October LSAT versus June LSAT

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

When to retake?

June
3
30%
October
7
70%
 
Total votes: 10

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grossindiscretion
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October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby grossindiscretion » Thu May 17, 2012 8:22 pm

Hey everyone,

Here's the situation. I've already taken the LSAT once (last December) and I was pretty pleased with how I did. My actual score ended up a few points lower than my practice test average, however, so I don't mind gearing up for a retake.

My question is whether I should take the test in June, or wait until after I've applied and take it in October.

If I take it in June, I will probably be able to have my entire application package done and sent in during the first week the applications open. Is this benefit large enough to be worth taking a test early?

If I take it in October, I'll have more time to prepare, but I wonder if it will be a detriment to apply first with my lower LSAT and then send them my new October score. Will schools start considering my application once I send in my first LSAT? Does it hurt my application to apply so late? I would like to get a better handle on the merits and demerits of retaking in October, well past the beginning of the deadline season.

Eager to hear your thoughts.

Best,
0L

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Thu May 17, 2012 8:35 pm

Take it in June, that way if you screw up, you have the option of canceling and shooting for October. If you take it in October and screw up, schools will see: a) your first score, and b) a bad second score or a cancel; if you take it in June and screw up, schools will see: a) your first score, b) a cancel, and c) that you are registered for a third try. Taking it in June will ease the pressure a bit, which makes a big difference on test day IMO. If you've already studied enough to get a decent first score, it will not take long to pick things back up and improve upon what you already know. I say this as a 3-taker.

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tmon
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby tmon » Thu May 17, 2012 8:45 pm

If the extra time is going to be important and you haven't touched the material since you last studied, I'd maybe lean toward October, but like the previous poster said, it can be a bad situation if you underperform again in October and feel like you have no other options. That's more of a mental thing though, so maybe that's something you can decide.

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grossindiscretion
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby grossindiscretion » Thu May 17, 2012 8:52 pm

Thanks for the input so far guys. I have to say, your responses are surprising. I expected the TLS wisdom to align itself with the "more study time, less problems" mantra. But the equally valid "leave more time for retakes" sentiment seems to be the order of the day.

On one hand, I don't expect that I'll underperform in October. If I have the extra time to study, I have confidence that I'll kill it.

If I take it in June, however, I'll have that option anyway. Is a 3-taker going to be viewed much more distastefully than a 2-taker at the T6? What if it's:

score
lower score
higher than first score?

Is that viewed unfavorably?

Best,
0L

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tmon
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby tmon » Thu May 17, 2012 8:56 pm

Probably not a problem, unless you're really set on the top 6. The usual TLS answer to "when should I take?" is "when you're ready" though, and for a lot of reasons that's right. If you don't think you'll be ready in June, don't take.

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grossindiscretion
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby grossindiscretion » Thu May 17, 2012 8:58 pm

tmon wrote:Probably not a problem, unless you're really set on the top 6. The usual TLS answer to "when should I take?" is "when you're ready" though, and for a lot of reasons that's right. If you don't think you'll be ready in June, don't take.



What if, hypothetically, I am though?

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Thu May 17, 2012 9:11 pm

grossindiscretion wrote:Thanks for the input so far guys. I have to say, your responses are surprising. I expected the TLS wisdom to align itself with the "more study time, less problems" mantra. But the equally valid "leave more time for retakes" sentiment seems to be the order of the day.

On one hand, I don't expect that I'll underperform in October. If I have the extra time to study, I have confidence that I'll kill it.

If I take it in June, however, I'll have that option anyway. Is a 3-taker going to be viewed much more distastefully than a 2-taker at the T6? What if it's:

score
lower score
higher than first score?

Is that viewed unfavorably?

Best,
0L


I was faced with almost the exact same situation last/last-last year. I did my first try in October of my senior year of UG, graduated from UG the following May and decided I wanted to retake, picked things back up and did practice tests for 4 weeks up until June, took in June and MASSIVELY screwed up the RC section, canceled, relaxed for the rest of the summer, picked things back up in September, and did relatively well on the October test.

So for me, I found that the foundation I gained from studying the first time around was enough to allow me to pick things up relatively quickly. On both of my retakes, I did not study for more than 4 weeks leading up to the test (though I studied 3 months leading up to my first take). I really don't think it's so much the amount of time you study as much as it is how well you perform on test day that makes the difference. By the time I completed my second preparation sequence, I already knew as much as I needed to know about the test, but for some reason or other, the June RC section was just really difficult. When I picked things up the third time around, it wasn't so much getting better at the test as much as it was reviewing what I already knew. This time around, I thought the test was much more reasonable and it ended up working out fine for me.

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tmon
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby tmon » Thu May 17, 2012 9:12 pm

grossindiscretion wrote:
tmon wrote:Probably not a problem, unless you're really set on the top 6. The usual TLS answer to "when should I take?" is "when you're ready" though, and for a lot of reasons that's right. If you don't think you'll be ready in June, don't take.



What if, hypothetically, I am though?

The more picky the school can be with its applicant pool, the more you can imagine how much the schools may be splitting hairs to choose between applicants. An extra score on your report could be totally fine, but it's obviously not a positive thing, and if you end up borderline who knows what the deciding factors will be. You've got to think that if a school is choosing between two 175s and one has just one take, and the other has a 150s score, all other factors being equal, it'd make more sense to go with the one time test taker. That said, factors are probably not equal most of the time.

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Thu May 17, 2012 9:19 pm

Btw, to answer OP's question, I HIGHLY doubt that T6 schools distinguish as much between 2 takes and 3 takes (especially when one of the 3 takes is a cancel), as they do 1 take and 2 takes. Even in the latter scenario, I don't think it is significant to the point where you'd get shut out of a school you have median over above numbers for solely because you have a retake. You have to remember that law school applicants are dropping by the bushel, schools no longer have the luxury of admitting classes comprised totally/mostly of purebreds.

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tmon
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby tmon » Thu May 17, 2012 9:22 pm

Lovely Ludwig Van wrote:Btw, to answer OP's question, I HIGHLY doubt that T6 schools distinguish as much between 2 takes and 3 takes (especially when one of the 3 takes is a cancel), as they do 1 take and 2 takes. Even in the latter scenario, I don't think it is significant to the point where you'd get shut out of a school you have median over above numbers for solely because you have a retake. You have to remember that law school applicants are dropping by the bushel, schools no longer have the luxury of admitting classes comprised totally/mostly of purebreds.

That's a good point on the difference between the 2nd and 3rd retake. Either way, yeah, the chance of your admission decision coming down to that factor is probably pretty slim. I'd mainly just be concerned if OP hasn't prepped at all since the test and will underperform again for that reason.

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2014
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby 2014 » Thu May 17, 2012 10:13 pm

If you can be ready absolutely take it in June. I have severe doubts that you can effectively start over and prepare in less than a month, but you always have October to re-retake and taking it a 3rd time won't matter unless your score drops by a non trivial amount.

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grossindiscretion
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby grossindiscretion » Fri May 18, 2012 4:48 am

How bad is it if I retake in June and get a lower score than I got originally? Will that be offset by a higher score achieved later on?

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Fri May 18, 2012 11:29 pm

grossindiscretion wrote:How bad is it if I retake in June and get a lower score than I got originally? Will that be offset by a higher score achieved later on?


I don't think it would hurt you too much unless you totally flubbed and got like 5-6 points lower than your original; even then, it's not something that an excellent October score couldn't remedy. Schools these days care only about your highest score (even HYS CCN in my opinion) because that's what they have to report to USNWR. Again, with the overall drop in applicants the past two years and presumably next year, schools no longer have the luxury of scrutinizing multiple scores to the same extent they did 3 years ago and prior. It's a matter of getting the applicants with the best numbers, regardless of how many tries it took them to get those numbers.

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dowu
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby dowu » Sat May 19, 2012 2:49 am

:shock: :shock:
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JohnDorian
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby JohnDorian » Sat May 19, 2012 4:06 am

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Last edited by JohnDorian on Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby JohnDorian » Sat May 19, 2012 4:10 am

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat May 19, 2012 11:35 am

JohnDorian wrote:
grossindiscretion wrote:How bad is it if I retake in June and get a lower score than I got originally? Will that be offset by a higher score achieved later on?


Some schools average the LSATS. Make sure you look into it if this is a real concern.

LSAC reports scores in a range +-3, so if you get a 170, your range is 167-173. If you get a 167 after that, the overlap between ranges is now 167-170. This may show a school that you fall in the lower range of your higher score (not sure on this last sentence, but I've heard it somewhere).


There is almost no evidence to suggest that schools average LSAT scores.

JohnDorian
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby JohnDorian » Sat May 19, 2012 11:49 am

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat May 19, 2012 12:05 pm

smokeylarue wrote:They most certainly do not average. I'm most recent proof in this cycle. 167 and 172 are my scores. If they averaged I most certainly would not have been admitted to NYU.



soj wrote:I've heard of numerous instances of people getting into NYU with low average LSAT scores: one person I know has an average in the high 150s-low 160s, I shit you not. He still got in because he has one good score close to NYU's median and a GPA above the median. Literally no one I know with good enough numbers has failed to get in, and plenty of them were retakers. Take a look at the recent few cycles' LSN graphs if you're unconvinced.



Tadatsune wrote:Candidate Cancel -> 164 -> 173
Slightly under median GPA
In at CCN.

No one seemed to care about the retakes.


Onthebrink wrote: 165/7 absent 171/3 in at CCN


What schools say and what they do are very different things. You'll figure it out soon enough.

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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby JohnDorian » Sat May 19, 2012 12:24 pm

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tmon
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby tmon » Sat May 19, 2012 12:33 pm


The information you link to is from the 2009-10 cycle. Things can change, and they have. Even if you read the rest of that thread, it suggests that some schools have started to care only about your highest score. Go look through LSN you'll see countless examples of people with large score increases getting into schools that are certainly above the average of their scores. As you said, this is about helping the OP, and with that in mind, the risk-reward factor heavily favors retaking now that schools don't average scores.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat May 19, 2012 12:36 pm

JohnDorian wrote:the goal here is to help the OP


I know. Just don't want people lurking these forums to fail to retake because they assume that a school's stated policy on averaging destroys their chances.

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Sat May 19, 2012 5:15 pm

JohnDorian wrote:
I think what they say qualifies as more than "almost no evidence." And that still doesn't change the fact that it would definitely INCREASE the chances of averaging if they say they do, which is useful knowledge for the OP in making his decision. Stop being condescending, the goal here is to help the OP, it's not a pissing contest to see who knows the most about law school admissions.


Schools have to be vague and/or err on the side of saying they average because if they they don't, it leaves a lot of room for controversy (i.e. an applicant who gets rejected from NYU because of a 158 and a 172 would have recourse to question his/her rejection). Whereas if they explicitly state that scores may be averaged in some cases, or that "an applicants' comprehensive testing history may be taken into consideration" as the popular phrase goes, that gives themselves a lot more flexibility. That's why Tiago was saying you really have to read a lot more of these forums to get a good sense of how these schools deal with multiple scores, because what admissions officers will tell you =/= the whole truth (would you take their employment statistics at face value?).

I can tell the OP from my own experience (reading the forums, PM-ing other applicants, going through two cycles), that multiple scores matter a hell of a lot less than admissions committees will admit. I know of at least 4 other posters on this website alone that were admitted to H with 3 LSAT scores, each of whom had an average of below 170.

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grossindiscretion
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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby grossindiscretion » Sun May 20, 2012 8:46 pm

Does anyone know if there is a nontrivial benefit to be gained by applying on the first day of the deadline as opposed to at Halloween, when October LSAT scores come out?

I know this topic is being discussed elsewhere in this very forum, but this specific issue has not yet been addressed in that other thread.

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Re: October LSAT versus June LSAT

Postby JohnDorian » Mon May 21, 2012 2:45 am

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