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Particularly Disappointed

JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
edited January 2015 in General 3112 karma
Hi everyone!

I usually don't post on here (I read a majority of them, however) but I am feeling a little down and out lately, and was hoping to get some advice. Please excuse the long post as well.

I started 7sage last May. After seeing my diagnostic, I knew that I was going to need a lot of work in order to achieve my goals, which I was okay with. The course was phenomenal. I enjoyed learning about the strategies and methodology that was necessary to getting the questions correct (believe it or not). It explained everything so simply and so clearly. I felt my score was slowly but surely increasing each day because I was learning how to conquer this test. After studying as often as I could with school and internships, I was able to complete the curriculum in December. I took my next test after the semester was over and my score wasn't as high as I had hoped. I got a 149 and a 159 after BR. I was a little surprised but I kept pushing and did four more practice tests. Needless to say, I haven't got above 153 on the timed section or above 161 BR. I even did one untimed and only got a 158 and 159 after BR. I feel so depressed and I honestly don't know what to do. I did every single part of the curriculum and took meticulous notes on all of it. I didn't do that bad on all of the quizzes and got roughly 8/10 on all of them. The only significant improvement that I have seen is that I am consistently getting -1 or -2 on LG after BR, which is much better than my previous -10 or worse. However on LR I'm going -17 after BR or worse combined. RC is usually -7 after BR. I know I should be getting in the 170s after BR but I honestly don't even know how

The worst part is when I sit down to take a practice test, I instantly go into panic mode as soon as I start my watch. It's like every single strategy I learned goes right out the window. I just might as well close my eyes and guess. This is particularly troublesome on RC because if I spend too long reading a passage (which I always do) I just pretty much guess at the questions and go on to the next passage. I get such bad anxiety under timed constraints that it significantly hinders any progress. Not only that when I BR those LR questions, I seem to justify my answer, which is only making matters worse. I've been completely Blind Reviewing the entire test and redoing every single game and RC passage, which has been very helpful on these two sections. Nonetheless, LR is still killing me.

Everyone seems to say that this is a learnable test but I feel like I am physically incapable of doing better. I mean, I am smart kid (3.7+ GPA, dean's list, honors, yada yada yada), but this seems to be an insurmountable hurtle. Quite frankly, it sucks because if it truly is a numbers game, this is the only thing holding me back from getting into a top tier law school. I study for at least 35 hours a week and to see such little progress is just gut-wrenching. The only thing keeping me sane is that I started working out 3-4 times a week in order to completely clear my mind.

I just started going through the LSAT Trainer. In addition, I was considering getting the Cambridge LR drill set PT 1-38 in order to try and make some progress. I've spent so much time trying to understand the test and how to solve each question type that I think it may be better to start do problems. The fool proof review, for example, is really helped me on LG and just doing games over and over again. But is it helpful to employ a similar strategy on LR such that you do the same questions over and over until you fully understand what you need to do get it right? I think one of the BR videos, JY says something about it being not beneficial to just to problem after problem of the same type. So would not be beneficial to do the drill set then? Not only that, my concern with this is that I don't know where to go to get explanations if I do poorly. Also, because I can only finish 3/4 passages under timed conditions (never mind getting them right), should I purchase the RC package also? I ask because I literally have no idea what to do from here. I constantly think about just giving up because the returns are diminishing and I don't know even know if I am capable of doing well. I was originally going to take it in September, then February, and now June (thanks for charging me to reschedule...), but the June testing locations are all pretty far from my house.

I honestly don't even know what to do anymore. Any help anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    well it is a learnable test and it is also true that everyone does have a cap (some allow for 180, some do not) though not saying your cap is 155, you just need it to click. Youve done the drill sets and that, have you done timed sections? like just a section of LR timed to see if the PT as a whole somehow freaks you out or if theres something else at play
  • danballinger5danballinger5 Alum Member
    198 karma
    "The worst part is when I sit down to take a practice test, I instantly go into panic mode as soon as I start my watch. It's like every single strategy I learned goes right out the window."

    I think you could have kept the post to just this concept. It sounds like you are psyching yourself out. This probably effects you during BR as well. Do you second guess yourself a lot during BR?

    Also, I don't think any of the 'strategies' you learn from 7Sage are of any help if you don't have the 'Lawgic' concepts down pat. Are you comfortable enough with formal logic?
  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    edited January 2015 3112 karma
    @jdawg113 the last PT I took I did timed individual sections and the timing did freak me out. Idk why. I just feel like, no matter what, I am taking too long on each question type. Something tells me that the timing is one of the main negative factors at play. The timing freaks me out the most on RC however, and I am not phased by it on LG because I feel pretty confident with it.

    @danballinger5 it is tough to say. I really think that it is the wordiness of the test more than the formal logic that I am having trouble with. For example, a lot of the lawgic concepts pertain to LG sections as well as SA and PSA questions. I have no problem with translating anything on the LG section, such as visually representing the rules or chaining certain rules up. However, with SA and PSA questions, I can't seem to get them right. I feel like I do understand what I need to do, I just think I am putting too much pressure on myself. I was thinking about going back to the lessons and going over both of these sections as well as flaw questions before I purchase the drill set. Hopefully that will help me to further identify what the real issue is.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    sounds like you need to really sit down and get comfortable with the type of test this is b4 you can seriously make progress... I would suggest taking lower PT's (even by section) and do a few of them over and over to try and calm yourself and get used to the feel of doing it
  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    Don't even think that you're going to test. First try untimed sections... Take 45 minutes on a section if you have to... Get comfy with the questions... Then after a few weeks, add a timed section every once in a while... Then finally after some months when you are up to speed, start testing... First comfort, then limited timing, then endurance.
  • Joe Wu-1Joe Wu-1 Alum Member
    27 karma
    Using the fool proof method that JY recommended. Your are panicking because you are still not familiar with the question the test asks. Do it again and again and again, till the end you are not even knowing what nervousness is, having a watch or not will not influence your performance, practice is the only way to eliminate panic.
  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma
    Wow thanks for your help everyone! I think what I am going to do is break PTs down by section and do them individually first untimed and then try and work my way up to timed sections, giving myself a little extra time. If I see a particular LR question type that I am struggling with, I will circle back through the lessons and try to improve on that given question type. And I definitely am going to try and be much more critical in terms of BR.

    Again thanks so much and best of luck to you all in your studies :)
  • chrijani7chrijani7 Alum Member
    827 karma
    I agree with Nilesh, in that your main focus should not be timing. I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to take a few timed sections and then give them a solid BR, but for the most part you should be focusing on drills, specific drills (by category). I was in a very similar situation to you (academically & LSAT). While I am rewriting since I was not 100% satisfied with my first score, I can say that I was able to score in the mid 160's and was consistently BR'ing in the high 160's-low 170's. The main issue for me was RC (getting roughly -10), so unless I was nearly flawless in the other sections, my RC would consistently bring me down.

    Personally what worked for me, was focusing on LG & LR. First of all, LR has two sections guaranteed and studying for LR can aid with RC. I think that improvement in RC, while possible, is very difficult compared to LR/LG, so I suggest going for the "low hanging coconuts". Get yourself to a point where you can get -2 MAX on LG, preferrably -0, THIS IS NOT UNREALISTIC.

    Second thing, you need to be able to get to a point where you get around -2 - -4 per LR section untimed before you can even really consider timing. I say that -2 - -4 because there are questions in each section that are made to separate people in the 160's from those in the 170's. But basically you should be able to get near perfect in LR untimed.

    Third thing, FIND your comfort zone... more specifically for LR, but for me I would always have trouble with MSS in the mid section, but did much better on parallel questions. Most people suggest skipping parallels since they are time consuming, but I don't know why but they worked for me.. Point is, there is no one size fits all method and it is important for you to pinpoint these minor details that can aid you in developing a personal strategy.

    The last thing I want to say is that if you are sitting there thinking about what you SHOULD do but instead are doing something else, you are likely only hurting yourself. I always knew I should be drilling more RC, but never did. Let me tell you, it reflected in my score and now I need to drill RC before i rewrite. I need to take my own advice, but the point is, don't avoid the difficult hurdles and become attracted only to your strength areas. Dive into the void and minimize the amount of weaknesses you have with LSAT and I promise you will see improvements. If you don't understand something the Manhattan forums have LSAT explanations, Graham Blake has some explanations, or just ask others around you. Even though they may not be studying for the LSAT, for the most part anyone can help you uncover things yu did not consider within a question. It takes time, but you can do it.

    Good luck, hope this helps.
  • jyang72jyang72 Alum Member
    844 karma
    Dude, hang in there. I have similar situation as you. I started practicing LSAT since last summer and I kept studying for at least 20 hours per week last semester. I got 3.8 GPA in UNH and 3.9 GPA in my current University Fordham. My second prep test is only 149 and I never bumped them up to 153 even after 7 prep tests and my blind review is never higher than 162. I think you might have to stop doing prep test and analyze where you lost most points. Or maybe start drilling a section.I am sorry that I can't give you too many advices since I am on the same boat as you. I just want to make you feel better cause we are too alike.
  • migalunamigaluna Member
    58 karma
    It seems like most of your problem is not the techniques but what I call "personal demons". I struggle with these demons as well, such as confidence issue, burnout and letting the test control you instead of controlling the test yourself. I really don't know completely how to fight these because I score as high as 163 in timed PTs at home but never scored higher than 159 in real lsat. However I do have few advice, because I had terrible first section LG in the December LSAt 13/23 but powered through and got -5 and -4 in the following LR sections.
    First of all, just have a piece of mind. I know it sounds cliche, but think this way: is it really that big of a deal? I mean is it the end of the world If you don't get into law school? Think how many more unfortunate people out there in the world with terrible diseases, no limbs, lost their lost ones etc. Really puts things into perspective. Therefore have an attitude: i am not scared of this test, bring it. This is not a huge deal. It is important, I will do my best, but I do not fear this test. Be the master of the test and your own destiny. Always look at the bigger picture.

    I also read Mike's Trainer and feel that it was very useful to me. It helped in a way that is different than powerscore bibles. It helped it to just click in my head what type of test it is and how to battle this test. Instead of zeroing into specific techniques this book helped to learn specific general topics that help in any questions.

    Exercising is great idea. You said you think this is insurmountable hurtle but you are smart kid and test is making you depressed. This is a sign that you are letting the test disrupt you and control you. You have to get your confidence back. Just think you will do your best and the rest is not within your control.
    Hope this helps :)
  • mp_mcconnellmp_mcconnell Alum Member
    9 karma
    "The worst part is when I sit down to take a practice test, I instantly go into panic mode as soon as I start my watch. It's like every single strategy I learned goes right out the window."

    It sounds like your mental "state" may be overriding your learning. I read "The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It." by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. In one chapter McGonigal talks about meditation and how meditating, even "badly", for 5 minutes can have a positive effect on your ability to focus. Her's is the only technique I've ever used and I find it extremely helpful when my thoughts (and pulse) start racing.

    Somewhere JY writes about a test routine he developed for himself. Think like an athlete: right now starting your watch is like a runner hearing a starting pistol and going into adrenaline panic. Athletes overcome this reaction, and so can you. Best wishes -
  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma
    @chrijani7 yes that was extremely helpful. This really gives me a firm foundation of where I need to get to. I found your post to be motivating as well because I can do it and now I have a baseline of what needs to be done in order to get to where I need to be. Thank you!

    @jyang72 no worries! It definitely did make me feel better to know that I am not the only one going through something like this. This week I am going to take your advice and analyze my specific weaknesses and review those lessons. Also I am going to throw some drills in there to try and kickstart some improvement. Keep pushing and you will see improvement as well. I know it can be disheartening, just don't give up!

    @migaluna "is it really that big of deal?" Dude this is exactly the mentality that I was thinking about putting into play. You're so right when you say not to be scared of the test because that is exactly the way I have been feeling. I keep thinking that there is so much riding on this test and I am overcome by the "personal demons." This was really helpful in terms of figuring out what I need to do to in order to get my confidence back. Thank you!

    @mp_mcconnell just found the book on amazon and I can assure you that I will be ordering it today. As mentioned before, the adrenaline is one of my biggest downfalls. I just started meditating but if the techniques in the book will help to relax me further, I am all for it. Thank you!

    Thanks so much everyone for your support. I couldn't be more appreciative :)
    Good luck to you all in your future studies!
  • pritisharmapritisharma Alum Member
    edited January 2015 477 karma
    I have tried getting rid of the watch altogether, I have in internal pace I follow, read question, read answers..maybe re-read answers ... move on .I wish no one told me 5 min remaining, it does not do any good for me. Frankly I do not understand what anyone would do differently with that knowledge. It just freezes me up. I try to just zone-in and follow an inbuilt rhythm.
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