Have a predicament, in need of advice!

DWinter18
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Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby DWinter18 » Tue May 03, 2011 4:21 am

Well, it's 4 AM and I can't sleep because of the anxiety this is causing me, so I figure I'll post it here and hopefully get some advice. Going by how helpful this board has been in the past, I'm sure someone will be able to help me.

I graduated from Vanderbilt in the Fall of 2009 with a 3.39 GPA. I took the December LSAT that semester, and I did not really study for it at all; no prep course and just took a few practice tests on my own. I ended up with a 162. The schools that I was looking at were mostly in the T14, and if not, the T20, so I didn't even bother applying to any schools that year because I knew my GPA/LSAT combo was not high enough.

Fast forward to now, I've just been living at home and working, but I decided to give the test another shot and actually study this time. I know that if I devote myself to studying, I can raise my score significantly.

Here is my problem: I had originally planned to take my 2nd LSAT this June. I started studying around the end of February, but not as earnestly as I would have liked or hoped. I just kept putting it off, procrastinating. Working full-time definitely put a damper on studying as after what was sometimes a 9 hour day at work, I could not bring myself to do more work. Now it's May, the LSAT is barely a month away, and I don't feel confident at all that I can get the score I want to (170+).

I have been studying, but not really a lot, and this entire past week I've done nothing. I have all the PowerScore Bibles and I was planning on going through those, in detail, and then just taking practice test after practice test. I am halfway through the Logic Games book, and about 1/5 through the Logical Reasoning book (and that's my worst section). I do extremely well on RC so I haven't even started that book yet. Overall, I've taken about 5 practice tests, and my scores range from 162-168. However, I haven't taken a practice test in about a couple months.

I just don't think a month is enough time for me at this point. I let the studying go by the wayside too much and now I think I just want to take the October test. I wanted to take June for a number of reasons: early apps, have the summer to relax, etc. But I don't want to run the risk of taking the June test, screwing up and not getting that much higher than my first test, and having to take it a third time. At this point, I'd rather cut my losses, and actually start studying for the October test for real, RIGHT NOW. Then I could just tackle a chapter a day in the Bibles, take it slow, really get the techniques down, and then by September, or perhaps even earlier, just start hammering practice tests.

I feel like at this point, if I wanted to take the June test, I'm going to have to cram a ton, and that is just stressing me out and putting a lot of pressure on myself. I even quit my job in April because I told them I needed to study for this and I couldn't be working. Well, I did quit, and now I just sit at home and don't study. Terrible. In addition, I feel that whatever your goal score is, you need to be PTing above it consistently because on test day, any surprises that come your way might throw you off, but if you have been scoring above your goal, anything that brings you down will just bring you down to your goal. So if I want a 170, I want to be getting 173s on my practice tests. I can't be scoring 168 and say "Oh, I'll make up those 2 points on the real thing" because chances are, I will probably LOSE 2 points on the real thing. Just my thoughts.

So, my question is: Is it that big a deal to just take the October test? I've read varying things on what 3 LSAT scores looks like on your application, if it has any negative consequences, etc. I would really rather not have 3 scores. I'd rather just hit a home run on one try. If I decide on October, then I could set a study plan for myself and hopefully actually follow it. I know from what I just wrote, it's easy to say "Well, you didn't study last time, why would you this time?" And to that I say that my entire life, I've left things to the last minute: all of high school, all of college. It's just how I work. But I realize that October is really my last shot, and I can't screw around, so I will do it. (I pray).

So, I ask you, many of whom are more knowledgeable than I, what should I do?

jrose5
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby jrose5 » Tue May 03, 2011 4:28 am

Forget the June test, in all seriousness. You need to get an extremely good LSAT score, possibly well above 170, to get into the t14 with that gpa. You'll also need substantial time to ensure that this happens. October is not your last chance, December is. Cancel June immediately, get studying, and don't let anxiety affect you or you'll really regret it after all that prep work.

jrose5
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby jrose5 » Tue May 03, 2011 4:30 am

wait, are you a URM?

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YaSvoboden
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby YaSvoboden » Tue May 03, 2011 4:47 am

Calm down, you'll be fine, for the October test. You're starting point is very good, and with your strength in RC, you are in an even better position. I think logic games are actually fun, I really think that I am gonna keep my study materials so I can still do them occasionally. Try to actually make them a game. When you get through a chapter of the LGB, do a bunch of games of that type. You can time yourself, but just to know how long you are taking, enjoy the light bulb that comes when you start making inferences. Worry about timing after you are comfortable with the games, they become very clear with a little practice.

My LR study has been all over the place, but my scores have improved with practice there, so practice and review. There are tons of guides that you can follow, find something that works for you and if you can't actually sit down and study every day, do a course. I am currently in one that is operated locally and it has taken me from low 160's to low 170's in a month that I have been much more occupied with finals than studying for the LSAT.

And because someone has to say it; get off your ass and do something. You can just start poking around various materials for a week to get an idea of what actually suits you, then make a plan.

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Kabuo
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby Kabuo » Tue May 03, 2011 4:53 am

October is fine. Just use the time when you're apparently doing nothing to work on your personal statement and other parts of your application so that by the time you get your score you can just send your apps out.

Also, I was like you throughout HS and college too, but I managed to suck it up and devote myself to studying for this test because I have an even lower GPA than you, and I improved 11 points over my first half-assed attempt. You really need to do the same. If having quit your job to study and having realized how well you need to do to get into a T14 school isn't enough motivation, I doubt anything I say will be. But honestly, and no offense, you really need to get your shit together and put in the hours on this. For the overwhelming majority of people, 170+ scores don't just happen. You really need to be disciplined for this if you're not unusually brilliant.

DWinter18
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby DWinter18 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:08 am

jrose5 wrote:wait, are you a URM?


Yes, I am Mexican. Does that allow me more leeway in terms of scoring?

And thank you all for the responses! I have been leaning toward October, but sometimes we all need validation for things we aren't quite sure of, you know?

Honestly though, and I am a pretty modest person, but I can safely say that IF I devote myself, which I plan to, I can destroy this test. It's just practice, practice, practice. If I sit down every day and do SOME studying, I will be fine. I just have to find that drive. Like I said, in high school and college I'd wait to the last minute for almost everything (this includes my final paper for my capstone course in my history major. I did the entire thing the night before with no research). However, the few times I actually did the work as I was supposed to, and put time and effort in, I dominated whatever it was, easily. I just love to procrastinate. It's become a bad habit since I had gotten away with it for so long; I always figured I was smart enough to do things at the last minute, and I was always able to, so I always did.

But for this test, I agree, the score I want won't just come out of thin air. Having 5 months to study instead of 1 is a lot easier to swallow. I am even gonna start tomorrow. Just gonna go through one chapter in the LR Bible, highlighting important points, and maybe take one section of LR. Take it nice and slow, without any huge load of stress will allow me to focus and concentrate more.

Now I just have to explain to my parents why I quit my job to study for a test that I'm not taking until Fall... and find another job... (although my old job said I could come back anytime).

Thanks again!

jrose5
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby jrose5 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:11 am

Your URM status will give you a huge boost. Even if you stayed at a ~160, you could probably still get into the t14. However, since that is your starting score (and it's a really good one), I'd still recommend that you atudy your a-- off, hit 170+, and get into an upper t14. Best of luck!

DWinter18
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby DWinter18 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:18 am

jrose5 wrote:Your URM status will give you a huge boost. Even if you stayed at a ~160, you could probably still get into the t14. However, since that is your starting score (and it's a really good one), I'd still recommend that you atudy your a-- off, hit 170+, and get into an upper t14. Best of luck!


Thanks that definitely gives me a boost of inspiration. Like you said though, I'm not at all relying on that. I'm gonna act as if my status doesn't even help me - I want to do as well as I possibly can, and then if I get a boost, great.

I also had a separate question about my transcript. As mentioned before, I have a 3.39. When law schools evaluate my transcript, do they simply look at the number of my GPA, or go through my grades for each individual class? Because I had one semester where I got a D- in a class... it was pretty bad. All my other semesters are Dean's List, or just below Dean's List for the most part. I just had one bad semester. What do I do to combat the negative light that will shed on my transcript?

jrose5
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby jrose5 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:33 am

I think the only way to approach that would be through an addendum.

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suspicious android
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby suspicious android » Tue May 03, 2011 1:29 pm

What kind of job do you have now? A real, career-oriented job? If not, and you're really serious about law school, just quit. You're living at home, if you can get by without a full-time job, you need to make an investment in your future by studying a lot. Even with URM status, a 162/3.39 is gonna have a tough time, you might get into a t-14 or not. You would have at least an outside shot at any school in the country with a 173+, and probably a near free ride at the lower of the top 14.

DWinter18
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby DWinter18 » Tue May 03, 2011 4:40 pm

suspicious android wrote:What kind of job do you have now? A real, career-oriented job? If not, and you're really serious about law school, just quit. You're living at home, if you can get by without a full-time job, you need to make an investment in your future by studying a lot. Even with URM status, a 162/3.39 is gonna have a tough time, you might get into a t-14 or not. You would have at least an outside shot at any school in the country with a 173+, and probably a near free ride at the lower of the top 14.


My job was most definitely not a career-oriented job - it was just something to pass the time and earn some money on the side. I actually hated every second of it, so I wanted to quit regardless.

And I would have a shot at scholarships with a 173+? I wasn't even thinking about that, but that would be awesome. It all comes down to I just have to focus - this test, and the score I get, is going to determine my near future and possibly further so I need to take it as serious as possible and do as well as possible. Thanks for the advice!

83947368
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby 83947368 » Tue May 03, 2011 6:19 pm

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Last edited by 83947368 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kabuo
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby Kabuo » Tue May 03, 2011 6:47 pm

DWinter18 wrote:
Honestly though, and I am a pretty modest person, but I can safely say that IF I devote myself, which I plan to, I can destroy this test. It's just practice, practice, practice. If I sit down every day and do SOME studying, I will be fine. I just have to find that drive. Like I said, in high school and college I'd wait to the last minute for almost everything (this includes my final paper for my capstone course in my history major. I did the entire thing the night before with no research). However, the few times I actually did the work as I was supposed to, and put time and effort in, I dominated whatever it was, easily. I just love to procrastinate. It's become a bad habit since I had gotten away with it for so long; I always figured I was smart enough to do things at the last minute, and I was always able to, so I always did.



Just letting you know, that every splitter I know did the exact same thing throughout UG. The LSAT is different though.

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coldshoulder
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby coldshoulder » Tue May 03, 2011 7:16 pm

Just don't procrastinate. Don't say to yourself, "its only June, I have plenty of time I can go slow." Take a practice test at the beginning of your studying, and take them throughout to maintain the application of what you learn in the bibles.

DWinter18
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby DWinter18 » Wed May 04, 2011 12:18 am

Adm.Doppleganger wrote:Quit your job? You need to study a lot and its doable but really study alot. I was under employed and job searching when I did my lsats. That worked out and I scored a 177. I retook it from an anemic 161. I'm also M.A. You can hit the T-14 but not easily. Sounds like you really need to get your shit together and study. If that means quitting your job, get an unpaid internship so you can put something on your resume. And if you can't hit a good score those months out of work will look really bad.

Study your ass off and take the October. Most of all relax and enjoy the LSAT. You have to learn to love it to make it work. Make it your bitch. Make it your dominatrix. Make it your sweet, sweet old lady.

I'm sure that doesn't help at all but, hope that helps.


Hahahaha, that was hilarious. Yea, having a positive attitude is what it's all about I think. I do have one when I study - I can honestly say that I feel smarter after learning the techniques for LR and LG and using them in practice. It's definitely a nice skill to have. Like many others have said, the logic games are pretty fun.

This thread has given me renewed vigor - like you said, I'm going to make this test my bitch. I have 5 months to study, on top of all the studying I have already done from when I was planning on taking the June, so I'm already ahead. But I won't slack now - I'm going to continue and push myself harder. If you went from a 161 to a 177, I am confident I can do the same. Thanks again!

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bouakedojo
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby bouakedojo » Wed May 04, 2011 10:30 am

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Last edited by bouakedojo on Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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northwood
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Re: Have a predicament, in need of advice!

Postby northwood » Wed May 04, 2011 10:37 am

make your study schedule now, and get your hands on as many official lsat released tests as possible. While you are waiting for them to arrive- check your calendar and begin to cut out time to dedicate for prep every day- and make sure to cut out time for yourself. Ask around for references and get the forms sent to them and instructions for where they should send them. Then start drafting your personal statement. On June 1- put the personal statement away for now and start studying with your resources. Read the powerscore bibles ( for LR and LG) and do the prep work that accompanies them. Then go on to timed section work, and then 5 section prep tests. Budget them according to how many you have-a nd how much time there is until October. After you take the octoober test and get over the hangover from celbrating the end of the LSAT- take out your personal statement and use TLS to help you critique it. Do the same for all other essays ( diversity statement, why school X essasys, etc). Then as soon as you get your score back- and you like it- send the applications out immediately.




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