A TLS Paradox?

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lawschool2014hopeful
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A TLS Paradox?

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:20 pm

The consensus on this board is that you cant assume you will beat the curve at any LS, no matter how hard you try, because your classmates are doing/thinking the same.

If you think you can beat the curve, you suffer from the special snowflake syndrome.

But, the consensus on this board is that 170+ is totally doable with enough effort.

Beating the curve at LS is over 50th percentile at a school, scoring 170+ is the 97th percentile. Arguably one is comparing a body of 1L vs a body of 0Ls, but can such differences explain the gigantic differences in expectations?

Edit: LSAT not a curve explanation doesnt cut it. Yes, it is not curved over any single test, but it is a strict bell curve over a 3yr testing period. 170 = scoring better than 97th percentile of testing population.
Last edited by lawschool2014hopeful on Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nova
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Nova » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:21 pm

1L has way too many variables not within your control.

LSAT is the same shit over and over and can be gamed effectively.

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Nelson
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Nelson » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:22 pm

The LSAT isn't on a curve.

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:26 pm

Nelson wrote:The LSAT isn't on a curve.


Is equated, right, but is essentially a curve, to score 170, you effectively scored better than 97 percent of the population over a 3yr period.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby MoMettaMonk » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:26 pm

Nelson wrote:The LSAT isn't on a curve.


This. Yes, LSAT scores follow a bell curve, but they're not forced onto a curve like law school exams. It is theoretically possible for every person taking a particular administration of the LSAT to get a 180. It is not possible for every student taking a law school exam to get an A or A+.

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Pneumonia
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:28 pm

The LSAT isn't curved.

Also, even if the above weren't the case, in law school you're in a class mostly with people who have very similar or identical LSAT score as you.

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Nelson
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Nelson » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:28 pm

Also, TLS conventional wisdom is that if you can't get a 170+ you probably shouldn't go to law school, not that everyone can do it.

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:36 pm

Pneumonia wrote:The LSAT isn't curved.

Also, even if the above weren't the case, in law school you're in a class mostly with people who have very similar or identical LSAT score as you.


This is a somewhat fair argument given the low amount of variance in entering class statistics.

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cesium
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby cesium » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:36 pm

There are several explanations that resolve this paradox, in roughly decreasing order of importance:

(1) You can take the LSAT multiple times, but you only go through each law course once (hopefully). Thus, if you're unhappy with your LSAT score, you can study harder and take it again. Can't do that for law school.

(2) You are comparing yourself with two different groups of people. The pool of LSAT takers is very wide, ranging from people who don't even know what the test entails to professional LSAT tutors who want to keep their skills sharp. If you're the type of applicant who frequents the TLS forums, you probably have the intelligence, motivation, and work ethic to get a 97th percentile on the LSAT. It's a self-selecting group here. However, once you're in law school, you're surrounded by classmates very similar to yourself --- i.e. other people who did well in college and on the LSAT. Thus, there is no reason to safety assume you'll be in the top half of the class.

(3) The LSAT is indeed curved, but not strictly for one particular administration. The testmakers use various metrics (such as cross-referencing experimental sections) to ensure that a 170 on the December 2013 exam is equivalent to a 170 on the October 2013 exam. Thus, if the people taking it December happen to do better, the scores in December will be higher. In a way, you are competing against ALL LSAT takers across a range of time, not just your particular administration. Law courses, unfortunately, are only curved for your course, your year. If this year's cohort taking Constitutional Law just happens to be much stronger students than last year's in the same course with the same professor, too bad --- there won't be more As given out.

(4) The LSAT is a "known" enemy, whereas law school courses are not. Conscientious law applicants know exactly what the LSAT entails, how to prepare for it, and what the test will be like. It really is an exam that you can study for and do well. Law school courses, on the other hand, have too many variables, such as professors' subjective grading, that make it difficult to predict.

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cron1834
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby cron1834 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:38 pm

You do realize that there's a huge difference in median ability between the two groups, correct? That is, one test compares you to the average mouthbreather who pays an LSAT fee, and the other compares you to matriculants at a good school?

How do you not realize the difference?

Also, what Nova said. This isn't a paradox.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:42 pm

lawschool2014hopeful wrote:Edit: LSAT not a curve explanation doesnt cut it. Yes, it is not curved over any single test, but it is a strict bell curve over a 3yr testing period. 170 = scoring better than 97th percentile of testing population.


It's not a forced bell curve, even over a multi-year period. 170 hasn't always been 97th percentile; ten years ago, it was 98th percentile. But it's the single-administration experience that matters anyway. No matter whether you're in a room full of smart kids or dumb kids, kids who prepped their hearts out or kids who took it cold, it's just you versus the test. Not a single iota of your performance is affected by how everyone else does that day.

The LSAT is also completely objective; for every question, there's an answer that's definitively "right". The LSAT also holds no surprises if you've done a reasonable amount of prep. You'll never be asked to compute a triple integral, or even give an essay/short-answer response in any of the graded sections.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:52 pm

All of the above is right. I'd also add that TLS generally tells people to retake for 170+ when they've already scored 160+. No one is telling someone with a 135 anything other than "law school is a bad idea for you."

09042014
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:06 pm

1) TLS is wrong, not everyone can get a 170

2) You can more successfully game the LSAT compared to 1L. A large part of your class goes balls out for 1L grades. But much less people do it for the LSAT. The average LSAT taker does like 3 PTs. The TLSer does 30. It's a huge advantage. You can't do that for 1L.

You can gun yourself into better grades than if you had only studied average. But that might only boost you from bottom 10 to bottom 20.

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patogordo
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:38 pm

Nelson wrote:Also, TLS conventional wisdom is that if you can't get a 170+ you probably shouldn't go to law school, not that everyone can do it.

iliketurtles123
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:07 pm

TLS slightly overgeneralizes that everyone can beat 170+. They also slighty overgeneralize that you can't predictably do well 1l.

Hence, when things are on a curve, predictability for 1l grades is much lower. For one, sample size is smaller. Secondly, the sample is based on an already high performing range of lsat/gpa scores, meaning the minimum threshold is higher. So basically, it's easier to guarantee 170+ but more difficult to guarantee 175+ (which, for argumemts sake = good 1l grades)

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midwest17
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby midwest17 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:15 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
lawschool2014hopeful wrote:Edit: LSAT not a curve explanation doesnt cut it. Yes, it is not curved over any single test, but it is a strict bell curve over a 3yr testing period. 170 = scoring better than 97th percentile of testing population.


It's not a forced bell curve, even over a multi-year period. 170 hasn't always been 97th percentile; ten years ago, it was 98th percentile. But it's the single-administration experience that matters anyway. No matter whether you're in a room full of smart kids or dumb kids, kids who prepped their hearts out or kids who took it cold, it's just you versus the test. Not a single iota of your performance is affected by how everyone else does that day.

The LSAT is also completely objective; for every question, there's an answer that's definitively "right". The LSAT also holds no surprises if you've done a reasonable amount of prep. You'll never be asked to compute a triple integral, or even give an essay/short-answer response in any of the graded sections.


I was going to post this. Thanks for saving me the effort. :)

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:21 pm

Interesting view points, thank guys.

Moneytrees
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby Moneytrees » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:13 pm

Just wanted to point out that there are variables that can affect your LSAT performance too. I, for one, was pretty damn nervous on test day and barely slept the night before, which resulted in me getting a score that was about 5 points less than my average practice test score. Things like having a noisy kid in your classroom, or a bad/ inefficient proctor, can also affect your score.

I think TLS slightly exaggerates how achievable a 170 is. It IS achievable, but even if you know you can score 170+, and consistently score at that level during practice tests, you never know how you are going to handle the pressure of the LSAT on test day.

The way to minimize the effect of those variables? Retake.

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: A TLS Paradox?

Postby LET'S GET IT » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:20 am

cron1834 wrote:You do realize that there's a huge difference in median ability between the two groups, correct? That is, one test compares you to the average mouthbreather who pays an LSAT fee, and the other compares you to matriculants at a good school?

How do you not realize the difference?

Also, what Nova said. This isn't a paradox.


+1

This isn't a paradox, more like common sense and simple math. A big chunk of LSAT takers will never attend law school. Another big chunk will aTTTend bad law schools. If you attend a good law school, essentially everyone there was in the ninety something percentile of the LSAT. They can't all be in the top 10% of a law school class.




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