Disaster and Peaks

I finished preptest 10 today and it was a disaster. High-150s disaster. By the time I finished the test and tallied my raw score, though, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I was missing way too many questions in a row in each section for it to be a good thing and I suspected the final result would be disappointing. I was right.

But.

I’ve decided to celebrate the peaks (the high scores) and use the valleys (the low scores) to highlight what I need to work on. Nothing else. The valleys are not worth worrying about and so far are just anomalies. The peaks are very good and I am choosing to focus on the fact that those are even possible for me and use them as something to strive for. The important thing with my high scores is that I hold onto them as something that am capable of, and compare me only to myself, not to others.  

I’ve moved on. As soon as I finished that test I moved on to the next one. I know what I did wrong on the last one, which was keep too close of an eye on how well it was going, so that by the time I was about halfway through I knew that it was no longer possible for me to get a score anywhere near what I wanted. So I more or less stopped trying. I just could not force myself to dig into the questions and care the way I needed to. I did still approach them a few at a time and go over the ones I got wrong kinda carefully so I could attempt to learn from them, but I wasn’t doing enough. I still needed to finish it for the practice, even if it wasn’t good practice, though, so I finished even though the test’s value was diminished.

For this next one, I’m going more slowly. Even though I find it difficult to check my answers one at a time because I can always get a slight glance at the correct next answer down and have that affect how I process the next questions, I’m going to do that for these (except the logic games, because those should be graded as a whole, as far as I can tell).

I’ve done about a dozen logical reasoning questions of this test. I’m going through them more deliberately than I have any others before. I’m taking them one at a time, some of them one word at a time, and digging into the content and question type as well as I can. For each question I’m going back to my book and notes to review how to do it before I answer. Once I’ve answered, I check it, then even if I got it right, I go find the question HERE, and if I still need more, compare that back to the book again. The method is slow and tedious, but so far I like to think it’s working. What will ultimately show if it works is how well both this test and the next one turn out.

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Finished!

 

I finished my logic games book on Sunday, and it was just as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be. Before I got the book, I could barely guess at the questions, and now I feel like I can tackle many of them. It’s given me tools and confidence to approach that quarter of the LSAT and I’m grateful to have found the site and friend to recommend the series to me.  I ordered the logical reasoning book last Tuesday and am hoping it can help me just as much. That section of the test doesn’t intimidate me nearly as much as the “games” one, but it’s 50% of my score, so I’ll take all the help I can afford (about $40 worth).

Since I had finished the book, I wanted a way to quantify my improvement, so I decided to re-take the preptest I took before I ordered the book. I started with the “games” section, which went much, much better than the first time. I could only kind of remember some of the games and none of the questions, so it wasn’t like I had prepared in any sort of cheating way. I was more or less attacking the test cold. Some of the themes of the questions were familiar, but no approaches. I was able to improve my score from a 13/24 to a 20/24. I am thrilled! Since I can’t really afford law school, I need to get the 20 up to a 24 and I need to work in the timing element eventually, but this gives me hope, which I need.

After scoring that section, I had planned to start the whole test from the beginning again, but decided that would be foolish. Why would I do two sections of logical reasoning before studying if there’s a pretty great risk that I’ll inadvertently teach myself bad techniques or approaches? All that would do is double the work I’ll have to do when the book arrives. I’d have to first un-learn the bad things I taught myself and then learn the better methods, all while trying not to confuse myself. Better to just wait until the book comes. So that’s what I did.

I did tackle the reading comprehension section, and I did well enough. The main problem with this section for me is that even though I read a lot and quite a bit of what I read now and have read for college and grad school is dense, academic stuff, I haven’t read this type of material for this purpose in a long time. I’m capable, but out of practice. I don’t think I’ll need the book for this section, but I will need to get a lot of practice tests in order to improve this section, both in terms of doing it correctly and getting timing under control. I think I spent around 45 minutes on it at the library, and that’s not going to work. Timing will come later though, after I can get my untimed scores on each section to at least 90%.