How I went from a 154 to a 171

ad86
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How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:43 pm

How I went from a 154 to a 171


I know my story may be unique, but I just wanted to let everyone know how I was able to go from a cancel, 154 to a 171.

Just a little bit of a background: I graduated in January 2009 from a decent UG (top 30-40) with a nice GPA (3.78, magna cum laude, distinction and Phi Beta Kappa). I knew from my sophomore year that I wanted to attend law school and started everything to help me prepare. I worked hard in school to get good grades, got to know my professors and had them write my rec letters even before I graduated. I had intended to apply for the class entering this fall (2010). I took four months to study for the June 2009 LSAT. I turned down a job offer and lived at home (in big city) to study for the LSAT. I practiced in the165-170ish range and had a panic attack during the June 2009 exam. I ended up canceling and was so pissed at myself but told myself that I could take it again in October. I got a job that I absolutely hated, but it paid a decent salary and the thing that kept me going was that I was going to rock the LSAT in October and apply to a t10 law school. My life become wrapped around LSAT studying and the only option in my mind was Law School.

The night before the September 2009 LSAT, I could not sleep one bit. I ended up having another anxiety attack before the test and went to the test center with only 2 hours of sleep. Despite the fact that I knew I did not perform my best, I kept my score with the hope of scoring a 160 and getting into a top 50. I got my test score, a 154 and then became depressed. I felt inadequate and that I spent 9 months studying non-stop for a score that was a point higher than my diagnostic. I felt like a complete failure. Don’t judge me, but I ended up taking some medication because I was depressed (it was also because I hated my job and just felt like things were not working out)

During the next five months, I started to doubt whether law school was for me (it was difficult because it was my path since the beg. of college). I started to think about business school and took the GMATs and scored a 710 (96th percentile). I also switched jobs to something that I could see myself doing for a few years. Even though it was difficult, I gave up on the dream of going to law school the following year and started to think of other options. In about May, I decided I was going to try to the LSATs again, but with the attitude that it really does not matter because I do not care. I did not even tell some friends or family I was taking it because I did not want to pressure to explain my score afterwords. I just spent five Sundays preparing and I took 5 practice exams (the DEC 09 being the only new one). I still went out with friends on Friday nights and maintained a life (which I failed to do the first time around). On test day, I scored a 171!

I understand that not everyone is capable of scoring in the 170’s, but what I learned from my LSAT prep is that dealing with anxiety and managing expectations is almost as important as knowing how to conquer questions. Like many people applying to law school, we think it is our only option and that attitude significantly hinders our ability to perform to our potential. I recommend everyone that is preparing for the LSAT to take their preparation seriously but do not do what I did. Don't only focus on the LSAT and nothing else. Don’t let this test get you to such a level that you think that this is your only option.

In the end of the day, its just an exam. I hope everyone gets the score they deserve.

What's funny now is that I finally got the score I wanted and now I am reconsidering whether law school is a fit for me. I will see how I feel in September when applications are up!


For the record;

-My Diag. score was a 153 with Testmasters
-I took every practice exam out there
-I took the Testmasters course twice (once before the June and again before the October)
-My Majors in college were accounting and political science
-My SAT score was a 1310
Last edited by ad86 on Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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lastch2
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby lastch2 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:48 pm

wow, really powerful! solid advice, i wish i would have read this before the june '10 lsat..good luck on choosing a career path!! :D

acrossthelake
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:51 pm

Anxiety can destroy performance. Glad to see that ironically caring less what was what did it for you and congratulations.

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Anaconda
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby Anaconda » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:52 pm

Great first post. What schools are you thinking about?

lawschool2014
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby lawschool2014 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:00 pm

Congrats on finally earning a respected score. Were you on mediation when you took the exam? People need to chill the f*ck out with the exam.

It sucks you wasted almost two years of your life to learn something that many of us already know. However, its good that you realized it eventually and now your future is better than ever and your prospects for attending an adequate school are high. You may have to write an addendum to explain your horrible first score. Good luck. You are prob out of the top 10, but could get into a lower t14, so rock on!

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sophia.olive
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby sophia.olive » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:05 pm

lawschool2014 wrote:Congrats on finally earning a respected score. Were you on mediation when you took the exam? People need to chill the f*ck out with the exam.

It sucks you wasted almost two years of your life to learn something that many of us already know. However, its good that you realized it eventually and now your future is better than ever and your prospects for attending an adequate school are high. You may have to write an addendum to explain your horrible first score. Good luck. You are prob out of the top 10, but could get into a lower t14, so rock on!

lol wut

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bk1
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby bk1 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:06 pm

lawschool2014 wrote:Congrats on finally earning a respected score. Were you on mediation when you took the exam? People need to chill the f*ck out with the exam.

It sucks you wasted almost two years of your life to learn something that many of us already know. However, its good that you realized it eventually and now your future is better than ever and your prospects for attending an adequate school are high. You may have to write an addendum to explain your horrible first score. Good luck. You are prob out of the top 10, but could get into a lower t14, so rock on!


Huh overall. And I don't think the OP is out of the top 10.

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:13 pm

Anaconda wrote:Great first post. What schools are you thinking about?



Thanks! I am now actually more attracted to an MBA program right now, but may apply to Columbia, NYU, Georgetown, Duke, Penna and Virginia to see if I get in. I am not fully set on attending but figure it does not hurt to apply!

I am considering a joint JD/MBA program but need to do my research (as I dont have many years of W/E)!

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:14 pm

lawschool2014 wrote:Congrats on finally earning a respected score. Were you on mediation when you took the exam? People need to chill the f*ck out with the exam.

It sucks you wasted almost two years of your life to learn something that many of us already know. However, its good that you realized it eventually and now your future is better than ever and your prospects for attending an adequate school are high. You may have to write an addendum to explain your horrible first score. Good luck. You are prob out of the top 10, but could get into a lower t14, so rock on!



Ummm...thanks (I am not sure if you are complimenting me or not ). Dont schools now take your highest score (with the exception of HYS off course).

And no, I did not take medication for the exam

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bk1
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby bk1 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:18 pm

ad86 wrote:Ummm...thanks (I am not sure if you are complimenting me or not ). Dont schools now take your highest score (with the exception of HYS off course).

And no, I did not take medication for the exam


Here is a link to what schools specifically say regarding multiple LSAT's: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/law ... cores.html

The feel I get from TLS is that almost all schools generally take the highest, thus I feel like them saying that they "average" or "look at all of them" is in an effort to seem holistic when in reality they generally just look at the highest considering it is what the ABA and USNWR want.

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gdane
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby gdane » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:22 pm

This is great advice. It's very important to take the LSAT seriously, but its even more important that you maintain your sanity. One needs to find the middle ground in which they prepare rigorously, but where they maintain a healthy social life, exercise and have fun.

I have to admit that I went to the extreme like OP last year. I prepared for the September 2009 LSAT from late July to test day. During that stretch I did nothing but LSAT prep. Except for one or two times, I didnt go out with friends, I didnt go see any of the football games I wanted to see (Dolphins vs Colts) and I stopped exercising because I felt "lazy" after hours of LSAT prep. I too scored near the OP's 154. Not a score I wanted to see. :shock:

seasurf
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby seasurf » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:02 pm

solid advice dude/dudette?

Glad you relaxed a lil bit and earned a good score. I too got wrapped up with the LSAT and got anxious on test day. I still really really want that 170+ but perhaps I should not care and get a kickass score.

Good luck with your cycle!

CanadianWolf
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:08 pm

Congratulations ! Any comments comparing the LSAT to the GMAT ?

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:56 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Congratulations ! Any comments comparing the LSAT to the GMAT ?


I studied accounting in college (and currently work for a Big 4 accounting firm), therefore, my math skills are fairly strong. I find that the GMAT math is not that bad for people with decent math skills (Also, only middle school math is tested). Timing is the hardest part of the GMAT math section. However, practice makes this very conquerable. The verbal section on the GMAT was far easier than the LSAT. The critical reasoning is a joke compared to the LSAT LR and the critical reading is slightly easier. The reading sections are shorter and not as dense.

I find that preparing for the GMAT is easier after extensive LSAT prep. The way that LSAT makes you think will enable you to do well on the verbal section of the GMAT and help you analyze the question prompts for those infamous data sufficiency questions.

whymeohgodno
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby whymeohgodno » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:04 pm

What were your 5 PT scores before your 3rd LSAT?

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:09 pm

whymeohgodno wrote:What were your 5 PT scores before your 3rd LSAT?




As it was my third attempt, I had done most of the exams already.

Four exams, I had already seen before and got a 166, 168, 171 and 165 respectively.

The December 2009 exam was the only exam I hadn't seen before and I took it the week before the June LSAT. I got a 170 on that practice exam (I added an old section as the experimental between section 2 and 3)

lawschool2014
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby lawschool2014 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:12 pm

I think this could be a really weird flame.....

Your title says "how I went from a 154 to a 171," but your first line says "154 to 172."

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bk1
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby bk1 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:18 pm

lawschool2014 wrote:I think this could be a really weird flame.....

Your title says "how I went from a 154 to a 171," but your first line says "154 to 172."


You know, that, or a typo...

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:22 pm

lawschool2014 wrote:I think this could be a really weird flame.....

Your title says "how I went from a 154 to a 171," but your first line says "154 to 172."



It was a typo. I earned a 171. It is corrected on the original post.

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DGLitcH
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby DGLitcH » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:38 pm

ad86 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Congratulations ! Any comments comparing the LSAT to the GMAT ?


I studied accounting in college (and currently work for a Big 4 accounting firm), therefore, my math skills are fairly strong. I find that the GMAT math is not that bad for people with decent math skills (Also, only middle school math is tested). Timing is the hardest part of the GMAT math section. However, practice makes this very conquerable. The verbal section on the GMAT was far easier than the LSAT. The critical reasoning is a joke compared to the LSAT LR and the critical reading is slightly easier. The reading sections are shorter and not as dense.

I find that preparing for the GMAT is easier after extensive LSAT prep. The way that LSAT makes you think will enable you to do well on the verbal section of the GMAT and help you analyze the question prompts for those infamous data sufficiency questions.


when you said in your original post about the job that you hate, were you referring to the big4 job? could you elaborate on what made you dislike the big4 job?

ad86
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby ad86 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:38 pm

DGLitcH wrote:
ad86 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Congratulations ! Any comments comparing the LSAT to the GMAT ?


I studied accounting in college (and currently work for a Big 4 accounting firm), therefore, my math skills are fairly strong. I find that the GMAT math is not that bad for people with decent math skills (Also, only middle school math is tested). Timing is the hardest part of the GMAT math section. However, practice makes this very conquerable. The verbal section on the GMAT was far easier than the LSAT. The critical reasoning is a joke compared to the LSAT LR and the critical reading is slightly easier. The reading sections are shorter and not as dense.

I find that preparing for the GMAT is easier after extensive LSAT prep. The way that LSAT makes you think will enable you to do well on the verbal section of the GMAT and help you analyze the question prompts for those infamous data sufficiency questions.


when you said in your original post about the job that you hate, were you referring to the big4 job? could you elaborate on what made you dislike the big4 job?


I do not hate my job at big4 accounting firm right now. I hated my job before I switched to my current company. My former job was all number crunching in a very depressing atmosphere, with a very, very rude manager (very different from the friendly atmosphere where I work now). Right now, my job involves consulting and many people learn towards the MBA route. If you have any particular questions about working at a BIG 4, let me know!

Good luck with your law school prep!

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EarlCat
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Re: How I went from a 154 to a 171

Postby EarlCat » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:06 pm

with the attitude that it really does not matter


People in general would do SOOOO much better if they took this attitude.




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