say pay very close attention to the question stem in RC. Skim reading a stem, which you can generally get away with in LR, can result in tons of lost time and errors. Treat unique question stems in RC as their own little LR stimuli. Sink you teeth into little bits of those texts and I can say with some certainty, that you will find it easier to comprehend the RC passages and as a corollary the questions will be too.

  • RaphaelPRaphaelP Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    1089 karma

    I think this is a very interesting question. Certainly if you have additional time (and are a high scorer) this changes the role of BR a bit for you (i.e., it's not like you didn't get to a question and are using BR to attempt it for the first time). I'd say there are two things I, if I were tutoring you, would probably say to do:

    1) BR significantly after the test ends. I don't mean five minutes. I mean at least a few hours later - have lunch, take a nap, whatever, but get yourself into a different frame of mind. This takes some discipline, but I think it may be good for you to use BR as an opportunity to look at questions completely anew. Then you may just take a different process/approach. Even when I was scoring 175+ and finishing with significant time leftover, I found taking a loooong break before BR and doing this would result in me changing answers.

    2) The questions that you mention as "I had no idea how to answer the question because the ACs were all unexpected" or the RC issue about finding support seem like prime candidates for a super, super deep dive in BR. If you're in the 170s, you probably only have a few questions section that require time. So do a deep dive into these! Push yourself to have a new pre-phrase, a deep deconstruction of each answer, etc. etc.

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