LSAT noobie- couple questions/moral support?

imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

LSAT noobie- couple questions/moral support?

Postby imjustjoking22 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:26 am

Hey all,

I recently decided to apply to LS (just graduated in Winter with my degree in english, minor in philosophy, and I've been traveling for a while)...which means I haven't done a whole lot of research until now. Working hard to remedy that- this forum is awesome- so figured I'd join in on the fun!

I do have a couple of quick questions, as I've already thoroughly intimidated myself and would love some help backing away from the brink :shock: .

First is my GPA- 3.55 cumulative...*but* my departing gpa from my first 4-yr was 2.0 (mom was dying of cancer and I was driving home most weekends-7 hrs- to help/see her. I left in good standing, just barely, but with the help of my counselors and dean) and then my second 4-yr (a UC) was 3.75. I attended a JC in between to transfer (gpa good) and before my first school for a semester as well (left HS early).

Is there any way I'll be able to look at schools based on a *slightly* higher GPA than my cumulative because of these extenuating circumstances? Aside from the one school (a year there), I've had a high gpa through pretty much my whole school career- it sucks that this is the gpa I'm stuck with after all that. *le sigh*


Second question-
I took my first diagnostic today (the June 2007 LSAT online is the actual one, yea?) and scored around a 156, which is actually a lot better than I was expecting. I've read on here that a lot of people recommend studying on your own, but I'm leaning towards taking a Blueprint course just because it will force me to really focus. I *am* self-motivated (i.e. I'm currently in Italy and have spent all day taking a practice LSAT/reviewing my mistakes, haha... I feel like this = dedication) but still, if even a point matters drastically, and I have to make up for my crummy gpa, then it will probably pay off, yea?

I am a little concerned because I felt like my biggest flaw in this test was just making silly mistakes, which I feel could have been corrected by double-checking; do learning all of the "strategies" really give you an edge? I am a little intimidated by the LG diagrams, since I've just been writing them out in a "normal" way (albeit using simple logic symbols, which seems to help)- don't want to spend all my time diagramming and not have time to sort through the info.

Also, as a side question- I didn't want to focus on timing the sections and add to the stress, so I just timed myself causally to see where I was, and I finished the LR (2) and RC (1) sections in about 20 minutes each (didn't time the LG, though I will next time). Is this normal?? I'm sure panic will add several minutes, and double-checking as well, but I'm just weirded out that I have read so much on time management and it being really rough and then was so far under time. I'm guessing this was a fluke, but then again, maybe a flaw- rushing through the questions too fast!

Third question-
Am I completely screwed without law-related extracurriculars? I haven't done anything of the sort, though I'm hoping to start an internship or job when I return, and if I'm *really* lucky it will be LS related.



Lastly (thanks for sticking with me through all that!) I'm going to be trying to apply to grad schools in philosophy at the same time, I think... it was my minor and I only really took courses in it my last two quarters, but I enjoyed it and have been encouraged by several of my profs to apply for a PhD program- just don't want to put all of my eggs in either basket, so to speak. Would LOVE to hear from others who have studied for the GRE and LSAT at the same time, and tips about how to fit those together. (I've also got to develop a full writing sample, since I don't have any phi papers belong ~7 pgs, so that's a little extra to contend with).

As a side note, I really appreciate the LSAT so far as a test, especially compared to what I have seen of the stupid GRE (which I imagine to be mostly written by a 5th grader with a thesaurus). I hope that this prep will turn out to be more fun than horrifying!

Looking forward to getting to know everyone, and all that nonsense :D

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incompetentia
Posts: 2307
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: LSAT noobie- couple questions/moral support?

Postby incompetentia » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:39 am

imjustjoking22 wrote:Is there any way I'll be able to look at schools based on a *slightly* higher GPA than my cumulative because of these extenuating circumstances? Aside from the one school (a year there), I've had a high gpa through pretty much my whole school career- it sucks that this is the gpa I'm stuck with after all that. *le sigh*

My LSAC GPA is 3.55 as well. My degree GPA at my UG was 3.7+, but that won't matter.

Grade trend is one of the last things they'll look at if you happen to be right on the border. Unfortunately, the bump you'll get will be minimal if any.

I took my first diagnostic today (the June 2007 LSAT online is the actual one, yea?) and scored around a 156, which is actually a lot better than I was expecting. I've read on here that a lot of people recommend studying on your own, but I'm leaning towards taking a Blueprint course just because it will force me to really focus. I *am* self-motivated (i.e. I'm currently in Italy and have spent all day taking a practice LSAT/reviewing my mistakes, haha... I feel like this = dedication) but still, if even a point matters drastically, and I have to make up for my crummy gpa, then it will probably pay off, yea?


I did not take a course, because I felt that learning my own way through the questions was sufficient for me. You know yourself better than anybody, and should be able to judge whether or not the course format will help you.

I am a little concerned because I felt like my biggest flaw in this test was just making silly mistakes, which I feel could have been corrected by double-checking; do learning all of the "strategies" really give you an edge? I am a little intimidated by the LG diagrams, since I've just been writing them out in a "normal" way (albeit using simple logic symbols, which seems to help)- don't want to spend all my time diagramming and not have time to sort through the info.


You have to do what's best for you - past the basics of knowing and recognizing the question types, if you're getting the right answer, there's no reason for you to use somebody else's method. I diagrammed maybe only 40% of all LG games, and that seemed to work for me. Accuracy at this point is key, though. If you're trying something different and consistently scoring -8 on a section, you need to change it up.

Also, as a side question- I didn't want to focus on timing the sections and add to the stress, so I just timed myself causally to see where I was, and I finished the LR (2) and RC (1) sections in about 20 minutes each (didn't time the LG, though I will next time). Is this normal?? I'm sure panic will add several minutes, and double-checking as well, but I'm just weirded out that I have read so much on time management and it being really rough and then was so far under time. I'm guessing this was a fluke, but then again, maybe a flaw- rushing through the questions too fast!

Based on what you've said above, that time will increase once you get more deliberate with your problem-solving methods in order to eliminate these "mistakes" you're talking about. This is not a bad spot to be in, though. Time is usually one of the more difficult issues to worry about.
There are people around here who can still finish sections in 25-30 with pretty decent accuracy.

Third question-
Am I completely screwed without law-related extracurriculars? I haven't done anything of the sort, though I'm hoping to start an internship or job when I return, and if I'm *really* lucky it will be LS related.

The admissions process is a numbers game. The only way your softs can significantly hurt you I think is with major gaps in your resume or other factors that the adcomms will take as signs of you not being ready to go to LS (age, really sketchy employment history, etc.)


Lastly (thanks for sticking with me through all that!) I'm going to be trying to apply to grad schools in philosophy at the same time, I think... it was my minor and I only really took courses in it my last two quarters, but I enjoyed it and have been encouraged by several of my profs to apply for a PhD program- just don't want to put all of my eggs in either basket, so to speak. Would LOVE to hear from others who have studied for the GRE and LSAT at the same time, and tips about how to fit those together. (I've also got to develop a full writing sample, since I don't have any phi papers belong ~7 pgs, so that's a little extra to contend with).

As a side note, I really appreciate the LSAT so far as a test, especially compared to what I have seen of the stupid GRE (which I imagine to be mostly written by a 5th grader with a thesaurus). I hope that this prep will turn out to be more fun than horrifying!

Looking forward to getting to know everyone, and all that nonsense :D

Took the GRE in '07, the LSAT in '10. The two tests are (as you've seen) completely different, and I'd schedule the administrations as far apart as possible. As a natural science major, my GRE study was four weeks with word lists and random writing - even as such, I don't think you should be nearly as worried about this score as the LSAT if you're seriously considering both options. The LSAT will be the majority of your LS application's weight. You can't say the same about the GRE in a field like philosophy (as far as I'm aware).


One extra note: There is a big difference in terms of studying for the LSAT intelligently vs. unintelligently. Make sure that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are (in terms of question types, location in the section, types of passages, types of games), and figure out how to target those specifically.

imjustjoking22
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:46 am

Re: LSAT noobie- couple questions/moral support?

Postby imjustjoking22 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:53 am

incompetentia wrote:
imjustjoking22 wrote:Is there any way I'll be able to look at schools based on a *slightly* higher GPA than my cumulative because of these extenuating circumstances? Aside from the one school (a year there), I've had a high gpa through pretty much my whole school career- it sucks that this is the gpa I'm stuck with after all that. *le sigh*

My LSAC GPA is 3.55 as well. My degree GPA at my UG was 3.7+, but that won't matter.

Grade trend is one of the last things they'll look at if you happen to be right on the border. Unfortunately, the bump you'll get will be minimal if any.

I took my first diagnostic today (the June 2007 LSAT online is the actual one, yea?) and scored around a 156, which is actually a lot better than I was expecting. I've read on here that a lot of people recommend studying on your own, but I'm leaning towards taking a Blueprint course just because it will force me to really focus. I *am* self-motivated (i.e. I'm currently in Italy and have spent all day taking a practice LSAT/reviewing my mistakes, haha... I feel like this = dedication) but still, if even a point matters drastically, and I have to make up for my crummy gpa, then it will probably pay off, yea?


I did not take a course, because I felt that learning my own way through the questions was sufficient for me. You know yourself better than anybody, and should be able to judge whether or not the course format will help you.

I am a little concerned because I felt like my biggest flaw in this test was just making silly mistakes, which I feel could have been corrected by double-checking; do learning all of the "strategies" really give you an edge? I am a little intimidated by the LG diagrams, since I've just been writing them out in a "normal" way (albeit using simple logic symbols, which seems to help)- don't want to spend all my time diagramming and not have time to sort through the info.


You have to do what's best for you - past the basics of knowing and recognizing the question types, if you're getting the right answer, there's no reason for you to use somebody else's method. I diagrammed maybe only 40% of all LG games, and that seemed to work for me. Accuracy at this point is key, though. If you're trying something different and consistently scoring -8 on a section, you need to change it up.

Also, as a side question- I didn't want to focus on timing the sections and add to the stress, so I just timed myself causally to see where I was, and I finished the LR (2) and RC (1) sections in about 20 minutes each (didn't time the LG, though I will next time). Is this normal?? I'm sure panic will add several minutes, and double-checking as well, but I'm just weirded out that I have read so much on time management and it being really rough and then was so far under time. I'm guessing this was a fluke, but then again, maybe a flaw- rushing through the questions too fast!

Based on what you've said above, that time will increase once you get more deliberate with your problem-solving methods in order to eliminate these "mistakes" you're talking about. This is not a bad spot to be in, though. Time is usually one of the more difficult issues to worry about.
There are people around here who can still finish sections in 25-30 with pretty decent accuracy.

Third question-
Am I completely screwed without law-related extracurriculars? I haven't done anything of the sort, though I'm hoping to start an internship or job when I return, and if I'm *really* lucky it will be LS related.

The admissions process is a numbers game. The only way your softs can significantly hurt you I think is with major gaps in your resume or other factors that the adcomms will take as signs of you not being ready to go to LS (age, really sketchy employment history, etc.)


Lastly (thanks for sticking with me through all that!) I'm going to be trying to apply to grad schools in philosophy at the same time, I think... it was my minor and I only really took courses in it my last two quarters, but I enjoyed it and have been encouraged by several of my profs to apply for a PhD program- just don't want to put all of my eggs in either basket, so to speak. Would LOVE to hear from others who have studied for the GRE and LSAT at the same time, and tips about how to fit those together. (I've also got to develop a full writing sample, since I don't have any phi papers belong ~7 pgs, so that's a little extra to contend with).

As a side note, I really appreciate the LSAT so far as a test, especially compared to what I have seen of the stupid GRE (which I imagine to be mostly written by a 5th grader with a thesaurus). I hope that this prep will turn out to be more fun than horrifying!

Looking forward to getting to know everyone, and all that nonsense :D

Took the GRE in '07, the LSAT in '10. The two tests are (as you've seen) completely different, and I'd schedule the administrations as far apart as possible. As a natural science major, my GRE study was four weeks with word lists and random writing - even as such, I don't think you should be nearly as worried about this score as the LSAT if you're seriously considering both options. The LSAT will be the majority of your LS application's weight. You can't say the same about the GRE in a field like philosophy (as far as I'm aware).


One extra note: There is a big difference in terms of studying for the LSAT intelligently vs. unintelligently. Make sure that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are (in terms of question types, location in the section, types of passages, types of games), and figure out how to target those specifically.


Wow, thanks!! Amazing and thorough answer. :D I'm definitely not going to be dedicating nearly the same amount of time to the GRE as the LSAT, since LSAT makes or breaks you and GRE just weeds you out if you're on the edge, from what I've heard... but you're probably right to say to space the two of them out.

I'm going to go ahead and sign up for the prep class I think- anyone heard of Victor Martinez (blueprint)? I can't find him anywhere online (too many "victor martinez" athletes) or on this forum. I didn't even think about it, but *of course* you could choose which LG to diagram vs. not bothering to do so... smart! (feeling dumb).

Again, thanks for the time/advice- helpful in settling my head a bit :) Bummer about the GPA bit, though- but you can't win 'em all, I guess!




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