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Princeton Review an accurate assessment?

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Joined: 12 Sep 2005
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New post 03 Oct 2005, 13:53
Hello All,

Not sure if this is where I should post, but I'll go ahead anyway.

Quick Background: I just graduated from college in May, and I hope to attend a top JD/MBA program after a few years in a consulting position.

I took the test last week and ended up with a much better score than I had been expecting based on my Princeton Review practices. The majority of my diagnostics (I took 5) were in the 670 - 690 range, largely due to my iffy quantitative skills. I generally do very well on pure verbal tests (the LSAT was not a problem), and have to hope that my strong verbal will carry me on mixed tests, such as the GMAT and SAT. I was a bit frustrated with my diagnostic scores because they were all 30-40+ points below the averages of the schools I most hope to attend (namely H or S). My practice verbal was right around the minimum I needed it to be (44-46), while my quant varied from 39 - 43. So the quant factor is what was holding me back.

I have read a good deal about Kaplan's diagnostics and how they score much more adversely than the real deal, and so I hoped that PR would turn out similarly for me. While I learned from others that they had scored all over the board in relation to their PR diagnostics (30 up, 70 up, even, 10 down, 30 down), I was not discouraged. I finished the OG, completed all the PR course materials, and, just for good measure, went out and bought Grammar Smart as well.

During all of this practice, I realized two things specific to the PR's tests as they relate to the actual test: The RC is much more difficult and the diagnostics do not take into account experimental questions.

I am normally very good at RC (I missed only a few on the LSAT), and performed fairly well on the questions in the OG. However, on every PR diagnostic, I found myself incorrect fully a third of the time on the reading comp sections. This was not due to the fact that the passages were longer or more complex, but because of the poor composition of the questions themselves. Many are worded haphazardly at best, and, quite often, have no correct answer or more than one correct answer as far as the astute tester can tell. I pointed this out to my teacher, and he said he couldn't be sure. Well, now that I have taken the actual test, I can safely say that I AM sure; the PR's RC questions are not representative of the actual Reading Comp (Side note: the SC and Arguments sections are pretty much dead on).

As far as the lack of experimental questions on the PR's tests, I believe this also serves to boost scores on the actual administration. I did much better on the quant on the ETS CD test and on the real thing as well, largely due to this discounting of certain questions.

So, if you have survived my long-windedness thus far, I will say to all the PR takers out there: if you are having trouble with RC on PR, do not despair--your score will likely improve on the true test both as a result of a more balanced RC section and the experimentally discounted questions.

And, to test takers in general: Practice, practice, practice, and try to remember that this IS just a test. There is certainly much less stigma attached to your file if you have to retake a couple of times than there would be if this were the LSAT. Also, try your level best to keep a positive attitude during the whole process, especially during the test itself. I felt like I was doing quite poorly on my quant section during my sitting, but I just kept moving at my set pace and things turned out quite favorably (51 verbal, 47 Quant, 770 composite).

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Princeton Review an accurate assessment?   [#permalink] 03 Oct 2005, 13:53
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