Law School Discussion

LSAT Preparation => Studying for the LSAT => Topic started by: rose9729 on September 13, 2015, 08:11:20 PM

Title: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: rose9729 on September 13, 2015, 08:11:20 PM
I am aiming for a 170 on the October LSAT, but for at least the past month, my score has consistently been 161-163, despite taking the time to go over answers I was unsure about and/or got incorrect and practicing those types of questions.

I have been self-studying for the LSAT since May, I had a tutor work intensively with me on logic games from May-July, and I have been in a TestMasters class since July. I only use the official PrepTests and books with official questions (PowerScore bibles, The LSAT Trainer). I have taken about 10 practice tests in total under timed, realistic conditions.

It seems on every practice exam I either have a major problem with RC (-7) and one of the logic games (while getting 100% on the other 3 games) but only get 4 wrong per LR section or the RC and logic games sections are fine (-2 or -3 each) but then I get about 9 wrong per LR section. Basically, I either have a problem with one half of the exam or the other. Recently, I did one practice exam where I gave myself 10 minute breaks in between sections and got a 172. I know this doesn't mean much, but it does show that I do have the necessary skills and strategies.

This is very frustrating, especially since in my practice I feel confident about the questions I am working on. I study about 3 hours per day, sometimes more, and based on the above, feel my studying is of good quality. I have a 3.95 GPA from a top 15 undergrad and don't see why for the amount and quality of studying I have done I shouldn't be able to get a 170.

Any advice for how to overcome this? Is it even realistic to expect this big of a jump in my score with only 3 weeks left? I know the obvious answer would be to just keep in mind retaking the exam in December, but I really don't want to resort to that if I don't absolutely have to.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 13, 2015, 10:30:21 PM
Without knowing you and your personal abilities, it's pretty much impossible for anyone here to determine whether or not you are capable of getting a 170. Because I don't know you, my comments are going to be fairly general. That said, keep this in mind:

We all have some inherent limitations. For example, no matter how hard I study I will always suck at math. Can I get better at math, and improve my mathematical abilities? Yes, but I'll probably never be in the top 5% of mathematicians no matter what.

When you talk about scoring 170, you're talking about scoring in the top 5%. In order to do better than 95% of the other people you've probably got to have a combination of inherent skills and effective studying. I mean, if all it took to score 170 was tons and tons of studying then lots of people would be scoring 170.

You probably can still raise your score, but by how much? I don't know. A score of 162-ish is good. It means you did better than something like 80% of the people who took the LSAT. I think most people do plateau at some point and are often disappointed with their scores. It's sort of an ego check.

Don't get fixated on a particular score. Focus on understanding the test as best as you possibly can, continue to study effectively, and you will probably get the highest score that you are capable of getting. 
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Citylaw on September 14, 2015, 10:14:51 AM
Well it sounds like you have done everything you can. The vast majority of people do not get 150 on the LSAT yet alone 160 and a very, very small minority get 170 or above.  If you get a 162 that is a very solid score and you can be admitted to a number of ABA law schools with substantial scholarship money.

I think for most 0L's like yourself the LSAT is the first reality check. You were probably a great high school student, clearly a great college student with a 3.95, but now you are going to the big leagues, which is law school. Everyone is striving to get a 170 and was a great high school and college student and no matter what law school you attend everyone is going to be smart, hard-working and motivated and there is a 50% chance you will finish in the bottom half of the class, this is nothing against you personally just the reality. There is a 10% chance you will finish in the top 10%, but 100% of Ol's come into law school certain they will be in the top 10%, but 90% are wrong.

I hope you get a 170, but all you can do is take the test. I don't know how many people put it off for years hoping to get a better score, but it sounds like you have done everything you can. Keep studying and get a real score maybe you will get a 180, maybe you will get a 148 I don't know nor does anyone else. Once you have a real score you will know your options, but until you have a real score it is all speculation. If you really think you bomb it you can retake, but if I was you I would take this October LSAT and start applying to schools.

If you really want to try and improve the October LSAT you can take the February one and see if you improve there is no harm, but just take it.

Good luck.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 15, 2015, 06:53:45 PM
I say retake, and you will likely go up, but be ok with a lower score increase too. 8 points is a pretty big jump. Most retakers who go up go up 3 points or less.
But heck, even one point is worth retaking IMHO.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Citylaw on September 18, 2015, 10:32:40 AM
Yea there is no harm in retaking it, but you have to take it the firs time to retake.

To the OP take it and apply and retake it while your application is pending. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose in that scenario, but if you take it two or three times and do not end up with a 170 don't be surprised.  99% of people don't get a 170 or higher and there is a 99% chance you won't either. I hope you get a 180, get into Harvard and finish Valedictorian then get directly appointed to the Supreme Court.  However, I would not  bet a cent on that happening, but hey it could happen, but don't sit around waiting for that scenario, because odds years will pass and you will not have taken step 1.



Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 18, 2015, 10:56:28 AM
I wonder if there is any actual statistical data which indicates whether or retaking the LSAT results in higher scores?

I mean, obviously some people are going to score higher on a retake and others are going to score lower. But for those who score higher, I have to think that they did something different the second time. Maybe they modified their approach, took a prep class, dedicated more time to studying, whatever.

The reason I'm wondering about this is because I think a of people think that just the act of retaking the LSAT alone will result in a higher score. "I scored 160 this time, so if I study some more and retake I'll score 165 next time." But I'm not sure that doing the same study regimen a second time makes much difference. Again, I think you'd have to change it up and explore new angles in order to score higher. 
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Citylaw on September 18, 2015, 10:59:55 AM
I think everyone is different for many I imagine the second time would be easier, just because the pressure is off and the mystery of the LSAT etc is taken away.

Once you go through the process once the nerves are gone and that would probably help on a retake.

I often think about taking the LSAT now for sh**s and giggles just to see how I did with no studying or pressure whatsoever.  The score would be meaningless, but I imagine anyone that has gone through law school would do quite well and have no test anxiety whastoever.

Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Miami88 on September 18, 2015, 01:18:27 PM
So, a few things.

Is it even realistic to expect this big of a jump in my score with only 3 weeks left?

A:

No. It is extremely unrealistic to expect anything significant to happen in 3 weeks, particularly when those 3 weeks are near the end of your studying prior to an exam. Realistically, you are looking at getting a 157-168ish on the real thing right now.

Recommendation:

You are unusual than most of the people that post on here; you have a 3.93 GPA from a top school. That is huge. If you can get into the high 160s on the LSAT, you are a looking at T14. If you can break into the 170s, you are looking at T6 if not T3. Right now, if you get a 160, you are looking at T30/50. There is nothing wrong with T30, but the outputs are noticeably different than T6.

So now is where we come to a crossroads. You need to seriously ask yourself what your values are - what are you really trying to get out of law school. It sounds like you have what it takes to get into at least the high 160s/low 170s - but it will take more than what you are doing now. I ended up getting in the high 160s - but I put in 8 hrs/day for 6 months.  I went through every single published test, most under timed conditions  and at least 15 full test conditions.

Now, if you aren't even remotely interested in big law or fancy fed. clerkships, than screw it. Take the LSAT now - you will get into a great law school. But if you are interested in big law/clerkships (which have their owns set of pros and cons) or if you want to get scholarship money - it may be worth it to stick it out until February or even June.

Good luck!
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Citylaw on September 18, 2015, 01:23:59 PM
Excellent point Miami.

If you really want to work Biglaw, Clerkship etc then don't go to law school outside of T14.   If your goal is to be a District Attorney then go to law school in the area you want to live and get out with as little debt as possible.

I am close friends with a lot of Harvard, Boalt Stanford, etc law grads. Many of them work at huge firms and really enjoy the prestige, money, etc and don't mind the long hours. That is great for them.

I have other friends from these schools that ended up working for Public Interest Groups, Starting their own firms, etc and they could have easily gotten full scholarships at a school like Hastings, or Boston University, and been in the same position they are without law school debt.

So as Miami says ask yourself what you want. If you want a Federal Clerkship and Biglaw Career then strive to get a 170 and with a 3.93 and great GPA you have that option open to you.

If that is not what you want then take the LSAT and get your legal career started.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: loki13 on September 29, 2015, 05:30:51 AM
I wonder if there is any actual statistical data which indicates whether or retaking the LSAT results in higher scores?

I mean, obviously some people are going to score higher on a retake and others are going to score lower. But for those who score higher, I have to think that they did something different the second time. Maybe they modified their approach, took a prep class, dedicated more time to studying, whatever.

The reason I'm wondering about this is because I think a of people think that just the act of retaking the LSAT alone will result in a higher score. "I scored 160 this time, so if I study some more and retake I'll score 165 next time." But I'm not sure that doing the same study regimen a second time makes much difference. Again, I think you'd have to change it up and explore new angles in order to score higher.

I'm going to briefly comment on this. The thing to remember is that, to a large extent, the test measure aptitude, not learning. It's not like a calculus test, where you can study for specific things. Having gone through the process myself, I would advise re-taking the test only if the issue is one of the following:

1. A specific issue with that test day. You were sick. Hungover. Way too nervous. You read the directions wrong. Something external caused you to perform poorly, and retaking the test would allow that external condition to dissipate.

2. You can improve your test-taking strategies. Some people are good at taking standardized test, some aren't... naturally. Optimizers, strategizers, what have you. This is worth a few points. Familiarity also helps. Did you go in cold? Did you not understand how the test is scored and how to optimize your score (best guessing, elimination of obviously incorrect answers, and so on). These skills can be learned and applied.

3. The section often called "logic games" is one that, IME, can be learned to a certain extent (the "certain extent" is key- there are strategies for mapping these out if you aren't very good at this, and these are learned). If this section is one that you struggled with, *and you are really willing to put in the time*, this section is worth boning up on.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 29, 2015, 10:26:37 AM
Yes, I tend to agree on all three points.

The thing I wonder about is our inherent limitations, for lack of a better term. For example, a person could study all day everyday for a year, take a prep course, hire a tutor, etc., and still never break 170. For whatever reason, they have exhausted their intellectual and time management abilities at a level below 170.

So I suppose the trick is use the tools available to get as close to your full potential as possible, but to still recognize that at some point you are maxed out.
Title: Re: 162 to 170 before October LSAT?
Post by: Citylaw on September 29, 2015, 11:42:35 AM
I think that is right on point.

At some point there is limit to what an individual can achieve.

For example I don't think anyone questions that Tim Tebow works his ass off and Jay Cutler is a lazy-ass bum, but Jay Cutler is a better QB based on natural ability. 

Or take Shaq he was not known for an amazing work ethic, but he was 7'1 350 lbs and extremely agile. There were many NBA players that worked way harder than Shaq, but had nowhere near his natural talent.

Same with the LSAT there are people that can work their ass off and not break 150, and others are capable of getting a 170 with a half-ass effort. It isn't "fair" per se, but neither is life.

I think most people can take the diagnostic and improve by 10-15 points. I got a 147 on my diagnostic and got up to 157. I didn't take a course or anything and had I done that maybe, I could have gotten to the low 160's, maybe. However, I am not a genius and could probably study from now until the day I die and not break 170. Literally 97%  of lawyers did not get a 170 http://www.alphascore.com/resources/lsat-score-conversion/, so that appears on point.

However, many 0L's and even law students don't like to hear they are not a special snowflake, but that reality hits 99% of us sooner or later

To the OP maybe you will get a 170, and in fact I hop you get a 180, but take the test. A 162 is a solid score and nothing to hang your head at, in fact you will have a better score than 86% of lawyers. http://www.alphascore.com/resources/lsat-score-conversion/ .