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blue1018

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how to explain..
« on: March 25, 2009, 08:51:04 PM »
I am applying to LS for '10 entrance. My numbers are 3.61 and 160. Unfortunately, when I took the LSAT for the first time about a year and a half ago I scored 10 pts lower than my 160.  :'( The story was such:

I scored decently on the practice tests, took the LSAT the weekend after midterms, and (rightfully) bombed it because I did not manage my study time seriously. I figured that I could manage papers, exams, and LSAT all within the same week. Bad, bad choice. Since I graduated, I successfully managed my time with regards to the test, and  my work experience helped shaped my priorities. I think it showed in my new score.

Is this a 'worthy' explanation for my LSAT discrepancy? I truly realized my own immature thinking with the assumption that a couple of practice tests were worthy of a score estimate. I feel like I am the epitome of many LSAT takers. Some of the schools that I would like to attend average the scores, but would the ADCOM at least consider an LSAT addendum?

Appreciate any responses. :)

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Re: how to explain..
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 12:31:20 AM »
I don't think an LSAT addendum is going to make any difference.  Schools simply care about your score.  There are certain times that an addendum can be helpful.  I think, maybe, if you were a habitual poor standardized test taker and/or had some condition which made taking the LSAT more difficult that maybe addendum worthy.  A 10 point increase is great, but I don't think it requires an addendum.  I think schools see this type of increase a lot from first to second test scores, especially since the "average" rule is no longer operative.

Even if a school says they "average" the scores, they don't.

I think an addendum with what you're considering to put in there would be more of a negative than anything else.  Sure, you may be able to show how you've "matured" over time, but I think a lot of Adcoms will view this as a negative because they would have expected a senior in college to be able to manage his time sufficiently for the LSAT.

What i would do:  apply to the schools.  Don't include an addendum.  If a school wants one, they'll ask (which actually happened to me; my increase was five points though).

BurtsBees

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Re: how to explain..
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 12:19:24 PM »
Since they only have to report the top score, I think schools are very interested in why you did better the second time. They want to know which one is representative and anything you can do to explain this is helpful. 

They may not ultimately care, but it's not like they'll dislike your explanation.

Just make it short, sweet, and honest. I think what you have above in a more formal format will be helpful.

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Re: how to explain..
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 02:37:06 PM »
Since they only have to report the top score, I think schools are very interested in why you did better the second time. They want to know which one is representative and anything you can do to explain this is helpful. 

They may not ultimately care, but it's not like they'll dislike your explanation.

Just make it short, sweet, and honest. I think what you have above in a more formal format will be helpful.

I don't know about you, maybe it's just me, but I think the basic gist of his explanation would be:

"I was very busy the week I took my first LSAT.  I had a lot of midterms, and I thought I could handle it, but clearly I couldn't.  Prior to taking the first test, my practice scores were much higher, and my second score certainly reflects my true aptitude."

I just don't like this sort of addendum.  It seems more like whining and it shows poor time management (which is kind of a big deal in law school).  The poor time management angle may even be strengthened by the fact that you admit the second time you took the LSAT you didn't have much else going on (what does this suggest about law school performance when you'll have to juggle many things?)  Like I said above, you could try and spin it so that you show that this was a learning experience and how you've grown from it, but I think the risk that it sounds like (a) whining and/or (b) poor management is too high.

As far addenda go, I don't think this one is as necessary as you may think.  Schools really don't care, they just like reporting the higher number.  Why risk a negative spin on your application because of an addendum?  That's just my opinion.

Just to make sure you understand what I'm saying:  addenda aren't bad.  It just depends on what your reason will be (for instance, if you could attribute your lower score on the first test to a learning disability which you overcame or maybe you had a sudden family emergency and it affected you more than you thought it would, then I'd say it won't hurt and maybe provide a useful explanation), but I think the reason you propose could be taken in a negative way and it might not be worth the risk of trying to explain something they don't really care about.

LawSchoolAuthority

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Re: how to explain..
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 03:12:04 PM »
I would agree with some of the above posts that you should only submit an addendum if (1) the circumstances require explanation and (2) you have a compelling reason explaining the circumstances.

In the case of LSAT addenda, depending on your circumstances, you may feel compelled to submit an explanation.  However, as one of the above posters pointed out, being busy during test week and having midterms likely sounds more like whining rather than a compelling explanation. 

With that said, I think you can still legitimately submit an effective addendum as long as you keep it short, sweet, and to the point.  A short and simple LSAT addendum will give an admissions committee all that they need to review your file.  Accordingly, I would draft a brief, professional letter stating that you did not perform to the best of your ability during your first LSAT, and realizing this shortcoming, you took affirmative measures to ensure your full potential would be reflected by your second LSAT. 

Each school may handle a second score differently, but for any school, I think a brief succinct addendum will serve you best.