Advice on Retaking

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Advice on Retaking

Postby Timberline » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:50 pm


I have never posted on these forums before, but have read them frequently while preparing to take the LSAT, after being directed here by a friend.

Here's my situation -- I would deeply appreciate any advice anyone has:

My diagnostic score, from a test in October when I didn't even really know what the LSAT was, was a 166. That was the lowest I ever scored on a practice test -- after scoring a 167 on a more recent diagnostic when I decided to start studying in earnest in order to take the test in June, my scores were consistently in the 170's. On the last five tests I took, which I took in the week leading up to the test, my scores were a 174, 179, 173, 177, and 175 (in that order). On my actual test, I scored a 163.

I'm still not totally sure why I scored so low. Everything went very well on the day of the test. I've never had any problems at all with test anxiety or anything like that... if anything, I've always sort of liked tests, because I like the feeling of a challenge. The test itself felt good, I finished every section except for one of the LG with time to spare.

So I was pretty shocked to get my score back -- after feeling like the test went very normally, I wouldn't have expected anything lower than a 170. I've looked back over my answer sheet, and the test was indeed pretty normal for me (missing a total of 4 LR questions, 2 RC questions, and 3 LG questions) with three exceptions (that explain the additional 12 questions I missed):

1). On the LG section (where I ran out of time), I missed almost the entirety of the last game -- apparently, whatever deductions I made in a rush were incorrect, and sadly my letter of choice on my guesses was unlucky.
2). I screwed up in bubbling my responses to two questions in the first LR section. I bubbled the correct letters, but in the same line, meaning, of course, that I got both wrong (one counts as a blank; the other as an irregularity).
3). I somehow missed 6 questions in a row at the end of the 2nd LR section. I have looked at them for quite a long time now, and still can't figure out what happened. I don't think it was actually an issue with bubbling again; all I conclude is that my mind wandered somehow -- my answers aren't outrageously off (most of them, looking at them now, seem to be the second strongest response), but nevertheless, I somehow missed a whole 6 in a row. I don't remember having a brain fart during the test... I do remember that I finished that section with time to spare, but that's about it.

As an additional bit of background, I am only attending law school so that I can go into Environmental Law, and in the long term I want to practice in Colorado, with an emphasis on regulating/litigating the impacts of oil, gas, and other mineral development (hopefully as an attorney for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources). I plan to pursue a concurrent masters in environmental science (or studies, depending on the school), with an emphasis on hydrology and the migration of contaminants in the ground/surface water nexus. The schools that I'm looking at are the University of Colorado, Berkeley, Lewis and Clark, Vermont, Oregon, Washington, and Duke, all of which have strong environmental law programs, with courses and professors that have (at least according to their websites) expertise and interest in oil and gas/natural resources law. My GPA is 3.94.

I think that with a 3.94 and a 163, I'd still have a shot of getting in to all of those schools except for Berkeley and Duke. However, I'm also concerned about financial aid. I currently qualify for federal assistance and have received a Pell Grant during 3 out of my 4 years, but I'm worried that in spite of this, I might not qualify for very much financial aid with such a low LSAT score. However, on the down-side of retaking in October, I attend Colorado College, which is on a block schedule, and the October test is during my thesis block, when I'm going to have to spend a lot of time in the field gathering data, and will likely find it very difficult to do much studying, so I'm not sure I would necessarily score better, except I would definitely not make any more bubbling errors, and since I scored way below my diagnostic/practice score range, I certainly hope that I would. However, I've also heard that I need to apply very early (ie, September) in order to even have a shot of getting in somewhere like Berkeley or Duke, so is it worth retaking in October if I'll have to then apply so late that I can't get in?

So -- should I retake? Any advice at all would be appreciated.


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Re: Advice on Retaking

Postby jacosam » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:01 pm

I would definitely retake. I got a 167 and, like you, wasn't expecting anything less than a 170. I really want to go to Berkeley, so I'm retaking, because I feel confident in my ability to improve my score significantly. You can find the time to study.

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Re: Advice on Retaking

Postby djjf39 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:07 pm

jacosam wrote:I would definitely retake.


Timberline wrote:my scores were a 174, 179, 173, 177, and 175 (in that order

If you went through a string of PTs like this, then you need to just re-affirm faith in your ability and get your study on.


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