Everyone scores higher on their PT than the actual exam. I had a similar experience, and I also self-studied. I thought it was a racket to pay hundreds of dollars just to take an exam. In all honestly, I now wish I had. No doubt I would have scored higher if I had taken a prep class, and then I would have gotten more scholarships and would have been accepted at better schools. Yeah, your personal statement and recommendations are considered - but not nearly as much as your GPA and LSAT. I think that, given the amount of debt you're going to incur to get your JD, a few hundred extra dollars to get a high LSAT score is worth it.