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need advice: stuck in a slump

kimste17kimste17 Live Member
edited February 11 in General 74 karma

I've been studying around 5-6 hours every day for about a month now, and I'm scheduled to take the exam in April (my 3rd attempt overall). However, I'm currently stuck in a slump where I feel super unmotivated since my score's been plateauing in the low 160s, which is around what my result was on my most recent real test, and I really want to break into the 170s. Whenever I take PTs, my best and worst section is constantly changing - for example, I'll get -7 on one RC and then -3 on another, and the same goes for LR. With LG, I'll get -0/-1 on drills, but on practice tests, I almost never do that well. I feel like I need to drastically overhaul my studying methods because right now, nothing seems to be working, but I don't know where to start. Tutoring is out of the question since I'm not looking to spend any more money, so any advice on how to continue studying on my own is greatly appreciated!


  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27710 karma

    How are you scoring in BR? Is that more consistent? Other than taking PT's, what are your current studying methods?

  • kimste17kimste17 Live Member
    74 karma

    @"Cant Get Right" I haven't been BRing PTs at all since I want to know what score I got, usually once I check my score I'll go back with the answers hidden and redo the entire LG section and the questions I flagged during the exam/the ones I got wrong. I haven't found blind reviewing PTs to be super helpful in the past, but I might have to start doing it again. I mostly just do timed drills and blind review those before checking my answers.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27710 karma

    The benefits of BR aren’t always obvious, but if you’re doing it for timed drills, that’s good at least. It may be a bigger or smaller part of how to get yourself unstuck, but it's always a part of best practices. However, if your study time is limited, there are circumstances when you may have to choose what you do and what you don't. Typically those circumstances are best indicated by a consistently high BR though, so I'd want to establish that baseline before considering skipping it. That low 160’s range is a common plateau and the BR score is a really helpful diagnostic tool. Strong BR performance is indicative of solid fundamentals which is, of course, quite important. But good fundamentals is not the only piece of the puzzle if you want to break into the 170’s. I was BR’ing 180’s basically every PT for a long time while struggling to get my timed score beyond a upper-mid 160’s timed average. Even that average was wildly inconsistent. Sometimes I could break 170; other times I could take a 10 point downswing. Not ideal to ensure I came through under pressure on test day.

    So the other component is strategy and procedure, and the importance of these areas does tend to spike right as people enter into your score range. Your understanding has to develop deeper than the fundamentals and become a little more reflective. Don't just ask what the right understanding is. Ask what process you followed to gain the understanding you got and what decisions you made in utilizing that understanding to the task. Then reflect on whether that was effective or not. If it took you 4:30 to map out the stimulus plus all five answers on a parallel flaw question, it's a catastrophe even if you get the right answer. Understanding the question is not the problem, so the solution must lie elsewhere. You would need to explore alternative methods to confront that situation. You will likely need to adopt a strategy that has a slightly higher error rate but that you can actually execute in a reasonable amount of time. It is much better to miss 20% of these averaging 1:15 than to have perfect accuracy averaging 4:30. This is an extreme example, but extreme is a good place to start. As you eliminate extremes, slightly less extreme situations will become more conspicuous. You'll eventually identify tons of situations and reflect on exactly how best to react to them. This will allow you to maximize the returns on the work you choose to invest in with the time you have. This brings your timed score closer to your BR score and also tightens the score range for greater consistency. By the end of my studies, my average PT, average BR, and official scores were all the exact same number. And the way I built that degree of consistency at such a high level was to think about my approach to the problem, not just the problem itself. From what I've seen, this is the one thing that most distinguishes students who get stuck in the 160's and students who break into the 170's. 170+ scorers think a lot about the process they're going to adopt to confront specific situations that can be expected to arise.

  • valentina.soares-1valentina.soares-1 Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    188 karma

    Hey @kimste

    Apart from the great advice here, another thing that can help you get through a slump is working with other people. We happen to have an event coming up where we place you with similar scoring students that you can work with during the event, and if you had a good experience, can continue to work with moving forward. The "Study Group Breakout" is on Tuesday, February 21st from 9:00-10:30pm ET.

    Here's how it works:
    1. Register for the Breakout no later than Monday, February 20th.
    2. Take PT54 Section 2 (based on 7Sage's numbering - should be an LR section) and blind review it, but DON'T look at the answers (I suggest you take it as a "Drill" rather than as a PrepTest)! You can do this by going to the "Practice" tab and choosing "Drills," then selecting "Newer" PTs, selecting "Logical Reasoning," and scrolling to PT54 S2 (NOT S4, the other LR section for this test). You will have to individually add each question to your drill, but hit "Create drill with 26 questions" at the bottom right when finished, and voila!
    3. Log in to the Breakout Session at the appointed time. We will automatically place you in a group of 3-5 students with similar scores so you can review the section together.
    4. At the end of the session, you can exchange emails and keep meeting if you enjoyed the group.

    Hope to see you there! Register for the event using this link:

  • aiman.shahabaiman.shahab Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    72 karma

    Hey @kimste! @"Cant Get Right" hit the nail on the head about their advice with Blind Reviewing!

    Additionally, it seems like you might be dealing with burnout based on what I'm seeing in your post. I'd highly advise taking a break for anywhere from a few days to a week where you don't touch anything LSAT related. I'd also recommend that you start putting one day a week in your study plan where you take a break from the LSAT. If you feel restless about not studying 7 days a week, you can always use that "break" day to review your Wrong Answer Journal or do some foolproofing while watching TV.

    Finally, I always advise my students not to study more than 4 hours a day. I understand it's hard to take a step back from studying when you feel like you should be doing "more," but it's crucial to take breaks and let your mind absorb the information your learning. It's just like running a marathon, not a sprint. :)

    If you'd like to talk your study plan or plateau frustrations out more with one of our tutors, you can schedule a free consult here:

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