The Final Week
- Nov 29, 2016
- General LSAT Advice, LSAT
Time to put your game face on.
Didja have a nice Turkey Day? Great, now forget all about it. The LSAT is this Saturday. Not a Saturday. Not first Saturday of the year. This Saturday.
The perennial questions: What do I do during this last week? Is it still possible to see a score increase? Let’s take those questions in turn. What do I do on Friday?
Your last week should be spent on timing, endurance, and shoring up problem areas with untimed practice. Given your particular situation, it may or may not be realistic to put in 6+ hours of studying a day, but, really that’s ideal. Between now and test day, you ought to take at least one more full, five section practice exam. Ideally today or maybe tomorrow, and possibly one Thursday.
Make sure you review these exams, asking yourself how it could’ve been done better. Did you make silly reading errors? Then you need to work on reading carefully while reading quickly. Did you get bogged down on particular questions, robbing yourself of precious time on other questions that you’d have gotten otherwise? Then you need to become aware of this trend and watch for it vigilantly. Did you run out of time for another reason on any other section? Then you need to determine whether you might have to skip a game or a passage or a number of LR questions.
During times when you’re not taking or reviewing exam, you should be doing a mix of timed and untimed practice. Timed practice is for the questions and concepts with which you’re comfortable, and untimed practice is important for shoring up your weaknesses. If you’re still getting mauled by a particular question type or concept, go back and watch lesson videos or review materials on that topic as you do untimed practice.
There is still time to improve, but not by brute force. The last few points between you and your goal are always the hardest to pull down. If you’ve gone to class and done your homework, chances are you’ve already picked the low-hanging fruit. So, it’s time to make an assessment as to where you still have opportunity to improve and where things are more or less set (at least as far as December is concerned).
The section of the LSAT on which it takes the most work to gain points is Reading Comp. That’s because a huge part of it is being able to read with speed, comprehension, and significant short term memory power. If you haven’t been able to make it through 4 passages and all the questions yet, it’s not going to happen. This is all to say that, unless you are an uncommon student, RC is probably the last place you want to go hunting for those extra points.
Games, alternatively, is usually the area with which a little work can pay off giant dividends. If you’re still missing a bunch of games questions, this might be fertile ground to mine for extra points. Are you aggressive about doing scenarios? Do you make sure you play the numbers whenever you see a principle of distribution? Are you choosy about which questions you devote time to and which ones you don’t? (Don’t even bother with the damn rule replacement question. Maybe try doing conditional questions before absolute ones.)
LR is somewhere between. If you have a weakness with a particular (and hopefully prevalent) question type, drilling that particular question type until you’re blue in the face could lead to a significant pickup. Again, test taking strategy is also important. Are you skipping longer/more difficult questions so that you don’t run out of time? If not, you may need to incorporate that into your work.
On Friday, only do whatever is necessary to be as stress-free as possible. Students always ask, “Should I study the day before the exam?” The right answer is no, unless not studying is going to stress you out.
You won’t learn anything new or get rusty if you take Friday off from studying completely. However, if you’re one of those high-strung souls who’ll spend the whole day fretting because you’re not studying, then go ahead and do some very easy untimed practice. Just an hour or two. Otherwise, treat yourself to something special. A nice day trip or a purchase you’ve been wanting to make. You’ve worked hard, and you deserve it.
We’ll be back throughout the week with more advice for spending these last few days fruitfully. Until then, good luck and happy studying!
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