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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chinese New Year Can't Sap LSAT Mojo

I finally dragged my lazy butt out of bed to take a practice LSAT this morning. In October, I had planned out a schedule of taking practice tests every two weeks, and I stuck with it through December, but since the new year, I have only taken one practice test before today, and that one wasn't particularly good.

The real test isn't until June, so I'm not in hot water yet, but that still only gives me four months to prepare myself adequately, and let's just say that I have a lot of ground to cover in Logic Games.

If you aren't familiar with the format of the LSAT, I'll explain. There are four types of sections: (1) Reading Comp, (2) Logical Reasoning, (3) Logic Games, and (4) Writing. The writing section isn't included in your score, though, so I haven't practiced it yet, because I'm not worried about it. The reading comp is just like any other reading comp section you've ever had in any other standardized test -- no problem. Logical reasoning are short arguments composed of 3-5 sentences, and which usually include premises that lead to a conclusion. Then the LR questions ask things like, what will weaken/strengthen the conclusion, what is an example of parallel reasoning, what is the flaw in the reasoning, etc. There are two LR sections on the actual test, so this counts for a major part of your score, and it is therefore very important to understand how to handle these questions. They aren't too bad once you get used to doing them, and I'm not very worried about this part of the test.

But Logic Games...

Logic Games are like this:

Seven classes, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, are to be scheduled during 5 days, Monday-Friday according to the following conditions:
-Only one class is scheduled Wednesdays
-D and G are not scheduled on the same day
-If F is scheduled on Mondays, B is scheduled Thursdays
-C and D are not scheduled on consecutive days
-E is scheduled before D during the week, and they are not scheduled on the same day


And that would be a typical setup of one of the easier games. (Note that I completely made those rules up; it's not an actual question, but that's what they read like.)

Looks fun, huh? After all, they're games! Yeah, well, they are kind of fun if you have plenty of time to solve them, but in the test, you only have 35 minutes to solve four such games containing a total of 24-26 questions, and usually only one of the games is relatively easy.

So that's what I'm struggling with right now. But I have hope that I will be able to focus my skill in this area and be able to accurately answer three of the games. I think that's the best I'll be able to do in the allotted time, but it should be enough for me to achieve my goal of 165 on the test.

So today I went to the SLC library to take my practice test. I've finally found an area of the library that is relatively undisturbed. For weeks, I ended up moving several times between sections because a baby would cry its little eyes out without its mother shutting it up, or a bum would be snoring loudly in a nearby armchair, or some rat bastard would hold a loud conversation on his cellphone, or someone would come and ask me if they can sit at my table. Can't these people see I'm trying to take a test?

So I found a far table on the third floor that is usually secluded, and I set up for battle there. The logic games were the first section of the test, and I made them my bitches this time! Well, at least I made two of them my bitches, and I got about half right on the other two games. Still, it was my best performance on the Games yet!

I thought it was all smooth sailing from there, but then, as I turned to the last page on my final section of the test - a logical reasoning section - and with the clock down to about 7 minutes, all of a sudden a cacophonous clang and clatter of drums arose from behind me. At first, I thought someone knocked over a bookshelf, but then the sound kept ringing on, so I thought maybe it was some kind of bizarre fire alarm.

But I wasn't about to let a fire hinder my test, so I kept going through the migraine-inducing thundering from below. I had to stick my fingers in my ears and mutter the questions to myself in order to maintain focus, but I managed to finish.

And I scored a 163!!!! My highest practice score yet! 165 here I come...

So it turns out it's Chinese New Year, and the library saw fit to have a 5 minute drumming celebration for the occasion. I guess there were dancers and everything, but I was on the other side of the lib taking a nasty exam, so I saw nothing.

It's a special library, the Salt Lake. In what other library can you expect to hear a riotous drumming demonstration for Chinese New Year? None that I know of. So I guess that's pretty cool. I just wish they could have provided a little warning to those of us who wanted to have a little testing zen. Next time I'll bring my earplugs just in case.

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Loralee Choate said...

The LSATS is such a bastardly test to take!

For fun, I took a practice test with my Pre-law roomie. I rocked at reading comp and writing.

The rest? HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Logic was never really my strong point. I got a 28 or 29? on the ACT with like a 14 in Math. (It was so long ago I can't remember, but it was close to 30 with a SUCKY score in math and scientific reasoning.) The numbers say it all.)

Sovknight said...

You're such a visual writer. That's why I love reading your blog so much.

You suck though, because as I was reading your little test example I was mentally calculating as I read along, but I felt cheated when I got to the point where you said it was just a fake example and not real. Bah! I was gonna be all smart and stuff, and now I'm just a sucker. :P

I'm just kidding. I wouldn't mind seeing a real example of the game test question though, just to see if I have any chops. Prolly not though...

My ACT scores were pretty much the same as Loralees. I got really good scores in reading comprehension and history and stuff like that, but a 13 in Math. A bloody 13! That stupid Math score killed my ACT final. Prolly why I dun growed up stoopid.

My word verification is fxsuk. I like it.

Sra said...

Huh, I got a 31 on the ACT, and I thought that was pretty good. I got about the same score in all the sections, but science was the lowest with 29.

Actually, I barely pulled a passing 3 on the English AP test, so I wasn't very good at literature and analytical writing when I was in high school. Meanwhile, my Calculus scores were 5's, as were my Physics scores (except for E&M, in which I got a 3, because that stuff is SO counterintuitive!).

Well...I don't know if I'll put up a real logic game... the games and questions are actually copyrighted, and I don't want to get in trouble with the people who are going to score my test. But they do give away a couple free downloadable full practice test on the website.

fxsuk. I like it too :)

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