How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

rararachel
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:22 pm

How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby rararachel » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:32 pm

Hey everyone.

I took the December LSAT and the weekend before I felt SO good about it and confident and ready to go after preparing for a few months. Then during that weekend a lot of personal stuff happened and I spent the whole week before the LSAT trying to just gain my focus and confidence that I had. I thought that I had done that enough but apparently not. I had been scoring 161-167 on my practice tests. My first diagnostic test was a 156. But on the real thing in December I score a 151. I was completely and utterly shocked and felt like all of my preparation was for nothing. Do you think that the reason for me bombing was because I just freaked out about the real test, the person things breaking my focus or what? Really my question is is it even worth trying to take again after preparing so much the first time and bombing it? And how would I go about starting over in preparation to ensure that I can get around the range that I was getting on my practice tests. I studied independently and that seemed to be working wonderfully until I got my actual score.
Additionally, when should I retake it? I would have the summer to prepare but I'll be working also and during the fall semester i'm going to have a pretty heavy course load. October might be ideal time-wise but December tends to have the most favorable curves and that gives me A LOT of time. Help!!

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akili
Posts: 1950
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby akili » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:42 pm

rararachel wrote:Hey everyone.

I took the December LSAT and the weekend before I felt SO good about it and confident and ready to go after preparing for a few months. Then during that weekend a lot of personal stuff happened and I spent the whole week before the LSAT trying to just gain my focus and confidence that I had. I thought that I had done that enough but apparently not. I had been scoring 161-167 on my practice tests. My first diagnostic test was a 156. But on the real thing in December I score a 151. I was completely and utterly shocked and felt like all of my preparation was for nothing. Do you think that the reason for me bombing was because I just freaked out about the real test, the person things breaking my focus or what? Really my question is is it even worth trying to take again after preparing so much the first time and bombing it? And how would I go about starting over in preparation to ensure that I can get around the range that I was getting on my practice tests. I studied independently and that seemed to be working wonderfully until I got my actual score.
Additionally, when should I retake it? I would have the summer to prepare but I'll be working also and during the fall semester i'm going to have a pretty heavy course load. October might be ideal time-wise but December tends to have the most favorable curves and that gives me A LOT of time. Help!!


Hey! I had a similar thing happen...twice. I had two 160s on my first two tries but got a 169 in December. Retaking twice was not in my game plan, but it can really pay off. I'm glad I got angry and retook this last time.

A big part for me was anxiety. Now you know what it feels like and you can prepare for it. Self-study is still the most effective thing I've tried, but a course might be good if you need the accountability and explanations. Paying for a prep class made me show up and do all my work and that was useful. With a 151 it might be good to go back to basics. Do you have the Logic Games Bible and Logical Reasoning Bible? They were both super useful. Get a ton of PTs and take a lot of them. Right before December, I had a consistent 170+ score for every test and it helped my confidence and predictions. Be very methodical in how you approach each test. Review every wrong answer and any right ones you struggled with after every test. This was honestly the most useful thing I did. Buy the old PTs and use sections of them (whatever section you are weakest in) to simulate taking a 5 section test on game day. If you were PTing in the 160s, you can hit that on the real thing and obviously this will drastically change your future career plans.

Definitely retake in October or June, having your apps in early can make a huge difference in your cycle. Plus, if the worst happens again, you have the opportunity for one last retake in October/December. Don't wait until December.

rararachel
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby rararachel » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:52 pm

akili wrote:
rararachel wrote:Hey everyone.

I took the December LSAT and the weekend before I felt SO good about it and confident and ready to go after preparing for a few months. Then during that weekend a lot of personal stuff happened and I spent the whole week before the LSAT trying to just gain my focus and confidence that I had. I thought that I had done that enough but apparently not. I had been scoring 161-167 on my practice tests. My first diagnostic test was a 156. But on the real thing in December I score a 151. I was completely and utterly shocked and felt like all of my preparation was for nothing. Do you think that the reason for me bombing was because I just freaked out about the real test, the person things breaking my focus or what? Really my question is is it even worth trying to take again after preparing so much the first time and bombing it? And how would I go about starting over in preparation to ensure that I can get around the range that I was getting on my practice tests. I studied independently and that seemed to be working wonderfully until I got my actual score.
Additionally, when should I retake it? I would have the summer to prepare but I'll be working also and during the fall semester i'm going to have a pretty heavy course load. October might be ideal time-wise but December tends to have the most favorable curves and that gives me A LOT of time. Help!!


Hey! I had a similar thing happen...twice. I had two 160s on my first two tries but got a 169 in December. Retaking twice was not in my game plan, but it can really pay off. I'm glad I got angry and retook this last time.

A big part for me was anxiety. Now you know what it feels like and you can prepare for it. Self-study is still the most effective thing I've tried, but a course might be good if you need the accountability and explanations. Paying for a prep class made me show up and do all my work and that was useful. With a 151 it might be good to go back to basics. Do you have the Logic Games Bible and Logical Reasoning Bible? They were both super useful. Get a ton of PTs and take a lot of them. Right before December, I had a consistent 170+ score for every test and it helped my confidence and predictions. Be very methodical in how you approach each test. Review every wrong answer and any right ones you struggled with after every test. This was honestly the most useful thing I did. Buy the old PTs and use sections of them (whatever section you are weakest in) to simulate taking a 5 section test on game day. If you were PTing in the 160s, you can hit that on the real thing and obviously this will drastically change your future career plans.

Definitely retake in October or June, having your apps in early can make a huge difference in your cycle. Plus, if the worst happens again, you have the opportunity for one last retake in October/December. Don't wait until December.



Thank you so much for your advice. And I'm planning on taking 1-2 years off after undergrad soo i'll have plenty of time for my applications which is why December could still be a feasible option. I just wanted to try to get the LSAT over with which clearly didn't work, ha. My GPA is pretty solid so anything in the mid 160's would be amazing. I don't really have the money to spend on a class and I know myself and I can develop the discipline to prepare in this way on my own. Since I'm studying abroad this semester, I don't really want to be thinking about the LSAT. I guess I'll just start fresh this summer and take one of Kaplan's free tests early in the summer and go from there. If I take a practice test every week this summer and go through the Powerscore Bibles (which I have and helped greatly at least for improvement from my diagnostic to my practice tests), and check my tests over very thoroughly, will that be a good game plan? I really think/hope for the sake of a retake that my focus was broken from the personal things going on.

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TheTopBloke
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:29 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby TheTopBloke » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:52 pm

rararachel wrote:Hey everyone.

I took the December LSAT and the weekend before I felt SO good about it and confident and ready to go after preparing for a few months. Then during that weekend a lot of personal stuff happened and I spent the whole week before the LSAT trying to just gain my focus and confidence that I had. I thought that I had done that enough but apparently not. I had been scoring 161-167 on my practice tests. My first diagnostic test was a 156. But on the real thing in December I score a 151. I was completely and utterly shocked and felt like all of my preparation was for nothing. Do you think that the reason for me bombing was because I just freaked out about the real test, the person things breaking my focus or what? Really my question is is it even worth trying to take again after preparing so much the first time and bombing it? And how would I go about starting over in preparation to ensure that I can get around the range that I was getting on my practice tests. I studied independently and that seemed to be working wonderfully until I got my actual score.
Additionally, when should I retake it? I would have the summer to prepare but I'll be working also and during the fall semester i'm going to have a pretty heavy course load. October might be ideal time-wise but December tends to have the most favorable curves and that gives me A LOT of time. Help!!


You have to treat this test like the bitch that it is. Give it NO respect at all.

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akili
Posts: 1950
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby akili » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:16 pm

rararachel wrote:
Thank you so much for your advice. And I'm planning on taking 1-2 years off after undergrad soo i'll have plenty of time for my applications which is why December could still be a feasible option. I just wanted to try to get the LSAT over with which clearly didn't work, ha. My GPA is pretty solid so anything in the mid 160's would be amazing. I don't really have the money to spend on a class and I know myself and I can develop the discipline to prepare in this way on my own. Since I'm studying abroad this semester, I don't really want to be thinking about the LSAT. I guess I'll just start fresh this summer and take one of Kaplan's free tests early in the summer and go from there. If I take a practice test every week this summer and go through the Powerscore Bibles (which I have and helped greatly at least for improvement from my diagnostic to my practice tests), and check my tests over very thoroughly, will that be a good game plan? I really think/hope for the sake of a retake that my focus was broken from the personal things going on.


If you are taking time off after graduating, then December might actually be an alright choice. Especially if you feel you'll need that time. If you are going to retake next December, definitely take the time off this spring. Enjoy your study abroad experience (where are you going?!) and come back refreshed and ready to kill it. When you get back I might take more like 2-3 PTs a week. I didn't spend 5 hours a day studying but I definitely spent around 15 hours a week studying this last time. If you don't have time for a PT fit in some targeted practice.

The most important thing right now is to find your weaknesses and address them. Do you have a section you struggle with? Is it time? The Kaplan tests are really good practice and good at simulating the actual test situation. Some may disagree with this, but I found it really helpful to study at coffeeshops. It could be loud and frustrating some time, but I got really good at refocusing quickly after distractions. The LG in December freaked me out, but I was able to refocus and finish strong and I think it was because I knew that that took.

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Agitprop
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:50 am

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby Agitprop » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:27 pm

Anxiety is often a big factor in unexpectedly low test scores. Study hard for your retake, especially over areas where you lost a lot of points on your first exam. Simulate testing conditions to the best of your ability. You may also want to check out some other study guides that are out there and see what you can learn from them. Different methods work more or less for different people, and sometimes you just need to find out what works best for you. On the other hand, start considering what you can do with your life aside from law school. Or start thinking about alternatives "just in case this does not pan out." In absolutely no way am I implying that you should give up on the idea, but it helps with the anxiety in as much as you do not walk into the test thinking "OMG OMG OMG OMG if I blow this then my life is OVER!!!!" You might also realize a few things about yourself that you did not before, and find that there are other occupations in life that would be enjoyable to you (perhaps even more enjoyable than being a lawyer) and in which you would excel.

The test is a bitch, yeah. It is designed to make you freak out; the whole point of it is measuring how fast and accurately you can think while under immense pressure and time constraints. Aside from preparation, your state of mind when you sit for the test is hugely important.

leftieash
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:21 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby leftieash » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:35 pm

I was in the same boat you were, and retook and improved my score 12 points (and got a scholarship for doing so--the LSAT was what mattered). It really, really is worth retaking and doing as well as you possibly can.
I would study in a systematic way -- make a game plan, make a list of things you are going to do every day, and actually do them (it's the only way to do well on this test and manage anxiety: do tons of practice, and then do preptests where you are hitting the range of scores you want consistently, and increase your confidence). And definitely get the Powerscore books if you haven't already. The LSATBlog is an AMAZING resource, I would read the entire thing, and he provides specific study plans (http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/3- ... edule.html). Good luck!

rararachel
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Re: How to do better on the Retake! Horrible Score!

Postby rararachel » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:13 am

Thank you all for the advice and encouragement! I'll be going to France (to akili)! (so excited), but I appreciated everything that everyone has said. Well, generally I do very well on RC but I think I might buy the Powerscore Bible for that because well, every point helps and I don't want to screw up on something as silly as that. LR is up in the air but after I bought the powerscorebible for that I was improving a LOT (getting only 3-5 wrong) on my practice tests. Logic games can either go really well or really poorly depending on my mindset, and my mindset was NOT where it needed to be in December. The main thing I think I need to work on aside from skills is the focus and mindset deal. 2-3 Practice tests is doable in the summer but I don't know how doable it will be during the fall semester. How do I deal with that?? I'll gauge how I feel about it as more time goes on I suppose?

I know I have the discipline and intelligence to conquer this and all of my other factors are great aside from this test. I just really wanted some advice on how to proceed. I adore law and have always wanted to go to law school, but agitprop, you're right about the backup plan to limit anxiety. And one of my problems is that i've have so many interests in the law, academia, political science, international relations, and philosophy fields and I'm driven enough that I could surely figure something out. I was just having a really negative time in my life because of personal reasons and I guess I just underestimated the impact of that for this test.

And leftieash, thank you for the link to that blog! That will certainly be helpful!

If anyone else or you guys have anyyyyy other advice at all, I will welcome it with open arms.




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