Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

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Talking Ape
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Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby Talking Ape » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:09 pm

So I've taken the LSAT twice, the first time I was averaging around 164 on practice scores. I took the test in September and stupidly assumed that one section was experimental and didn't focus on it very much. I missed -11 on that section, where normally I would never miss that many on one section. I ended up getting a 159.

I studied hard again and got to the point where for at least 10-12 practice tests I didn't score anywhere under 170, including 2 180's. I retook that official test I got a 159 on, and got a 176, without ever having looked back on the correct answers or which questions I missed. I went into my second test (December) assuming i'd get at least a high 160, since I wasn't scoring anywhere under 170. I was wrong. I got a low 160's score.

I applied to schools anyway, which now were all reaches (roughly 16 schools.) I've done the research and know the likelihood of finding employment after graduating from lower ranked schools (ite), so I didn't apply to any school lower than 26th in rank. So far i've gotten all rejections, one waitlist that will be unlikely to turn into an acceptance, and four verdicts still out. I'm pretty skeptical on getting accepted at those schools since all the other schools that have gotten to me have been flat out rejections, including lower-ranked schools than the four still remaining.

My question is... do you think I should take the LSAT one more time? Having read all the Bibles, and done just about every practice test out there already, and also scoring consistently over 170 on my practice tests... what more could I do to get my score up? I don't know where I go wrong, i'm assuming it's nerves. I look at my mistakes and they're stupid. I recognize the right answer every time I read the problem and exactly why it's the right answer. That being said, I'm weary about putting in the time, effort, money and hopes into trying this one more time.


Any advice or similar experiences would be really appreciated,

Thanks in advance.

Talking Ape
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby Talking Ape » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:40 pm

I forgot some things that might be of help if someone feels like offering some advice.

Those practice tests I took were under pretty accurate testing conditions. Library, if not then at home in a quiet room but always with strict timing.

I'm Mexican (URM), and have extremely unique softs on top of the normal things like club leadership, volunteer experience, etc. My resume is really packed, so in the time I'd take to reapply, I wouldn't be able to add anything else except maybe some more volunteer experience. My GPA is roughly 3.3, with a strong upward trend.

twopoodles
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby twopoodles » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:00 pm

You didn't really give any alternative to retaking...so, retake!

Talking Ape
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby Talking Ape » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:37 pm

Thanks for the reply. My alternative is to give up on law school and pursue another career option, which I don't have any plans set out for yet.

Scheveningen
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby Scheveningen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:49 pm

I used to be in a similar position but I am not a URM, so my experience might not be as pertinent. I took the LSAT in February 2007 and scored a 163, which was just one point lower than my highest practice score. Since I was intent on attending a top law school, I studied hard for the December administration and scored as high as 171 on a practice test. On test day, however, I scored a 164.

Despite that score and my 3.40 UGPA, I applied to 11 law schools, all in the T14, in mid-January 2008 for entrance in the fall of 2009. Most schools rejected me outright but Cornell and Michigan waitlisted me. At the latter, I was under consideration until the first day of orientation, by which point almost everyone else had been removed from the waitlist.

Armed with additional credentials -- including a graduate degree earned cum laude and work experience for the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations -- but the same LSAT score and UGPA, I reapplied to 9 of those 11 schools in early November 2008 for entrance in 2009. All of them rejected me outright. Notably, Cornell and Michigan were the first two to do so.

Still determined to attend a top law school but having been rejected 20 times, I knew that I would need to take the LSAT for a third time. I studied harder for it than ever before for three full months, up to 40 hours/week, and scored as high as 175 on a practice test while most of my practice scores were between 170 and 173. On test day, however, I scored another 164!

This cycle, I applied to 25 schools ranked between 1st and ~50th and have received several competitive offers. None of them are from a T14 school, but I am still content with my options. Another alternative to taking the LSAT for a third time, then, might be to apply to lower ranked schools. Where you eventually attend may impact your career prospects one way or another, but it will definitely not determine them.

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dhg5004
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby dhg5004 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:42 pm

I used to be in a similar position but I am not a URM, so my experience might not be as pertinent. I took the LSAT in February 2007 and scored a 163, which was just one point lower than my highest practice score. Since I was intent on attending a top law school, I studied hard for the December administration and scored as high as 171 on a practice test. On test day, however, I scored a 164.

Despite that score and my 3.40 UGPA, I applied to 11 law schools, all in the T14, in mid-January 2008 for entrance in the fall of 2009. Most schools rejected me outright but Cornell and Michigan waitlisted me. At the latter, I was under consideration until the first day of orientation, by which point almost everyone else had been removed from the waitlist.

Armed with additional credentials -- including a graduate degree earned cum laude and work experience for the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations -- but the same LSAT score and UGPA, I reapplied to 9 of those 11 schools in early November 2008 for entrance in 2009. All of them rejected me outright. Notably, Cornell and Michigan were the first two to do so.

Still determined to attend a top law school but having been rejected 20 times, I knew that I would need to take the LSAT for a third time. I studied harder for it than ever before for three full months, up to 40 hours/week, and scored as high as 175 on a practice test while most of my practice scores were between 170 and 173. On test day, however, I scored another 164!

This cycle, I applied to 25 schools ranked between 1st and ~50th and have received several competitive offers. None of them are from a T14 school, but I am still content with my options. Another alternative to taking the LSAT for a third time, then, might be to apply to lower ranked schools. Where you eventually attend may impact your career prospects one way or another, but it will definitely not determine them.




I know this happens to many prospective law students...including myself.

My advice would be to not retake. Obviously you score higher on practice tests (as did I) but contineu to score in the same range as you did on previous scored LSATs. Apply to a bunch of schools and see what happens. As you can see with Schev he/she took it 3 times and all scored within one point. This doesn't look good to law schools (I do not care what anyone tells you- it doesn't look good)

Don't retake. Apply and see what happens. Apply to top 50 schools. You'll get in somewhere...even if its not a T14 (which I know everyone wants to go to T14. Sometimes it just doesn't happen.

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dhg5004
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby dhg5004 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:43 pm

Also...why apply to ALL reach schools? That's absurd. At least throw in a couple schools safety schools or at least schools that you would have a good chance of getting into. But ALL reach? ehh..

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rolark
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby rolark » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:54 pm

I took the test three times. The first two times, my scores were identical (low 160s). I was perplexed; my practice tests were constantly in the mid 170s and I had never scored below a 167.

Then, on this site, I stumbled upon a piece of information that changed thinks. Apparently, the newer tests have different writers than all of the earlier tests found in the compiled "Real LSAT" books. This isn't just a formatting thing like the dual-passage RC; the tests feel completely different linguistically. The outside form looks the same, but there are small intricacies that trained me the wrong way. (As a humanities major, I'm an expert on being affected by inexplicable phenomenon.)

If you studied with material older than the most recent ones, you might want to look into this. I forget where the actual line is drawn as far as writers, but I'm sure you can find it on this site.

Good luck!

Edit: I forgot to mention that the third time, I scored in my target mid-170 range. That might be an important piece of information!

Talking Ape
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby Talking Ape » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:51 am

rolark wrote:
Edit: I forgot to mention that the third time, I scored in my target mid-170 range. That might be an important piece of information!


That is interesting. I'll have to look into that, I was studying about a 70/30 split having more of the older tests at my disposal.

dhg5004 wrote:Also...why apply to ALL reach schools? That's absurd. At least throw in a couple schools safety schools or at least schools that you would have a good chance of getting into. But ALL reach? ehh..


Well, I don't want to go to a school where I don't have a reasonable chance of finding employment once I graduate , and i've seen people with similar numbers to mine get into schools I applied to on LSN, and I have better/more unique softs and extracurriculars than they do. I've even seen non minorities with really basic softs get into schools I was outright denied at, which is a little perplexing. So I was hoping at least one of those schools might bite. So far, they haven't.


dhg5004 wrote:

Don't retake. Apply and see what happens. Apply to top 50 schools. You'll get in somewhere...even if its not a T14 (which I know everyone wants to go to T14. Sometimes it just doesn't happen.


Why do you think that admissions looks down on taking the test three times? I have heard from many people, including advisors (not that they're always reliable) that it doesn't really matter, especially if I score fairly higher than my past scores. That they really just want to see that big number. The way I figure, the schools that will accept me currently will accept that score whether it's 3 times over, or not.
I could be wrong, but I'm just curious as to why you believe admissions would look down upon that?




Thanks for the replies, everyone. For those who weren't seeing any difference in their scores, how was your timing? I know that even on my 180 tests, I was cutting it close in a majority of the sections. I also never added a fourth section in my PTs but stamina has never been an issue. My scores don't show any indication of dropping off in the later sections, so i'm not sure that would be it. I think the only thing I could do is to cut down on my time, even though I never had an issue with not finishing, maybe finishing early might improve my confidence or something.

Does true mastery of the test go hand in hand with finishing early?

hsprophet
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby hsprophet » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:13 pm

Talking Ape wrote:Well, I don't want to go to a school where I don't have a reasonable chance of finding employment once I graduate...


Going to a lower ranked school is not guaranteed career suicide, contrary to what many people on this board may think. Going to a lower ranked school and graduating with a poor gpa is not good. But if you do well at just about any school, you will find a job. It depends on your career goals. Lower ranked schools often have strong ties to the local community and can result in great jobs.

I personally believe that going to a lower school and ranking high in the class will serve you well in employment.

If you look at employment statistics from various schools, most people do find jobs. The ones who don't or get crappy jobs are probably the ones who barely passed. Based on your information, you'd do well in school.

I also chose a school where I could swim with the fishes. I didn't want to go to a school that was so highly ranked and selective that if I got in, I'd be one of the dumbest in the class. 8)

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MURPH
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Re: Advice needed/appreciated. Should I keep trying?

Postby MURPH » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:28 pm

Apply earlier next time.
Retake in June. For the next two months take one PT/day 5 days per week. Review your answers. Study your bibles.
Even a three point change can make the difference. You might not even have to wait until next year if you are still on waitlists in June.
Do it.




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