I was prepping in the 170-175 range about 2 weeks prior to the exam. The week prior to the exam I bumped up to the 175+ range, with my last three PTs on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to the exam: 176, 175, 178. I ended up scoring a 177 on test day - 1 point lower than my best PT, though there was no 178 possible on the June administration.
If you wouldn't mind clarifying, did you only START PTing in the 170-175 range two weeks prior to the exam, or had you been PTing in that range for some time before that?
My first timed diagnostic was on March 1st, and was a 152. This shook me up pretty bad... I have pretty high expectations of myself, and "152" is a number I'd expect to see on an IQ test, not the LSAT. I've always been a good test taker and took for granted that I would perform much better. I knew that I needed to be in the 170+ range if I was going to get into the kinds of schools that I wanted to go to, and I'd never heard of anyone jumping 20 points from their initial diagnostic. I was set on taking the test in June, so I knew that I had my work cut out for me if I was going to stand any chance of getting into a top law school. This really lit a fire under me, and over spring break I spent around 8 hours a day studying for 10 days straight. On March 11th , I took my second timed diagnostic and scored a 170. Believing that this may have been a fluke, I took another test that same day, and scored a 169.
Here is a copy of the spreadsheet that I was keeping... I hope the formatting shows up properly:
Date Test Section 1 Score Section 2 Score Section 3 Score Section 4 Score Raw LSAT SCORE
Mar 1, 2008 49 Analytical Reasoning 10/22 Logical Reasoning 19/26 Reading Comp 14/27 Logical Reasoning 19/25 62/100 152
Mar 11, 2008 20 Logical Reasoning 25/25 Reading Comp 20/26 Analytical Reasoning 20/24 Logical Reasoning 24/26 89/101 170
Mar 11, 2008 21 Analytical Reasoning 19/24 Logical Reasoning 23/25 Logical Reasoning 21/25 Reading Comp 21/25 86/101 169
Mar 14, 2008 23 Analytical Reasoning 15/24 Logical Reasoning 21/26 Logical Reasoning 21/24 Reading Comp 19/26 76/100 164
***Between Mar 14 and Apr 19, I didn't have very much time to study since I was working full time and going to school full time. I tried to squeeze in work on Logic Games as often as possible, since that was my major weakness.
Apr 19, 2008 45 Logical Reasoning 20/25 Reading Comp 22/27 Analytical Reasoning 19/22 Logical Reasoning 22/25 83/99 167
***Between Apr 19 and May 19, I was finishing up school and work, studying for finals, then graduating and moving home from school. Again, I tried to squeeze in work on LG as often as I could, but didn't get more than a few hours a week in. Once I got home from school, I had no job and committed myself full-time to LSAT prep. I was working on LSAT prep 8-12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. I tried to take at least 1 PT every day, then focused the rest of my day on reviewing the exam and working on areas that were weak.
May 19, 2008 A Logical Reasoning 24/25 Reading Comp 22/27 Analytical Reasoning 18/24 Logical Reasoning 23/25 87/101 166
May 21, 2008 25 Reading Comp 25/26 Logical Reasoning 22/25 Analytical Reasoning 17/24 Logical Reasoning 25/26 89/101 170
May 21, 2008 26 Analytical Reasoning 18/25 Logical Reasoning 25/25 Logical Reasoning 21/25 Reading Comp 22/27 86/101 169
May 22, 2008 27 Logical Reasoning 25/26 Analytical Reasoning 16/24 Reading Comp 21/26 Logical Reasoning 24/25 86/101 171
***This is all the information that I have in my excel spreadsheet on this computer. The rest of my log was done w/ pen and paper. If anyone thinks it would be helpful, I can type it up for you guys.
Basically, I became fairly consistent around the 170-172 range and plateaued until about 1 week prior to the exam, when I scored my first 176. Then, I dropped back down for a couple days, and finally began prepping consistently in the 175+ range a few days prior to the exam. I took the day before the exam off, but then that freaked me out so I woke up early on the day of the exam and took 2 full LR sections to warm up.
Before I get yelled at by anyone for promoting such an odd prep routine... I should note that I'm not recommending this admittedly unorthodox schedule, and I'm not saying that taking 2 full LR sections in the hours before the test is a good idea. This is just what worked for me personally. This is how I scored a 177 on test day. I'm probably not your average LSAT taker, so these sort of strategies may not work for the majority of people. I just know how to play to my strengths when studying, and I know what works for me. I knew that I had 3-4 weeks to devote my entire life to the LSAT immediately preceding the exam. I knew that I could study for 8-12 hours a day without losing focus. I knew that I study most successfully under extreme pressure. I knew what would work for me, and I think that is the most important thing: Learn what works for you, figure out how to play to your strengths, weaknesses, learning style, schedule, etc. If anyone tells you that there is only one way to successfully prep for the LSAT, or tells you that no one can improve more than 5-10 points from your initial diagnostic, don't believe them. If you are currently prepping in the 170-175 range, then you are in a small minority of high-performing test-takers, and you can't necessarily count on advice intended for the average student. Once you reach that level, you may need to try some unorthodox techniques to bump yourself up into the 175+ range.