Henry: The single biggest mistake that I see people make in terms of timing is not being confident enough in the answers that they've eliminated. If you've narrowed down a question to maybe your final answer, maybe two answer choices, and then you start going back because, you know, you don't feel great about it and you start uneliminating answer choices, you've lost the mental war with yourself.
J.Y.: 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 LSAT, and much more. So, without further ado, here's the webinar.
David: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our webinar. If you don't know me, I'm David. I'm a partner at 7Sage, and I'm really pleased to host three of our LSAT tutors to talk about timing and pacing on the LSAT. But before we dive in, I would love it if you three could introduce yourself.
Aastha: I'll start. Hey you guys, my name's Aastha Sinha. Outside of being a tutor here at 7Sage, I work in a public defender's office in Florida, and I'm really excited to talk to you guys about a super exciting thing called the LSAT.
David: You say that with sarcasm. But I know you actually, you're actually excited about the LSAT.
Charlie: We do love the LSAT. My name is Charlie, and I'm also a tutor here at 7Sage. I am a part-time English teacher, and then I also tutor with 7Sage. And I originally set out to be a tutor after seeing the score increases that I was able to get on my LSAT due to 7Sage's products. So here I am and I love the LSAT, and I'm ready to talk about timing.
Henry: All right, and hello, everyone. My name is Henry. I'm also a tutor here at 7Sage. I am an engineer for work outside of just being a tutor, but I love teaching people and I love teaching the LSAT especially, because this is a fun little test where you can really improve your score if you know what to do.
David: Henry, I didn't know you were an engineer actually. What do you engineer?
Henry: Right now I'm working in the oil and gas industry, but it's more on the carbon management side. So it's a lot of talk about trying to take the oil and gas industry carbon neutral. Really interesting stuff at the moment.
David: Good for you. That sounds almost as important as what you do at 7Sage.
Henry: Almost as important as helping people get those sweet, sweet score increases.
David: So we're going to start with a panel discussion, but I'm going to leave plenty of time for your questions at the end. And after the webinar, we will pick one lucky attendee by lottery for a free hour of tutoring. So let's dive in.
Henry, Aastha, Charlie, when you start studying for the LSAT, it's like assumptions, conclusions, grouping games with a twist, oh my! You know, you're just focusing on the material and if you're taking any questions, you're probably taking them untimed. So my first question is, how do you know when to get the clock involved? When should you start taking timed sections or timed PTs? I'll throw that first to Charlie. Why not?
Charlie: I would say the short answer is it depends. Most people, I think on average, start doing timed PTs way ahead of when they really should. I'm definitely a believer in the idea that PTs are not necessarily the most helpful super early on. And speaking from my personal experience, I would say maybe a couple of months before you start doing things under time constraints.
Definitely, if we're operating under the assumption that studying for the LSAT is going to be at least, you know, a five, six plus month process, my assumption going in for my first take was that I was going to do three months and then be done forever. So in week two, I was like, okay, let's start doing timed stuff, and that was a hundred percent wrong. So I would say probably a couple of months.
David: Okay, so one thing I'm hearing is maybe later than you would think. But let me phrase the question slightly differently for you, Aastha, and you, Henry. Is there a way to gauge your readiness for the timed sections or do you advocate, you know, doing some timed practice right from the very beginning?
Aastha: I'm going to take this one first, Henry, if that's all right. I think the most important thing is being comfortable with the material before going into timed sessions. Like if you're using 7Sage, for example, like getting through the core curriculum, in my opinion, you know, before you start doing full-length timed PTs, because in my eyes, there's really no point in putting yourself under a time constraint if you don't know what you're doing.
So once you feel comfortable with the material, once there aren't any major gaps in your understanding of the material on the LSAT, if you simply do not know how to do a certain type of game, or you always go minus zero on science passages because you just don't know how to do them, maybe then is not the time to start putting yourself under the clock.
So to get comfortable with the material, and also like Charlie said, it really is later than you think. If you're under a time crunch because of when your LSAT is, maybe do a mix of both, but if you can afford giving yourself a lot more time to learn the material, I think that's always beneficial.
David: Any thoughts, Henry?
Henry: Yeah, so I don't want to be the contrarian here, but I took the LSAT twice. Both of them were under, you know, a bit of time constraint. The first I studied for a month or two, the second one I studied for about four months. And I believe that once you've at least seen every question type in theory, once you've seen every type of game, once you've seen the different types of reading passages, the comparative and everything, I like to go ahead and start taking timed tests.
You know, there's a reason why everyone talks about their diagnostic LSAT and that's because it was the first time that they ever had to take the test under real conditions, and I think it's important to know what that feels like before the rest of your studying.
Absolutely, I agree that a mix of timed practice and untimed practice is important. I think you've got to be, you know, foolproofing your games. You've got to be doing your logical reasoning drills to make sure that you really understand the questions, but I personally am an advocate for starting your timed practice early, and at least, you know, doing a couple of timed sections a week, making sure that you don't get too used to not being under a time constraint. Beause, you know, the LSAT, it's about confidence and it's about speed as much as it is about knowing how to take the test.
David: All right. Well, let me lob a question that's so broad, it's either stupid or brilliant, and I want all of you to answer. We'll just go clockwise, according to my own Zoom gallery. So that's Aastha, Henry, Charlie. How do you get faster?
Aastha: Not the most important question of them all. I wish there was like a very simple answer. You drink two cups of orange juice every day, and then you get faster on the LSAT. That doesn't exist. Obviously, practice is super important to get faster. But one thing I will say, specifically for RC at least, is that you don't have to understand every single word of everything that you ever read on the LSAT to get through the section.
Obviously, it's nice to, like, recognize every word that you ever see, but you don't have to do that. You don't have to grasp every detail to just get through the question, to look at the answer choices, pick the right one, and move on. And another thing that I would say that really helped me at least to get faster is being a lot more confident in my abilities and how much I've studied, and eliminating answer choices with that same confidence.
I have, like, a tiny little story of a client I had recently. We would go over questions and he'd make this face every time he saw an answer choice he didn't like, and I called it his "getting cut off in traffic" face, because he looked disgusted by the answer choice. He knew it was wrong and he'd sit there and he'd talk to me about it, like, is this wrong? Is it right? I don't know.
And it's like, dude, you got it. Like, you absolutely know this answer choice is wrong. Trust your gut, stop wasting time on it, and move on. And I think that's one of the most important things to get faster, is just trusting that. You've been studying, you've been working hard, you know the test, you can eliminate an answer choice, you can pick an answer choice, and you can keep it going. Those are my thoughts.
David: Yeah, I'll just jump in for a second. I think that, like when you study a lot, you learn how to calibrate your intuition, because when you start, sometimes your intuition is dead wrong. A lot of answers are actually designed to trap you by appealing to your intuitions.
But at some point you get good enough to sort of intuit the right answer or at least intuit wrong answers, even if you don't know exactly why, and it's really important to recognize when you yourself have sort of learned how to do that. Henry?
Henry: So I think one of the really important things is setting clear time and goals for yourself in each section, and making sure that you are making yourself meet those through timed practice. One of the big things that I always say is on logical reasoning, I want my students spending 15 minutes on the first 15 questions, you know, because those are going to be the easiest questions on the test.
You know, for better or for worse, they might feel hard in the moment, but those are going to be the easiest questions on the test, and I want you getting through those quickly and I want you getting them all right. So that then, for those last 10 or 11 questions in the section, you've got 20 minutes left. Who cares how hard they are? Who cares how long the question stem is? You know, you can get through them because you've set yourself a clear timing goal, and you've met it.
And the same goes for logic games. You know, if you want to be finishing the logic game section with minus zero, minus one every time, I want you taking single games, and if you don't finish the game and, you know, five minutes, eight minutes, however long you're supposed to, I want you foolproofing that game, even if you're getting every single question right, because the time constraint is just as important.
Charlie: Yeah, so kind of piggybacking off of what Henry just said, the checkpoints are super important because if you're getting to the last RC passage and there's five or six minutes to go, a lot of times that's going to be the hardest passage and you're also going to be panicking because a lot of times there's going to be a snowball effect and it's normally not good.
Now, another thing that I assume we'll end up talking about it a little bit is the art of skipping can be a really great thing with timing. Even people that score really high have questions where you fall almost into a little state of paralysis, where you're going back and forth between two answer choices and you're just not sure.
And that can kind of have a snowball effect as well, where you start questioning yourself, having this, like, erosion of confidence, and now all of a sudden you're panicking on the question, you're going back and forth, you don't know what's what. Before it gets to that point, just move on and come back to it.
Especially, like, I'm thinking of logical reasoning right now, the questions in the late teens and twenties, I think towards the end of my study, I would almost never do those straight through because there would be one that would have some crazy stimulus and it would freak me out and I'd have to come back.
You know, because if I could stay there and do, you know, three or so minutes on it and then maybe still get it wrong. So I just found that skipping and coming back was a really good way to preserve time, and that worked for me really well.
David: Let's stay on that for a second. Charlie, how do you know when you should skip a question? I mean, you start doing it and then you realize it's hard? You just look at the size of the stimulus?
Charlie: For me, it would just be a feeling I would get. I think you kind of just have to gauge your level of comfort with the question. And if you get to a point, I'm just going to say for sake of this, like a minute, minute and a half into working the question, where you realize that you're between two choices and you're not really getting any new info and you're just kind of going back and forth, at that point, I think people benefit from going away from it and then coming back and getting a second read.
So I think the point where you feel like you're not getting any more new info, like you're not seeing anything new in the stimulus, you're just kind of at, like, a dead spot. And maybe that's at a minute, maybe a minute and a half. Definitely, you know, move on before it hits three or something like that, I would say. But yeah, it's just a feel thing for me at least.
David: Aastha, Henry. What do you tell your clients about skipping strategies?
Aastha: I personally am very liberal about skipping. When I get to the end of an LR section, I've usually skipped about, like, maybe a little under half of the questions in this section. What I tell my clients at least is that if you read the questions down, you read the stimulus, you read all the answers choices, and you really just don't know what's going on, like you just don't have an idea of where to start eliminating, you don't really understand the stimulus very well, at that point, I say, skip it, move on, leave it completely blank.
And then my second strategy is that if you look at a question, you're able to eliminate, like, maybe one or two answer choices, you kind of, sort of understand what you're supposed to do, but you can't quite nail it, I would bookmark that question. Still keep the ones that you've eliminated eliminated, and then come back to it at the end.
And when they're coming back to skipped questions, I always say, start with the ones you've bookmarked, the ones that you have already made a little bit of leeway on, or like a little bit of progress on, and then go to the questions that you skipped entirely.
And just to second what Charlie said, I always tell my clients that if you are spending more than a minute 15 on round one on a question, you should not be. Unless it's like a particularly super long, strange question, you really should not be spending that much time round one, because you want to get the questions that you're going to get right and you're going to get right fast, first. You can always come back to those time sinks. Those are my two general rule of thumbs.
David: I think the reason skipping can feel scary and wrong is that if you have spent a minute and 15 seconds on a question, like you've made an initial investment, and I know that like, that's time you've already spent, you can never get it back no matter what. But if you skip it and come back, you do have to sort of reinvest. You have to reacquaint. You're almost certainly going to have to reread the stimulus at the very least and think about it again.
So, I don't know. Talk to me about that, Henry. Is that a concern, that you sort of have to start over on the question once you skip it?
Henry: You know, first, I want to point out what you said a second ago, that you have made the initial investment on that question. And one thing that's important for us to remember is the sunk cost fallacy. Staying there and spending three or four minutes on that question, at some point, we reach a point where it doesn't matter if you get the question right anymore.
You've taken so much time away from other questions that you're certainly going to be under a time crunch later. You're going to be stressed out and you have a much better chance of missing those questions later on, especially as you get deeper and deeper into the harder questions in the section.
I also want to say each section is only 35 minutes long. Maybe it's twice that if you have accommodations or something, but it's short enough that you're not going to completely forget the question. You may come back and have to reread the stimulus just to refresh yourself, but I think you need to have the confidence in yourself that you can come back and you can look at the two answer choices left that you haven't marked out yet, and you can make the right decision.
But I think the most important thing to remember is we can't fall for that sunk cost fallacy. It doesn't matter if you've already spent a minute on it. What you're doing once you've gotten past a minute or a minute and a half is you're taking time away from yourself.
David: Okay, so the most important reason to skip is that you're just protecting yourself from being in a major time crunch for the entire rest of the section. And the second thing it's doing, and it sounds like Charlie and Aastha at least were getting at this, sometimes you may have new insight into the question when you come back to it, even if you're only coming back like five minutes later.
Well, how much time is too long for a question? Henry, you told me that you like your clients to do the first 15 questions in 15 minutes, but surely you don't only give them one skimpy minute per question. So how much time is too much?
Henry: On any one given question, I think the cutoff time, especially in those first 15 questions where I'm trying to get them to get through the easiest questions on the test as fast as possible, I don't want them spending more than a minute and a half.
You know, there are going to be easier questions and there are going to be harder questions. There are going to be questions that they spend less than a minute on, that they spend 40, 50 seconds on, and that does give you some wiggle room. If you have a longer stimulus, if you have longer answer choices, you can spend a minute and a half on it. But really, once you're hitting two minutes, once you're over two minutes, you are taking time away from yourself.
And again, there's a reason that I have this 15 questions in 15 minutes rule. It's so that when I get to those last 10 questions that I know are going to be longer, and I know are going to be harder at the end, I've already banked myself two minutes a question there.
David: How do you use your time, Aastha or Charlie, if you end up finishing the section early?
Charlie: So I would have, I think I originally got this from the core curriculum, I don't remember where I picked it up, but this kind of way of gauging my level of uncertainty with any given question. So let's say I went through LR and I finished. There's three minutes left, which, that would be lucky. And normally I wouldn't have about three. It'd be like one.
But if I had two or three minutes, let's say I had starred four or five questions that I was uncertain about. I would try and go back and spend 30 seconds on each and just make sure that I felt good about what I picked. Early in my study, I would try and go back from the beginning and just review everything and make sure that I didn't make any simple mistakes.
But I found as time went on, the little review time that I would have sometimes was normally best served going back to those questions that I was not fully certain on. I mean, just making sure I felt good about those. But there is a trap that you can fall into, you know, where you look at it again and you start questioning yourself.
So you have to go into it relatively confidently, because I've had a few practice tests where I, I think, lowered my score during my little two-, three-minute review time. So there's definitely a right and wrong way to do it. But I would say looking at questions that you are not fully sure about is what I like to do.
Aastha: Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. Like I just mentioned, my strategy usually when I get to the end of the section is I usually have plenty of time because I've skipped so many questions throughout. So I answer the ones that I bookmarked, because I was able to make a little bit of progress on them, go back to the ones that I had skipped completely.
And then if, after all of that, I still have time, I will usually go back to questions that I wasn't able to eliminate all of the answer choices before picking the one I thought was the right one. And like Charlie says, it's very easy to change your answer at the last minute to a wrong answer.
So usually what I do is I spend my time if I have 30, 40 seconds for these questions is trying to figure out why I can eliminate that answer choice that I hadn't beforehand, the one other than the answer that I chose. And usually I'm able to talk myself into a good reason to eliminate that one, just so I feel more confident in the answer I chose.
But especially later on in my studying, I really had to stop myself from changing answers at the very last minute, because 9 times out of 10, I would shoot myself in the foot and pick the wrong answer. In my opinion, those last couple minutes should just be a confidence-boosting, feeling-sure-about-the-answers-you-picked time period.
David: That's interesting that you have to protect yourself from yourself.
Let's talk about specific sections. Aastha, I believe you are in the reading comp special operations task force.
Aastha: I am, I am.
David: Have you noticed any bad habits that just commonly suck up a lot of time?
Aastha: There are a couple of them. Number one, I think, is one that I have to stop both myself and some of my clients from doing is overannotating. Like, I've had people write like full sentences for each paragraph that they've read, you know, on a piece of paper. That's a huge time sink when you're trying to get through the passage.
Or overhighlighting things, because not only does that take time as you're reading the passage, but then when you're trying to go back to the passage to find information, you're not going to be able to find it if your whole screen is bright yellow, or if you've got, like, a bunch of words everywhere. That's the number one thing I would say, is don't overannotate. If you're going to do the low-resolution summaries on paper, write a couple of words and that's it.
And then my second biggest thing, and I've touched on this a little bit, is people getting stuck on a sentence or a word that they don't understand. Especially I find this with science passages, where, you know, I'm not some bio nerd, like, I don't understand quantum physics when I get through these passages. And the great thing is I don't need to, I don't need to be like this big rocket scientist to get through these passages.
So I think understanding that, you know, if there was a word or a sentence or a concept you don't understand, that's okay. And you don't have to sit there and freeze up because you don't know how to get through the passage. You know enough, you understand how to read a reading passage that those things won't end up mattering.
And then my last biggest thing for time sinks, I would say, is if you are skipping a question in a passage during RC, I've seen people go back and spend four or five minutes at the end of that passage trying to answer that question. In my opinion, time is way better spent moving on to the rest of the passages so that you're not sinking much time in, like, the first passage, trying to answer this one question, and you haven't even looked at the rest of the test yet. But those are my big three, I would say.
David: Henry, do you have any rules for reading comp akin to your 15 questions in 15 minutes rule, or just any other strategies for reading comp specifically?
Henry: For reading comprehension, one thing that I've noticed people getting slowed down on a lot is the comparative passages. And that was something that I had a very difficult time with when I was first studying for the LSAT. And I think the single most important thing that you can get out of 7Sage's curriculum specifically is reading the first passage, going through the questions, reading the second passage, going through the questions.
I see people make the colossal mistake all the time of trying to read both passages and then remember in their heads, try to parse out, okay, what happened in the first passage? What happened in the second passage? Did I see this word here or here?
I think that is the single biggest thing I have for reading comprehension, because the comparative passages can be a huge time sink. They can take up so much of your time. Forget about losing time and being stressed out later. You'll be stressed out then trying to remember what you read in those passages, you know.
David: Yeah. Charlie, I'd love to hear if you have any tips on RC in particular, and if not, I'd love to switch gears and talk about logic games.
Charlie: Yeah, I was actually thinking about the comparative passage thing too, Henry. The first few practice tests I took early on, it is really too much to hold in your head without reading one of them first and then trying to eliminate. But I think they've both covered most of what I believe about RC.
For LG, I have a similar rule to Henry's for LR, which is to try and leave at least 10 minutes each for the last two games. So 15 minutes through the first two, and then you've got 20 minutes left for the last two games. So if you can get those first two games done in about an average of seven and a half minutes each, that leaves you 10 for the last two.
Sometimes if the first game is just a simple ordering game with seven or so elements, you could even do that in like six, if you've gotten really good in them. That always made me feel better because that way you can get to the third or fourth, and if it's the infamous computer virus game or some of those games that are just like, man, who came up with this and why are they torturing us?
If it's one of those, you can have enough time to sit back, figure out how am I going to do my setup, and stuff like that. Because odds are, I don't know if it's 50% or more, but there is a chance that there will be a game that you're not quite sure how to set up. And so you want to leave enough time to where that does not freak you out. And if you're coming into game four and you've got six minutes, it's going to be tough to get that done in time.
And so, you know, you have to know when you're getting too caught up on game one and game two. And a big part of that is just the repetition of doing those simple ordering and grouping games over and over and over and over. LG is really so easy to improve because a lot of it does come down to repetition. So that's one that you can just hammer every day and slowly and slowly get better.
David: And do you recommend practicing a full timed section of LG every day, or just one game, or what? I guess it depends where you are on your studying.
Charlie: Yeah. Towards the end of my studying, I was doing, because I had realized that LG was either going to make or break my score because my other sections had pretty much reached what I felt like was their peak, so I was doing a full LG about every other day, but I would say early on, at least some sort of drilling or something, probably not a full section every day now, but just working on those weak spots and getting fully comfortable with all the different games.
David: We're going to open it up to questions soon, but I want to ask all of you tutors two more rounds of questions. First, single biggest mistake that we haven't covered yet. And if it's something that we already have covered, then we can just move on.
Henry: I've got one. The single biggest mistake that I see people make in terms of timing is not being confident enough in the answers that they've eliminated. If you've narrowed down a question to maybe your final answer, maybe two answer choices, and then you start going back because you know, you don't feel great about it, and you start uneliminating answer choices, you've lost the mental war with yourself.
You can't second-guess yourself on this test. You only have a limited amount of time, and as much as we talk about strategy, knowing how to take the test, working on your timing, confidence is just as important because confidence is a lot of what is going to get you there.
And if you have read a question and you've pre-phrased the answer in your head and you see that answer exactly the way you've pre-phrased it, I want you choosing that and moving on. If you've eliminated four answer choices, I don't want you going back and deciding, you know, maybe one of them looks okay to me after all. It's I want you confident on this test.
David: That's great. What about the single biggest thing you can do to improve or get faster that we haven't covered yet? Aastha or Charlie?
Aastha: Well, we kind of already touched on it, right? Practice is the most important thing ever, and I really want to second what Henry said about confidence. That is, in my opinion, like the number one thing that's going to get you moving through this test is just being sure of yourself and all your preparation.
One thing that I will say is timing is never something that you should take for granted necessarily. Like, you know, you've had a couple of good tests, you're doing really well with timing, something that you still need to be working on, there's always a risk of you finding yourself spending four or five minutes on a question.
And one thing that I would recommend kind of later on in your studying when you're just trying to fine-tune things is potentially taking drills of 90% time or 80% time, like trying to get yourself comfortable with doing things even faster than you need to, if you feel like you've reached a point of like, oh, I'm good. Like, I never run out of time. I'm totally fine.
You know, keep challenging yourself, drilling a little bit more, because time, especially on the day of, nerves happen, maybe you have computer issues. Like, a lot of things could happen. You want to feel rock solid in your timing by the time you go into test day.
David: I just want to say that we really like to hear your voices, so if you have a question and you're willing to ask it out loud, please raise your hand. We're going to call on people before we look in the chat window or the Q&A box. Charlie, any last pieces of advice?
Charlie: I think just reiterating again the confidence piece, because that is such a big thing. I've already talked about it a little bit, but I think for me, the biggest mistake that I see relating to timing is the paralysis with skipping and just getting stopped up on a question, which we've kind of already covered. But it's so common and it's something that I myself would fall into even later on in my studies, because it's so easy to get into that place of just being uncertain.
And so you have to be really vigilant about kind of having like an internal clock and saying, "Okay, it's time to go. We've got to do other questions." I mean, they're all worth the exact same amount of points. And that was something I had to tell myself multiple times, because, you know, you don't get a bonus for getting the really hard LR question that was a five-star curve breaker that no one else got right. We still got a point.
David: They're all worth the same amount of points. All right, let's take questions. Hailey.
New Speaker: Okay, perfect. So my question is, I'm sure like most people, I work full-time and I'm studying, so sometimes it's difficult to juggle the two and I don't necessarily know how much time to allot to studying, because I will, you know, get in that rhythm where I'm like, I have to study this many hours on this specific day for this many days of the week. And then you kind of get burnt out or frustrated when you don't meet that goal. So what would you suggest on, you know, balancing work and studying?
Aastha: I have some thoughts on this. Yeah, I think the number one thing I would advise is that you're going to do yourself a huge favor if you study consistently over studying sporadically. You know, like, it's all great to spend eight hours on a Saturday and then never look at the LSAT again for the rest of the week, but that's not going to get you as far as spending one, two, maybe three hours every other weeknight, and then, you know, a larger study session on the weekends, and you're doing that consistently.
I also will say, you know, working full-time and studying for the LSAT, burnout is very common. I don't think anybody is immune to burnout, no matter how dedicated or diligent you think that you are, right? Like, you will burn out if you do too much.
And so I think having days of the week, or like at least a Friday or a Sunday that you sit back and you don't think about the test and, you know, you live your life as a normal functioning human being, and go out to brunch with your friends, and still continue outside of the LSAT is super important.
But I think that whether you're a morning person or an evening person, blocking out some time in your day that you know you will be distraction-free, you can just sit down, you can study, doing that consistently is the most important thing, as opposed to, you know, staying up till 2:00 AM every day trying to study, and then you get three months in and you never want to look at the thing again. Those are my two cents.
David: Alright. I hope that helps, Hailey.
New Speaker: Yes, it does. Thank you.
David: All right. Well, good luck. Aubrey.
New Speaker: Hi, my question is for Charlie because I ran into some logic games timing issues my first take, and I'm really trying to avoid those again. So when you said to get through the first two games in 15 minutes, and then, say, 20 for the second two, are you suggesting to go in order, exactly game 1, 2, 3, 4, or to glance at the games and gauge your attack from there?
Charlie: I'm only speaking from my experience, because I know some people like to go out of order. I found that for me, typically game 3 or 4 would be the hardest one. I know that there's probably some cases where that may not be true, but for me, by the time I've looked at all four and decided which one was the easiest, I've already burned up at least 30 seconds probably. So I would just dive in with game 1 and I would say more times than not, game 1 is pretty easy.
So for me, I advise people to just go straight through and don't bounce around. Now, if you see a game and you're absolutely stumped, and you're going to fall into that kind of state of paralysis, then you can move on to another one. But I typically don't recommend bouncing around. Some people may have other ideas, but for me, I found that it was typically best to go straight on through.
New Speaker: Okay, thank you. I prefer to go straight through as well.
Charlie: Yeah, if that's what you prefer and that's what you're comfortable with, I wouldn't stray from it, unless you have a really good reason to, you know, like if game 2 is the computer virus game that I talked about, then definitely skip that, or one of those crazy ones. But most of the time I would recommend going straight through.
New Speaker: All right, thank you.
Charlie: You're welcome.
David: Good luck, Aubrey. Ed, you can ask your question.
New Speaker: Hello, my question is about a logic game. So this is for Mr. Charlie. I'm just starting off in the logic game section in the core curriculum, and my question is, doing the logic game, the issue that I'm having is being able to translate the rule into symbolic symbols, the first phase of it. So what I'm doing is just taking a bunch of questions, diagramming it, but timing myself to see how fast I can read it, and just translating the stimulus into symbols.
Now going to the question, what do you think about these approaches rather than timing down, but rather timing up, clocking yourself to see how fast you're able to diagram?
Charlie: I think that's a good approach, and if y'all have anything to add, feel free to jump in. That sounds like a good approach, you know, just some of those drills, getting started with making sure you're comfortable with the rules. As you get more comfortable with that, you could start adding in some of those weirder rules and some of the conditionals and things like that.
I don't know exactly where you are right now and what things you're diagramming and all that. But I think in general, that sounds good. Logic games is really, out of all the sections, the one where repetition works the most.
So to me, it's just repetition over and over, drilling yourself, drilling yourself when you feel comfortable with the setups. Now you go to timed sections and seeing how the games are working out and just keep going. The foolproofing method really, really works, and that's something that I think we all can attest to for sure.
Aastha: One thing to add to that. I think that one thing that really helped me in my studying was I would take specific game types and I would drill like two or three of them at a time, just diagramming them. And once you do that enough with a certain game type, you're going to see that they all look pretty similar, right? You're doing pretty much the exact same thing for all of these questions.
And once you can kind of drill those patterns into your head, when you go to test day or go to take a full-length PT, you already kind of know what this is going to look like, and you're already familiar with the question type. And so I think that can be pretty helpful.
Henry: While we're on the topic of games, I also had one more thing that I wanted to add, and that's that your diagram, your game board that you build for yourself, that's by far the most important part of all of this. I never want you going back and reading the game rules that the LSAT writers have written for you. I want you creating that game board such that you can get through all of the questions just looking at that.
And in fact, you know, we're talking about foolproofing. A lot of people say, "Okay, well, you know, I didn't have too much trouble with this game. I'm not going to foolproof it." If you took too long on the game, I want you foolproofing it. If you've got any questions wrong, I want you foolproofing it. And if your game board didn't look like the one in J.Y.'s video, I want you foolproofing it.
David: All right. Well, good luck, Ed. I hope you got some good tips there. Alejandra, you can ask your question.
New Speaker: Yeah, I think it was a lot touched on, but I was just kind of wondering if it would benefit to skip around questions, because personally I enjoy and I think I got most just stuff like linear games or like the main point questions or like identifying sufficient and necessary conditions. But when it comes to grouping games or quantifiers, I get stuck on that.
So I was wondering if just trying to seek out the questions that I know I have more strength towards and doing those, and then if time allows and going back to the ones that, like, if I see that a setup is going to be a grouping, that I'm like, okay, I'd rather do the linear games because I know I'm going to get those points and not waste my time on the grouping games or such, if that was a thing, or that was just kind of like, don't do that because every question is important type of thing.
Henry: I think one thing you have to remember here is that you don't have to get every question on the LSAT right. Especially if you're aiming for a 160, a 165 on this test, you can skip an entire game and still be probably fine. You know what I mean? Still get your goal score.
So if you look at a game and you say, "Okay, I know this is hard. I know this is one that's going to be a big time sink for me," it's okay to jump around. Like Charlie was saying earlier, you know, almost invariably your first game is going to be the easiest one. You're going to want to do that first. But you don't have to do every game.
And even if, you know, you are doing every game, sometimes there are going to be question types like rule substitution on a game, that you don't have to get that question every time. You can skip the last question or two questions on a game and move on. And, you know, the same goes in LR. It's okay if you've spent a minute on a question, you've eliminated a couple of answer choices.
It's okay to skip around and come back to it with a fresh head or just after you had some time to give yourself a little more confidence by going and getting some other questions right. I think it's really crucial to remember you don't have to get every question right.
David: All right. I hope that helps, Alejandra. We're going to move on to Rihanna. You can ask your question.
New Speaker: Hello. Good evening, everyone. Reading comp is my strongest area. Would you all recommend that I practice on the weaker areas? I'm just two weeks into studying for the LSAT and reading comp is kind of a breeze. I have, like, some weak areas, but should I focus more on the logic games and the logic reasoning, or what should I do?
Aastha: I would say definitely focus on your weaknesses. You know, you're very early on in your studying, you know, get comfortable with LG, get comfortable with LR. But one thing I would say is don't neglect reading comp and make sure you're still throwing it into your study sessions. You know, maybe it's with a lot less frequency than your other two sections.
But one thing that I see a lot of people falling into is they'll have, you know, like games, I got games under control. Like I'm going to be totally fine. I always get minus zero. And then you just don't look at a game for three weeks. And then you go back to do it, and it's like, oh, not as strong as I used to be, because you've neglected it for so long. So definitely maybe put it at the bottom of your priority list, but I wouldn't say ignore it completely.
New Speaker: Great, thank you.
Charlie: And I would add too, a lot of times the scoring can kind of change throughout your study, especially with logic games. I don't know many people that start out good at logic games, at least I didn't. And so it may wind up that logic games ends up being your highest. So don't let your initial perceptions prevent you from really grinding it out on those ones that are the weak points.
Because they very well could end up being better than RC in the end, because I think RC tends to be the most difficult to improve. And with logic games being the easiest, it may very well pass RC at some point. So you never know how things will change during the course of your study.
David: Good luck. Okay, we're going to go on to Kennedy.
New Speaker: Hello.
David: Hi there.
New Speaker: I am taking the LSAT. It's kind of unexpected, but I decided to take the LSAT. It's my partner's inspiration I'm taking the LSAT, but I don't have much time to prepare. I did pretty good the first time I took it, although it was a practice test and I did go over time a little bit, but I was still able to do like the mid to high 150s, and I really just want to get to 160, 165.
As background, like I really do love standardized tests. I always have. So I don't think I have to worry about the confidence thing. I always just roll with it. You know, I'm not big on the consequences or whatever.
I just really want to know, if I have to study for this test in the course of like a month, you know, hypothetically, should I be looking at question types and trying to really like wade in there deep and understand all the different question types? Or should I just be taking back-to-back timed practice tests until this is like, you know, something that I have some kind of muscle memory? What do you suggest?
Henry: You definitely shouldn't just take back-to-back practice tests. That's one thing's for sure. You need to be drilling yourself on the material that you want to improve on in between those tests. And if you have a month to prepare, by far, the biggest return on your investment is going to be sinking time into logic games. There is a clear answer to every question if you can figure out how to diagram those right.
So what I would do if I were you, I would be practicing logic games every single day. I would be foolproofing games. I saw in the chat earlier, somebody asked what foolproofing was. I've used that word a couple of times now without explaining it.
Foolproofing is when you take a game, timed, and then you're going to go on the 7Sage website, you're going to watch J.Y.'s explanation of the game. And then afterwards, if you weren't absolutely perfect on it, you're going to take it again, and then you're going to take it again, and you're going to keep taking it until you've gotten it perfect.
And then the next day, you're going to do that again, and then you're going to set it aside for a week. You're going to let yourself forget about it a little bit, and you're going to revisit it after a week and make sure that you're still perfect on it. And if you do that, you're going to foolproof it. It's going to be foolproof and you're going to be able to do that game type every time.
So that's what I want you to be doing. That's what I would really recommend. The biggest bang for your buck is going to be trying to get your logic games up to a consistent, you know, I don't know where you're at specifically right now, but you know, aim for minus zero, minus one on logic games if you can.
David: All right. Well, good luck, Kennedy. Let's move on to Paris. You can ask your question.
New Speaker: I know you guys touched on, you know, get familiar with the questions and the question types, and then, you know, kind of Henry mentioned, you know, kind of get going with putting the timer on then. But what I feel like when I'm doing that, I still feel like I need to go slow to go fast.
What I'm trying to say is, what do you guys recommend, like, how should I do that? Like, not getting too comfortable with kind of taking my time, but also being mindful, hey, Paris, you know, you should pick up the pace. I don't know if there's a happy middle or even a magic answer to that.
Charlie: So this is kind of corny, but I grew up in a military family and they had this saying that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. And I cannot tell you how many times I heard that from my dad, but it really is true. So I think that the sweet spot, you may be right. I don't know if there's a perfect answer, but you know, let's just say for argument's sake, you're at a point where you can do RC in 45 minutes and you feel pretty good about that.
Try 43 minutes. See what that feels like. If it feels completely horrific, try 44. But just, over time, try to gradually get quicker and quicker. It does not need to be a rush. You can study and take your time, but gradually approaching that 35-minute timeframe, I think, and this was something that I did to myself at the beginning. People put kind of arbitrary limits on their study.
So when I first started, I was like, okay, I've got three months and then I'm going to be done. And then after three months I wasn't done. And so that was kind of not what I wanted, but if you wind up having to study for longer, but you get a better score, you know, to me that's well worth it. So I would try to gradually push towards that 35, but don't feel like you got to get there tomorrow. I don't know if that helped at all.
New Speaker: Thanks so much. I just feel like, you know, it's like a question 14 and then I'm, you know, I've read it and I'm like, okay, I have a partial understanding, and then I just, I don't know. I just want to speed up, but I just, I can't.
Henry: Don't forget about blind review, though. So, you know, you do these timed sections and you're going to feel like you're under a lot of time pressure, but then when you get to the end, you get to stop and breathe for a second, and you get to go through and do blind review and, you know, you don't know what the right answers are when you're doing blind review. You're just going through and you're making sure that you're a hundred percent confident of what you think the answer is on every question.
You know, I say I have these rules about finish each question in so many minutes and everything, but once you finish that section, you've got as much time as you want to develop as deep an understanding as you need on each of those questions when you're doing your blind review. I think it's really easy for a lot of people to say, oh no, you know, I just looked at those questions. I don't want to look at them again.
And you know, you can set them aside for, you know, an hour, a couple hours a day. But I think blind review is a really important tool for getting from where you are to where you can be in terms of timing on this test.
David: All right. I hope that was helpful, Paris. We've been talking this whole webinar about timing on a question or timing on a section. We haven't spoken about timing in terms of studying, but I think especially when it comes to the months that you'll spend studying for the LSAT, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
You just need to put in the time. There's no substitute for it. And it is going to take a long time before you see yourself improving. So patience, everyone. You will get there. Kevin, you can ask your question.
New Speaker: Hi, my question, I don't know if this is legal. I would like to ask two quick questions. Question number one is with respect to timing and RC. So sometimes I noticed that in the third passage, right around question, so this is after I read the passage, right around question, I'm guessing like 18, 19, 20, I'm running out of time.
Sometimes I'll have like five or six minutes, and I don't know whether I should skip and read the next passage and then try to come back because I've already read the third passage, or if I should just go ahead and finish the last couple of questions for the third passage and then move on to the fourth with maybe like four or five minutes left and try to rush it and then guess.
Or is it if I'm having a hard time with timing and RC, is it better to maybe focus on three? I've heard sometimes, you know, it's better to just focus on getting to three passages as opposed to trying to get all four and then your accuracy goes down.
And then my second question is with respect to LR, logical reasoning, and my question is what are you guys' thoughts on anticipating before jumping into the answer choices? Because I know J Y. has the target for each question, like sometimes like strengthening questions, I realize there's a million ways to strengthen this, or there's a million ways to weaken this, and I'm sitting here anticipating it and wasting 10 to 15 seconds, and then when I get into the answer choice, I'm like, obviously this. So what are your thoughts?
David: Special Operations Officer Aastha. Do you want to take the reading comp?
Aastha: You're going to need to get me like a badge or something that says that. I would say, to answer your question, it depends a lot on what your goal score is. You know, like Henry mentioned earlier, like you can get a certain score just by doing three passages. Like that's totally possible, especially if it improves your accuracy.
As far as you're sitting on a third passage, you know, you've done a couple of the questions, I personally recommend getting through those questions, as many of them as you can, on the passage that you've already read. If you've only got four or five minutes left to do the last passage, chances are you're not going to make too much progress on that. So I wouldn't, you know, give up the points that you're going to get on the third passage by trying to move on and rush it.
Now, ideally, what I would recommend doing is sitting down and figuring out where you're spending a lot of your time. Are you spending too long reading the passage? Are you spending too long on questions? And try to practice and speed up. You can get to that fourth passage.
But, you know, if you're taking the LSAT tomorrow or something, I would say, try to get as many of the questions that you can on the passage that you've already read, because you have no idea what's coming in that next passage. So low-hanging fruit, always, always, always.
David: All right. And then Henry or Charlie, we also had an illegal question about anticipating answer choices or pre-phrasing for LR.
Henry: You know, it's exactly what you said, Kevin. When you have something like a strengthen question, there are going to be a million ways to strengthen the argument. And that goes for a few different question types. You know, I think it's just about practicing each of the question types, doing the core curriculum, and knowing when you really want to be pre-phrasing and when there are a million different ways to do something.
And again, like I was mentioning earlier, if you read something, sometimes there's going to be an obvious pre-phrase, especially on, you know, maybe a flaw question or something, you can see right through the argument. You know what the flaw is. That's when you're going to be confident you're going to pick the answer choice.
But yeah, if it's something like strengthen or resolve reconcile explain where you've just got a couple of statements and you don't really know what's going to get thrown in there, you know, don't worry about it.
David: All right. I hope that helps, Kevin. Let's go to Sarah.
New Speaker: Hi. So I know J.Y. actually talks about this a lot, but basically he kind of talks about not getting tripped up because there's like a lot of trap questions that, you know, they know that people tend to think one way. So my question is, do you guys have any sections or question types that you feel like people tend to take for granted or it's kind of the least intuitive thing that it kind of takes people a little bit more time than they think to unlearn the bad habit that brings them into that trap, if that makes sense?
David: The answer might be no.
New Speaker: Okay.
Aastha: I'm trying to understand your question completely. So are there any question types that, that people are more likely to develop bad habits on? Is that the question?
New Speaker: Not necessarily. I guess, like question types that we might feel like, oh yeah, I already get that instinctively, or I kind of intuitively know how to do that. And then they spend less time on it because they feel like, whatever, I already got that in general, only to be shocked later that like, hey, actually, the way you normally think about something like that is kind of incorrect, so you need to spend some time kind of fixing how you think about this.
David: Sarah, I'll just jump in to plug 7Sage's analytics. I know I'm not answering your question, but it may actually sort of obviate this question because if you're doing PTs, you can check those assumptions. It is such a valuable tool for understanding where you should focus. And so if it happens that you are sort of taking a question type for granted, if it happens that you're overestimating your abilities on, you know, whatever, parallel flaw questions, you'll see it right in the analytics.
New Speaker: Thank you.
David: I hope that helps. We're going to go to Jess.
New Speaker: First and foremost, thank you all for doing this, really thankful for your time. My question is, so I think someone asked earlier, so I understand that some questions you can see the gap and anticipate and see that answer choice in the list of choices, and then select and move on. But what do we do when we find the list of choices and our gap is in the list, if that makes sense?
I feel like I tend to freak out because I forget the conclusion already and all this stuff. So kind of keeping my cool is something that I could really use your advice on and how to see a new gap and select a choice that can fill that.
Charlie: I think one thing is just, before you panic, before you do anything, go back and reread the stimulus. It could be that you missed one word or something was there the second time that you just missed the first time. A lot of times that second reread, for some reason, new things come up. So that would be the first thing.
And then just remembering that just because your choice wasn't there, that it doesn't necessarily mean you were wrong. I mean, there's a million different strengthening or weakening answers that they could put in there and they choose one. So just keeping in mind and not get too attached to the one that you pick ahead of time and kind of using it as a crutch, because it's very much possible that they could pick a different one, and it doesn't always mean you're wrong.
David: I hope that helps. We have time for only one more question, unfortunately. Melissa, you get the honor.
New Speaker: Thank you so much. I'm just wondering what strategies do you recommend for building stamina with RC section specifically? Like, do you suggest maybe sacrificing some unused PTs and doing timed RC sections with five passages instead of four or like two RC sections back to back without a break in between? Thanks.
Aastha: I can take this one. One thing that I have a lot of my clients do and something that I did too when I was studying is when I felt like I needed a little bit of extra practice on RC, I would do this five-day RC marathon, but on day one, I would do four passages that were a Level 1 difficulty, and then on day two, I do four that were Level 2, day three, Level 3, and so on and so on.
And by the fifth day I'm doing four Level 5 RC passages, but I've worked my way there. This doesn't have to be five consecutive days, but I would say, you know, upping the difficulty as you go, getting a strong foundation and kind of those easier RC passages.
And you don't have to take them from the eighties or the nineties. Take some from the fifties or from the sixties, some of those older tests. And I would recommend doing that just to kind of get your foundation strong, build up confidence as you go. And then that last day, those four Level 5 passages, that will really test your stamina at RC.
David: All right. Well, thanks, Melissa. And thank you for everybody who came. I'm really sorry that we couldn't get to everybody's questions, but if you want to post them in the forum on this discussion post, I'll ask our tutors to take a look.
And, of course, if you want to work with our tutors, you can go right to 7Sage.com/lsat-tutoring. I wish all of you good luck. I know studying for the LSAT is super stressful, so remember what Aastha said about staying sane. Give yourself some breaks. Don't be too hard on yourself. You know, it just takes a long time to improve, but you will get there. So hang in there and good luck. Thanks for coming.
J.Y.: 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.