178! (8.12.2017)

Blergh. Took and did way better than I expected on PT 77. Went -4 overall. Comes out to a 178. So close to that 180 ~_~

Sweated sweat in the summer sun from 8:30-9:30 this morning on the tennis court. Played bad felt good.

Showered good felt good.

Sat down and took PT77: good luck, kid–you’ll need it.

Section 1: Experimental LG (-0)

Used the games section from a fresh PT 74. -0. If I had gotten anything lower (higher?) it would’ve been concerning considering I also went -0 on another copy of PT 74 over 1 & 1/2 months ago.

Section 2: RC. (-2)

Not my best RC score ever but damn good. My goal going into this section was to get through all the questions in time, which I managed to do. I’ve written a fair bit this summer about confidence w/r/t answer choices and intuition and was actively implementing my strategy of ‘trust yrself’ during this section–you (I?) almost have to to complete RC in time. More than just confidence though, I think I can contribute the low (high?) RC score to the way I was consciously reading for structure. Often details aren’t as important as the structure of the argument (especially considering the fact that if you [I?] have a solid grasp of how the paragraphs function you spend less time looking details when you need them for a specific answer).

Section 3: LR (-1)

Ahahah I don’t know how I managed a -1 on this section. Section got off to a rough start; I spent about 3 minutes alone on question #3 (fuck honeybees). I didn’t have much trouble later on, but I figured I would at least miss 1 or 2 random questions in the teens/twenties because of a reading mistake. This happens on most LR sections and I’ve just come to accept it. Weirdly (luckily?), I didn’t make any reading errors and the only question I missed was #10, which was one of those ancient prompts that in PTs 70+ have come into vogue where the answer choices are all questions.

The question stem is literally ‘The answer to which one of the following questions would most help in evaluating the argument above?’ Kind of sucks to miss these–seems like they should be easy. I think I underestimated this question and, since I was already lagging behind my usual pace, wanted to move on. Just have to remember on these types of questions to really go back to the stimulus and piece together the argument. What is conclusion? What are premises? Take the 30 seconds to go back. Take the 5 seconds for a breath.

Still, -1 on this section after feeling uncertain is fine by me.

Section 4: LG (-0)

Not much to say here. There’s an uberweird game about job interviews but the rest of the games are so simple that I had more than enough time for this section.

Section 5: LR (-1)

Felt a lot better about this section than the first LR section. Whereas the first LR section felt like a -3 upon completion, this one felt like a -1. There wasn’t one question in particular I was stumped on–although I did have a number of them circled for BR. The only question I missed was the last one of the test, #26. Was a tricky necessary assumption, I was down to a 50/50 between (C) and (E) and ended up guessing wrong.

But I shouldn’t ever have to guess. That’s one reason I like this test so much. No matter how complex the stimulus may be, for every question there is one answer choice that’s 100% correct and four answer choices that are 0% correct. Gonna see what LSAT Hacks and the kids on Manhattan Prep have to say about why (C) is wrong.


I would be more satisfied with my results today if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve taken this test before. It was actually the first test I sat in on–way back in December 2015. While I don’t remember anything from it (except vaguely the weird game), I’ve seen all of this test before. That could provide one explanation for why I did so well on RC–I’ve read those prompts before.

It might be true. Nevertheless, that was nearly two years ago. And I was on so much Vyvanse back then, and smoking so much weed during months/weeks/days leading up to the test. 95% this test felt new. Blergh.

I guess all we can definitively say is it’s hard to measure how much of an effect seeing this material once, 20 months ago, had on my performance today. Was it 1 point? 5? 10?

I scored a 165 on that day in December. I remember coming out of the testing center on Academy and walking home and almost crying because I knew–I just knew–I underperformed. My mom and sister came to visit me and I was a dick to them (being a dick is one of the main side effects, and for a lot of people one of the main appeals, of Vyvanse).

Immediately after (and maybe even during) the test, it began to dawn on me: some deeper truth about life and me and humanity (but mostly just about me). The truth: I could do so much better than I just did. I could be better than I am. It came to me as anger and self-hatred and outrage, and deep deep regret: I am not what I want to be

and but maybe I could be.

And maybe I already knew this truth, maybe I had learned it a thousand times, but maybe it kept getting lost somewhere in the smoke and endless beer piss.

I wanted to score a lot higher on that day because I knew I was capable of scoring a lot higher. Today I scored a 178. Nlergh.

Zen and Human Testicles and the Art of Why You Underperform

-1 last night on 19.2 (LR). Missed a fairly routine parallel reasoning question (#20). I’m not too worried about it.

It is interesting to note, though, that at this point I’m not missing one particular question type in LR. Sometimes it’s a most strongly supported, sometimes a strengthen, sometimes a weakening. Yesterday a parallel reasoning. Still missing on average 2 questions per LR section.

This weekend I drilled RC and LG exclusively, working out of the yellow 19-28 book. Did 6 sections on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. I was focusing on consciously maintaining confidence during RC, that is, trusting my intuition on questions I’m not 100% about so that I can move on without wasting time, and it seemed to help–or at least not hurt. I was averaging between -3 and -4.

Kurt says the old RC sections are easier than the more recent ones, and while it’s true that they lack comparative reading passages, I’m not sure that the questions are simpler or that the passages themselves are any less arcane. I’m even less sure that thinking about things this way–like ‘oh I shouldn’t feel good about my performance on these sections because they’re not like what I’ll be up against on the real test’–is fruitful. Mike Kim (author of the LSAT Trainer) says that confidence is key to scoring in the high170s, and I think he’s right. I’m confident I can do well in RC if I approach RC with confidence; this belief is reinforced by data: my personal experiments.

Re: the whole confidence thing though. This is a mental test. Like, it’s fucking mental. I mean that in every sense of the word. It’s insane and out of its mind, yes. And obviously it tests your mental (cognitive) abilities–see: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension. But it’s also a test of different type of mental ability–something I’ll label mental coolness. This is where confidence comes in.

Mental coolness is your ability to be present when shit gets real. It’s your ability to will yourself into a state of flow. It’s your ability to breathe when your body is telling you breathing is just a waste of time. It’s your ability to trust yourself qua a self. It’s your ability to recognize your limitations and suspend disbelief–to not only push your self-doubt off to the side and say ‘stay,’ but to actively transcend that doubt by absolving yourself of it.

A lack of mental coolness is the reason why so many kids significantly underperform come test day. This lack begets unregulated anxiety which begets poor performance; someone can have the cognitive ability to answer every question on the test, but if they spend the first 10 minutes of each section frozen in fear or doubting their performance on the last section, they won’t score well.

This is also why so many kids who take unprescribed amphetamines for the test shit the bed, too. In theory, the study drugs will up your performance because you’ll be some kind of LSAT demigod breezing through questions, thinking faster, reasoning better. In reality, though, this is rarely the case.

The adderall makes you sweat, it makes your heart beat faster, it makes you think about your sweat and your heart beating faster and about oh my god i need to stop thinking about my sweat and am i spending too much time on this reading comp passage i think i’m spending too much time on this reading comp passage and what did the last sentence say and why can’t i stop thinking about my heart beating faster? Taking performance-enhancing drugs precludes mental coolness by making you think too much–by forfeiting your autonomy and letting your thoughts control you.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. Some people probably take adderall and score higher than they would’ve otherwise. But I’d wager my life that for people trying to score 170+, scoring higher w/ (unprescribed) drugs isn’t the norm. The ideal testtaker, far from being some automaton of impeccable reasoning, is someone who, while extremely well-versed in the language of the test, is nevertheless creative, flexible, and cool. It’s someone who, when thrown a curveball, can recognize the pitch and manage to get their bat on the ball. It’s someone who accepts their humanity–that they’re not a machine designed solely to reason but rather a real live human being with a heart pumping blood and a good imperfect brain whose intuition is usually correct and who will probably experience some pre-test nerves and jitters but has the mental coolness and the big human testicles required to dive into the test with the lightness and ease of a zen master sweeping his monastery.

The reality is you will miss a number of questions come test day. The question is: can you get out of your head and into the test such that you give yourself over to the test–you lose your self and become the test–and thus minimize the number of times you start to freak out about oh my god how much time do i have left what if i got those last three questions on reading comp wrong i’ve never seen this type game before how the fuck do they expect me to be able to do this game what the fuck, and thus minimize the number of questions you get wrong? In other words, can you be cool?

 

8.4.2017

Took 71.2 (LG) and 71.3 (LR) last night. Went -0 and -2 respectively.

LG wasn’t too difficult–mostly sequencing games, one double-layered and one w/ a twist. Finished the first game in roughly 3 seconds (that’s a joek it was closer to 4 minutes) so I had enough time left to get through the more challenging games.

LR was a bitch. I know–I went -2 so how hard could it have been, right?–but trust me, that was one of the more difficult LR sections I’ve taken in the last 2 months. Still finished in time, but not with the usual 3-5 minutes left. I got kind of lucky on question 24 and then missed #25 and #26.

25 was a strengthen question that both Kurt and I missed. We both had different answer choices too, which speaks to the overall assramming-ability of this question. Moreover, we both agreed that it was difficult to make sense of the stimulus’ argument. I’m not sure that given unlimited time, I would’ve gotten this question correct.

26 was a resolve-the-paradox question. Kurt got it right but I missed it. The answer I chose (C) only addressed one lemma of the stimulus and thus didn’t resolve shit. Correct answer was E–Kurt convinced me after about 45seconds of discussion. Boo.

8.3.2017

Took some time off from studying after the 173 on Saturday. Yesterday Kurt and I took 71.1 (LR).

Felt bad about the first page of questions (uncertainty, sluggishness, just wasn’t in the zoneflowzengroove) but still finished the section with a cool 4 mins left. Sucks butts because I went -2.

One question (#22, NA) I just straight up got wrong. Like even in BR, when Kurt was trying to convince me of E (teh correct answer) I was like, nah, shit doesn’t maek sense ya demon. I was like na bitch blap bla it’s A blap blap (*dives out of the window of a moving car*). Blap blap. Turns out it wasn’t A (*falls to knees gripping chest like bad shakespeare actor*) and so I’ll take that L, as the kids say.

But the other question I missed, #19, was a principle question and I missed it only because I read the question stem wrong. Like. Fuck. I read the question as “which of the following scenarios conforms most closely to the principle described above” when really it was asking for the exact opposite–which of the following most violates the principle. Fucking principles. What was the name of the principal on Recess.

I’ve been reading question stem first and it has (adverb) improved my consistency and I always have 3-5 minutes left at the end of sections and so there’s no reason for me not to TAEK MOIRE TIME ON READING QUESTION STEM.

come on, dinglenuts, get your spit together.

*snorts chocolate*

fuk im good waddup

any1 want snort some this chocolate

*snorts chocolate*

fuck law school

i just like the admissions test

it was Principal Prickly.

7.29.2017

173 on PT 73.

-0 LG (PT 28.2, Experimental)

-6 RC

-2 LR1

-0 LG

-1 LR2

That reading comp tho. Still averaging in the low 170s. 173 is a bit higher than most of my scores, but not by so much as to be indicative of progress. Still peaked at 176 back in June on PT74.

re: rc: The 5 minute warning was called before I made it to the 4th passage so it’s not surprising I missed 4 of the final 6 questions. I’ve been saying ‘the speed will come on reading comp’ for about two months now, and bitch still aint come. Time to get serious about RC and drill more than 1-2 sections/week. Tired of bullspitting myself. Gonna have to get my reading comp scores to -4 at the most if I want 175+ in Sept.

How many days are in August? 30? 31? And why don’t I know?

Whatever the answer is, that’s how many RC sections I want to drill over the course of the month. Leggoooooo

7.24.2017

Getting fatter than a walrus, ive gained a couple hundred pounds in the last couple decasde

#fatboys

Took PT76 on Saturday.

-11, a converted score of 171. Better than my previous score (168 mfker) by quite a bit, but still no 176.

Score Breakdown:

RC (-8)

LR1 (-0)

LG (-2)

LR2 (-1)

So yeah. -8 on RC doesn’t feel good. There wasn’t one passage in particular that I bombed. Feels bad man. I need to drill RC a lot of over the next 7 weeks because…

DRILLING WORKS, MAN. That LR score tho, right? It’s the best I’ve done on LR on a PT (ever) and it really feels good. I had ample time leftover in both sections. I think this is in part due to the fact that I’ve been reading question stems before stimuli and in part due to the fact that I’m beginning to be more confident (which leads to and is a result of more prephrasing correct answers, more skimming for answers that match my prephrase, and more moving on quickly after determining the correct answer).

LG–I dont know about you, dude. 2 questions wrong on the last game. Ran out of time. It wasn’t even that hard–so why was it so hard??

The deep questions

my father’s father was an alcoholic and my father was an alcoholic and i had a substance abuse problem including an alcohol problem by the time i was 22 and 23 now but and i but i just think it’s really important to keep this on the front of my frontal lobe or some shit, fam, because my father doesnt drink now and neither do i

Need to keep up the prep.

Also took PT68.1 (LR) on Friday and reviewed with Kurt on Sat. We both went -3. Doesn’t feel great but I knew it was a difficult section. Sometimes you just know, you know?

Need to keep up the prep. (So much foods nom nom onom)