Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 12

Preface Welcome TLS, Before you continue reading, I want to make something very clear up front.

There is no secret in getting a great score, no one technique or one book you read that will magically cause you to score in the mid170s. Trust me there is no magical book, despite the appearance that TLS gives (i.e., buy this book + 10 PTs and you are golden! an often repeated saying on TLS). If you see my join date, you will see that I have been here for a while. Let me just give you a brief overview of the eras of prep companies I have seen come and go through TLS (dates might be off, but thats not the point) 2010-2011: Era of the power score. Everyone was recommending this so much it became known as the holy trinity. Everyone was saying I scored 17x by going through the PS books and few practice tests. Or my friend did that. This got repeated so much that the powers score books might as well granted magical powers. I promise you, they do not. Summer 2011: The Velocity era. Dave Hall was an active poster in TLS during this time and everyone was on the hype of how velocity games guarantee you a -0 on test day. Trust me, it doesnt. Summer 2011 early 2013ish: The Manhattan era. Manhattan released its new editions I believe and became increasingly active on TLS, and of course, it became the newest recommended books. 2012ish: Blueprint/LSAT Blog, BPShinner and LSAT Steve were active on TLS and made a small following on TLS as well. Personally never tried this, but I seen some of BPs stuff, not much different from other companies. 2012-now: 7Sage hype. Although not magical in that it guarantees -0s on games like many would claim, the techniques and the way they said to practice games is extremely effective. No experience with their LR component. I have glimpsed through some of their R.C videos, not much different from other companies. 2013-now: The Trainer hype. Mike Kim creates a thread, and everyone on TLS is saying this is the next greatest thing which will guarantee a 170. I have read the sample chapters, it is fairly good, but it definitely does not contain significant insights one could not find elsewhere. What I am trying to communicate in this preface is that TLS suffers from the groupthink/drone mentality significantly. Once something gains hype/ground, i.e., creates an AMA thread, that method is somehow the new gospel in how to achieve 170+. The reality is although some of the newer methods are better than the old (i.e., Manhattan > Power score), the differences are not magically significant. In the end this is a test of aptitude, in your ability to think logically, not to follow some new technique. I will elaborate on this point later on. The fact is, chances are, you wont get your dream HYS score. But wait you ask, what you mean chances are I wont score in the 170s? Everyone else is doing it, all these posts and guides saying that 170 is possible if you just try hard enough.

Lets clarify a few things 1) There is a giant self-selection bias not only to those who visit this forum, but also those who posts here. To really touch on this point, there was a thread posted here a while back where people posted (self-reported) their official scores. The median in TLS was a 172~. If this is not a demonstration of self-selection bias, I dont know what is. 2) Think about it, most people want to score a 173+, which is the 99th percentile, statistically speaking, that is 1/100. Do you think you are the 1 in the 100? Be honest with yourself. 3) From my experiences, most people who score in the 170+ range are not those who initially struggled with the test (I am talking 140-low 150, not 160s). Most of my friends who scored in the 173 range, scored in this range with very little to minimum effort. This is a not an easily learnable test. Most of my friends who scored low, would score low again on retake, and give up. There is data published by LSAC to strongly supports this, the average retake increase is 2pts. Most people do not score above their score band of their initial test. Now here is the key, perhaps a bit cheesy, that you are an individual. That is, you are not a probability, just because the odds are against you, it doesnt mean you cannot do it. Every year there are people who jump 10-20pts, and this could be you. But you must understand, just because you can, it does not mean that you will. You must stay objective and use your common sense/away from the TLS drone mentality, and be honest on what your capabilities are, and what sort of commitments you are willing to make. I cannot emphasize enough just because 15 people are posting X, it does not make it true. The biggest example I can give is the strong preference for self-study and distaste for live-courses, to a point that there were posters making claims that if you need a live class, you shouldnt be a lawyer. Use your common sense, do you function/learn better in class, if so, take a bloody class or talk to a professional tutor. This sounds easier than done. If you were anything like me, when you are reading or asking questions on TLS you are in a situation of vulnerability, because you are so far away from the goal you seek you will listen to anyone, especially those with authority (high post+, high self-reported scores, repeated mantras), and ignore your common sense/self-instincts, please dont. You know yourself best. But that being said, you shouldnt ignore every advice that runs against what you think is right. Reading and incorporating advice requires a delicate and difficult task of trying to figure out what is RIGHT FOR YOU. I always hated stories without pictures, it feels fake, so here is an attached picture of my scores with personal information removed of course. http://i59.tinypic.com/flefdf.jpg Final note before I start. I have made no specific attempts in trying to write a fancy story, I basically attempted to write what I think/felt in a raw format, because I think that is what will be most helpful to you, when I am being completely honest. As a side effect, I made no attempts to write with perfect grammar or sentence structure either. Now the preface is over, I shall share with you my journey with this test.

Chapter 1: The Beginning I always had the vague idea of wanting to attend law school. I knew to go to law school you had to take this test called the LSAT. I had no idea what it really was except people telling me it tests logic. I figured this test would be easy since I was always so good at arguing and therefore must be good at logic (lmao in hindsight), I should crush this test. Anyways, sometime in late September my pre-law club emailed me about a free mock LSAT, I figured why not. I could not solve a single logic game Q besides the occasional first question on each game I felt like I was reading French when I was doing the R.C I felt fairly comfortable with L.R and let my common sense dictate, which of course, also resulted in disaster End result as you can see from the picture was a 145. At first I was shocked, then I sort of brushed it off in denial, telling myself I was feeling sick that day (to be honest I kind of was, but not the kind of sick that impairs any sort of brain function, I just had stomach pains). It was not until the summer of my second year before I looked at the LSAT seriously again. This time I discovered TLS and looked around, and of course, given that it was 2010, I bought the holy trinity and set on devouring these books. After reading these books, I remember doing a prep test or two untimed and my results werent much better in RC. I remember being able to do games super slowly with some sort of method in approaching the games, but none of it was intuitive, it took me around 15mins to do an easy game. Again, I think I entered denial and figured I dont need to figure this out right now. I will study for real next summer, since that is what everyone recommends. I genuinely believed that by next summer I was going to score magically better. Chapter 2: The Struggle Enter 3rd year summer. Okay, I told myself, I will be serious this time. Like many of you, I went through every single recommended guide and sticky on TLS. I read through the How to achieve 160+ thread a dozen times. From those posts I concluded 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Courses are for retards who have too much money Buy power score Buy power score Buy power score Review and write prep tests Wont take longer than 2 month, unless, of course, you are some how stupid

7) Maybe try Velocity if you are bad at games So I re-read the entire trinity in 3 days and started grinding away at random prep tests. I tried various schedules: Timed section LRs on Monday/Wed, and LG Tues/Friday. A week of timed LRs A week of timed RCs Alternating timed LR/RCs Week of untimed LR/RC/LG I approached the test like I was working out, with the mindset that if I figure out the perfect routine of practice I will destroy the test. I kept making excuses/rationalization to myself that my lack of performance is due to subpar scheduling such as that I should have done LR, LR break RC RC instead of LR all day. It is important to note that I was putting in close to 12hrs a day. I was burning material like crazy. I thought if most people can get 173 with 10-15 prep tests, even if I am retarded, if I put in twice, if not 3 times the effort I will definitely succeed right. I would do a section, quickly review it, make some generalizations, take a 5min break, and do another section with the mistake of the previous sections in mind in hopes of not repeating it. Of course this only led me to go somewhat insane, since I would just make different mistakes each time, sometimes caused by the over-generalizations I concluded from the previous section. But I sticked with it for a while, because, due to natural variance I would often get a -1/2 on a section and I would attribute it to the success of my strategy, when I dont do well, I would simply just do a different schedule. I just thought, if I try hard enough, if I practice enough, I will get it. So maybe I thought, power score wasnt enough. So I bought Fox Prep, Manhattan, LSAC Superprep and other random books on the market. I thought with enough techniques, I will be prepared for any type of question on the actual test I devoured those books as quickly as I could have and returned to section drilling.

Again, no significant improvements. But I did find some of Manhattans approach to games more intuitive. Occasionally I posted on TLS with a specific question I didnt understand and got an explanation, which would only sometimes confuse me even more. So, after 2 months of writing timed sections and not significantly improving across sections, or getting even close to scoring 170, I gave up. I thought okay, maybe I am stupid and need a course. At that time, Velocity was the hype. So thats what I did, I signed up for Velocity. I believe I followed the 12 week schedule and wrote additional prep-tests in between. At the time, I thought the way Dave explained things was quite genius, all these neat tricks in approaching a problem (i.e., stack and reverse unless statements; correct answers to necessary assumptions are almost always a small answer choice). I spent a very long time compiling and attempting to memorize these techniques, thinking if I memorize them all I will beat the test. In hindsight I found Daves course to be too simplistic. In a sense he tried to reduce all of the material into something you can beat with techniques and tricks, which is just not practicable for someone that wants to score in the 170+ range, because at that level, you need to understand the material intuitively, not just remembering cute tricks. At the end of this online course I was prep testing somewhere in the high 150s low 160s range, with an occasional mid 160. It is important to note that, in guarding my self-confidence, I almost always cheated while timing myself. I often gave myself an extra minute or two, and I never wrote a 5 section test. Nevertheless, I thought scoring 170+ on the actual test was possible after seeing people on TLS reporting score jumps on test day. I thought that could be me, since I pulled off miracles with my undergraduate exams before. Besides, I thought there is no way someone with a near perfect GPA could score anything below a 170 on the actual exam if everyone with 3.6s are scoring 173+s. Due to my high but false self-confidence in killing this test in 1 try, I was relentless in using prep tests and wasting them. Prior to my first take, I have almost used up every single prep test. Chapter 3: Expectations Meets Reality Enter October 2012, Zones and Amazonian Women (Kung?!!!). During the test I knew I messed up and should have cancelled.

Of course, still being somewhat delusional that I cannot score below 170 if everyone on TLS does with such ease, I managed to convince myself that I got nearly every single Q right besides Zones and some Qs on the Amazonian Women passage. When I received my 159, I felt a mix of confusing emotions: relieved, enraged, confused, depressed. Thankfully, it didnt take me long to accept my score and look in hindsight to admit how much in denial I was with my score. To be honest I felt like I deserved my score, due to my lack of preparation and arrogance. Thankfully I remained calm and analyzed my situation rationally. I could have, like many others, took the LSAT again and again in rapid succession, so I dont miss a cycle. But I realized that would be a bad idea. I always went by a saying I made up: extraordinary results require extraordinary effort. I knew to jump from 159 to 170 is definitely going to require extraordinary effort, which is not something I could do without damaging my GPA, which is permanent. Chapter 4: Revelations (Maybe) As eluded to before, I knew in order to increase my score significantly, I would have to do something extraordinary, something different. I knew that more relentless practices on practice tests would not be enough. Only an idiot would repeat the samething and expect different results. The first thing I did was consider something I should have thought a while ago, perhaps those reported high scores on TLS are high scorers naturally. It was not a result of their studying for the test that they scored high, but other generally positive habits that led them to be highly critical thinkers and proficient readers. So I created a thread on TLS and asked. http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=197362&p=6035992#p6035992 The end result was both insightful and obvious. It seemed like those who scored high naturally are those who read high level literature for fun, and those who are used to synthesizing a lot of information. You do not need to know any techniques to do well on this test, you just have to have high aptitude in reading and logical thinking (mindblowing, I know, but the way people sell courses and company material, it makes seem like techniques and tricks are the end all to beating this test). In my last year, I picked the most writing intensive/challenging courses I could find, in an attempt to catch-up (and no, my GPA didnt suffer). I went against the typical TLS advice that reading on random subject matters wont help you with the test (i.e., if you struggle with science/art passages, reading stuff on science and art wont help). I bought bunch of introduction type books to arts, sciences, and history. You would be surprised how much

overlap there are in between the LSAT passages and general scientific knowledge (i.e., blackbody radiation/physics has been a popular topic for the LSAT). I didnt do much direct LSAT studying during the school year, as I was getting bit burned out, and was simply too busy in trying to do well with these courses. Mostly importantly, during this year I really began to think for myself and took all the advice/posts on TLS in perspective. Because I was beginning to see the truth just because something is repeated it doesnt make it true for you. Also, what I have noticed is that there are a lot of active posters that are 0Ls who have no idea what they are talking about. Chapter 5: The Grind, Again School year ended, that means, back to studying. I did few sections and took some practice tests, and almost immediately, I scored significantly better than what I could have possibly achieved a year ago (consistent mid 160s). I think my courses helped, I think the break helped. So now, fairly familiar with all of the techniques there is, I set on just doing practice tests and timed sections. I didnt exactly have a strict way of approaching things. Some weeks I would do all timed sections, some weeks I would do a prep test every other day. But I made sure to review extensively, every single question, and tried to match my way of thinking to Princeton, Kaplan, and Manhattan explanation (I was absolutely obsessive in making sure the way I approached a question was the most effective/intuitive way in doing so). I was also obsessed with the idea of blind review. I used LSATQA to track my progress, and any time I got more than -3 on a section, I would not check what questions I got wrong, I would reprint that section, and redo it again couple of days later. I would thoroughly review all mistakes, and any questions I didnt go oooh, that was so easy/stupid mistake I would reprint that question and leave it to do/analyze later (sometimes in a week or so). I also became a firm believer of the 7sage game practice method. I would literally do a game repeatedly until I could do it half-awake in half of the time, without remembering the answers. This meant sometimes I would do a game on the upward of 10 times (I have done the Simcoe game at least that many times). This method wasnt perfect, but for most of the time, I would crush at least of the games in a section. I think in 2 months, I have completed at least 250 logical games (a lot of repeats of course). By end of May I felt somewhat ready, I was scoring in the high 160s, with some occasional low 170, 5 sections, 33mins~ per section. I felt ready for LR, besides the occasional long drawn out stimulus that confused me, I felt pretty good.

Besides the odd game like Simcoe/Snake/Pre-pt 20 games I felt good. R.C was always a gamble, sometimes I did well sometimes I did not, no particular explanations I could find why either way. It is important to note that most of my practice involved retaking old tests I did a year ago, so I was well aware of the score inflation issue. Nonetheless, I felt somewhat confident and signed up for June. Chapter 6: The Shock, Again I thought I hated morning exams, but man I hated the June even more. Of course, like many others I had test day anxiety, I woke up at 9am~. After eating, I spent rest of that morning panicking. By the time I got to the exam room I felt tired and nervous. I absolutely panicked the first section, and second guessed myself all the way through. I was able to find my pace afterwards, but unfortunately, the first section was real. I ended up with a 162, with half of my mistakes made on first section L.R. Chapter 7: What Now? At this point I was somewhat genuinely confused. I have used up pretty much all of the available prep-tests, read all of the books, got a basic handle in many different areas (i.e., philosophy, history, physics, I tried reading art history, but I fell sleep each time). I didnt know what else I could do any more. But I knew I didnt want to give up my HYS dreams just yet. So I decided to go against the ultimate mantra of TLS and signed up for a live course, because literally, that is the only thing I havent tried yet. Chapter 8: The Course I made sure I did my research and chose a course based on the strong reputation of the instructor. He lived up to his reputation. The course started a month after the June score release (and I didnt do anything during the break between the test and the course).

The structure and drills that the class provided made me see that there were so many weak points in my game, especially L.R. it was no longer a shock that I panicked in June, because I never had mastery over the concepts to begin with. One could say you could do this with the Cambridge packets, but that is definitely not the samething at all. Having a strong instructor who truly understands the test is much different than just practicing the same type of questions over and over again. Sheer practice does not lead to understanding. Well defined methodology + practice leads to understanding. Also, the social environment definitely helped. Studying for the test by yourself can get insanely boring and frustrating. But when you have someone else to talk to and discuss the problem, it can actually become somewhat enjoyable. I definitely maximized my usage with the course, anytime I had a problem, rather than relying on opinions of TLS, which I learnt to always to doubt, I had someone I knew I could trust, to really discuss the problem ad nausem till I completely grasped the concept. My reading comprehension, however, never did improve much, regardless of how much effort I spent on it. But then again it was never that bad to begin with (-4~ on average on new prep tests). I really tried to fix this problem by doing R.Cs back to back in my 5 section PTs. Nevertheless, through the course I was PTing pretty consistent low-mid 170s (again, this was mostly used up prep tests). Honestly, I felt like the month break (from the test till the course) really helped me, really gave my brain time to consolidate the concepts. There was another important realization I made in the class, which was stated in the preface. Scoring 170+ is really goddamn hard, and you shouldnt obsess over it (Bit ironic, when I finally started to score in this range I began to truly realize the difficulty of it). TLSs opinion is represented by a grossly self-selective sample. I stopped counting/guessing how many Q I could get wrong and still get a 170+ after every section during prep tests and just tried to do what I can, and skipping/guessing what I dont know. I trusted a lot more on my instincts, because, these instincts were built through drilling. There was no time to doubt, and often, my second-guessing produced more errors. I really stuck to changing my answer only if I was absolutely sure that the new answer was better. I used up some last remaining fresh recent PTs, and scored in the 169-171 range. I was ready to go for October, and this time I didnt care too much about the outcome. I was already somewhat accepting of the fact that HYS might not be possible. Chapter 9: Flop and Success

Day before test-day, I could not sleep at all. I ended up rolling in bed for hours until 6am. When I finally woke up I felt completely dazed, and I thought about not going. I ate breakfast, tried to do some practice Qs, I knew, I would flop if I went. So I ended up staying home. One of my friend was in the same scenario and decided to go, he ended up with a 165 (we had similar PT scores). In hindsight, although I have told myself that I should give up HYS or not care for the outcome, I didnt really believe it. I still putted a lot of my pressure on myself to succeed on this last try, thus resulting in my nervousness/inability to sleep. Anyways, after few days, I didnt worry too much about it. I decided to take the next 3 weeks off, after seeing the benefit of breaks have on my performance. I resumed studying in November, and this time I did only 5section prep test, and the occasional timed sections when I felt weak in a section or I got more than -3 in a section. I always did random games on the side to keep me in shape. I also did PT in different places, friends place and the actual testing location. You would be surprised the differences in nervousness you experience when you write in your house vs writing in the actual testing location with a friend. In the last few new PTs I did I was scoring high 160s low 170s again. But honestly, this time, I didnt care at all. I entered the December test with 0 expectations of doing better than my previous scores. I went in with the mindset just do what my abilities allow me to do (I went with this mindset thanks to a close friend of mine, who told me, you practiced enough dude, you will kill it, just believe). Chapter 10: Test Day, Again For pre-caution, I bought melatonin (sleeping pill), tested 2 weeks before, and used it the day before the test. Although I didnt get the perfect amount of sleep, it was better than none. I believe I ended up waking up at 5, and rolled around in bed until 6. Although I was a lot more calm this time around, test-day adrenaline was still very real, but thankfully it was to my advantage this time around. I had LR first section and I was able to finish it before the 5 min call. I learnt from my mistake last time around, I didnt second guess my answers, and skipped anything that threw me for a loop, which I went back for it later. I had LR again 2nd section, samething I had games for my 3rd section, all of the games were pretty standard, no snakes and lizards, but I remember the 3rd game with books being bit tricky. Nonetheless, I trusted my methods and just attacked the questions step by step, like how I practiced. There were two rule substitution questions in

this section, which I believe was unheard of in any previous tests. Rather than freaking out like I would have before, I briefly skimmed over the answer choices, when nothing popped in my mind, I picked what I liked the best, for no particular reason, and moved on. These type of questions are almost always extremely time consuming, and during my practice, I mostly skipped them, because the 2mins spent doing a single Q is never worth it. I finished games just in time. Went on break, walked around, talked to some friends. Overall I felt good, I remembering telling myself I keep this up, HYS might be a reality, but I made sure to control that with a counter point, whatever man, dont worry about it. Section 4, L.R, bit tricky in some of the later Qs. Rather than feeling stumped and getting sucked into the abyss of a tricky LR, I marked the Qs that I felt bit tricky on, made an educated guess, moved on, came back to it later. I finished a min after the 5min call this time around. Section 5, R.C. I felt fairly comfortable with the passages, but man when I approached the questions, I did a lot of educated guessing. Partly I attributed my lack of precision on this section due to it being my last and weakest section. Nonetheless I felt okay overall, I predicted as my past results indicated, a -4. Finished just in time as well. We all know how the story ends, I ended up with a 170, with a -7 on R.C. Epilogue: The Guide I know earlier I promised a guide, but I felt like this story format would be more helpful for people, because is not some abstract rules/structure you follow, is more of a story of what I encountered and how I dealt with it, something personal you can latch onto and really understand. Nonetheless, I figure I should leave some key lessons here, to answer the question I know many are dying to know, What did you do different to make that jump. If it wasnt obvious through the story, let me list them here. Being relaxed and not psychologically attached to an outcome. This is not only a test of your logical ability but your ability to handle stress as well. The less stress usually the better. Trust in yourself. Practice well, drill consistently, and trust in those methods/habits you have developed. Repeating games works. Keep at it, keep going at it until you master it. By mastery I mean doing a game, then coming back 2 weeks later and you can still finish perfect under 8 minutes for a hard game, 5min for an easy game. Read, read, read and then write about it. I have the quote We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit Aristotle, as my phone background, and honestly I live by this. This is a test of reading + logical thinking aptitude. What better way to increase your aptitude other than reading high level material and then forced to write about it. Although my R.C score arguably didnt improve from the reading (one could say I was just tired at S5), I felt infinitely times more comfortable while reading LR stimulus and the RC passages. The increased comfort I had with the test led to significant improvements everywhere else.

Drill the basics. Understand necessary and sufficient conditioning like is your ABCS, most and some statements, necessary assumption vs sufficient assumption. Do formal logic questions without diagramming. Avoid all diagramming when practicing if you can (obviously not games). I really like Noodleys statement on this, diagramming is a tool not a crutch. You want to read and understand all conditional logic almost intuitively, like you just get it, like how you drive. If you cant get the basics, dont waste material by doing Cambridge packets like a headless monkey. Invest in a class or a well-known tutor, really master the basics before moving on. Take breaks, the outcome of this is not directly proportional to the effort spent. Think of studying this test like bodybuilding, your muscles grow when you are sleeping. Take days off, dont study 8 hours a day 5 days a week. If you studied for a month straight, take a week off. Remember this is not a test of memorization, you wont lose anything in taking breaks. Doing significantly better on this test is all about seeing the test differently, you are only going to get that by taking breaks. But do something meaningful during your break, read books, exercise, not just watch TV all day. Study during your peak hours. Dont lie to yourself and said you studied when you tried to study after being exhausted from work or school and you barely make any sort of insight/meaningful practice during your time spent studying. TLS is a resource not the bible. Talk to your friends, fellow law students, law professors on how to approach the test. If you have no idea what to or where to start and your score significantly differs from your goal, talk to a professional tutor or instructor, follow a schedule. The schedule doesnt have to be the best, but you need something stable to get you started. Dont be like me flip flopping strategies and wasting material like a headless chicken. Money spent on learning the LSAT is well worth its investment. Build a support network, find friends or meet strangers that are also studying. Studying for this test can get lonely and frustrating, it is much more enjoyable when there is someone else to share your pain.

Well thats it for now. I will be monitoring and updating this thread to answer any questions.