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My, somewhat lengthy,19pt increase story

AddistotleAddistotle Member
edited July 2016 in June 2016 LSAT 328 karma
Hello 7sage, it's been a while, good to see the forum is still bustling with activity and people putting in hard work in pursuit of their LSAT dreams!

It's October 2015, I was 6 months out from convocation, and I knew I had to get started. I thought it would be a good idea, in November, to enrol for the February 2016 sitting. After I signed up, I set out to find the right study materials. I asked a friend who'd just started their first year at Queens, and he recommended 7sage! So, it's November 2015 and I'm signed up for the February 2016 LSAT without a clue what I was doing. DO NOT DO THIS, wow, time and time again people on the forum say this and I wish I had listened, do NOT sign up until you are ready. In hindsight this was a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on myself, I hadn't even finished the curriculum when people sat the Feb '16 test...

A little bit of context, I had moved into my Aunt & Uncle's house with my two cousins in high school, because I knew it was a good environment for learning. Both of my cousins are extremely hard working, excelling academically and athletically. This provided the structure I lacked in University, where I finished with a 2.9 GPA. I found full time work in the construction industry, 7am-3:30pm, roughly 20km from my home, it was physical labour, for a good hourly. When the weather was good, I would cycle to and from work. I studied after work and on weekends, either after a long bus journey or bike ride. It is important to note that I was in a long-distance relationship at the time, so I was often travelling to or hosting my partner on weekends.

Anyhow, first things first, right? I learned about arguments and grammar. My English and Philosophy background helped, but it was eye opening, I was surprised by how much I learned from these sections. Then, it was time for my diagnostic! I ploughed through it, LG -13, LR1 -8, LR2 -11, RC -8, for a150/159 BR after to figuring out the LG section and changing some correct answers for LR and RC.

Because of my GPA, I knew I needed a good score, my initial aim was 90-94th percentile.

One thing I did not do at first was purchase any prep tests... I didn't think I would need them, and I had zero disposable income after paying for the 7sage Ultimate+, the LSAT administration, and maintaining my romantic relationship. I made cue cards as I worked through the syllabus, reviewing them every morning on the bus.

Once I hit the problem sets I spent SO MUCH TIME taking screen shots, rebuilding the worksheets into word documents, and printing them out. I got this down to a science, but still, it was a ridiculous endeavour that I did throughout the entire curriculum; doing it was mentally exhausting.

As I worked through the sets, there were times I blind reviewed really well, but never like any of @"Accounts Playable"'s posts... I highly recommend using hi posts as the blueprint for your BR.

There were times I wanted to quit, I relied heavily on my partner, my family, and this forum to keep me going while battling through the urge to pack it in after a long day of work and the 40km of cycling or the 2 1/2 hours of public transit. That being said, I did fall off... I had a massive addiction to Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, there were a couple weeks where I didn't study at all after work. My diet also took a nose dive, safe to say this was my all-time low. I'm pretty sure this happened from mid December through the beginning of January.

I essentially paid for the test again to push my sitting back to June 2016. But the universe delivered a gift when I dropped my iPhone in a heroic toilet that killed the phone and my CoC and Boom Beach addictions with it! That might be the greatest thing outside of my control that happened during my journey.

My grind through the core curriculum was completed April 5th, 2016. It was a great milestone, I remember my partner tearing up with joy, it was a long process, watching that green circle fill ever so slowly.

After that point I ordered every PT ever published, and patiently awaited the begging on my final phase of prep.

It is important to note that by late April/early May I started doing the guided meditations, cut alcohol out completely (aside from a sherry on my late Nana's birthday, and a shot at my Uncle's wedding), was doing approximately 90mins of cardio 5 days a week, and followed the "Dolce Diet" as best I could.

I developed what routines that I could, did what worked for me, and focused on not stressing about the things I couldn't do. I would often visualize test day, I was talking to people about the LSAT at every possible opportunity, and I kept telling myself and everyone who would listen that I was confident I would score in the 170s, confident in my preparation, and I would succeed.

Part of my routine was a list of positive affirmations, I would say theses to myself every day after my morning meditation. I also discovered "bulletproof coffee" and after the fall/winter where I consumed like 5-8 double doubles a day... cutting down to 32oz of bulletproof coffee was a huge change, but I think it paid dividends for my sleep quality and energy levels.

My first prep test was actually PT 35, not realizing I had "seen" the questions before until afterwards when I realized the syllabus called for 36. I wound up completing 12 PTs before my sitting in June, including the diagnostic. I also watched every webinar that I could find time for, though I must admit, I rarely watched them work through the questions at the end. I took what I needed from the explanations, updated my cue cards, and focused applying those principles during my PTs and especially during my BR.

I did not have the luxury of writing at 1pm during the week, so I tried to do that on the weekends as best I could. That being said, it did not always work out. The only thing I really could control was how strict I was while taking the PT, I added an extra section from the curriculum PTs, and dropped my pencil when the proctor said so.. There was no way I was going to be tagged for a violation during my sitting.

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2014, and didn't apply for any accommodations because I was told by my learning strategist that the test would involve "draconian measures" to prevent cheating, and I wouldn't be given accommodations because I didn't have them for exams during my undergrad. So it was 5x35mins for me, to be honest I never wrote a single timed writing sample before my sitting, but I reviewed JY's pointers and made sure to review it close to June 6th. I made sure to force myself to BR every PT as best I could, by the end of the whole process, I think I had filled out 2 whole notebooks between the curriculum and the PTs. Sometimes it would take me a week to complete a review, sometimes less.

3 weeks out from my test, my partner decided to end our relationship, she had her reasons, but the next 3 weeks were a blur. I know that I ate the same breakfast, drank the same amount of coffee, would do the 24 min guided meditation before and after work, and was riding my bike like a madman to and from work. I probably averaged 6.5 hours of sleep a night, with my alarm going off at 4:15-4:30, I tried to be in bed between 9-10pm every night.

I did score a 173 on PT 65, the week before my test... so I felt quite confident and encouraged, especially after briefly participating in the June pep rally. Hearing JY and Nicole's advice and feeling the love from everyone in that webinar was amazing.

When I wrote PTs on the weekend, I recorded the time and amount of my water and food intake, along with my bathroom breaks. There was only one PT where I had to run to my bathroom toward the end of S3.

For my last three Weekend PTs, I tried emulating my bike ride to the testing centre, I ate the same meals, I wore the same clothing I planned to wear on test day. I became obsessed with these details.

The day of, I did everything the same as I'd done on my dry run on Saturday the 4th. I woke up, same coffee, breakfast, I warmed up, I biked the 14km to the campus; after completing my undergrad there, I had no issues accessing the room. After arriving I stretched, meditate, I sauna'd a bit in order to ensure any excess water was gone, that wasn't part of the routine but it helped, showered, ate my same meal, sat down and wrote out my game plan for each section, writing out how many minutes I wanted to allot to each RC passage, I think it was a 7,7,9,10, listened to my Eminem pump up playlist, and walked over to the testing area. The game planning wasn't part of my routine either, and in hindsight, I should have warmed up then on top of the game planning, since it had been hours after warming up at home when I finally started by test around 130pm.

After arriving in the registration area, I was relaxed, sat off in a corner by myself, ignoring everyone, waiting for the proctors to take us over the the testing area. I didn't say a word to a single person other than a proctor.

Once I opened that booklet, I went into auto pilot, except S3... It was the second LG section, after opening with LG, I knew that it could be the experimental section AND I SLOWED DOWN once the first two games were ridiculously easy sequencing games... I also knew the first section had rules very similarly worded to the game from PT 76 that I'd warmed up with that morning. THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA, DO NOT DO THIS!! I didn't even finish the section in time, guessing the final 3 questions. That is awful, considering I knew I had to go -0 on LG in order to score 170+...

I was extremely lucky to walk away with a 169 (LG -1, LR -3, RC -6, LR -2), if my gamble on that experimental section had gone badly, I could be sitting here telling you about how I'm sitting down again for a re-write, but, I'm not. I had scored bang on my average, despite the break up, despite the 6 years of my life where I was a brutal student and at times never thought I'd pursue academics or even finish the degree. I had a construction job to fall back on, I had grown complacent, at one point using ADHD meds without any of the proper studying habits in place to make proper use of them... but persistence paid off, I didn't give up, and 7sage never gave up on me.

My aim for writing the LSAT was to show law schools that I was capable of working that hard and achieving such a good score, I intend to argue that my ADHD diagnosis late into my undergrad was a big turning point for me, and turning that around couldn't have happened over night, but it has, and I am more than ready to pursue my dream of a legal career.

Thanks to you, 7sage, I will do that with confidence.

Sorry for the length!

Looking back, I would have put way more work into RC, and worked on trusting my gut more... I had changed an answer in the first LR section from the correct one to an incorrect one, and with that my 170 became a 169! Those short cuts with the webinars and BR early on might have made the difference, but in the long run, I never reached @"Nicole Hopkins"'s benchmark of 15 PTs for a 170+... maybe with 4 or 5 more... who knows.

Cheers everyone, thanks for reading, best of luck moving forward! I will lurk around here for a bit but, I'm training for my first sprint distance triathlon in 6 weeks and might be busy sleeping more than ever before!


  • PennyroyalQueenPennyroyalQueen Free Trial Member
    50 karma
    Wow, what a story. I am so inspired by you! I commend you for pushing through all of your difficulties and not letting anything stand in your way. You earned your score and you should be extremely proud, what a badge of honor. You are proof that it can be done!
    I am going through a similar journey with the LSAT and having just started The LSAT Trainer again (after several months of not looking at it) and preparing to start with 7Sage in just a few short weeks, I am confident that I can do it. This community is amazing and we can do anything we set our minds to!
    Best of luck with everything! :)
  • Accounts PlayableAccounts Playable Alum Sage
    3107 karma

    Excellent post, and excellent job on your score. The LSAT is a psychological test, and too many people discount that. The key to a good score is discipline, hard work, and optimism. Those traits are essential to be a good law student and good attorney; sounds like you have all three.
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    What an inspiring story! Congratulations on your score, and best of luck wherever you choose to go!
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11536 karma
    Love this and bookmaking. I'm looking to sit for December or February, we shall see. Many congrats on your amazing journey it's so inspiring and will read again when I feel low during my journey. Thank you!
  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8684 karma
    Congrats and thank you for sharing this with us!
  • Not Ralph NaderNot Ralph Nader Alum Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2098 karma
    @Addistotle said:
    7sage never gave up on me
    Congrats!! I gotta tell you this got me well said :)
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Monthly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27598 karma
    You had a lot to overcome and no matter what happened you stuck with it and refused to back down. You could have given up or settled for less and no one could have faulted you for it. That kind of resolve and self discipline is a rare quality. I always say that the LSAT tests far more than logic, and those intangibles are what the smart schools are really after. You earned every point, you’ve got what it takes, and with that kind of fight in you, you’ll be a standout student at any school from Yale on down. Best of luck on the next part of your journey, and look forward to reading about your future successes!
  • jennilynn89jennilynn89 Alum Member
    822 karma
    Congrats on your success story! This is so inspiring to me! I've had my own ups and downs and am trying to create my own success story this year.
    Keep up the good work! You should be really proud of yourself!
  • AddistotleAddistotle Member
    edited July 2016 328 karma
    Thank you so much for the feedback everyone! Wow, @"Cant Get Right" Yale down eh? That's inspiring, I will certainly apply to a couple Ivy League Schools now, I hadn't even considered it before.
    @montaha.rizeq said:
    I'm looking to sit for December or February, we shall see.
    Best of luck, set your target score and wait until you've hit it consistently, that will tell you that you're ready! :) Best of luck
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Monthly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27598 karma
    For real. That kind of tenacity is more valuable than any other quality. Sustain it into school and yeah, you’ll be a standout wherever you go.
  • hoodm1947hoodm1947 Free Trial Member
    edited January 7 6 karma

    The story is really inspiring! I can share the story of Our Team Match.Center AU which should please you. I never thought I would make my hobby a job and quite successful. Good luck to you!

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