Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

My best scores across sections are roughly even but my overall score isn't increasing.

brandon.r.batchelorbrandon.r.batchelor Alum Member
edited February 25 in General 23 karma

Essentially, my best scores across all three sections are -0/1. However whenever I see improvement in my LR or RC score the other seems to suffer. As such my score has been hovering around the high 160s and low 170s but my individual section scores fluctuate a good bit.

My question is this, what are some ways that I can synthesize improvements across all three sections in one test?


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

    You're at the hardest plateau to break. Part of the reason you're seeing inconsistencies is because the difficulty within a given test is not evenly distributed. Sometimes the LR will be really straight-forward and the RC will be killer. So an even performance may still result in a discrepancy in score. How are you scoring in BR? Normally, I'd expect that to be consistently in the upper 170's for students in your situation, but if I've got that wrong it changes things. If I'm right about your BR performance, then there's a couple things you likely need to do.

    First, you need to really drill down your strategies and procedures. In every situation, you need to already know exactly how you're going to respond. Then, you need to follow your set procedures with aggressive discipline. Exceptions eat up your time bank. I typically finish a section of LR at around -6 but with around 10 minutes left in the bank. The time I bank on that first round is just as valuable as the points I pick up. It's probably not immediately obvious how this builds consistency, but it's vital. I skipped 8 out of the first 10 questions on a section once. I don't know what was going on, things just weren't clicking. In any case, things were obviously going about as badly as possible, and it seemed like I was about to crash and burn. But I stuck to my plan without deviation. And it was a good plan, tried and proven. I finished that section with about 14:30 remaining because I didn't waste time feeling bad for myself or swimming against the current. I mean, I only answered 2 out of the first 10 questions, so that really shouldn't take all that long if I'm not lagging around spinning my wheels. I feel like my metaphors are getting a bit muddled, but the point is, 14:30 was plenty of time to get my shit together, circle back around, and finish the section at -1.

    Second, there are a few stages of development that our relationships with mistakes tend to go through.

    Starting out, I just didn't want to make mistakes. Period. This is a very amateur position, but it's something almost all of us start with and have to get over.

    I outgrew this phase by the time I reached the low/mid 160's. I'd begun seeing mistakes as opportunities. I was genuinely excited to miss a question, because I knew it meant the LSAT had used some unseen mechanism to get me. In doing so, they'd given some trick away. If I can reverse engineer it, I can take away one more tool from their toolbox. If I can successfully keep at this, they'll eventually have nothing left.

    In the upper 160's/low 170's, I saw mistakes with a certain amount of inevitability. You've got to take some calculated risk, and with risk comes a certain margin of error. I had to learn to allow for errors. Giving myself a margin of error to work within actually increased my score because it allowed me to be aggressive and execute with greater consistency. At this point, I was a little stumped on how to improve further. I knew there was a higher tier, but I didn't understand how to get there.

    To get to the mid-170's+, I had to learn to forgive myself for mistakes while not letting that forgiveness rise to an allowance. To get into the top tiers with consistency, you just don't get to make any mistakes. To a certain extent, it's still important to understand that some errors will still result from good strategic execution, but you have to treat them as unacceptable. In the low 170's ranges, if I miss a question I was 80% confident on, I'd resolve the issue but mostly be okay with the fact that it happened. I need to be aggressive with 80% confidence and at 80%, I'm expecting to miss it 20% of the time so it's not a huge shock to occasionally miss one of these. At this top tier, though, the analysis goes deeper. I'm looking for one of several things here. Of course, I'd love just to see how to have gotten to the right answer. But at such narrow margins of error, that's not typically enough. What I learned to really look for at this stage of my studies was how can I arrive at the same answer but with lower confidence? At 80% confidence, I probably did need to be aggressive and go with it. Even though I got the wrong answer, I did not make a procedural mistake. So if I didn't make a mistake and couldn't have acted otherwise, what is the solution? What I really need to be different in this situation if I'm going to fix it is to have assessed my confidence level lower. If I get to the same wrong answer but with some red flag that lowers my confidence assessment to 60%, that changes my strategic and procedural response. Now, I'll be coming back to this on a second or third round. I know something is off and that further analysis is necessary. I know I need to proceed with caution rather than confidence. I may still miss it. But as a group, I will miss questions like this with lower frequencies because I will be returning to them to dig in a bit. Often enough, I'll find my way to the right answer.

    So a big part of it is to consider more nuanced improvements. For most of my studies I really only considered improvement to mean changing a wrong answer to a correct one. And for most score ranges, that's fine. But there's a lot more subtlety required at the highest tiers. We've got to learn to identify increasingly smaller opportunities to get fractional benefits out of marginal improvements.

Sign In or Register to comment.