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concern about finite number of prep tests and questions

spittingnickelsspittingnickels Monthly + Live Member
in General 56 karma

I have thought a lot , over the past year, about the finitude of official lsat questions published by lsac, and the finitude of practice tests. i think theres only 92 or 93 prep tests. What happens if i run out of all of these before I arrive at my goal scores? I have tried to "pretend to forget" how to play certain games , but it doesnt work. i immediately remember how to play the game, the major inferences etc. same thing with logical reasoning questions. even if i havent seen the question in 8 months, i immediately remember the right answer. this is a bad feeling because i didnt earn the right answer. and its a terrible way to get a ballpark diagnostic in my opinion. and its also bad preparation for my REAL test, where i will be faced with all new games and questions.

how do you approach the reality of finite lsat prep test resources? manhattan prep creates bunches of logic games from scratch which is cool, but does anything like that exist for logical reasoning? do any companies create logical reasoning questions that i can try to solve with fresh eyes?


  • LSAT LizardLSAT Lizard Monthly Member
    edited November 2022 318 karma

    This is a very real concern when preparing for the LSAT. These materials are finite, and 93 tests isn't that many. Some tips:

    1) On 7Sage, the examples and practice problems you'll encounter going through the syllabus lessons are all pulled from the "Core Curriculum." This just means tests 1-35. The idea is that the newer a practice test is, the more valuable it is to you as a finite resource. By limiting the lessons to only tests 1-35, J.Y. is conserving the remaining tests 35-93 for you. This means that you should also make an effort not to spoil questions from newer tests for yourself. If you read a forum post about a question, or look at one on the LSAT reddit, etc, always check the test the question came from and do not read or engage with questions that come from tests you haven't taken unless they are older than PT35! If you have a study buddy or group, you should be carefully coordinating which tests or sections you talk about so that nobody is looking at valuable unseen questions.

    2) Keep a good and complete record of which tests you've taken. If you're taking them all on 7Sage, most of that record keeping is done for you. But you may also want to keep track of things like 'did I do all four sections on this test or did I only do three sections by simulating flex?' If you know which sections you skipped on which tests, then if you ever start running out of full preptests you will at least have some unseen full sections left.

    3) It's true for me too that if I have ever seen a question or logic game before, I will still remember it to a significant degree even months later. For LR and RC, that does pretty much ruin the value of the question for a full preptest (so conserve aggressively!). However, the impact on LG is not as large as it feels. Even if you have seen every logic game and can jump to inferences in them quicker than you would be able to on a brand new game, continuing to drill and repeat games you already know things about is still a good strategy. Make sure you are at least running the inferences through your head. For example, don't start a game you've done before by thinking 'oh yeah, I remember G always ends up with T.' Think 'oh yeah, G always ends up with T because when G is picked, it triggers rule 3, which causes friction with... etc.' Let your brain walk through the inferences even if you remember the answers. That's the part of drilling that has all the good vitamins.

    4) Don't waste an entire test! It's a mistake to stick too doggedly to a schedule like 'I have to take one test every X days, so I'm required to take a test today.' If you're feeling unfocused, or overly stressed, or any number of things that place you outside of your best test-taking mindset, then you probably shouldn't force yourself to take a new test at that time. When you are in a good test-taking mindset, the value you get from those questions is the highest. This goes for Blind Review too. Blind Review adds so much time to your preptest, and it's always tempting to just skip straight past it and see how you did. But when you skip or phone in the Blind Review, you are robbing yourself of value you could have extracted from those finite novel test questions.

    5) Non-real LG, LR, and RC questions... exist. That's about the nicest thing I have to say about them. There are definitely LSAT prep programs and books that attempt to mitigate the 'finite real tests' problem by writing their own practice stuff. It's just not very good. Real LSAT questions go through layers of expert statistical and psychometric review. They belong to one of the standardized tests best correlated with its goal in the world (for the LSAT the goal is predicting your GPA in your first year of law school, which happens to generalize well to your overall GPA in law school). I have tried non-real questions before and they feel like suffering through a bowl of off-brand Cheerios when you're used to the real brand.

    6) Don't feel too alarmed about this topic. 93 tests (plus a few more that for some reason have letter names instead of just numbers) is a small enough pool that you should plan carefully and put effort into not spoiling questions for yourself. But it's also a large enough pool that not very many people actually run out. If you end up taking the test a bunch of times, and you are putting months of study in between each test, AND you're burning through real tests at a faster than average clip, then it might happen. But most don't end up having all three of those things happen. You'll be able to see if your remaining test stock is dwindling too quickly as well, and can take preventative measures like slowing down your test-consumption rate.

  • 5Fennel LSAT5Fennel LSAT Alum Member
    192 karma

    I want to address your concern over feeling as if you did not "earn" the right answer.

    Definitely retain a few untouched, ideally recent, tests for full, timed, simulated test sessions for your actual test. But you can still utilize your previous test and questions productively in your studying.

    Sure, if you take a test with some questions that you remember the right answer was A or D or whatever and you just pick it because you remember it, then that score is most likely unrepresentative of your skill level. So do be mindful about how many tests you have in reserve.

    But even if you have seen a question before, you can still re-use a question productively if you can, honestly and to complete certainty, perform the reasoning and operations that led you to the correct answer, as well as eliminate conclusively the four incorrect answers, you can consider that answer "earned". That is around 100 correct answers and 400 incorrect answers on a test. If you can accomplish that, then that thought process has been engraved in your brain and that time and effort has made you better at the LSAT. You have roughly 10,000 questions and 50,000 answer choices to do this.

    If you have done an LG before, try to solve it in a different way and maybe you will find a more accurate or efficient method. Try solving a game doing only inferences and not brute forcing any answers. Try to identify more inferences up front that you haven't made before. Try to do a game with only your initial setup and draw no further diagrams for any of the questions. Try to solve a game without writing anything down. Try to solve a game accurately below target time.

    Similarly, you might recall details and answers from an RC passage, but a re-take can still be valuable if similarly, you find absolute certain support for every answer and eliminate with certainty every wrong answer. Dissect the passage in detail, diagram the arguments, and locate support for every question. Try to do an RC section without writing anything down. Try to do an RC section using only your notes and not going back to the passage.

    If you revisit an old test and dissect the questions to 180 and understand all the mental processes that got you there, then you have still earned those answers. And by understanding and solidifying all those mental processes, you have improved your LSAT skills. Periodically condition those mental processes with a new brand new test and see how you do, maybe every week or so. And while the real LSAT will be different, it will also be kind of the same...

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited November 2022 8139 karma

    In terms of timed PTs, I think its completely reasonable to be able to break 170 with in 10-12 PTs and solidify scoring in the low 17x within 15-17. Of course not counting stuff you break up for drilling and foolproofing. IMO, it's not about the amount of material you can burn through, but the quality of your review and how specific and intentional you are with your remedial work.

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