I grew up way below the poverty line, so I am always thinking about free or inexpensive ways for students to excel on the LSAT. One of my favorite resources is 7Sage.com, which offers several priceless helps at no charge. In this post, we will explain how to make the most of 7Sage’s free tools for learning logical reasoning.
7Sage offers a free LSAT database that allows you to bubble in answers, score individual tests, and then sort and sift those results to find out where you need to focus your efforts. The more practice tests you enter into your personal database, the more you can see the patterns in your performance. The table that shows your results contains a lot of useful information, and you can select and sort what information you see with just one click. It is a free, simple, user-friendly “power tool” for LSAT success.
Your first step towards improving your score is to create your free 7Sage account. Sometimes “free accounts” just generate a ton of spam, but I have never felt that way about my 7Sage account. I do get occasional emails from J.Y. Ping, the Harvard Law graduate and educational genius who helped found 7Sage, but since I actually care about what he has to say, that isn’t a problem.
Once you have an account, click on the “Resources” tab and then select “LSAT Analytics” from the drop-down menu. You will see that you can score an LSAT, check your “trends,” or look at the “question table.” The “trends” and “question table” are both based on LSAT data you have previously entered, and you haven’t entered anything yet, so it’s time to score an LSAT. Dig out a test you have completed and scroll down the “Select PrepTest” list to get going.
Note–if you have done a lot of practice tests and have them lying around the house, it is well worth your while to bubble in the oldest test first, where “oldest” means “the first test you took,” not “the first test the LSAC published.” The “trends” feature will allow you to measure your progress from test to test, based on the date you entered your data. Starting with your oldest test makes those trend lines more meaningful.
Bubbling in the answers is easy. You can click each bubble with your mouse or other input device or use the keyboard. (Type “1” for A, “2” for B, etc.) 7Sage works on the iPad, so I can bubble in answers as fast as I can touch the screen. Once your data is in, just hit the “Save and Score LSAT” button at the bottom and check out your results.
The first thing to notice when you score your test is that 7Sage gives you two scores–one in black and one in blue. The blue number represents your “blind review” score. 7Sage has a fabulous approach to LSAT study called the “blind review” method, which is built right into the database at every level. We won’t cover that in this post, though, because today we’re focusing on using past practice tests to zero in on problem areas. These techniques are even more powerful when you add the blind review tools–but we’ll save that for another post. For the moment, you can just ignore the blind review results.
Scroll down a few inches and look at the “Question Performance” section. There should be an empty box that says “filter,” followed by a list of 100 questions. Look at the column headings–“question,” “type,” “tags,” your answer,” “answer choices,” “question difficulty,” “passage/game difficulty,” “priority,” “explanation,” and “quick view.” Each of these columns is sortable–just hover over the label and then click on the up or down arrow that appears.
Try clicking the “question difficulty” icon for one of the questions. The “filter box” at the top of your chart will suddenly read “+Hardest” (or “+Easiest,” “+Easier,” “+Medium,” or “+Harder,” depending on your choice). Click on the “your answer” label to sort these questions out into “questions you got right” and “questions you got wrong.” Scroll down to the bottom of the chart and you will see how many questions of this difficulty level are on this test. Erase the “+Hardest” in the filter box and you’ll see all the questions again.
The 7Sage analytics are most useful for working on logical reasoning questions, so let’s limit your chart to those questions. Type “+LR” in the filter box, and only logical reasoning questions will show up. Now click the “tags” label to sort these out by question type. Hover over the first tag on your chart (usually “AP”) and it should pop up with an explanation for what that means (“Argument Part”). Click on that AP and your filter box will suddenly include “+AP” and your chart will only show Argument Part questions. Click the “your answer” label to sort these out by “questions you got right” and “questions you got wrong.” Take a look at the “question difficulty” to see whether you tend to miss easy questions for this particular type.
Now erase everything in your filter box except the “+LR.” Click one of your wrong answers (it will have a red circle around the letter you chose) and the term “+Incorrect” will appear in the filter box. Sort by “question difficulty.” Scroll down the list, noting which “easy” question types you got wrong. That’s a good place to begin your studies.
So far, we have only looked at test results for one preptest. You will get more insight into your weaknesses by looking at more than one test. Scroll all the way up to the top of the page, just under the “Question Analytics” header. Click the “Question Table” tab. You should see a line that says, “Review limited to 1 of 1 completed PrepTests” (unless you have already entered more than one test). You can select as many or as few tests as you choose by clicking the “tap to edit” button. If you have multiple tests saved, you will need the filter box to narrow down your data.
7Sage has built some remarkable tools into the remaining tab on the “Analytics” page. Click the “trends” button at the top of the page. There’s a tutorial video that explains these features. Take a look at the video–both to learn what you can do, and to “meet” J.Y. Ping, the master teacher who has made 7Sage the remarkable resource that it is!