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Author Topic: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake  (Read 2942 times)

snickersnicker

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166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« on: February 06, 2009, 02:07:30 AM »
Long time no post, everyone. Hopefully some people here remember me.

I've been struggling with my plan to retake the LSAT this coming June. I took it in October and got a 166. This was nine points lower than my highest timed and realistic practices, and about six points lower than my average practice score under the same conditions.

My circumstances at the time I took the LSAT were not the best. In the week leading up to it my grandmother passed away, I ended a two and a half year relationship, and started a new one which moved way too fast. I don't think I slept more than four hours a night the entire two weeks prior. I went into the test feeling pretty good, though, and was certain that I would have a great LSAT score. I was completely deflated when I got my score.

I have been planning to retake in June with, believe it or not, less studying than the first time around. I prepped for the October test for well over a year, taking three to five PTs per week in the summer and two to four once classes started up. The LSAT took over my life, and I think it became so routine that I lost the will to really exert myself because I could just blow through and get 172s no problem. I get out of school at the end of April, and I plan to study only the three weeks leading up to the June test date. I'll take ten to fifteen PTs and drill the PS Bibles into my head again (is the RC worth picking up for someone who is consistently -0 to -2 in that section?). I think taking it easier will allow me to focus better when the actual thing comes around.

Recently, however, I've been doubting the need to retake. I've got a great GPA and am involved with a few student organisations and university committees, and I think I interview and write about myself very well. I think I will have a realistic shot at UMich (as a Michigan resident), UVa and Cornell, all of which have pretty good international law programmes. However, my dream schools have been Georgetown and NYU since I became interested in law school (well, and Harvard, but I've blown my chance there), but I'm a few points outside of their admittance range.

Any feedback, advice, et al would be appreciated. My ideal plans after law school would be work within the State Department or an international NGO, so if my chances of landing those would be highly improved with a better score (and therefore better school), let me know.

Thanks everyone.
LSAT: 166 (:()
UGPA: 4
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Jamie Stringer

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2009, 02:20:01 AM »
Hey there.  I will speak a little bit to my situation since I was in the same boat.

I took the June '08 LSAT and scored a 166.  Unlike you, however, the score wasn't lower than my practice averages.  I ultimately decided to retake because 1) I wanted to have a better shot at some schools in which I was most interested and 2) I wanted a bigger chance at scholarship money.

Granted, I had been studying since early December '08 and felt a little bit sick of it, but I re-dedicated myself to studying and retook in October.  I'm pretty positive that I wouldn't have all of the fantastic acceptances and scholarship opportunities had I not retaken.

For you, I think it's even more of a given that you should retake.  If you were PTing in the mid 170s under testing conditions, I'm sure I don't have to tell you what a tremendous difference that would make in your application cycle.  No, Harvard would not be out of reach if you had a real test score around your PTs. 

Good luck with your decision, but personally I think you'd be crazy not to retake.  ;D
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snickersnicker

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 02:26:37 AM »
Thanks for the reassurance. What methods did you use when you re-studied for the October test? Your acceptances are very impressive. I don't know if I would have the same admittance situation, though, especially since I'm not a URM and do attend a measley state school where getting As is as common as finding change in sofa cushions (though you may have done the same; I wouldn't know).
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Jamie Stringer

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2009, 02:44:17 AM »
Honestly, I retook my LSAT prep class.  The first time I had been working FT and really feel that I was limited in the amount of time I could dedicate to studying.  When it came time for the retake, I was no longer working at the same job so I could focus more on the concepts.  For me, it wasn't that I hadn't learned them the first time; my problem was that my understanding was too shallow to be effective.

Yeah, we may not have the same admittance situation, but don't fool yourself into thinking I'd have received all that I have now with my 166.  A brief check on LSN for applicants to NYU with your current numbers have been rejected.  However, with an LSAT in the 169+ range, your chances improve significantly.  In speaking to the NYU Dean of Admissions, he flat out said that they generally do not average LSAT scores when students have a 5+ point differential.

Also, consider that next application cycle may have more people fleeing to graduate schools to avoid the job market IN THIS ECONOMY!!!  It may behoove you to be as competitive as possible.
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eslite119

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2009, 12:34:57 PM »
I think there is nothing wrong with retaking if your other score does not reflect your true performance.  On the other hand 166 with 4.0 GPA is pretty darn good in my opinion.  That being said, if you're actually planning to retake, I'd finetune your study strategy.  At your current level, I'd say it's an overkill for you to blow through 2-3 PTs a week.  I'd also not waste time reading the Bibles because your PT scores are above 170, which indicates that you know how to tackle the problems.  In addition, if you're only getting 0-2 problems wrong on the RC section, RC Bible won't be so useful for you. 

upgrade

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2009, 09:48:51 PM »
There is no way I would feel confident about getting in to any school with a LSAT score below the 25th percentile.

I retook the LSAT without any additional preparation and bumped my score up a few points.  I think nerves the first time are what got to me and the second time around I already had acceptances so my performance wasn't critical.  You had extenuating circumstances and will likely benefit from a retake.


zippyandzap

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2009, 10:14:58 PM »
Retake.  I went from a similar score to yours (my practices had been in the low to med 170s) to a 174 by taking 10 practice tests.  I studied harder the first time around, but went in the second time confident having taken it before and stressfree having already gotten a pretty solid, even if not up to my own expectations, score. 

heartbreaker

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2009, 09:59:15 AM »
The singular best decision I ever made in this whole process was to retake my 168. I knew I could have gotten into some great schools, but I also knew I would always be disappointed, since I had been testing in the 175+ range. I retook and got a 176, and have subsequently kicked this cycle's butt. Best decision EVER. No joke.

And don't think that you'd blow your chances at certain schools by retaking. My cycle (in terms of admittances and scholarship offers) has followed my highest LSAT, even with those schools who claim to average.

BikePilot

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2009, 10:17:03 AM »
I'd re-take provided your practice tests leading up to the retake are significantly higher than your 166.

As for dream schools, I'd really re-think he GULC  thing - imho UVA would be a much better experience and it definitely has better job prospects.
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nealric

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Re: 166: To Retake or Not to Retake
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2009, 06:47:55 PM »
Quote

As for dream schools, I'd really re-think he GULC  thing - imho UVA would be a much better experience and it definitely has better job prospects.
 

Maybe a bit, but pre-screened OCI is lame. Better experience is quite subjective. Of course I'm biased, but I think GULC's location makes the academic experience unique and superior in some aspects.

To the OP: I'm not sure why you think HLS is out. Bust out with a 170-range LSAT and there is no reason you don't have a shot at HLS (or YLS for that matter).
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