Was the LSAT correct?

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rayiner
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby rayiner » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:27 am

What bugs me about the OP is that he's clearly bad at the LSAT for at least two reasons:

1) His inability to understand that isolated anecdotal examples cannot refute statistical trends.
2) His inability to understand how using the LSAT for a tool in composing law school classes inherently makes it less useful as a tool for predicting performance within a law school class.

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stratocophic
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby stratocophic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:42 am

rayiner wrote:What bugs me about the OP is that he's clearly bad at the LSAT for at least two reasons:

1) His inability to understand that isolated anecdotal examples cannot refute statistical trends.
2) His inability to understand how using the LSAT for a tool in composing law school classes inherently makes it less useful as a tool for predicting performance within a law school class.


How dare you attempt to use logic or reason ITT. IMHO it's an attempt at vindication of LSAT performance by someone seeking an assurance they have as much chance to succeed in law school as anyone else, or else simply a flame.

BenJ
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby BenJ » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:44 am

JPU wrote:Hope this helps:

Im at a t4 school, my LSAT score is above the 75th percentile here. I know a few people who had MUCH higher scores than I did (ex: 163 and 172 respectively (still unsure why they came here)). I outperformed both by a wide margin gpa wise first semester.


Presumably, they went there because they had awful undergraduate GPAs and couldn't get in anywhere else. This is why it is generally true that your LSAT score gets you admitted to schools, but your GPA gets you denied.


The LSAT measures (roughly and with substantial error) your raw ability in the fields important to lawyering. Your undergraduate GPA tells a school how hard a worker you are. A person with a very high LSAT but a very low GPA is presumably brilliant but a slacker and is likely to do poorly in law school; a person with a very low LSAT but a very high GPA (rarer, but possible) will probably do better because, despite probably having less innate talent in logic and reading comprehension, he or she works hard enough to make up for that deficit.

Then there are people who don't test well, who don't sleep before the test, who majored in basketweaving or biomedical engineering, who had a parent die during undergrad, etc. who throw things off. But they're the exceptions that prove the general maxim. (Hate to say "the rule", because that would be an exaggeration.)

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dj_spin
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby dj_spin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:14 am

In response to the last, it's actually far more common for people with exceptional GPA's to do poorly on the LSAT than vice-versa. GPA 25/75s do not fluctuate across schools, only LSAT 25/75s. This indicates that, though probably at least correlated, exceptional LSAT scores are harder to come by than good GPAs.

This is an example of a pigeon hole problem. On the LSAT, you compete against everybody and 1% score in the 172+ range. In every university in America, 5% of the students graduate Summa Cum Laude regardless of whether they could pull that off if there were one single university where a middling student at, let's say Duke, still outperformed the Summa kid from ASU.

BenJ
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby BenJ » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:40 am

dj_spin wrote:In response to the last, it's actually far more common for people with exceptional GPA's to do poorly on the LSAT than vice-versa. GPA 25/75s do not fluctuate across schools, only LSAT 25/75s. This indicates that, though probably at least correlated, exceptional LSAT scores are harder to come by than good GPAs.

This is an example of a pigeon hole problem. On the LSAT, you compete against everybody and 1% score in the 172+ range. In every university in America, 5% of the students graduate Summa Cum Laude regardless of whether they could pull that off if there were one single university where a middling student at, let's say Duke, still outperformed the Summa kid from ASU.


Most students who graduate summa cum laude do not apply to law school, but almost all people who score a 170+ (or a 172+, whatever) apply to law school. That alleviates a lot of the problem. Yes, the difficulty of the undergraduate school plays into it, but I would venture to guess that the percentage of students applying to law school from undergrads below the T50 or so drops off dramatically, and ends at maybe one in every few thousand at a lower-end party school like Arizona State.

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dj_spin
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby dj_spin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:29 am

BenJ wrote:
dj_spin wrote:In response to the last, it's actually far more common for people with exceptional GPA's to do poorly on the LSAT than vice-versa. GPA 25/75s do not fluctuate across schools, only LSAT 25/75s. This indicates that, though probably at least correlated, exceptional LSAT scores are harder to come by than good GPAs.

This is an example of a pigeon hole problem. On the LSAT, you compete against everybody and 1% score in the 172+ range. In every university in America, 5% of the students graduate summa cum laude regardless of whether they could pull that off if there were one single university where a middling student at, let's say Duke, still outperformed the Summa kid from ASU.


Most students who graduate summa cum laude do not apply to law school, but almost all people who score a 170+ (or a 172+, whatever) apply to law school. That alleviates a lot of the problem. Yes, the difficulty of the undergraduate school plays into it, but I would venture to guess that the percentage of students applying to law school from undergrads below the T50 or so drops off dramatically, and ends at maybe one in every few thousand at a lower-end party school like Arizona State.


You are right that most students who graduate summa do not apply to law school, however, so many more students with excellent grades exist than people scoring above X LSAT Percentile that "good grades with bad LSAT" will still far exceed "good LSAT bad grades" since 1% of say 100,000 is 1,000 (ballpark estimate of the # of LSAT takers in a year) but at ASU with its 68,000 students, there are 850 students with summa GPAs graduating each year just from ASU. Now, that's just ASU. Even if they contribute only 45 students to the law school pool, let's say, from among their 850 summa grads, and this trend were to continue up through all higher ranked schools into Harvard, that's 4,500 students with summa level GPAs, of which, at most 1,000 of them have them have beaten the 172 mark. Since people with significantly lower GPAs are also, for whatever reason, also consistently scoring in the range, the number of extremely good grades and not extremely good LSAT students is in fact even larger.

Of course, this analysis also reveals why it's a false bias to claim that standardized tests are unfair. It's actually more unfair to the people from higher ranked schools whose grades would otherwise help them more.

umichgrad
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby umichgrad » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:10 pm

OP, i'll give your question a shot, just because i feel a little sorry for you now.

For a majority of LSAT takers, their score has a rough correlation to performance in law school. This has been shown in a number of studies, of which the LSAC reports are just one.

HOWEVER, there are many reasons that people don't do 'well' on the LSAT, some of which have absolutely no relation to one's ability to succeed in law school/pass the bar/ be a lawyer/ etc. This might be because the person was working full-time while studying, couldn't afford a re-take, had never taken a standardized test before (international), croaks under pressure, doesn't speak english fluently enough to understand the nuances of the test, has a learning difference/disability, or any other extenuating factor. I personally know 3-4 people who scored below 160 and made it near the top of the class in competitive tier 1 schools.

The short answer is that you can certainly overcome a lower LSAT score to succeed in law school, and a 180 certainly doesn't mean you can slack off and be top 1% of your class, but in general, there is probably somewhat of a correlation.

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GATORTIM
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:39 pm

umichgrad wrote:HOWEVER, there are many reasons that people don't do 'well' on the LSAT...This might be because the person was working full-time while studying...


you have no idea how right you are!! My LSAT prep had to be performed in the very early morning or following a long day of work. I found it VERY difficult to focus and my study hours were fueled by Red Bull and Starbucks Engery Shots. On during my initial test and re-take, I def don't feel that I was adequately prepared nor do I feel my score is an accurate reflection for my reasoning skills. This test, with "appropriate" prep is learnable. I will not be working in LS and will be able to focus 100% on school; I predict my LS grades will be a much more accurate measure of my ability.

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dresden doll
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby dresden doll » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:28 pm

JPU wrote:Hope this helps:

Im at a t4 school, my LSAT score is above the 75th percentile here. I know a few people who had MUCH higher scores than I did (ex: 163 and 172 respectively (still unsure why they came here)). I outperformed both by a wide margin gpa wise first semester.


They clearly had no interest in being good to themselves to begin with. Only a self destructive person takes a 172 to a T4.

Thomas Sutpen
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby Thomas Sutpen » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:29 pm

The self-consciousness amazes me of people who: are around others that do well naturally on standardized tests, study hours a day, see their teachers in their offices 3 times/week, perhaps take adderol, end up making good grades, and, like they did in high school, make shitty standardized scores.
Just accept that there are two types of people in life. People who get what they want because life is unfair and they have been blessed, and people that have to work for the scraps these other people leave them. It's going to be okay. Your experience in law school will be the same as your experience in your hard classes.
You're not a bad test taker. You're just not a natural.

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gdane
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby gdane » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:19 pm

I appreciate those that have answered the question.

I was not trying to refute any statistical evidence through anecdotes. I was just curious. Immediately people on here get defensive and try to act like lawyers that want to argue every little thing.

To Mr. Thomas, your words really resonated with me and im glad you understand all sides of the equation. Thank You.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:26 pm

Thomas Sutpen wrote:You're not a bad test taker. You're just not a natural.

If this is true, then "study and retake" is TCR. The flaw in that case isn't with the LSAT, it's with the taker and his preparation (or lack thereof).

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gdane
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby gdane » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:37 pm

Im am so tired of people making a low LSAT score into a black and white issue.

I put so much work into my LSAT preparation. I read the powerscore books, I used Kaplan 180 and I took 32 Official PT. I calculated that I put in at least 100 hours over a two month time span into preparing for the LSAT. I quit my job so I wouldnt have any added stress in my life. Yet all I could muster was a 158 after taking it twice. A 154 my first time.

All my friends thought I was crazy because all I did was LSAT prep.

Everyone always tells you that if you prepare for something then you will do well. If you practice before a game you'll do well and if you study before a test you'll do well. Not all the time. Why didnt I do well? I have no idea. All I know is I came to really hate the LSAT. Maybe Im retarded and Law school is not for me, but Im still going to give it a shot.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:41 pm

gdane5 wrote:Everyone always tells you that if you prepare for something then you will do well.

If you practiced that much and still didn't do well, there are two possible explanations:

1) You weren't practicing efficiently. You have to do the right kind of work to make actual gains.

2) You simply lack the raw natural talent necessary to improve beyond the level you were stuck at.

Where did you start at? If you started at 154 and only gained 4 points after several months of studying, then you were studying wrong. If you started at 138 and gained 20 points to a 158 with all your practicing, then you've probably improved about as much as you're capable of with reasonable amounts of time invested.

It's not a black and white issue, but it is one whose outcomes can be explained correctly with enough data. I just don't know quite enough about your situation to tell you which was your problem.

lawimbecile
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby lawimbecile » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:44 pm

gdane5 wrote:Im am so tired of people making a low LSAT score into a black and white issue.


A low LSAT score is a black and white issue if you know what I mean.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:46 pm

gdane5 wrote:Im am so tired of people making a low LSAT score into a black and white issue.

I put so much work into my LSAT preparation. I read the powerscore books, I used Kaplan 180 and I took 32 Official PT. I calculated that I put in at least 100 hours over a two month time span into preparing for the LSAT. I quit my job so I wouldnt have any added stress in my life. Yet all I could muster was a 158 after taking it twice. A 154 my first time.

All my friends thought I was crazy because all I did was LSAT prep.

Everyone always tells you that if you prepare for something then you will do well. If you practice before a game you'll do well and if you study before a test you'll do well. Not all the time. Why didnt I do well? I have no idea. All I know is I came to really hate the LSAT. Maybe Im retarded and Law school is not for me, but Im still going to give it a shot.


lol wow, was this whole thread and OP's personal tirade a cry for help and pity? im sorry your LSAT score was not high, even after a lot of prep. it happens. not everyone can do everything. im a firm believer in people always challenging themselves and doing their best, but an even greater believer in the notion that we all have limits. that we all need to know our own potential caps.

that being said, while a low LSAT score may preclude you from a high ranking law school, it does not mean you will fail in life. heck, it does not even mean you will fail in the law school. adcomms just use the LSAT (along w/ GPA and other factors) because, so far, they seem to be the best tools in assessing how successful students will be in their law classes. it isnt perfect or an exact science (0.4 correlation, not great but not shit either).

so what are you even still trying to say? you never wanted a question answered...i think you just wanted comfort. well in that case, i am sorry your LSAT prep did not work out for you, but it is time to move on.

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gdane
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby gdane » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:47 pm

I started cold a 144. BUT I dont put too much into that diagnostic because I woke up with a headache, I was extremely uncomfortable in the testing room and I had never taken a full LSAT before. It was PT 36 through Kaplan.

I probably dont have the natural raw ability that the LSAT tests. That's why I started this topic. I wanted to know if there were any people that the LSAT predicted would do bad, but instead did extremely well. I didnt do as well on the LSAT as others and as I expected, but it wasnt for a lack of effort. I can work hard and my hope is that hard work can overcome whatever "raw natural talent" I lack.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:49 pm

gdane5 wrote:I started cold a 144. BUT I dont put too much into that diagnostic because I woke up with a headache, I was extremely uncomfortable in the testing room and I had never taken a full LSAT before. It was PT 36 through Kaplan.

I probably dont have the natural raw ability that the LSAT tests. That's why I started this topic. I wanted to know if there were any people that the LSAT predicted would do bad, but instead did extremely well. I didnt do as well on the LSAT as others and as I expected, but it wasnt for a lack of effort. I can work hard and my hope is that hard work can overcome whatever "raw natural talent" I lack.


lol of course there are. has anyone here claimed otherwise? they just arent the norm (in a relative sense).

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gdane
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby gdane » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:53 pm

This wasnt about pity. It really wasnt. Ive had enough pity from friends and family. Imagine spending so much time preparing and making such a big deal about one test only to score a 154 first and then a 158 two months later. I felt like a fool. Everyone thought I would bang this test.

Im just gonna let this topic die cause uhh its not going anywhere. Honestly Im considering delaying law school for a year. I think I'd be better off working for a year and getting my financial situation under control before heading to law school.

hartfordwhalers
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Re: Was the LSAT correct?

Postby hartfordwhalers » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:56 am

Considering that its a standardized, multiple choice aptitude test, he LSAT is a terrific predictor for first year grades.

There are many pieces of evidence which support this.

First off, before the LSAT was in use, the fail rate at LS's was 20-35%, almost Cooleyian--but this was at all law schools, even HLS. My grandpa went to CLS when this was still the case just after WWII, so it's not like this is the distant past- before you had a standardized test to identify LS aptitude, top schools would have to fail out a third of their students. Now, they fail out less than 1%, and based upon my personal experience that's not just grade inflation at work- it's because the spread of academic ability at a competitive law school is vanishingly small.

Second off, statistically, it works. You don't need to take LSAC's word for it, either. Every competitive law school uses the LSAT substantially in admissions, and weighs it even higher than GPA (or in the case of Yale, seems to use it as a "baseline qualifier"). This was the case even before the rise of the USNWR rankings. If the LSAT was such a scam, with over 100 competitive schools out there, SOMEONE would start taking high GPA kids that show promise to exploit the inefficiency in the admissions market.

Third, you have to remember what the LSAT is purporting to accomplish. It is not claiming to be the ONLY way to identify talented prospective students. What it claims is to be the MOST ACCURATE way to identify talented students. It's not that there aren't 4.0/160 students out there who could probably hold their own at HLS, the problem is that there's no way for HLS to figure out who the stars and duds are* because of the vast differences in quality of school, difficulty of major, general puffery in LORs, undergraduate grade inflation, and the personal circumstances that mess with the grades of 18 year olds. The LSAT, which represents a snapshot in time relatively close to the application date and at least partially normalizes for these factors, is the most accurate.

As for me, personally, the power of the LSAT as predictive device proved true. I was a middling student my entire life, crushed the LSAT (much to my surprise), got into a school I was convinced I was going to pwned at since my GPA was lower than everyone elses, and proceeded to be in the top 5%. And law school work -does- come easier for me than anything else I've ever done. But one anecdote does not make a case.



*There is a way for them to figure out: 1L grades. And the transfers I know at my school, nearly all of whom must have done substantially worse on the LSAT than the general student body, do just as well as the rest of us, if not better, in classes and are all really freakin' smart. But that data doesn't exist for 0Ls.




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