Are they a pretty good predictor of how you'll do on the actually LSAT? I took a practice test at Kaplan and got 171. Can I pretty much count on getting in the high 160's on the real thing in October? Assuming I spend time studying this summer...
The fake, free Kaplan test OVERSCORES people. By a lot. I had one student get a 162 on her fake Kaplan test, but score a 152 on the diagnostic we gave during the next weekend that was a REAL Kaplan test. Had another student do the same thing, with a 164 and a 153. At another event I had several people tell me that they'd score 6-8 points higher on a Kaplan practice test they had taken. The Kaplan fake test is NOT psychometrically sound, that is, it isn't created to mimic the actual difficulty and scaled score of the real, modern LSAT tests.
PLEASE tell your friends. I have seen so many people think that they're fine because they took this fakey Kaplan test. We need to start to create market pressure so that they'll offer a REAL lsat for their practice exam.
And shame on them for not doing so. They're just too cheap to spend the money to offer a real one. If my little company can shell out $10 per student at a marketing event to make sure they're getting the real think ($5 for licensing and $5 for printing) then Kaplan sure as heck can.
Shame shame shame shame Kaplan.
Ignore this Kaplan test. Really. Ignore it. My son could score in the 160s on it (he's 11). Get your hands on the June 07 test, which is available at lsac.org for free and take that exam in REAL proctored, timed conditions (no extended breaks, no cell phone calls, etc.).
The answer to your original question is that scoring in the 160s is totally possible for many people who are willing to spend the summer studying, provided they study properly, of course. Whether it's possible for you isn't something that anyone on an anonymous message board can actually answer with any authority; you're the only one who really knows the answer to that question.
As for studying, here are a few final tips:Accuracy before speed
. If you want a score 165 or higher, you HAVE to understand the logic behind every question. Not like 'I can get it down to two every time and one of them is correct'. Like 'those answers are wrong and this answer is correct and I can explain to anyone who asks why that is so.' The basic rule-of-thumb is that you'll get twice as many wrong timed as untimed, so practice untimed with that in mind. Don't burn yourself through all the material
. Save at least 5 of the recent tests to take during the last two weeks and save at least 3 others to take in case something goes wrong and you need to retake in October. Nobody ever wants to put 3 tests aside (they need to be recent, after 2000), but you're going to thank me if something goes wrong and you need to cancel. You'll want a few fresh tests for those final weeks before December.Don't get attached to your scores on the tests from the books of 10 real LSATs
. The games were tougher, so the scales were MUCH more forgiving. Use those tests to practice questions NOT to gauge your score.Don't ever get complacent
. The LSAT is hard; you'll have to work hard to study and work hard when you take the test. It's like playing a perfect violin solo during a concert or playing a perfect game of chess or playing a perfect game of soccer. No matter how good you are, you're going to have to practice hard and work hard. Think Tiger Woods and golf. Even if you have natural talent, you're going to need to work at it in order to be ranked among the best.