161

Having finished both of my PowerScore books, it was time to take a new preptest. I took preptest B out of my first book and ended up with a 161, which is a pretty good improvement over my initial diagnostic score of 156. It’s not stellar and it won’t get me what I need, but it’s a great start. If I can continue with this progress, I should be doing ok by December (or February if I’m a weenie).

As I checked the answers, I made sure to mark what I need to look up in my PowerScore books. Ideally, this will help me improve on those types of questions. I did feel good that even though I wasn’t able to come up with the right answers I was able to identify the question types. This seems to be a step in a positive direction.

The logic games are going well now and I’ve even started to look forward to them. What I’m frustrated with now is the reading comprehension. Even though reading is my thing, I haven’t read in this way or for this purpose in a long time and it’s more challenging than I expected. It’s been difficult to get into that sort of analysis. Hopefully I can pick up on it. I need that section to go well to compensate for the logical reasoning one, which I still don’t have a lot of faith in.

Finished Logical Reasoning

I finished the Powerscore Logical Reasoning book on Monday.

I feel a little better about those sections now, but I still don’t feel like I’ve come as far after reading this book as I did after reading the analytical reading book. I’m still missing these questions and not always certain why I’m getting them wrong. Honestly, I’m not always certain why I’m getting the right.

But I’m done with that book, and after as dense as that book was, I’m just glad to be to this point. The last few chapters are really short, so it was too easy for me to get eager to be done when I was into the last quarter of it. I could see the end in sight and I pushed to get there. I was tired of it and ready to start doing practice tests. The practice tests will allow me to quantitatively measure my progress and see real, solid improvement (or lack thereof), whereas the book wasn’t giving me that sense of accomplishment.

Now I’m ready to tackle the rest of the preptests in the first book I bought and then push through to the 10 Actual, Real LSATs book I bought over Mother’s Day.

Panic

I’ve reached a point now where I’m starting to get more and more questions right per “game.” There have been a few games now that I’ve scored perfectly on, and several others where I’ve missed only one or two.

The ones I fail miserably at, though, are standing out most in my mind. There’s celebration when I “win,” but it’s nothing compared to the panic when I “lose.”

I’m seized immediately by fear that I’m too stupid for this. That I’m wasting not only my time, but my family’s time as well. All the time and energy I’m putting into this project is time and energy I am necessarily not spending with them. That little voice in the back of my mind nags that I’m a selfish fool, so If I’m going to do this, I had better do it well. “Failures” like this make me doubt that I can.

It’s ridiculous, I know, that such small failures (if they can even really be called that) cause me such dramatic doubt, but they do. I’m horribly insecure about my intellect. I’ve been a slightly-above-mediocre student my whole life (top half of everything except math and gym), though I’ve always known that if I had put in more effort I could’ve been a top student.

Or so I’ve always let myself believe. I don’t think I ever didn’t really try that hard because I was afraid that if I tried and failed it would prove I really was as mediocre as my actual performance indicated, but that I didn’t put in the extra effort because I am lazy. I will admit that: I am lazy, and it more than likely is the root of my mediocrity.

But what if I’m wrong about that? WHAT IF I’m not mediocre because I’m lazy, but because I really am mediocre or less?

So I’m nervous for that reason (in addition to others) about this whole endeavor, and any setback feeds that insecurity. When I “fail” I feel like I’m “caught” pretending to be something I’m not, where the thing I am not is “smart” and the thing I’m “caught” at is being “stupid.” A wolf in sheep’s clothing, who, to mix metaphors, discovers the clothes never existed. (Does that make any sense? I’m not sure anymore.)

The big problem is now that the games are starting to click, I’m starting to expect more of myself. In the beginning I knew I would get most of the questions wrong because these things are hard for me, but now I know I can get them right. When I go back to the explanations of the ones I get wrong, more often than not now the right answer is obvious. This was not always the case, and that progress both thrills and frightens me. If they’re so obvious, why am I getting them wrong? If I’m going to get these things wrong, then why am I doing all this work and making these sacrifices (and putting them on my family as well)?

And now I’m into the logical reasoning. This is harder for me than I thought it would be. In the initial practice test, I did fine on it. Not a stellar score, but better than 60%, so I didn’t worry much. Now that I know more about them but haven’t worked as extensively with this new understanding, I think I’m overapplying too much of my new arsenal of help and sinking my own ship. As I progress through more and more of these questions, I think I’ll be able to scale back what I bring to each question and not overwhelm myself into failure. It happened with the “games” so I think it can happen here.

Honestly, though, I’m not entirely sure. As I said, I’ve never really put this much effort into anything like this before. I didn’t have to; since I could do well enough to suit myself without it, why bother? So I didn’t. The one other thing I studied for, though not nearly to the extent to which I’m studying for this, was the math portion of the GRE, which I did horribly on twice, though my final score was satisfactory.

But that didn’t work, so how much can this? Stupid question, since evidence from the “games” is that it can work very well for me. But I’ve never really done this before, so I’m nervous.

Hell, I’m scared.

Away from home and library

Click for image original source

Yesterday I was supposed to meet a client at a local coffee place, or so I thought. I wasn’t sure she had gotten the email, but I decided to go anyway. I figured I could arrive early, study til she came, then keep studying until they closed after she left. Or, if she didn’t come, I’d just study until they closed.

It turns out she didn’t get the email, so I texted her and we rescheduled. This gave me, in theory, several hours of uninterrupted study time since it turns out coffee shops, or at least this one, aren’t very busy and are actually pretty quiet at dinner time.

So I ordered myself a way overpriced chicken Caesar wrap and set to studying. I made it through several pages of the logical reasoning book and felt like I made some progress, even if it is very slow. I planned to stay long enough to finish a chapter of that and do a “game” or two, but it’s just too cold there.

I learned the hard way that when I’m so cold my jaw is chattering and my nose is dripping I can’t focus. I read things over and over and they weren’t sinking in or sticking like they usually do.

There’s a reason grad students flock to these places (there was a medical student next to me and a theology student a few tables over), and there’s a reason they’re all wearing layers and drinking hot beverages.

Lesson learned.