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Another Data Point

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:15 am
by M2008
I figure we all like to see how everyone else is doing in the application process, so I've decided to start posting how I'm doing here.


Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:31 am
by M2008
I'm taking the LSAT in 8 days (Sept 29) and looking to get 2008 cycle applications in by November 1, assuming LSAC has received and processed my transcript and LORs by then. I've requested the transcript and 3 LORs, but none have been received yet.

3.8 transcript GPA, no LSAC GPA available yet.

Averaging a 173 on timed LSAT prep tests (see above).

Soft factors: 4 years strong work experience, and not too much else. White, middle-class male with a BS in hard science from a middle of the road university. I think I have pretty good writing skills, but have not been inspired to write a masterpiece of a PS yet - not really even thinking about it until October 1.

Negatives - One minor disciplinary action at my UG, one misdemeanor. Both incidents have been expunged to my knowledge, but of course I will be disclosing them on all applications. (Although I cringe every time I have to check those "Yes" boxes)


Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:11 am
by M2008
By the numbers . . . (this is roughly in the order I've taken the timed test)

Code: Select all

Preptest   Date   Raw   Scaled   Missed LG   Missed LR   Missed RC
29         Oct-99  91    172      8           1           1   
30         Dec-99  90    173      6           2           3   
31         Jun-00  87    170      6           6           2   
32         Oct-00  87    170      5           5           4   
33         Dec-00  99*   180      0           2           0   
34         Jun-01  91    173      4           3           3   
35         Oct-01  91    172      5           4           1   
36         Dec-01  97    178      1           2           1   
37         Jun-02  89    169      5           2           5   
38         Oct-02  96    178      2           0           2   
48         Dec-05  96    174      2           3           0   
19         Jun-96  96    173      1           0           4   
21         Dec-96  86    167      10          4           3   
22         Jun-97  94    175      0           2           5   

*: I'm not timing these tests to the second, and I came in just under the wire on the LG section of this test, so I might have given myself an extra thirty seconds, in which case I would have missed one in a real test. However, a 98 still scaled to a 180 on this test.

A couple thoughts from these numbers:
  • -0 is possible on any section, since I've done it twice for each. High 170's all the way up to 180 is possible with care, focus, and luck, even if it's not probable.
  • But complacency would be very bad. It's still possible for me to miss 10 in a section by missing a crucial piece of information or poor time management on the LG section (which is what happened with that 167).
  • From strongest to weakest, my sections are LR, RC, and LG.

I have nine preptests left (23-28, 49-51), and some other materials to go over, which should give me enough to keep me occupied next week. Up to now, I have not been using the extra time (5-10 minutes per section) after finishing RC and LR sections to skim the more difficult questions again or to check that the answer I selected was actually the answer I bubbled. I will start doing this going forward, which may shave a point or two off of my missed questions.

I would still like to shave some time off of LG, as at least half of my missed questions are due to running out of time. I have never had more than 90 seconds to go back over question.

I also haven't been doing the writing sections - I've been taking about two minutes to read them and decide how I would answer, but I've only written out an essay once. I'll probably only practice more than this if I run out of other practice material.

A Week to Go

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:15 pm
by M2008
T - minus seven days, five days of real prep left.

Friday night: Took the October 97 test (#23). I missed 13, which is more than I have been missing, but the scaling was rather generous on this test so I ended up with a 172. I missed 3 in LR, 2 in RC, and 8 in the games section (six due to running out of time) Not my best score, but I comfort myself with the assertion that I'm tired and will do better when I'm fresh in the morning.

Saturday: Took the December 97 and June 06 tests (#'s 24 and 49). Missed 1 each in LR and RC on #24, and missed 1 LR on #49, giving me a 180 on both. I think it's fair to say I'm ecstatic with how the day has gone so far and have decided to quit while I'm ahead and go out to dinner.

I'm still not finishing with more than a minute or two to spare on LG, so finishing this section on time is going to be the biggest question mark next week and the biggest determinant of how well I do.

Sunday Studying

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:18 pm
by M2008
Six days till the test, four more days of prep.

Another good day with the preptests. 178's on the June/September 98 tests (#25-26), with 1 RC and 3 LR questions missed in each, and 1 LG question missed in the latter.

I plan to take one each of my remaining four preptests Monday - Thursday, then do a little bit of LG review over my lunches and before going to bed early on Friday. If I can score in the 175+ range on each of these tests, then hopefully I can be relatively confident that I've legitimately improved over the last two weeks instead of just getting lucky.

I think the plan for Saturday morning is as follows:

5:30: Drag myself out of bed.
6:00: Warm up with 1/2 of each type of section.
7:00: Go to breakfast - hold the simple carbs.
7:45: Leave for the testing center (30 minute drive).
8:30: Kick the LSAT square in the testicles (hopefully).


Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:04 am
by M2008
In my inbox this morning:

We have received the transcript sent by you for the institution named above. LSAC requires applicants to have official transcripts sent on their behalf from their institution(s). A transcript must bear the official school seal and/or signature of the registrar. It must be issued to LSAC, and it must be mailed directly to our office from the Registrar's Office.

We will be happy to add this academic work to your file upon receipt of an official transcript from your institution. Please provide them with your transcript request form and have them forward a transcript to us.

Called up LSAC, and they were unable to say why the transcript was not accepted as official. Called UG registrar, who said someone may have checked a box marked "Student Issued" when preparing the transcript to be sent. They promised to send a new one today.

On a positive note, I took the "riddled basins of attraction" test (Sept 06, #50) last night, and scored a 179. I've found at least a third of other RC passages more difficult than this infamous one, but I did manage to screw up one RBA question by not reading all of the answers carefully enough. (I also missed 2 LR questions) Maybe what people find difficult isn't the passage itself, it's the fact that every answer choice for every question is full freaking paragraph long.

Last two Preptests

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:51 am
by M2008
I took the June 99 and December 06 tests (#28-51). Perfect scores on both games sections, and on the latter test, I had 5+ minutes to spare for the first time. I missed 3 LR and 1-2 RC on each, for a 179 and 177.

So, here are my statistics for 23 timed tests, along with the statistics for the last 10, which is hopefully closer to how I will actually do tomorrow.

Code: Select all

Stat     Raw   Scaled   Missed LG   Missed LR   Missed RC

Average   93    175        3           3           2   
Median    95    175        2           3           1   
Mode      97    178        0           3           1
Range     13     13       10           6           5
StDev      4      4        3           2           2

Last 10
Average   95    178        1           3           1   
Median    97    178        0           3           1   
Range     12      8        8           4           5
StDev      3      2        2           1           1

I'm off to buy some more pencils. Good luck to everyone tomorrow!

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:23 am
by M2008
Well, it's done. And I didn't bomb - I think that is all I can say at this point. I've prepped to the point where I'm consistently getting 94 questions right, and the last six or so are up to fate. I would not be suprised with a raw score anywhere from -1 to -6, which means 172 all the way to 180 is a possibility.

The good news is I finished all sections with time to spare. I had time at the end of each section to go back over my answers again looking for misbubbles* and to eliminate the rest of the answer choices for questions where I had picked an answer earlier without eliminating every other choice. Loose ordering games are my strongest, and this LG section had two of them, so for just the second time, I had ample time to go over answers. So, I think all of my wrong answers would have to come from misreads of LR or RC questions. Looks like I already got at least one wrong (hospitals) from what I read on the forums. I'm going to try not to read about any more (yeah right) since no one perfectly remembers every word of each question.

It's going to be a long three weeks . . .

*: This was nearly a disaster, though. While checking section 2, I noticed two questions in a row that seemed to be filled in incorrectly. I erased what I had bubbled, and filled in the "correct" answer. Then I noticed the very next answer was also different, and realized that I was looking at section 1 on my answer sheet. I quickly erased my "correction" and put my old answers back. Aside from the implications for my score, I could have easily been ejected from the test center if the proctor had noticed what I had (accidentally) done (I was in the front row). As it is, I did not fill in the bubbles for those answers as completely and darkly as usual and did not erase the previous answers as cleanly (halfway through the process I realized what I was doing and stopped), so I may get those two wrong anway, but I think I'm OK.


Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:35 am
by M2008
That was fast - transcript processed. LSAC GPA is the same as the one that appears on my degree.

Also, LSAC has 1 of 3 LORs. Two fewer pieces of paperwork to worry about. (Just 6,324 more to go)

. . .

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:39 pm
by M2008
. . .

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:54 pm
by M2008

First Acceptance. (And there was much rejoicing)

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:01 pm
by M2008

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:26 pm
by M2008

Boneheaded Move of the Year

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:03 am
by M2008
I am officially insane.

I scored a 174 on the September LSAT.

And I registered to retake in February.

I am officially insane.

Mitigating factors:
    1) I went complete at Harvard weeks ago and never got a phone call email, which seems to indicate W/L or reject. My LSAT score and GPA are good, but not Yale/Stanford good. (Especially considering the non-ivyness of my undergrad school)

    2) I will be teaching a full-length LSAT course in January and tutoring on the side. For the entire month leading up to the Feb test I will be breathing, eating, and sleeping the LSAT.

    3) I'm already in at two great schools, so I have little to lose, and only YHS to gain. Obviously I could lose out on some scholarship offers if I were to get a 165 or something, but I've decided to take that chance.

As I said, I am insane.

Boneheaded Move Update

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:57 am
by M2008
Thanks for the encouragement I got for my retake. As an update, I asked YHS to put a note in my file indicating the upcoming retake, and I got the stock "we do not consider the February LSAT for 2008 admissions" answer. So there's no indication that this will delay a ding. Which makes sense - otherwise every YHS applicant below a 178 would retake in February and probably June too if it would mean waitlist rather than reject.

So, for the gamble to pay off for schools that would otherwise be a reject or waitlist-reject, 3 things have to happen:

    1) I have to score nigh-perfectly - raw score of -4 or better.

    2) I have to remain undinged until March.

    3) The schools have to be willing to consider the new score the same way they consider grade updates for students finishing undergrad.

At the absolute best, I figure I have a 50-50 shot at each of these, and a 1-in-10 chance at everything coming together in my favor. Maybe a slightly better chance of improving a financial aid package with a better score at schools where my numbers would suggest merit aid.

Likely all I'll get out of this effort is the knowledge that I did everything I could to get into the best* school possible and/or get the best aid package, but nothing tangible for the extra $123. So, in summary, don't try this at home, kids.

*: "Best" here meaning highest ranked. I haven't visited most schools yet, so for all I know I've already been admitted to the "best" school for me. I didn't apply to any safeties, so there aren't any schools that I would automatically withdraw without visiting and/or sleeping on it in the event of an admit from school X.

3 for 3

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:51 pm
by M2008

First non-acceptance

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:29 am
by M2008
On hold at Northwestern.

Another Hold

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:59 pm
by M2008
Held at Penn.

Back to Acceptances

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:21 pm
by M2008

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:37 am
by M2008


Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:06 pm
by M2008
Nothing from Yale or Stanford. I'm hoping to hear nothing for at least a few weeks, at least until I get back my Feb score.

Got the TS1 email in early January. I remember laughing at some posters who were taking their phones in the bathroom, but sure enough, I got out of the shower one day about two weeks ago to see a missed call from 617. Fortunately, I got the call for real the next day. I think I could have done a lot better, but I didn't completely bomb, so I'm OK with how it went. The Harvard deferral email came today.

As far as the February retake goes, I don't know how to feel. I haven't read any of the TLS post-mortem posts, but having taken most of the modern released LSATs at this point, my feeling was that the February test was rather difficult. All else being equal, this usually results in a higher scaled score for me than easier tests, but that assumes I didn't get any more wrong. Even with a favorable curve, if I missed more than 4 the score won't be improved enough to really matter, and I'm pretty sure I missed at least 2. So we shall see.

Re: Another Data Point

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:23 pm
by M2008
176 on the retake. Probably won't make much of a difference anywhere, but maybe I'm juuuust on the cusp of a scholarship or admittance somewhere. Time for LOCIs!

First Ding!

Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:47 pm
by M2008
No Yale for me.

Early April Update

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:30 pm
by M2008
I've gone to all of the ASW's for the schools I've been admitted to, and disregarding money, I've come up with a fairly clear top choice. This does not include Harvard (haven't heard anything since the deferral) or Stanford (just plain haven't heard anything). I'll consider HLS or SLS if they decide to accept me before I commit somewhere else, but I've decided not to wait until midnight on April 30th to see whether I get in. I withdrew from Northwestern and Penn after getting into CCN.

The other 5 have all offered various grants/scholarships. Columbia's offer was the smallest, and even though they're ranked highest on US News, they're not my top choice. Among the remaining 4, one school has offered 50% more than my top choice. I've requested that my #1 pick match this offer, and if they do so, there will be four withdrawal letters going out post haste. If not, I don't know if I'll follow the money or my heart - here's hoping a certain dean makes my life easy. (Specifics to follow once a decision is made.)

Mid-April Update

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:19 pm
by M2008
Here are the schools that offered money, in descending US News ranking:

Columbia ($40k)
NYU ($50k, plus $10k if I do public interest work during the 2L summer)
Chicago (same as NYU)
Virginia ($72k)
Georgetown ($75k)

I decided that, among these schools, Chicago was my top choice. After asking if they could match Georgetown/UVA, they upped the offer to $64k plus $12.8k if I do public interest work during the 2L summer. As soon as I read this, I withdrew from UVA, GULC, and Columbia. (I had withdrawn from NYU earlier in the day after they refused to extend the deadline to accept the scholarship.)

So right now, Chicago is the only school to which I've been accepted and haven't withdrawn. That leaves Harvard and Stanford. Rankings alone wouldn't offset the money at Chicago enough to make me go to either - I'd have to visit and fall in love with the school. I've decided that with my schedule, there won't be time for that to happen before the May 1 deadline to commit to Chicago if I'm not admitted by the 21st, this Monday. That means my cycle will likely be over in four days.