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real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?


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Re: real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2005, 02:19:52 AM »
Fatigue is a huge factor, I think. 80% of my incorrect responses were on the last 2 sections of the test.  Even if you are taking timed practice tests, it is hard to recreate the environment in which you have to travel to the test location, find the room, wait for 50 people to get checked in, wait for 10 stupid questions to be asked, wait for 3 annoying people to use the bathroom, etc... Add to this that you probably didn't sleep well the night before, and the energy wasted on're tired before you even start.

Re: real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2005, 02:22:39 AM »
I took the test this June.  To prepare I took 3 practice tests and made a 161 each time.  From what I had heard you make your biggest improvements right away and then kinda taper off.  Since I didn't improve I just kinda quit. My weakest section was analytical, I usually could get to the 4th game and barely have time to rush through it.  Day of the test I completely bombed on that section, left the first game entirely blank (well I just filled in A for each) and had to rush through the last game.  Luckily the one break was after this section.  I didn't let it rattle me at all.  Came back from the break and my next section was analytical; I got an adrenaline rush as I realized the first one could have been experimental.  I did better on this section than I have ever done before; I finished it entirely with time left over to go back and double check a few questions.  I had never been able to do that on a practice test.  I talked to some people after the test and we were able to figure out that the one I took first was experimental.  I was elated.

I ended up making a 166 and I only missed 3 on the analytical--if the experimental section had not been experimental I estimate that I would have made around a 160-159(completely outside the confidence interval they gave back).  I guess my point is this: lots of things can happen for you or against you.  There are so many factors on a single test... looking at the two possibilities I had it really has massive variability.  Take the damn thing again. I am sure you will do much better.  The main thing is just to be confident as you take it.  If I had let that first failure rattle me I would have done much worse.

Online on you can see the question by question responses. Compare your real test to your practice tests; if you just did poorly overall you can probably attribute the whole thing to nervousness, but if you did poorly on just one specific part it was probably just a fluke string of questions your brain couldn't get a hold of.  If it was nervousness that will probably be the hardest thing to overcome, if it wasn't just relax and take it again, don't let some fluke on the first make you nervous about the second.  If it was nervousness... I guess the advice is the same: relax.

Re: real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2005, 10:19:31 AM »
Hey, i've heard of other cases similar to my own and am wondering if anyone has any advice/explanation about this phenomenon.

I took about 8 practice tests, used real LSATs from past administrations, didn't cheat, and was scoring about the same consistently. My real LSAT score was 10 points lower.

I can't think of any explanation except nerves. Anyone have any ideas?

I took nine practice tests, four with an "experimental section" that I inserted to make sure my stamina was intact for the real test, and scored in a tight range with a mean of 174.  I then took the real test in June and scored a 167.  I'm guessing nerves played a part, plus we had an extra hour wait because our room was too hot.  That being said, I really think that my problem was thinking too far ahead while I was taking the test.  What score will I get?  When is the games section coming?  Will my experimental section be games?  Where am I going to get accepted?  Etc.  I noticed that I missed the most questions on the first and fourth sections, RC and LR - my two strong suits.  I guess focus during the first part of the two test blocks - sections 1, 2, and 3, and sections 4 and 5 - is something I need to work on.  Perhaps your problem is not one solely of nerves, but of too many sidethoughts and deficient focus, too.  Best of luck.


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Re: real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2005, 12:27:18 PM »
The exact same thing happened to me. I was scoring consistently within the 158-163 range on all my practice exams, then come day of the real exam (I took it in June) I scored a 151. It was pretty devastating, but its too late to cancel my score now so the only thing I can do is retake in Oct. and I know that I will do better. I was super nervous in June (it was my first time taking it) and put way too much pressure on myself when studying and while I was taking the exam. When I take it in Oct. I know I will be more relaxed and this time around I will definitely change my study habits. I think instead of pushing myself to cram in test after test as I did before, I will focus more on a couple of timed sections a day and focus more on getting the answers right and why I'm getting them wrong instead of focusing on answering all the questions on time.

My low score pretty much has me screwed, but I'm confident that I will do better (shooting for mid-high 160s). Even if I got a 170 (which is impossible for me), my average is still 160 which is not at all a competitive score for the schools I want to go to, but I'm just telling myself this time around that I will do the best that I can, not freak myself out, and take it more lightly, so that the same thing won't happen again. I seriously turned into a basketcase the whole time I was studying for the June LSAT. I never want to be that way again.

I guess all you can tell yourself is that you know you can do better, be diligent and patient with yourself while studying again, and know that you will kick ass the next time you take it instead of having the mentality I had before - the "OMG I have to score at least a 160 or I'm doomed" mentality...

Re: real LSAT much lower than practice exams, why?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2005, 01:17:14 PM »
I guess I was incredibly lucky.  My LSAT course was situated in the exact location my LSAT test was at.  So my practice tests were under the exact same conditions, time, room, timing etc.  I even scored 4 more points than I ever did in practice. 

But yeah I guess it has to do with nerves and how well you work under pressure?  My PR instructor said in general that students who score highly tend to score a few points lower on the actual, and those who score in the medium range might score a few points higher.  I have not seen the truth of this at all, and I wonder where he got that from, but just throwing it out for you in case you find it useful. 

I've heard a lot of people say to go to your location ahead of time to take a practice test there so you know what the situation would be like.  And there's a whole list of things you can do to prepare for it, dress in layers so you can strip if too hot, put something on if too cold, bring tissues if someone around you or yourself start sniffling, something sugary during the break for an energy boost etc.