Law School Discussion

Advice request: retake to improve 174?

Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« on: December 27, 2004, 09:51:19 AM »
Question for you LSAT strategy experts out there:

I've got a 174 on the exam from this month's (Dec. 04) administration, and want to know if I should even consider retaking in feb. or Jun. to try for a higher score.

The only reason a higher score is even useful is that my GPA is somewhat low (3.382 from Georgetown), making the chances of me getting in at HYS pretty low. It's mocking me, since I'm almost there. If I had a 180 (which I have hit on practice exams, but not consistently), my chances at Harvard would be roughly tripled.

The fear, of course, is that my score might be lower, hurting me at other schools that average scores. Given where I'm coming out in practice, this shouldn't happen, but you never know.

I think the best course would be to consider myself done with the LSAT, and focus any time I save on writing a killer personal statement (I'll be applying next fall, not now). I have about 5 years' work experience, so I'd hopefully have something to say.

However, I could be convinced otherwise if any of you LSAT junkies have had success with retests in this score range. What do you think?

Thanks...

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 09:54:17 AM »
You'd have to get a 180 or 179 on the next LSAT to make any kind of difference in your score.  174 is a great score--be happy with it!

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2004, 10:33:52 AM »
Boy I hope you're joking with this thread.  If you aren't you are seriously out of touch with reality.  It just sounds pretty arrogant to get a 174 and then put a thread up telling everybody how disappointed you are -- almost like gloating. 

Seriously take a step back onto the planet earth. 

AMG2006

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 10:38:52 AM »
Question for you LSAT strategy experts out there:

I've got a 174 on the exam from this month's (Dec. 04) administration, and want to know if I should even consider retaking in feb. or Jun. to try for a higher score.

The only reason a higher score is even useful is that my GPA is somewhat low (3.382 from Georgetown), making the chances of me getting in at HYS pretty low. It's mocking me, since I'm almost there. If I had a 180 (which I have hit on practice exams, but not consistently), my chances at Harvard would be roughly tripled.

The fear, of course, is that my score might be lower, hurting me at other schools that average scores. Given where I'm coming out in practice, this shouldn't happen, but you never know.

I think the best course would be to consider myself done with the LSAT, and focus any time I save on writing a killer personal statement (I'll be applying next fall, not now). I have about 5 years' work experience, so I'd hopefully have something to say.

However, I could be convinced otherwise if any of you LSAT junkies have had success with retests in this score range. What do you think?

Thanks...

Interesting decision. If you provide a large sample size of prior test scores (maybe your last 10 exam condition practice tests), I could give you a better answer.

The applicant could be sincere, for example if on the last 10 practice LSATs they consistently scored between 178 and 180, then statistically speaking, his 174 was bad luck. They would have an excellent likelihood of improving on the score.

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2004, 11:00:30 AM »
Even if s/he was sincere, the percentage difference between a 174 and a 178 is so small that it makes it very unlikely that any law school (HYSCCM etc) would make it the deciding factor.  In any case it seems like a no-brainer not to take it again.  Even if he got a 180, his avg score would only be a few points higher.  And the chances that he'd get under a 174 would be pretty decent.  Why take the chance -- why put yourself through another two months of studying hell?

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 11:23:31 AM »
To the OP: I am in a similar situation except I only scored a 170. http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,19593.0.html

If I were you, I will definitely not retake with a 174. In fact, I can live with a 173, which is the lowest score I got on my practice tests since early September. Just consider your luck better than mine, since I consistantly tested above 175 and also hit 180 on my practices.  ;)


AMG2006

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2004, 11:37:04 AM »
Sleepyguyyawn, as unlikely as it may sound, statistically speaking, it would be very bad luck for someone to go from consistently getting 178-180 on practice tests to getting a 174 on the real thing. About a 1/50 likelihood. Of course I'm only assuming they consistently got 178-180 on the practice tests. Similar situation for Olivia. Although I read Olivia's thread and it seems she was distracted by trying to cope with unexpected feelings of nervousness during the actual exam, which would explain her discrepancy.

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2004, 12:03:49 PM »
look at the percentages for the scores from 174-180.  there is honestly a tiny difference in percentage from a 174 to a 177 for example.  174 = 99.54%, 177 = 99.86%  barely over .3% of a difference.  i do not think a difference between 174 and 177(the absolute best you could do with an average) will keep you out of harvard or yale.

with that said, i dont think you should retake unless you are absolutely positive that you will do better, and even then you probably wont gain much.  but keep in mind that in this score range just a question or two can make significant swings and you could just as easily end up with a 173 next time.

i was testing around 177-180 also, and ended with a 174.  ill admit that when i looked over my mistakes i was a bit upset that i didnt do a few points better, but really i am very happy with my score and anyways, theres no time for me to retake since im applying this cycle.


SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2004, 12:51:04 PM »
Sleepyguyyawn, as unlikely as it may sound, statistically speaking, it would be very bad luck for someone to go from consistently getting 178-180 on practice tests to getting a 174 on the real thing. About a 1/50 likelihood. Of course I'm only assuming they consistently got 178-180 on the practice tests. Similar situation for Olivia. Although I read Olivia's thread and it seems she was distracted by trying to cope with unexpected feelings of nervousness during the actual exam, which would explain her discrepancy.

Sorry but you're nuts.  Where do you get the idea that there is a 1/50 likelihood of such an event?  Sorry but that class in probability only applies when all else is equal, and it's not.  The actual test is always different from your practice test -- it psychs you out.  I'd say that it's not the exception that somebody tests four of five points higher on their practice tests, but the rule.  The exception is when somebody does better or the same on the real test.

Take your 174 and live with it.  You'd be nuts to retake it.

Re: Advice request: retake to improve 174?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2004, 12:53:55 PM »
AMG2006, even if he is hitting 178-180 consistently on his practice tests, you cannot accurately say that this is representative of what he would score on the real test.  Lots of variables that have been discussed before (e.g. anxiety, temperature of test room, noisiness of test room, etc.) can play a factor into how you score on the real LSAT. There seems to be a lot of cases on this board where people score lower on the real test than they do on their practices.  I think this phenomenon can somewhat be attributed to the reasons above. With those reasons in mind , I think that it would be a tremendous waste of time and energy to take the LSAT again after scoring within the 99th percentile with a 174.