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Stuck in the 60s..

alex.e92alex.e92 Alum Member
in General 239 karma
Hi, i'm hoping to get some advice from 7sagers who may have once been in my shoes.

Some brief background: My diagnostic was a 164. The 7sage curriculum has made me much more confident in my answer choices. Before doing the core curriculum I just kind of had a feeling an answer was correct without being able to articulate why and confidently move forward. This vague understanding often led me to miss the more difficult questions because I was spending too much time on the simple ones. However, since I have started taking regular PTs (2 per week on average), I have been hovering around the 165-170 range. I am not struggling with a particular section more than any other at this point, I feel like I have found every possible combination of section scores to get to a168. I am generally not missing lower difficulty questions and I am BRing at 174+ so i'm not sure what this prolonged plateau is all about :( I would like to be scoring in the mid-170s consistently before I take this test.

Can anyone share their experiences with breaking into consistent 170 PTs? Any "ah ha" moments or things you wish you would have realized sooner?

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27800 karma
    Definitely increase your consistency in LG. Focus on that until you're consistently and confidently hitting -0.

    From there, you may need to start working on testing strategies more than on the fundamentals. Have you developed a pacing strategy, skipping strategy, RC notation strategy, etc? A lot of times, this is what breaks the 160's plateau.
  • alex.e92alex.e92 Alum Member
    239 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" Yes. 100% agreed on the LG point. I usually get through games 1, 2, and 3 with -0 and then end up rushing the game 4 so i'll be fool-proofing games to get faster!

    I'm interested in hearing if you have a skipping or pacing strategy that you like/what it is, I don't have either. On LR I try to have the first 10 questions done in the first 10 min but that's really the only benchmark I use. Sounds like I could use a pacing strategy..

    As far as RC notations go, I personally don't like them. RC has the least amount of variability in score for me. I typically go -0 to -3 depending on whether or not an RC section is literature&arts or science leaning. I think I perform better on RC when I don't try to annotate the passage and just spend time reading or re-reading the passage (and try to manufacture a temporary interest in literature as I go.. ugh).

    Are there any particular notations that you have found helpful? I'd be willing to give it a shot.
  • desire2learndesire2learn Member
    1171 karma
    More and more practice will keep improving your skills but I would be focused on your BR score. Why are you not BRing 178-180 consistently? The skipping strategies found in the 7sage webinar on skipping are great and I would aim to get 15 in 15, then 20 in 20, then 25 in 25 (for different people they do this differently but I aim to get 25 in 25 WITH skipping so it is not a "true" 25 in 25 but then I have time to go back and work on things). It takes time to get there but you can do it. My experience was that the variability in scores fluctuating on different sections just showed how some tests exposed my weaknesses and some did not. Thus, a -0 on LR did not mean I had mastered all types of LR, it just meant that none of the questions in that section showed what I did not know. My next PT I might go -4 on one LR section because it exposed my weaknesses. So keep identifying weaknesses and working on them with dedicated practice, not just within full timed PTs. Something that will help with your timing on LG is you need to be hitting your Logic Games in the time targets that JY recommends if not faster. It is not good enough to get them right, you must do them quickly or LG will never be consistently where you need it to be. Utilizing skipping strategies and other tricks can also help.
    Basically, if every day you find new ways to get better and stay motivated to always be learning and improving, your scores will get there and you will break through to the 170s. But keep learning and improving, rinse, repeat.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    Yes yes yes to the fool proofing. For me, I really tried to get fast at the games I was good at so I would have a 15 minute buffer to finish game 4 (anticipating the fact that the real test will throw me a curveball game I won't be able to answer). Keep pushing yourself on timing for LG to position yourself for the real test.

    For LR, I agree with @desire2learn in devising a good skipping strategy, which is harder than it sounds. You need to spend time finding the balance between not hitting the same wall over and over again and recognizing when you're 1/2 deductions away from hitting the right answer. BR helped me find this balance.

    For RC, I made sure that my last passage was not the longest passage (meaning the most number of questions). This actually helped me most psychologically because I wasn't panicked when I got to the last passage, given that it was around 5 questions and I had already gotten the "longer" questions out of the way. Psychology is a funny thing.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    In terms of breaking the plateau, my trajectory broke off in 2 ways.

    To improve accuracy, I cannibalized 10 tests in the 50s and took those as untimed sections. I chose the 50s because it was recent enough where I didn't think there was a huge difference in the language of LR stimuli but still leaves room for 15+ newer tests.

    To improve my psychology, I took PTs in as strict of conditions as I could and FORCED myself to answer questions only if I had been using the logical process I used to drill or take timed sections. My PT scores weren't reflective of my potential for a long time because I realized I created two sets of habits: the "PT" bad habits of relying on my gut instincts and my timed section habits, which are the set of good ones I had honed through practice.
  • alex.e92alex.e92 Alum Member
    239 karma
    Thank you @desire2learn! I will absolutely look into a similar LR strategy. I think If I can get to 25 in 25 with skips I will be in a very good place.

    @blah170blah Thank you! This sounds like me. I think I have definitely been fostering two sets of LSAT habits.. :( I have one follow-up though, when you say that you were "forcing yourself to answer questions only if you had been using the logical process you used to drill or take timed sections", how strict were you with this criteria? So, for example, if your logical process immediately eliminated all but two choices and you have a reasonable guess as to which of the last two is correct but you are not 100% .. would you answer it?
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    Aside from what's already been mentioned, try to make guaranteed selecting correct ACs for SAs and PSAs. Once you've mastered those, 9 out of 10 should take 30 seconds or so, especially a lot of the ones on newer tests.

  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    @HasaDigaLSAT Nice Book of Mormon reference btw! And I was very strict with this. I wouldn't answer the question unless I was able to eliminate all of them. In the beginning, this mean that I was only getting through 18-19 questions but what was great to see was that my accuracy remained consistent at a 91-93%. This mean that over time I got faster, being able to complete sections in the time frame, without sacrificing accuracy. To what extent this helped me out in real time is still TBD but I did finish one LR section on September's test with 5 minutes to spare, leaving time for me to double check answers. I suspect that the reason for this was because the process of eliminating ACs became muscle memory.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27800 karma
    If you're -0 to -3 on RC, keep doing what you're doing!

    For pacing in LR, it's all about trading time for certainty. You accomplish this by assessing your confidence level for each question and determining when to move on. So if you read a flaw question, for example, and you recognize the flaw, you need to adjust how you approach the answer choices. Instead of reading each answer choice and determining whether it's right or wrong, skim them really quickly to find what you already know is the correct answer. When you find it, choose it and move on without a further look/thought towards the others.

    For something like a RRE question where it may be harder to anticipate the correct answer choice, be willing to recognize the answer when you see it. So if you read answer choice A and you're 95% confident it's right, choose it and move on. If you have time later you can come back and pick up that extra 5% certainty by eliminating the remaining answer choices, but on your first go through, that 5% is not an effective use of your time.

    Find out where your tipping point is with this. Push down the level of confidence you require of yourself until you start making mistakes. Then scale it back. For me, I think about 75% was the sweet spot. If I started doing it when I was 65-70% sure, I started making a few errors. I discovered though that any answer choice I was 75% confident about I was right an overwhelming percentage of the time. It's really still shocking to me how few errors I had from not reading all the answer choices.

    For skipping, you've just got to recognize when you're struggling and move on. So with a flaw question, for example, if I don't recognize the flaw I move on immediately before ever even looking at the answer choices. If I read a stimulus and realize I don't quite know what I just read, I circle it and move on immediately. When I'm struggling to break open a five star difficulty question and my internal clock starts telling me I've spent too long on it, I move on immediately. I think the "immediately" is important too. Don't agonize over it. The second you make the decision to skip, just do it. I found myself spending 10-15 seconds floundering between deciding to skip and actually moving on. This adds up fast, so just skip confidently.

    These strategies got me finishing my first run through in about 25 minutes. That usually includes 3 - 4 skips and another 3 - 4 I had answered with low confidence. With 10 minutes left, that's plenty of time to answer the skips correctly, confirm or change the low confidence answers, and often even time to return to my high confidence answers and eliminate answer choices I hadn't read the first time.
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