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Messages - SouthSide

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41
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Wow, got my first 180 today
« on: July 31, 2006, 11:09:47 PM »
Look. Obviously, some of the people who score 180 are getting lucky. Think about it this way: Assume that everyone who is a natural 175 scorer will be guessing on the remaining questions. Given that you have to answer five additional questions correctly, and the chances of getting a question right on a random guess are one in five, then one in 3,125 people who are natural 175 scorers will score a 180. (In reality, the odds are somewhat better, because most of these people will be able to eliminate at least one wrong answer on most questions. But the odds are still very much against this happening.) In fact, though, we know from published LSAT percentiles that more than 1 in 10 of the people who score 175 or higher actually get a 179 or higher. This is so much higher than random chance would predict that you have to assume there is usually some skill involved in achieving the higher score.

Secondly, I know of at least one person who took more than a dozen practice tests, and scored a 179 or 180 on 7 of her last 8, and then got one of those scores on the actual test. Either this person had a run of luck that statistically boggles the mind, or there are actual striations in skill level that are meaningful.

Obviously, any of these scores are tremendous accomplishments, but it seems reasonable to assume that a 180 scorer is highly likely to be a better LSAT taker than a 175 scorer.

Further, the test is just as precise in these ranges as it is in any other range. There is likely just as much difference between a 179 and a 175 as there is between a 169 and a 165.



I agree with you for the most part, Southside, but this last bit seems off to me.  I think you have to look at differential item performance.  Some questions are easier for the majority of testtakers than others; the hardest questions (and some random issues like misbubbling and fatigue) determine the striations at the top.

I think misbubbling and fatigue are basically constants that affect all levels equally. Why would a 155 scorer not be just as affected by misbubbling and fatigue as a a75 scorer?


42
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Wow, got my first 180 today
« on: July 31, 2006, 11:05:17 PM »
Look. Obviously, some of the people who score 180 are getting lucky. Think about it this way: Assume that everyone who is a natural 175 scorer will be guessing on the remaining questions. Given that you have to answer five additional questions correctly, and the chances of getting a question right on a random guess are one in five, then one in 3,125 people who are natural 175 scorers will score a 180. (In reality, the odds are somewhat better, because most of these people will be able to eliminate at least one wrong answer on most questions. But the odds are still very much against this happening.) In fact, though, we know from published LSAT percentiles that more than 1 in 10 of the people who score 175 or higher actually get a 179 or higher. This is so much higher than random chance would predict that you have to assume there is usually some skill involved in achieving the higher score.

Secondly, I know of at least one person who took more than a dozen practice tests, and scored a 179 or 180 on 7 of her last 8, and then got one of those scores on the actual test. Either this person had a run of luck that statistically boggles the mind, or there are actual striations in skill level that are meaningful.

Obviously, any of these scores are tremendous accomplishments, but it seems reasonable to assume that a 180 scorer is highly likely to be a better LSAT taker than a 175 scorer.

Further, the test is just as precise in these ranges as it is in any other range. There is likely just as much difference between a 179 and a 175 as there is between a 169 and a 165.


43
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 06:27:21 PM »
Ok, if this isn't Googler, this is the best clone I've ever seen.  Kudos.

You're right. Dammit, Googler has taken over my thread. I just realized I have a one in three chance of having him in my section next year.

I think I'd rather play Russian roulette.


44
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 05:50:15 PM »
Just to address the placebo thing, I think that is actually the one clear benefit of the test classes. It's a huge placebo. When I taught the SAT, the well-known national company I worked for made this very clear when they were training us. The goal was to sell the students on the right psychology, the attitude that they could beat the test. The kids who bought into this were likely to do much better. We didn't really have all that many special triks to teach them, we just wanted them to buy into the program and feel that they would do better.

For all you people who claim that the classes don't help, then what's your objection to just having the class marked on a score report, so law schools can make their own decisions? I don't see a harm here.

The only problem is whether this can be gotten around and whether it can be enforced.

45
Law School Applications / Re: Law Firms and Law Schools
« on: July 31, 2006, 05:44:17 PM »
This is apparently true, but if so, it's preposterous. Which was my original point.

Chicago being that low is second only to Stanford being that high, they're just weird rankings.  I think Chicago can legitimately challenge Harvard and both are significantly beyond Stanford in every metric except some weird notion of selectivity that privileges small schools.


Selectivity can be manipulated.  Just hand out more fee waivers.

NYU is notorious for having pioneered that particular tactic.

46
Law School Applications / Re: Law Firms and Law Schools
« on: July 31, 2006, 04:54:38 PM »
I just realized, as you were saying that, that NYU's bar passage rate gives them a boost over Chicago in USNews because they measure it as a ratio to the jurisdiction's overall passage rate.  Illinois has an 84% passage rate, so its 97% passage rate is not all that impressive.  Especially when Northwestern's passage rate is higher.

Either way, bar passage is still only 2% of the total score.

I stand by my assessment that GPA is the biggest thing pushing NYU and CLS over Chicago.

This is apparently true, but if so, it's preposterous. Which was my original point.

47
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 04:19:39 PM »
What do you consider resource-intensive training? I'd argue that the special tutoring shops that cost $20k are, but that regular classes that cost $1200-1300 aren't. Anyone who really wants to go to law school could find the $1,300, even if it means they have to float it on a credit card for a year until they get approved for student loans.

You shouldn't have to take on $1300 credit card debt to game some f-ing test to get into law school.

Right, especially if you're the kid scoring in the low 150s who really needs a score boost just to even get into law school.

48
I'd like to be a judge; that sounds like a nice gig.

In actuality, though, I'll probably end up in PI in an as-yet-undetermined specialty.  As appealling as the money is, biglaw doesn't appeal to me in any other way and I don't want to be working 80 hour weeks when I'm 30.

PI attorneys sometimes have to work hard, especially before trials. You have to find a scary-looking neck brace for your client, locate expert witnesses to say what you need them to, and don't forget the fees for jury consultants.


49
Law School Applications / Re: Law Firms and Law Schools
« on: July 31, 2006, 04:11:45 PM »
Peer Assessment Score 25% - Chicago
Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges 15% - Chicago
Employed nine months after graduation 14% - NYU
Median LSAT Scores 12.5% - Tossup
Median Undergrad GPA 10% - NYU
Average instruction, library, and supporting services expenditure 9.75% - Not sure where to find this data
Employed at graduation 4% - Chicago
Student/Faculty Ratio 3% - Chicago
Acceptance Rate 2.5% - Chicago
Bar Passage Rate 2% - Chicago
Financial aid 1.5% - Hard to tell
Library Resources .75% - NYU

I don't know how that makes such a big difference.  I mean NYU has the edge in 9 month employment figures but its like .8% difference.  Oh well.

Most national law firm placement surveys I've seen put Chicago over NYU and Stanford. Its per capita Supreme Court clerkships are second only to Yale. Also gets better reputation scores than NYU. Higher bar passage rate than NYU, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia. Better student/faculty ratio than NYU or Columbia. Most people who look at these things say that Chicago has the best faculty of any law school in the country.

Then there are these numbers:

Chicago: 14.7% acceptance rate, 168-172 25-75th percentile LSAT range

Columbia: 14.6% acceptance rate, 168-173 LSAT range

NYU: 21% acceptance rate, 168-172 LSAT range

Where is NYU picking up all the slack? In my opinion, this is the single biggest anomaly in the rankings.


50
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 03:46:42 PM »


Take two kids, both getting a 163 cold. One can't afford a class, but works his butt off and works up to a 169. The other goes to a class where they teach him a bunch of tactics to beat the LSAT, and scores a 170. How is that fair?

Even if you don't accept this, you should still support transparency. Let law schools have all the information, and they can decide what to do with it.

Eh, I don't know about that.  From everything I've heard, these courses don't really help you go from 165 to 170 as much as from 150 to 155 or 160.  I really don't think there is anything in a course that a smart and dedicated person couldn't figure out on his own simply by taking practice test after practice test.  

I'm all for transparency.  As I recall, there was one part of the LSAT where you listed how you prepared for the test, if you prepared at all.  I would not be against making that section mandatory and having it reported to the law schools along with your score report.  Would that make much difference?  Maybe at some schools.  I would be interested in knowing how many 170+ scorers actually take these classes though; it just doesn't seem that courses are structured to teach someone how to get this sort of score.  

You're right about high scorers. They can't promis much of a bump once you're already in themid 160s. At least I know that's how it works with the SAT classes (I used to teach for one of the companies, and they basically didn't want anybody who was already scorign 1300 or better), and I'm sure the LSATs aren't much diffeent.

It doesn't make any difference for my argument, though. It still sucks for the kid getting the 155 that his wealthy counterpart is pulling down a 159.

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