LSAT Accelerated Study. I. Six Last Minute Preparation Tips II. Raw, Scaled & Percentile Scoring III. Weekly Study Schedule

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1 LSAT Accelerated Study a white paper by the team at Kaplan LSAT. I. Six Last Minute Preparation Tips II. Raw, Scaled & Percentile Scoring III. Weekly Study Schedule

2 About the Author Glen Stohr is the current Senior Manager on the Kaplan LSAT product research and development team. Over the last 17 years, Glen has helped thousands of students master the LSAT and assemble outstanding law school applications. He is the author of LSAT Logic Games: Strategy and Tactics and works for Kaplan Test Prep creating a variety of LSAT Prep materials and videos. He has worked closely with both pre law advisers and law school admissions officers around the country to get the best available information out to pre law students. Did you just look at the calendar and realize how soon the next LSAT administration, really is? Maybe you registered for the test some time ago and got caught up in work, school, family, or other fun. Or maybe you just made the decision to apply to law school and are signing up for the test now. Regardless, if you re going to take the LSAT in a few short weeks, you ve got some work to do. As someone who has coached several thousand LSAT test takers, and who is a pretty good procrastinator in my own right, here are my must do tips for you to make the most of your time between now and test day. I. Six Last Minute Preparation Tips (1) Practice the LSAT (you can t cram for it). With at least some of your college courses, you could overcome procrastination by cramming, finding out what you needed to know for the final and dedicating the whole day (and probably night) before the test to drilling it into your short term memory. As long as you could recall the salient facts during the exam, you were good to go. But this won t be case on the LSAT because, quite simply, there s nothing to memorize. The LSAT rewards the application of law school skills such as incisive, critical reading and logical reasoning to a range of subject matter so wide there s no way you ll be familiar with all (or even most) of it. This is a test of what you re able to do, not of how much you know. Realizing this changes everything. You can no more hope to master the LSAT by passively learning about it than you could hope to master the guitar by reading a book. Make sure the course or materials you use have a lot of real LSAT questions, sections, or tests to work with. Just as importantly, make sure all of the questions and tests have clear, complete explanations so that you can review everything you get right and wrong. Getting into the batting cages and swinging away will help you become better at hitting a baseball, but you ll make much faster and more reliable improvement if you have a coach there who can explain what you re doing differently between the swings that made solid contact and those that miss.

3 (2) Discover your starting point. Right now, or at least as soon as you ve finished reading this post, find the next available time to take a complete practice LSAT. You ll need about three and half hours to take a full length, timed test. But once you do, you ll have a much clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and of what LSAT questions are all about. Again, having explanations available for all of the questions is an enormous plus. In some cases, you ll realize that you simply misunderstood what the question was calling for. In other cases, you ll realize that you selected a correct answer, but could have done so much more efficiently by recognizing a pattern or process that the testmaker uses over and over. (3) Keep your study balanced. The LSAT always contains four scored sections: two sections of Logical Reasoning (~50 questions), one of Reading Comprehension (~27 questions), and one of Logic Games (~24 questions). Many test takers will discover that they re weaker in one of those sections and try to improve their score by focusing exclusively on this one area of opportunity. The fact is that all 101 questions are scored equally and adding four right answers to your strongest section will help your score just as much as adding four right answers to your weakest one. The sample study schedule below takes this into account. (4) Avoid concern about that one weird question. For those of us who follow the LSAT, every test administration seems to produce one or two outstandingly difficult or unique looking questions. We ll argue about how best to crack these tough little puzzles and where they fit within the standard taxonomy of question types. Some self styled LSAT gurus will even try to make their reputation by showing off a trick or two for the weirdest examples. But in reality, these outliers have a small impact on your score, especially when compared to the standard questions and games that show up in large numbers on every administration of the test. Someone like you, practicing with limited time before test day is far better served by gaining confident mastery of Assumption, Strengthen/Weaken, and Inference questions, Sequencing games, and the standard Reading Comp passages and questions than by seeking out obscure question types, even if those oddballs seem like the hardest problems to solve. You need a teacher or material that knows the test inside out and can guide you to the most valuable question types so that your practice is guaranteed to turn into points on your official LSAT. (5) Target efficiency, not speed. There is no denying that timing is the greatest challenge the LSAT presents for an enormous number of students. You will, at some point in your practice, say I could get every one of these if I just had more time. (If you doubt me, just come back and read this again after you ve taken a couple of tests.) In response, most test takers try to read faster or cut corners in their analysis. This is a big mistake. Most of the wasted time on the LSAT actually comes from rereading and second guessing. Test takers patient (and practiced) enough to read an argument one time, analyze it, and predict the correct answer before testing the choices will easily outperform someone who tears through the argument, but has to reread it as they consider choice (A), and then (B), and then (C), and then (D), and so on. The same is true in Logic Games, where the highest scorers may take as much or more time to sketch the game s setup and make its entire string of deductions as they do to answer its set of questions. Gaining mastery and confidence will make you more efficient, and in the end, allow you to outperform haphazard test takers who are trying to simply work faster, not smarter.

4 (6) Stay positive a few more right answers can make you a much stronger applicant. For as much as pre law students talk about the 120 to 180 range of LSAT scaled scores, the same students often have little insight into how those scores are calculated. Without getting into complicated algorithms and trust me, you do not have time for that before the October LSAT the chart below points out some eyeopening information. II. Raw, Scaled & Percentile Scoring You will receive not one, not two, but three scores on Test Day: A raw score (0 ~101), the total number of scored questions answered correctly translated into A scaled score ( ), the score by which law schools will evaluate your candidacy; and A percentile score, comparing test takers across various testing cohorts Since there is no wrong answer penalty on the LSAT, you score is determined solely by the number of questions you answer correctly. On a typical test, approximately 57 right answers will produce a score of 151 and land you squarely in the 50 th percentile, better than half of all test takers. If you add just five correct answers, you ll move to a 154 and be in the 60 th percentile. To a lot of students, that jump of three scaled points (from a 151 to a 154) doesn t sound very impressive, but when you consider that around 130,000 people take the LSAT each year, that increase means that you ve passed around 13,000 competitors, applicants potentially vying for the same school(s) you re trying to get into. Notice that each time you add four or five correct answers, you make a comparable leap past the other test takers. That should tell you just how much you can accomplish, even with the limited time before the next test. It should also underline how important it is to get additional correct answers wherever you can on the test, including sections in which you re already relatively strong.

5 III. Sample LSAT Practice Schedule Here s a sample schedule for someone practicing for the LSAT with limited time. It assumes that you have between two and three hours per day to spend on LSAT practice. You can adjust the schedule to account for your own availability, but follow the balance of practice activities and note the sectionspecific focus for different days of the week. Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Take a fulllength LSAT first Logical Logic Do timed sections second Reading Leave one day per (min. 2 ½ hours Reasoning Games from a Logical Comprehension week LSAT for the four scored sections section section released Reasoning section from free to relax and a ten from your from your LSAT (35 section your Sunday and minute break; Sunday test Sunday test minutes each) from your test (30 to 60 recharge. Add 1 hour 10 (30 to 60 (30 to 60 and review minutes to take Sunday test minutes) AND Make sure a full test with minutes) AND minutes) AND the (30 to 60 practice 4 6 to rest the an experimental practice 25 practice 4 6 explanations minutes) and passages (two day before section and 35 Logical logic games (30 to 60 minutes practice 25 Writing Sample) hours) Reasoning (two hours) per section) your official 35 Logical LSAT, too. questions Reasoning (two hours) questions (two hours) With limited time until test day, making and sticking to the practice schedule (or your personal variation on it) is essential. Many test takers who see that their time is running out try to cram in a flurry of tests, without reviewing them or learning why they are getting some questions right, but consistently missing others. Others succumb to panic, throw up their hands, and wing it on test day. You have the opportunity to beat both groups and make solid, repeatable improvements in your score. But act now. Take advantage of Kaplan s LSAT expertise and become the author of your own LSAT success story. There s still time to prep comprehensively for the next LSAT administration. For many accelerated preppers, our fully mobile enabled LSAT Advantage On Demand course is a terrific option, featuring a personalized, prioritized study plan, every released LSAT question with explanations, powerful reporting and our higher score guarantee. Additionally, we have many On Site, Classroom Anywhere and Private Tutoring options still available. Check out kaplanlsat.com for more information.

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