Hello, and welcome to the 7Sage podcast. I'm J.Y. Ping, and today we're presenting a webinar about study planning with the 7Sage tutoring team. Our tutors talk about how much time most people need to study, how to balance a full-time job with the LSAT, and much more. So, without further ado, here's the webinar.
Hi, everyone. Thank you for coming. I'm David. I'm a partner at 7Sage and I am super excited to be joined by four of our new LSAT tutors. They are incredibly dynamic. Behind the scenes, we were just learning about a couple more hobbies from everyone. Maybe I'll let them share it. So actually, could you all introduce yourself? I'd love it if you, being the LSAT nerds that you are, said something nerdy about why you love the LSAT, and then maybe told us something else about yourself. Britt, do you want to start?
Yeah, sure. So, hi, everyone. My name is Britt. I first fell in love with logic and reasoning in college when I began taking philosophy classes. So, I guess you could say that I was in love with the LSAT before I even knew it existed. But I truly love finding—
But I truly love finding ways to beat the LSAT and finding ways to tailor the LSAT learning process to each and every client. I'm super passionate about the LSAT and I actually kind of think it's a lot of fun and I really do enjoy helping other people. I am dedicated to ensuring that each client feels their personal best on the date of their LSAT. And in my spare time, I love dancing, singing, studying ethics, and volunteering within my community.
Nice, thanks. Scott, talk to us.
All right, then, I'm Scott Milam. I think I'm the oldest panelist here. So, I'm 37, so I'll be a non-traditional student going into law school. I've spent the past 12 years as a classroom teacher, teaching all sorts of subjects ranging from Latin to computer science or formal logic. And that's actually what brought me to the LSAT, is I decided to pursue law school and then realized that the entrance requirement was that I get really good at formal logic, which is a subject that I've had the joy to teach for about a decade now.
So again, kind of like Brittany, I didn't know that I liked the LSAT, but when I found out that it existed, it seemed like a natural fit as soon as I started working on it. Except for logic games, cause screw those things. But I'm happy to help all of you with them. But those were my big struggle as I went into the LSAT.
Can I just say that Scott's trying to pass as normal and relatable, but he's actually a total freak who scored a 180 after a month of study, Scott?
It was nine weeks. It was nine weeks.
Okay. Okay, Raphael, talk to us.
Yeah, I don't think I can match this whole 180 after nine weeks thing, but yeah, I'm Raphael. I tutor with 7Sage. I am a graduate of Georgetown University, studied political science there. Currently reside in Taiwan. What I love about the LSAT, honestly, what got me at first was just the logic games. I was terrible at them, but there's like fun about them, you know. It felt like it was doing puzzles and I just enjoyed, throughout the test, this sort of appreciation for logic, what sort of got me through my studying for it.
And it was why I wanted to come back as a tutor and I especially have an interest in, you know, working on sort of game aspects of it. You know, section timing, strategy, long-range planning for improvement. And when I'm not thinking about the LSAT, I enjoy playing chess, speed chess especially, following baseball, go Yankees, and exploring new cuisine across Taipei.
Cool. Matt, let's see if your internet works. Talk to us.
As a native Bostonian, I've got to disagree with the Yankees thing. But I'll leave that there. What I love about the LSAT? At first, I didn't love it. I was like, what are logic games? I did not get them. What I liked about it a lot is that it makes sense. You can study for it. You can learn it. There are things that probably you never thought about before, but you can learn them and figure them out. And it makes sense, and it can even be kind of fun. That's definitely what I've found studying for it.
I'm also part of the strange group of people who got a 180 on this thing. I don't know how that happened, but it involved a whole lot of studying. And when I'm not working on the LSAT, I actually work as a geologist. You can tell by my middle-of-nowhere background right now. And I love hiking, mountain climbing, learning about history and political science, and usually being outdoors in some way.
Matt, what's your favorite rock?
My favorite rock. That's an incredibly hard question, but I might go with the Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The stuff is billions of years old. It's been deformed, built up mountains, flattened again, more mountains. It's got the whole history of the world in one little rock.
You're really selling me on it.
It's worth it. It's worth hiking all the way down.
Okay, so let's talk about study schedules. And my first question is just, and I think I'll pose this to anybody but Scott, how much time do you need to study? Let's go to Raphael.
Yeah, I can get it started. I think it depends on a couple of things. The first is your diagnostic, but I guess the delta between your diagnostic and your target, and it also depends on how regularly you're going to be studying. Somebody who's studying full-time, I think, can of course compress the timeline more than someone who's juggling it with a full-time work obligation.
So speaking from personal experience, I took several months to study, but I was also studying close to full-time because I started studying, you know, when COVID hit, school had lightened a bit, and my summer stuff got canceled. One of my closest friends was studying for the test, but juggling it with work. So it was a more elongated timeline.
So I would say that the key thing is just to decide, based on your needs, in terms of your target score, how many points you have to go up and how honestly you think you can, how much time you can spend over that period.
But Rafael, you or somebody, give us something a little more concrete. Like shouldn't the average person who isn't sure how many points they want to increase, like, bank on six weeks, six months, six years, hope not six years.
Yeah. Continuing my answer, I would say that the range of normalcy is probably, three months is sort of the minimum, and I'd say the maximum is probably maybe around a year, year and a half tops if you're really stretching this out. I can't imagine less than three months, except for extremely aberrational cases like Scott's.
But I think three months really is the minimum to ensure that you're learning the fundamentals. And I think over a year, really, only if you're only studying a few hours a week.
Okay, thanks. And let's go to Scott. Scott, can you just lay out sort of the basic structure of a study plan for us? I mean, you know, where do we even start? Tell us a little bit about how it's going to progress.
When we start to create a study plan, the first thing you need to do is just get a handle on where you are at in terms of the LSAT. And we've already kind of pointed out the fact that everybody starts in a different place. You know, my diagnostic was a 168. That's not where most people start out. My study plan, as a result, looked a lot different than necessarily what I would recommend to a lot of my students.
So the first thing is to take, and really seriously take a strong diagnostic. And from there you can kind of identify, what are my weaknesses and what are my strengths? And we want to, of course, build a study plan that focuses on those weaknesses and fixes them as quickly as possible. If your weakness is in RC, you know, obviously that's the thing that you want to be spending most of your time on. If your weakness is in LR, obviously that's the thing you want to be taking a bunch of time sections on.
For me, it was logic games. I was great on those other two sections, but logic games was noticeably lower. So that was pretty much it. I foolproofed logic game for nine weeks until I could consistently more or less get a minus zero, and then I was ready to take the test.
So, again, it depends on each person, but the biggest thing I would say to any client who comes through is look at the time that you have available and then prioritize, what are my weak points and how am I going to use that time to best deal with whatever your weakness is?
Is it fair to say that you should start by ensuring that you sort of understand the fundamentals before you move on to drilling and nailing the timing?
Yeah, and this is where we get into the real particulars that are going to depend on every person. So if your diagnostic is a 165, okay, well, you probably have a good grasp on the fundamentals on most of the sections. We probably don't need a lot of core curriculum with you.
If your diagnostic's at 145, though, okay, there may be some fundamental issues just on the understanding of the logic that the LSAT uses, and so we're going to first front-load basic formal logic, and, you know, the core ideas that you really need to understand in order to be successful on the test. And then we're going to, as we go on, start drilling the actual timing and testing strategy and, you know, really kind of turning it up on your accuracy and consistency as we get closer to the test.
Britt, this is possibly a matter of opinion, but for a self-studier, you know, do you think that you should learn one section at a time, you know, spend three weeks or four weeks or whatever with RC before moving on, or do you think that you should jump around?
Yeah, so this is definitely a personal question, but my opinion from when I was studying is I found that a lot of the basics overlap in between sections. So, for example, when you are doing a logic game section, you really need to understand, okay, what goes on this side of the arrow? What goes on that side? But then again, you'll find yourself diagramming premises and conclusions when you take a logical reasoning section and you're doing the same thing.
So, in my opinion, I think the best way to start is just learning traditional logic and then starting to apply it section by section. So, for me, I probably started with traditional logic for a few weeks, then did like two weeks really, really focusing on logical reasoning, two weeks really, really focusing on games, two weeks really, really focusing on reading comprehension, and then kind of, you know, mixing and matching and trying to figure out what I was doing. But I really feel like there is no right answer to that, but hopefully that helps a little bit.
Yeah. Matt, I want to ask you about RC in particular, because I feel like it's the hardest to nail down. I mean, it's pretty obvious how you study for the logic games, right? Just learn how to make a board. It's pretty obvious how you study for LR, at least when you're starting out, right? You know, you need to learn your formal logic. You need to learn about assumptions and premises and conclusions. But, you know, I think on the one hand, we all know how to read already. And on the other, kind of like, none of us really know how to read in an LSAT way. So how do you even approach that?
Reading comp is actually one of my favorite sections to tutor for, partly because a lot of people kind of say, "Oh, it's just reading. There's no way to teach it," which is completely wrong. Reading comp is absolutely just as learnable and as teachable as any other section. Really, one of the things that I like to point out is how so many reading comp questions look just like a logical reasoning question. They're really quite similar.
It's all talking about arguments. It's talking about, what's somebody claiming? What's the evidence for it? And so a lot of those skills carry over. And we're all good at reading. We've all read plenty in our lives. We know how to read things. And so the question here isn't so much, can you understand what's going on? A lot of it is, okay, what's the argument being made? Can we break it down?
And that's really the same skill that you're using across the LSAT. And so, definitely, if reading comp is a section where you're struggling with it, I know that was the section I was trying to improve my score. I just saw, huh, I keep missing a few on here. I don't get it. And what really finally gave me that breakthrough was saying, wait, this is just like logical reasoning.
That's really helpful. I want to open this up to everybody else because I feel like I hear the most anxiety about reading comp right now. What else can we do to study more efficiently for reading comp?
Yeah, I just want to echo that I agree that people shouldn't have this fatalistic attitude that, oh, I'm born a certain level of reader. That's sort of what I get for reading comp. So there are certain through lines, I think, between the sections that can help you on reading comp.
For example, your idea of like, you know, confidence threshold. At a certain level, I'm going to move on from this question if I don't think I'm getting it, I'm going to skip it. Or I'm confident enough that I'm going to pick this answer and lock it in. That's something that you can master for LR and RC, and it's really synergistic. The confidence threshold you have for one, for the other.
Same for identifying wrong answers, you know, deciding, okay, I'm going to try to predict the answer here as opposed to do process of elimination. And if I'm doing process of elimination, here are five things to look for for bad answers. A lot of those things will overlap between LR and RC.
Sure, there's some differences, but the psychometricians have a lot of the same tricks all throughout in both those sections, that you really could find through lines across those sections, which means I think that once you know those tricks, it becomes a lot easier for RC as well.
Raphael, who were the psychomagicians?
The people who wrote the LSAT, I think they're called psychometricians. I could be getting the name wrong, but I think it's the people who write the LSAT.
No, no, no. I was just making a really stupid dad joke.
So here's another question. I know a lot of people are studying when they're in school, a lot of people are studying when they have a full-time job. How do you make it work? Do we have any tips for helping people balance life with studying? Because it does feel like LSAT studying is sort of a full-time job, maybe more than a full-time job.
I'll jump in and answer that. My study period wasn't that long, it was only nine weeks, but it was during part of the school year. I'm a full-time teacher, I'm a dad, I'm a husband. So for me, it was really important to find as much time as possible, obviously to do well on the LSAT in such a short period of time, without absolutely blowing up my marriage or depriving my child of the things that he really needed.
So for me, the big thing was to actually sit down with the various people in my life and actually create a schedule, to plot, you know, here are the specific times that I'm going to work on the LSAT and to really dedicate those as much as I would dedicate any other part of my job. Luckily, you know, I had a flexible teaching schedule. Some of those times could be during the day, in between class periods, or when I'm supervising a study hall or something like that.
But even if all you've got is weekends or evenings, bring the various stakeholders in your life in, make sure that they buy in on the plan, and if you are surrounded by the sorts of people who love you and support you, I think you can pretty much be guaranteed that they're going to help you as much as possible to make the thing actually work. But include them in the decision. If they understand why you're making the sacrifices and why you're asking them to make those sacrifices, it'll be a lot more successful.
Scott, that's such a great point.
Yeah, I can touch on that too. I took the LSAT and was studying for the LSAT while I was still in school and while I was working part-time as a paralegal. So I sympathize with all of you who have to manage your time. But one of my big things is separating, we call it separating church and state. Separate where you do your schoolwork or your office work and where you study for the LSAT.
Just having those differences, like don't mix them together. Just keep yourself focused on the task ahead of you. And then in addition to that, I'm somebody that loves making PowerPoint slides detailing my days, hour by hour. So it's kind of fun to, like, create your own slide show, like, okay, from 9 to 5, I'm going to work, and then from 5 to 6, I'm going to make dinner, and then from 7 to 10, I'm going to study for the LSAT. Just having that PowerPoint, designing it, it's like a kind of exciting part of your day, and it keeps things like fresh and fun.
First time I've heard someone talk about PowerPoint as a fresh and fun exercise.
I find schedules and PowerPoints both fresh and fun, I gotta say.
I just want to let everybody know, in maybe 5 or 10 minutes, we're gonna turn to you and ask you for questions. And we really like to hear your voice. So if you have a question, we'd love it if you raised your hand, and we'll call on you and you'll get a chance to talk to these extraordinary tutors. And if you have a question, you can go ahead and raise your hand now, but we're going to keep talking to them for a few more minutes.
Okay, so those are both really wonderful points and I'm just going to underline them. Scott pointed out that the LSAT is such an incredible undertaking that you have to get buy-in from the other stakeholders in your life, and it's going to be much easier for you if they support you.
And then Britt pointed out that it really helps when you're studying for the LSAT to make a schedule. I don't know if you have to use PowerPoint, but if you can, it's great. And I like your idea of separating where you study for the LSAT from everywhere else. So, you know, it kind of feels like its own job with its own space.
How do you know, everybody, when you're ready to start drilling? Or should you start drilling from the beginning? And how do you know when you're ready to start taking whole prep tests? Or should you just start taking prep tests from the beginning?
I guess I can speak to that a little bit. And in many ways, it is an individual thing. I know for myself, I sort of like just taking a whole prep test fairly often. I wouldn't recommend just doing that as a general strategy. That's not going to be a great way to go at it. What I'd say is I'd do, like, sprinkle in a prep test every now and again. You've been learning this stuff in the abstract. You've been learning about the theory and stuff.
See how it goes and only do that if you're not going to worry too much about the score in the beginning, because scores vary. I can tell you that I've taken this test way too many times. I don't want to look at how many, it's too many, and I know still scores vary. But definitely it can be nice sometimes where you've been focusing on, say, some ideas being logic games, and you realize, oh, okay, I can kind of do this. And before, I'm like, what is going on here?
So yeah, I'd say it's helpful. It's definitely helpful to drill sections and to take prep tests. It also kind of reminds you of what you're doing. At the end of the day, all that matters in terms of getting your score is this one test that you sit down and take.
And so it's nice to remember what game you're in, but don't put too much stake in them when you're just beginning, because you're just beginning. This is a weird set of skills that a lot of people, including me, had never seen before. So yeah, my recommendation's sprinkle them in, but definitely, it's not the only thing to focus on.
Yeah, I agree with that. I guess the thing I'd add is that I think of it in three stages. The first stage is really just fundamentals, and I think that's a precursor to drills and certainly practice tests. Stage one is you learning, you know, what arguments are, what logic is. And I don't think drilling or PTs are useful at that stage, because you're still just learning the fundamentals.
So I think that that stage can be more compressed for people who have a strong grasp of logic out of the gate. Like someone like Scott, for example, who has such a strong diagnostic, they can compress more of that initial fundamental stage. But I think that stage does not involve drills or PTs.
I think the second stage is more of the core curriculum stage when you're running through, you know, okay, I'm going to learn this question type for LR. I'm going to learn how to do sequencing games. And then I think drilling makes a lot of sense. And I think you just mostly do the drills that are included in core curriculum, right? That we've compressed PTs 16 through 35 as drills. I think that you just, you know, do those.
And then once I think you've finished that, once you've sort of exhausted the questions from the core curriculum, that's when I think you start doing PTs. The PTs really are, you know, sacrosanct and there are only a certain number of them. They're not going to produce that many more, at least within an operationally relevant timeline for you.
But I don't think you should start PTs until you finish core curriculum or until you reach the point of, okay, I'm like nailing all these drills consistently. This is too easy. I need to start doing PTs. So I'd say that's the third stage, the PT stage.
Yeah, and I'll chime in to add one thing to that. And that is, we need to remember that the PTs really don't teach you the LSAT. The PTs are a way of assessing where you're at in your study plan. And then, as Raphael pointed out, you get a limited number of those. You essentially get, you know, functionally about 60 checks on where you're at in terms of your progress with the LSAT.
So you should use those strategically, kind of keep in mind, and I would even plan out in advance, you know, here are the PTs I have, here's where I'm going to use them over the whole span, because once you've run out of them, you're really not going to get any more. And reusing them is just not nearly as useful as taking a fresh PT.
Yeah, I think when I was studying, I did what Rafael said and maybe Matt said, you know, I started with no drills. I just sort of learned about the fundamentals. And then I believe I would drill sections, but I wouldn't time myself. And then at a certain point, I also struggled with logic games. They did not come naturally to me at all. That was the hardest section for me.
And so I would start doing at least one complete logic game section every single day. And I looked forward to it. It was like my treat when I came home from work. Cause it, I don't know, it was like a fun challenge. And then at some point, I can't remember when, I would do a prep test once a week, but I didn't start doing that until I was maybe a month or two months away from the test.
What do you guys think about the pace of prep tests? Is there such thing as too many prep tests? Is there such thing as too few prep tests?
Yeah, there's, Scott, I will steal your words from you, there is definitely such a thing as too many prep tests, as Scott said, and I can say this pretty much in short. When you continue to do prep test after prep test after prep test, you're not learning anything. So you really have to do prep test, okay, line review and then really, really, really understand why the answers are right and why the ones that are wrong are wrong.
So if you take too many prep tests, you're not going to be focused on finding where you're weak, where you're strong, why the one answer's right, why it's wrong. So, as I think many of us will say, there is such thing as too many prep tests.
How many prep tests is too many or does it depend on the person? Yeah, sure, Raphael.
I think my hard and fast rule is don't do more than three per week. That I think that if you assume you need basically a day to take the test and a day to thoroughly blind review/watch the videos, update the wrong answer journal, that means each PT is a two-day process, basically. I think more than three is just unreasonable. I think even three is maybe pushing it a little bit. I was doing three when I was studying basically full-time for this, and at a certain point, I even decided, yeah, I'm going to go down to two. So I think three is just the absolute upper limit, I think.
Is there such thing as too much studying in general? Do you think, I mean, maybe it just depends on the person, but how do you know when it's becoming unproductive to put in the extra hour of LSAT studying?
I honestly think it's a personal temperature check. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you feeling stressed out? But if you're feeling burned out and the test is no longer feeling enjoyable at all, like I'm not saying you have to find it fun, but it shouldn't be a total chore or a thing that you dread. I think if you're feeling stressed out, that's a sign that you need to pump the brakes a little bit.
Though, like, I genuinely enjoyed the test, and when I found myself feeling like, oh, I don't want to do this, that was a sign I need to take two days off and then lighten the load a little bit. So I think it's really a personal temperature check. Don't be embarrassed to feel like you're stressed out or overworked. It's normal, even for high scorers.
Okay, I'm going to ask our panelists a few more questions and then we'll turn to the audience. So again, if you have a question, we'd really love to hear from you. We will take questions from the chat and from the Q&A, but if you can ask your question out loud, we'd love it. So raise your hand and we'll call on you. We like to hear your voice.
Talk to me about how you can taper for the test. How do you build that into your study schedule? I mean, what should the month before the test look like if you've been studying for six months? What should the week before the test look like?
Yeah, I can touch on my own personal experience. So, probably the month of the test, I was kind of doing what Raphael touched upon. I would do a prep test then really, really review it the next day. Then I'd probably really, really review it the next day. Prep test; really, really review it; really, really review it. So that'd be like my month before test day.
And then the week before, I'd probably do one prep test, really, really review it, and then I would actually just read things for fun and try to pick apart arguments in my daily life. So, for example, I would read the Economist, or I'd read these big idea books. There are these like really, really awesome books, you can get them on any subject, and I would just read those and then force myself to want to read it.
And then I would walk around and just tell people random facts about what I read, just working on that memory while reading. And then I would also just listen to people talk and pick apart their arguments and be like, oh, that was a premise. Oh, that was a conclusion. So that was kind of my week before. The week before, it's kind of just like relaxing, but also using my brain in similar logic and reasoning ways.
Any other thoughts on the week before?
Yeah, I'll talk a little bit about that. So, I mean, starting out first with the month before, hopefully by the time you're four weeks or so away from your actual test date, we're done with fundamentals, we're done with fixing major problems that you have with particular question types.
And now you're really drilling down on, you know, trying to finish bridging the gap between your blind review score and your actual score. In other words, you're trying to work on those timing strategies, those skipping strategies to really just eke out those last few points and make yourself really consistent.
So, you know, again, PTs are good for assessing that, but taking time to practice sessions on a regular basis, that's really where you're going to improve those skills, and you should go back and review them. You should record yourself doing a PT or a time practice, and actually watch yourself make those mistakes and figure out why you make them. Because at that point, you should have the fundamental ideas of the LSAT down. It's really about implementation and making sure that you're getting all the ones right that you know you can get right.
The biggest thing, though, once you get to the week or so before the test, I think it's great to take a PT seven days or so before your actual test day. By the way, you should do that in the exact same place on the same hardware on LawHub as you're going to take the actual thing, cause that lets you first check all your tech setup, but it also kind of just drills your brain into thinking, okay, this is just another practice test when you actually get to the day of.
But other than that, on that last week, no more than one or two timed sections a day, that's it. And they should probably be logic, or at least one of them should be logic games and then you can alternate LR and RC, because you really just want to keep the muscle memory there. But other than that, you're not really trying to improve in the last week. You can't improve, really, in the last week.
You just want to let your brain relax, recover from everything that you've done to it over the past month, two months, five months, six months, and kind of let all of that sort of settle into your brain and you be as rested as possible on the actual test day.
Thanks. That is super helpful. Let's turn to our audience and ask a couple of questions. So, Nancy, I'm going to turn to you first, and you can unmute yourself and ask your question.
Thank you. Good evening, everyone. So my question was a little bit about demystifying that last step in studying. So when you have the fundamentals down and you are doing that deep review, know exactly where it went wrong for questions that you got wrong.
That last final step, I feel like people have a lot of trouble with because you identify what you did wrong. And so a lot of the times we find ourselves thinking, well, just don't do it next time. Well, it isn't that a great way to, you know, move forward. So are there any kind of tips or methods that you would find, you know, effective in that sense?
Yeah, I'm happy to take that one. That's a great question. And I think that is the hardest thing. You know, people have a tendency to view mistakes as situational, one-time things that do not reflect on them as learners, anything, you know, dispositional. But the key thing is to figure out patterns, right? I think the key thing is that you need to learn from every mistake.
I'm a big fan of keeping a wrong answer journal. Every question that I missed on the LSAT I put in a Word document. I took a picture of it, I wrote out what went wrong, what the right answer is, basically just wrote out a guide to that question. It took time, but it helped me see patterns. Like, for example, that sometimes I just didn't understand the right way to approach pseudo sufficient assumption questions.
Even when I was scoring, you know, very, very high on practice tests, that was just the question type that I continued to forget how to approach. So I then rewatched core curriculum on that. But it's when you take note of the mistakes you make, you can start finding patterns, and then make it so it's less situational but more of a dispositional thing that you need to figure out.
I'll second that wrong answer journal idea. I did the same thing. I found it really useful, especially on logic games, but on all sections, even on RC. There were certain types of assumptions that I would miss, and it would turn out that I would see it later. One key to making that journal effective, at least for me, is to review it before you take a new PT. I wanted those mistakes fresh in my mind so that I did not make them again.
Thanks, Nancy, and good luck. Rebecca, you can ask your question.
Thank you, everyone. So I have two questions. The first one is that, you know, when I'm doing the core curriculum, I need different problem sets. Should I finish all the problem sets? And the second question's that, you know, I've finished all the questions and do a blind review. So should I watch the explanation video when I finish the question? Thank you.
So I guess the first question about doing all the questions, I think ideally, yes. I think that it's a manageable number in the core curriculum that I would certainly say you should do all of the LR and all of the games. I think that for me, personally, I skipped a little bit on some of the RC. In core curriculum towards the end, like the last few that were just sort of, you know, passages. I started PTs without finishing those, but I would say I did probably 85 to 90% of the core curriculum before PTs.
But your mileage may vary. I started out pretty strong on RC, so I felt okay moving more quickly on those, but I think that other people, maybe, they do want to do all the questions, but it depends on how you're doing in the drill sets.
For the second question, my view on that would be, yeah, I would watch the videos after you blind review it and you score it. Then I would see, oh, did I miss this one? Okay, I should maybe watch the video if I'm not understanding it. Basically, I'd watch the video for anything I flagged or missed is what I would do, but I would do that after you score it, following. So you take it, blind review, score it, watch videos for flagged or missed questions.
All right. Thanks, Rebecca, and good luck. Davis, you can ask your question.
Hey there, everybody. First off, thanks for being here. There's a lot of sage advice going around here. No pun intended. So I guess my question is, so I've finished core curriculum and I've gone through the drills and everything like that. So I, basically, the only things left are drills and PTs. I've been taking some PTs and taken about 10 since this core curriculum started wrapping up. I got bored of the reading comp, so I sort of fast forwarded PTs.
Anyway, I keep, I'm oscillating between like just below my target score and like the mid, like, 160s, and every single time I dip down back to the 160s, I'm missing points on a different section. So, like, one will be like, I'll miss -10 for logic games. I'll study logic games and I'll get better. But then I'll go down to like a -6 for reading comp and then the same thing for logical reasoning. I'm just like, what do I do? Which one do I choose to get better at?
I'll field that one. There are a lot of different things that could be happening there, but this is definitely one where, man, I would love to go through a video of your performance through a test and just see where the mistakes are. Cause there are a couple of things that could be happening.
It could be that the consistency in terms of what you're missing doesn't have to do with the actual section. It may be that you really do know them more or less equally well. It might be where their placement in the exam is. In other words, as you get near to the end of the exam, you're getting tired and you're getting less accurate as you go on.
If that's what's happening, then actually training yourself with putting together what I call a Frankenexam, where it's not a four-section exam but a five- or six-section exam, can really kind of train your mental endurance to be able to get through that.
You know, it could be that, depending on which PTs you're in, maybe RC is getting to be a real problem when you get into the PTs in the 70s and 80s. That was something that happened to me because those RC sections get markedly harder than the ones in the 50s and 60s. So if it's every time you're dipping into one of those really recent RC sections that suddenly RC tanks, well, you might need to train yourself in the 70s and 80s on those longer sections with the much harder questions and really drill down on why it is that you're missing those.
I think the question you need to find out and the thing I would encourage anyone who's struggling with consistency, figure out what the common factor is. It might not be a section type. It might be placement in the exam. It might be skipping strategy. It might be exhaustion. It might be, you know, something else, but figure out what that is and then you'll know what to attack.
Thanks. Okay, well, good luck.
Awesome. Thank you.
I hope you get that target score. Diane, we'd love to hear from you.
So, my best section is the logic game section, and I tend to usually go -2 when I PT. The RC section, however, is my most difficult section. What advice do you have as far as feeling rushed with that last passage and trying to make it through? Because with the logic games section, I don't run out of time. It's only with the RC section that I find myself trying to catch up on that last passage.
Hey, Matt, can you field this?
Yeah, definitely. My advice for that would be with reading comp, really focus on those passages, especially on, like, understand the passage before you go into the questions. That can be hard. You look at this giant passage and all these questions that are after it, and you're like, oh, I'm worried about time. I want to just rush through as fast as possible.
I find it really helpful to even sort of diagram, say, okay, this paragraph, what's it saying? What's the argument? And think of it in terms of arguments, think of it in terms of arguments and supporting evidence they're giving, and really get a sense for what's going on there.
In terms of timing, yeah, I mean, if sometimes you run up against the clock, somebody else said it's timing, and sometimes, you know, you do have to say, okay, I know this kind of question is really hard and I just got to get down to two or something, which is crazy and it's frustrating, but sometimes it's how the LSAT is.
But my advice would definitely be, take a look at the test. Just think, if you know usually that last one is taking a little bit longer, sometimes it is a little bit harder, or, you know, if one specific thing, like, say the legal passage is taking you a little longer, give more time for it and just keep an eye on the clock.
And yeah, my best advice if you're really stuck on something, just move on to the next passage or to the next question. And sometimes, you know, a little bit of thinking there will help. But definitely, it's never fun to be rushing at the end, so pacing is always your friend.
Good. Any other advice for Diane on this subject?
Yeah, I could say one thing. I think being well read helps when you read reading comprehension passages, just because you're more familiar with the material. So I'm sure you hear this from everyone, but just go out there, like go to the local library, be a little bit old-school, like pick some books off the shelf on different topics and just kind of get used to reading like unique and random things, and reading it to like actually understand it. And I think you'll find yourself moving through reading comprehension a little bit quicker.
Good luck, Diane.
Hey, awesome. I actually posted my questions in the Q&A section as well, but I guess I'll ask my most pressing question. So I'm curious for students who are past the fundamental stage. So they're kind of aware of generally the concepts and are maybe into the drilling and the PT stage.
What are your suggestions for how we can best work with a tutor and kind of, I guess like the term we use at work is to like "manage up," but in this case it would be like kind of helping our tutors help us. Like, would you guys have suggestions as tutors?
Anyone want to take this?
I'll tackle it. I think the first thing I would encourage you for, if you're hiring a tutor, you're hopefully hiring someone who is an expert. You're hiring someone who really understands not just the LSAT but how you can get good at the LSAT. So the first thing I would advise you to do, if you're going to hire a tutor, is meet with them and ask them what their plan for you would be.
You obviously give them access to all of your statistics. If you've been using 7Sage, you can use our Study Buddy system and they can see every PT that you've taken, but I would really challenge them to come up with a plan and explain exactly how it is that they're going to help you improve over whatever time span that you have.
And I'd listen, really with a critical ear, to see does what they're saying make sense? That's actually a core part of the tutoring program that we have here. The very first thing we do with you is a 30-minute session where we walk you through, okay, we've looked at your analytics, I'm going to walk you through exactly how we're going to spend every hour of your time that you're spending here and how it's going to help you improve. If they can't answer that, then I think you should find someone else to be your tutor.
Any other thoughts about Stephanie, how Stephanie can help her tutor? Okay. Well, Stephanie, good luck. Hi, Daniel.
Thank you so much for doing this. This is amazing. My question is regarding untimed work for students working on mastering the fundamentals. On the 7Sage podcasts, there have been past successful students who talk about the importance of untimed work. They mention how they first focus on getting the questions right, then work on time from there.
But what hasn't explicitly been explained by the students is whether they took any PTs untimed first and then introduced timing constraints after. Should untimed work strictly adhere to problem sets and drilling, or can those be used for individual sections? As David said, he used full PTs.
Yeah, I can take this one. I think that untimed sections can be really useful for full tests, especially when you're just sort of starting to take them, because when you're taking an untimed section, you really can look at it, really think through it. And when you're first learning to apply these things that you've learned, or even just learning drill sets and whatnot to an entire prep test or to an entire section, it's kind of nice to say, okay, I get this.
And then later you can work on getting it fast. Another thing that 7Sage is big on this, and I find it super helpful, it's what we call blind review. So, basically, going through, after you've taken the test, before you look at the answers and, you know, correct your test, looking through and basically circling any question that you feel less than like absolute a hundred percent on, and really thinking it through, untimed, and figuring out, okay, I think I feel really confident in this answer now, and I've taken, I don't know, 5 minutes, 10 minutes to look at it.
And that's nice because you've seen that you've done it in the heat of the moment of a timed test or whatever, and you can go back untimed and really think it through. So I think untimed practice is super useful. It was really useful for me. It's been useful for students of mine. Timed practice definitely has a big role. It's important, but don't neglect untimed. It's really valuable.
Does that answer your question, Daniel?
It does. Thank you.
Okay, well, good luck. Let's go to Ruth. You can ask your question.
Hi, thank you for offering this opportunity. I really appreciate it. I have been studying for the LSAT for over a year, and then my average score on each section is minus, like LG, LR, and RC is -5, -9, and -15. I've been studying for a year, and I really, like, I'm struggling for it. And I really wanted to improve myself but I really don't know how. I just need help. Like anyone could tell me that like a practical strategy, like how to improve myself. My goal is like 168 for the January test. I really need your help.
Yeah, I'm happy to take this one. The first step, I think, is to figure out what you think the problem is. I think if we want to disaggregate this more than just RC's not the score you want. Is it a question of your timing? Are you not finishing on time? Is it about the passage? Are you not understanding the passage? You know, getting confused, especially with denser, you know, five-star passages.
Where's the issue, you know, the questions that you're understanding the passage, but you just either don't know how to approach certain questions, like, strengthen the author's argument, or maybe you're just falling for trap answers. So I think the first step is figuring out the problem. And then from there, I think we just attack the problem.
If the issue is timing, I think the strategy is you can record yourself through every question and figure out, okay, look at my process for this one. Why am I taking so long? Or set sort of a maximum sort of top-out that you'll spend on the passage that you always try to follow within that, and then work on your reading skills to get underneath that.
If it's passage understanding, I think it's, you know, really untimed going through the hardest passages and mapping them out formulaically, and then getting it to the point where you can do that under timed conditions. And if it's the questions, it's learning the tricks they'll use, the question types, the ways they can fool you with wrong answers, to ensure that you don't have those problems, you know, crop up on the test.
So I would say figure out the problem, and it falls into one of those three buckets probably. That really should be the broad contours of your attack strategy for that.
All right. Well, good luck, Ruth.
Thank you all for your time. My question mainly has to do with progression. Like, I'm working through the core curriculum, and I believe Brittany spoke about this a little bit earlier. I'm wondering, for example, I'm working through reading comprehension. Should I focus on mastering, so to speak, like the reading comprehension section before moving on to the logic games, or should I continue through the core curriculum, and then, I guess, like, go into drilling? Should I start to attack where I think I can improve on before moving on to practice tests?
Brittany, could you field this one?
Yeah, definitely. So, to be honest, in my opinion, I actually would take the time to really master the section that I am sitting in. So if you don't feel too hot or too great about reading comprehension, it may be worth taking the time to really understand it. So just get your process to reading comprehension down.
So, are you reading it and then writing a low-resolution summary down? Are you looking to see what the main idea is? Are you looking for the author's opinion? Are you looking for changes in viewpoints? I think once you kind of get your whole little system, your whole little dance routine down within the section and you feel confident ,then go ahead and move on.
But I don't want to see you focusing on something and then just abandoning it halfway through and then kind of losing the progress that you had already. So I would just say, take your time, relax. Get your little system going within reading comprehension, and then keep moving.
All right, Tyler, I hope that helps.
It does, thank you.
Good evening, everyone. I have two questions asking you guys. Why is, I'm still at the CC. I'm studying the PSA, but I find out I have a problem, like, okay. Before I study reading comprehension, I was bored, so I jumped to the LR, and now I find out, oh, I forgot RC, okay.
And right now, I study LR, and because I feel I might've forgot the first part of the LR. So my question is, do you think I should like mix that together, like two weeks LR, two weeks RC, or two weeks LG, or I should finish LR and go to RC?
I can take that one. I think, ideally, your approach is more of a unified approach to it, that you're not just doing RC, just doing LR. I think you can have a concentration on one of them. Like I'm going to do more LR, more RC, but I don't think you should go cold turkey on any of the sections for any period, because of that issue of, you know, relapsing and not really remembering some of the stuff that you covered before.
So my recommendation would be, if you're focusing, say, on LR, maybe you go through the core curriculum, but for 30 minutes every day or whatever is a reasonable amount for you, you do, you know, an RC passage, you rewatch a video from core curriculum, and vice versa.
I think the more actionable step for you right now would be to rewatch the videos for the stuff that you're forgetting. If you're forgetting, for example, oh, what are assumptions? How do I predict those on LR? You watch a video on that. If you're forgetting, how do I approach the passage? What's the low-res method? You watch the video on that.
But I think going forward more prescriptively, what I would recommend is trying to intersperse all sections into your ordinary study routine.
Okay. I have a second question. Second one is, do you recommend me to read the comments in each lesson? I feel like once I read the comments in the lesson, it's helped me to figure out what other students' strategy to attack this problem, and also helped me to deep understandings of question.
But I spent so much time for each lesson. Sometimes I spent, look at J.Y.'s video, maybe watch two or three times, okay, for one lesson. So not only 3 minutes or 5 minutes for each lesson. Normally, I spend like 30 minutes or 45 minutes. So I really admire that Scott only used nine weeks to get 180 score. I never get that one. Okay, you know my question. Thank you.
Yeah, totally. I guess in short, I think it depends. That's sort of the lawyerly answer here, but I think it depends. If you're confused and not understanding it from the video and you want to see it in text or you want to see someone else writing it out, I would look at the comments. But if you think you got J.Y.'s point in the video, I would then just move on.
I sort of view the comments as a last resort. If I needed it in text, because for some reason it wasn't computing, you know, in an auditory sense or if I just didn't think his explanation was making as much sense to me, and for some reason I wanted to see an alternate, I would look at the comments. But if you don't feel the need for that, then yeah, I'd move on.
Thank you so much.
Good luck, Alice. Hey, (new speaker).
Hi, thank you for calling on me. I, too, have a reading comprehension question. My question is about building endurance on reading comprehension passages, especially now that it seems that the latest Flex exams are featuring two RC passages. So I find that anytime I get to the end of a passage, I'm completely brain dead, can't keep up with the details.
So, Brittany, you had mentioned the types of outside reading that you did to practice. Do you guys have any other tips for reading accurately over the long term?
Yeah, I can touch upon that. So, one of the things that you really have to make sure is you have to tell yourself, I don't care if you're reading about why grass is green, you have to tell yourself that this is the coolest reading that you've ever seen in your life, and it's going to be like the most important thing, like five years from now. That's what I tell myself. I tell myself that whatever I'm reading is the best thing in the world. And that kind of keeps you in the focus mode.
Another thing is in 7Sage, we'll talk about this, is writing low-resolution summaries. Those are just so that you make sure you're understanding what is going on in each paragraph, but also it's a really good way to kind of build the narrative of what you just read. Like, okay, paragraph one said this, paragraph two said this, paragraph three said this, let me build a narrative. That kind of keeps you focused and you remember what's going on.
And then another thing, like you said, that your endurance is a little bit low. Maybe you should find yourself reading more books like outside of the LSAT, and really reading for a longer period of time, being like, okay, what did I just read? And then maybe another idea for you would be add another, sounds like torture, I'm really sorry, but maybe add another passage, like after a section, other reading comprehension, just to build up that endurance. I know it's rough and I've been there, but I hope that kind of makes it a little bit better.
Yeah, definitely. Whatever it takes. Thank you.
It's like running with weights on your feet.
Yeah, you just gotta practice.
And also a bit on that, anyone who's working on endurance issues on any of the sections, put together a Frankentest, as I like to say. In other words, put together a version of the test that has not just two, let's put in three RC sections. Put them all in a row and don't use brand new ones. Use RC sections from prep tests that you took a month ago or something, and put them together. And if you can train yourself to handle a three-RC section plus the rest of the test, when you actually get to the real thing and have two of them, you won't even find it that stressful.
Yeah. What Scott is saying sounds like literal torture, but it will be so worth it. Don't they say like beauty takes pain?
Yeah. Beauty takes pain.
Alright, well, good luck. Let's call on Thomas.
Hi, how are you? Thank you guys so much. I had a question about a specific question type. I guess like general tips of approach or whatever, specifically the ones on logic games that'll ask you about a rule being substituted. Like if this rule is substituted for one of these answer choices, which would serve the same function? I'm not sure if you have any general tips or whatever.
You're asking about substitution equivalence questions, right?
Okay. Those are hard. I think you should definitely watch the video in core curriculum on that. But I think the general thing I would suggest is twofold, without getting too detailed on this. The first thing would just be that's a question that often I think is going to be one of the hardest or the hardest in that LG section.
I actually would always skip that my first pass-through and just come back to it at the end of the section. Because that's a real time sink. I think of that as a luxury question, right? That's a question that might cost you four or five minutes, and you very well could still miss it. But I would always come back to that at the end.
But in terms of how you actually go about doing it, I think the key thing is just thinking about, do they accidentally backdoor in new worlds that are not supposed to be there, or do they knock out allowed worlds? I would go through every choice and ask myself those two questions. Does this rule add a new world that it's not supposed to, or does this rule knock out a world that is supposed to be there?
And I think the second one is easier to see, because you can just look at your boards from the other questions that you've drawn up and think, oh, this world that exists here, would that be allowed by this rule? It's this choice. So I think it's ask yourself those two questions for every choice methodically and you'll eventually get it.
Yeah, and I'd say too, this is a type of problem where the power of educated guessing definitely comes in. As Raphael was saying, these take a lot of time and, you know, you can get a 180 on the LSAT and miss one or two questions on many tests.
These are kind of a time sink and a lot of the LSAT is time management. Often, if you get to a place where you're saying, okay, I don't have enough time on this test to completely determine this, you can often rule out at least a couple of answers as being, okay, I know this isn't the same thing. I know this won't be the same.
And honestly, if you can get down to two and you can guess in an educated way, it's a 50% chance of getting it right. That sounds funny. That's not how a lot of tests in the world work, but on the LSAT, time management is so much, and so sometimes that's going to be the way to do it. And don't feel bad about skipping it. If it's really hard, I'll still skip those sometimes. They're crazy.
All right. Well, good luck, Thomas, and good luck everyone. I just want to say, you know, the LSAT is such a world when you're studying for it, and I think it is really easy to beat yourself up and to feel like everybody is better at this test than you are, and to feel just really down about how you're doing. I very, very vividly remember feeling that way when I was taking the test.
So let me just leave you with this: be kind to yourself and be patient with yourself. You know, it takes a lot of time, and however much time you think it's gonna take, it's probably gonna take more. So just be patient, hang in there. If you're putting in the work, if you're sweating, if you are pushing yourself and you're studying in a smart way, you will improve, you will get there. So just hang in there, everyone, and good luck on this test.
And real quick, David, there are a lot of people asking if we take clients and if so, how can they get in touch with us? Did you want to address that?
Yeah, so I just sent a link to the chat window. I'll post it in the forum as well. We are accepting clients right now. You can work with any of these lovely tutors and we have even more who are just as incredible and dynamic as these four. So, if you have any questions about it, just get in touch with me. You can email email@example.com and I will be happy to answer your questions, and we'd love to work with you.
All right, bye, everyone. And thank you, panelists. You were great.
Hey, it's J Y again. Thanks for listening, and I hope you got some good advice that you can implement in your own studies. If you are thinking about working with a tutor, get in touch. We'll do a free consultation. You can reach us on 7Sage.com.
That's it for this episode. Take care of yourself, and see you next time.
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