The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

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GatsbyGatz
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The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby GatsbyGatz » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:41 am

Hello! New member to the forum here. I would greatly appreciate some perspective about my particular situation and about whether or not I should delay my test date/application process for a year. In case you don't want to read very much, I'll put my question in bold and underline it for you further down the passage. :wink:

First and foremost, I've taken 6 PT's and am averaging 157-161. I've enrolled in Testmasters and have been studying for a total of 3 months with a result of a 12 point improvement. I've mastered LG (averaging no errors) and am on the verge of mastering LR, but my accuracy on LR and overall Comp performance need work. I'm registered for the Oct LSAT, but I'm going to either cancel my date or take the test and drop the score within the 6 day period. The schools that I'm aiming for are BU/BC, so I'll need a 10 point increase in order to have a chance.

As for my other relevant factors, I've just started my 4th year of UG with a 3.82 in English. I will be graduating next spring with honors. As for my softer factors, I've recently been accepted for a volunteer position in the city hall of the city which my university is located in. My position is the equivalent of a secretary (I even get my own cubical!) I'm involved in several honors clubs and I also freelance as an algebra tutor.

What I would like advice on is this: should I register for an LSAT that is 3 months away and try to increase my score by 10 points, or should I take a year off to study/gain life experience?

I've increased my score by 12 points within the past 3 months, so my improvement is achievable, but the idea of taking a year off is enticing. As ambitious as I may feel, I keep thinking one thing: I'm only 20. I haven't had much experience professionally and in general. Can someone offer me some perspective:
-Is it a respectable idea to wait until after graduating UG in the spring to take the LSAT and apply for law school the following fall?
-If I do wait until next year (in June/October) to take the LSAT, is it likely that I'll become rusty and all my progress will regress?

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:47 am

Why don't you continue studying and take the December or February test? I think a year off will be very beneficial, but I don't see why you have to put off the LSAT until next June. If you can keep up your GPA while continuing to practice and increasing your score incrementally throughout that time, a February test would be my suggestion. You'd still have time to take the June test if you aren't happy with your score, and plenty of time to simply focus on your apps and not worrying about studying and applying to law school at the same time if you have to retake in October. (This is all advice towards applying next year, though. Even a December test will put you very late in the application process for this cycle.)

Don't go into the test only planning to cancel though. An absent looks a lot better than a cancel.

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luxxe
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby luxxe » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:28 am

IMO, improving 12 points in three months is going to be a LOT easier than improving another 10 points in 2 months, especially if you have already taken multiple PTs/worked on every section/have mastered games.

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chem
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby chem » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:39 am

I would always advise that if you have a job and can wait, you should wait. WE makes it easier to get into a lot of schools, and helps on interviews during OCI

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GatsbyGatz
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby GatsbyGatz » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:46 am

Thank you all tremendously for your perspectives. I've spoken with my family and they all support the idea of taking a year off.

descartesb4thehorse, I'll heed your advice and take the February LSAT. That will give me 4 months to study up, which will hopefully be plenty of time to improve my score to the 170s range. And you're right, having the fall open to work on apps is a brilliant plan.

luxxe, you are correct about 3-4 months to study being easier than 2 months. With the extended time allotted to me, I may be able to reach beyond my targeted score. I'll also be retaking Testmasters so that I don't become rusty.

chem, yes, having more WE will definitely help. I'm volunteering in city hall of a rather largish city, so hopefully I can find a legal job now that I'm on the inside.

Again, thank you all for your help. You just saved me from taking a crash course for mediocrity, if not failure! :)

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glucose101
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby glucose101 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:58 am

I recommend taking in Dec or Feb. The further you take the exam, the increased likelihood of forgetting your methods/the feeling of doing the LSAT.

CanadianWolf
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:15 pm

Try not to take the February exam unless necessary since the test is not released, therefore you'll be unable to review your errors.
Take the LSAT after finishing TestMasters. If disappointed with your score, then schedula a retake, otherwise apply & determine your law school options.
Once you know your actual options among law schools & work opportunities, then you can make an informed choice.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:50 pm

GatsbyGatz wrote:descartesb4thehorse, I'll heed your advice and take the February LSAT. That will give me 4 months to study up, which will hopefully be plenty of time to improve my score to the 170s range. And you're right, having the fall open to work on apps is a brilliant plan.

luxxe, you are correct about 3-4 months to study being easier than 2 months. With the extended time allotted to me, I may be able to reach beyond my targeted score. I'll also be retaking Testmasters so that I don't become rusty.

:)


I agree with you on re-taking the Testmasters course. Hopefully you'll get a new instructor this time around who can shed light on areas the other one couldn't.

I disagree about taking the February LSAT. That test is undisclosed, meaning you will find out your score and nothing else. You won't even find out how many you missed in each section. I'd recommend spending the next two months studying and then take the December LSAT. If that one doesn't work out, you can retake in June.

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GatsbyGatz
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby GatsbyGatz » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:23 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:I agree with you on re-taking the Testmasters course. Hopefully you'll get a new instructor this time around who can shed light on areas the other one couldn't.

I disagree about taking the February LSAT. That test is undisclosed, meaning you will find out your score and nothing else. You won't even find out how many you missed in each section. I'd recommend spending the next two months studying and then take the December LSAT. If that one doesn't work out, you can retake in June.

Many people seem to be guiding me towards avoiding the February test. The conflict is that I'm currently taking a full-load of courses along with a position in city hall this fall, so I just figured that I would have a greater opportunity for improvement if I took the test next year rather than December. For the lack of substantial improvement opportunity, I thought I would pass-up on the December test. Would it be reasonable for me to take the Testmasters course next year around springtime and take the June LSAT with October available in-case I wish to retake? I would have an expansive amount of time to study from now until then.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:29 pm

GatsbyGatz wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:I agree with you on re-taking the Testmasters course. Hopefully you'll get a new instructor this time around who can shed light on areas the other one couldn't.

I disagree about taking the February LSAT. That test is undisclosed, meaning you will find out your score and nothing else. You won't even find out how many you missed in each section. I'd recommend spending the next two months studying and then take the December LSAT. If that one doesn't work out, you can retake in June.

Many people seem to be guiding me towards avoiding the February test. The conflict is that I'm currently taking a full-load of courses along with a position in city hall this fall, so I just figured that I would have a greater opportunity for improvement if I took the test next year rather than December. For the lack of substantial improvement opportunity, I thought I would pass-up on the December test. Would it be reasonable for me to take the Testmasters course next year around springtime and take the June LSAT with October available in-case I wish to retake? I would have an expansive amount of time to study from now until then.


Yeah that makes perfect sense to me. Take your time with it and get quality work experience along the way.

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theadvancededit
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby theadvancededit » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:43 pm

GatsbyGatz wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:I agree with you on re-taking the Testmasters course. Hopefully you'll get a new instructor this time around who can shed light on areas the other one couldn't.

I disagree about taking the February LSAT. That test is undisclosed, meaning you will find out your score and nothing else. You won't even find out how many you missed in each section. I'd recommend spending the next two months studying and then take the December LSAT. If that one doesn't work out, you can retake in June.

Many people seem to be guiding me towards avoiding the February test. The conflict is that I'm currently taking a full-load of courses along with a position in city hall this fall, so I just figured that I would have a greater opportunity for improvement if I took the test next year rather than December. For the lack of substantial improvement opportunity, I thought I would pass-up on the December test. Would it be reasonable for me to take the Testmasters course next year around springtime and take the June LSAT with October available in-case I wish to retake? I would have an expansive amount of time to study from now until then.


That's totally reasonable. Take the June '12 exam; that way, you can work on your apps during the summer and still be able to send them early, even if you retake in Oct.

LawSchoolGuru
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby LawSchoolGuru » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:49 pm

You might even have to deal with a new question type if you take it next year.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:49 pm

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Last edited by Odd Future Wolf Gang on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby crumpetsandtea » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:17 pm

It is always beneficial to get WE before going to LS. Not only is it good for YOU (like you said, you're only 20!) but it's also preferred by a lot of schools now.

In addition, if you're testing lower than you want to, having extra time to study is VERY GOOD. If you take Dec/Feb, you will be applying to this cycle extremely late, which hurts your chances of getting into schools. It's better to wait and apply as soon as possible next cycle.

Finally, I'd suggest signing up for Dec/Feb, but don't be afraid to postpone again if you're not ready yet. it's better to be securely in the 165-175 range and kill it than to take it earlier and score lower, IMO.

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GatsbyGatz
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby GatsbyGatz » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:47 pm

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:OP, I am kind of in a similar situation. I graduated this May, and I am currently working full-time. I registered for the October test, but I am a little uncomfortable with where I am scoring right now on the PTs (anywhere from 167-172). I decided to push the test back to December. I know it will be "late," but I will still send out apps to a couple of schools I am interested in - that is, assuming I score high enough.

But I would be glad to take another year in between (so total of two) college and law school. I think working in a professional setting has really broadened my perspective; and I think most applicants can benefit from having some work experience before entering law school.

Tl;dr, take the test when you feel ready; there is nothing wrong with taking some time off, and as someone above mentioned, having work experience can only benefit you in the long run.


From what I've gathered on this forum, many testimonies testify to getting your average PT up to at least 5 points above your targeted score. Since your median is 169-170, sources on this website will ask you whether you're comfortable with the idea of scoring a low of 164-165 on the real LSAT. Since you've pushed your test to December, you'll have a few months to tighten that range and increase your score.

Since you're even considering taking another year off, why don't you? Your test is in December which a few sources on this forum would consider too late (or at the very least offers a disadvantage). It's worth considering if you still need to form your application (assuming you have your LoR together).

It is always beneficial to get WE before going to LS. Not only is it good for YOU (like you said, you're only 20!) but it's also preferred by a lot of schools now.

Thank you for your support. By the way, I've come from all these perspectives now wondering how many people in law school actually have quality WE. Are most students in law school well equipped with years of professional WE? I suppose that has to do with a student's age, but on that subject, is there a notable average age among law students (is it rare to find 22-23 year-olds)?

One question leads to another. Thank you all for enlightening the naive youth that I am. :idea:

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: The Benefits to Taking a Year Off

Postby crumpetsandtea » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:53 pm

GatsbyGatz wrote:Thank you for your support. By the way, I've come from all these perspectives now wondering how many people in law school actually have quality WE. Are most students in law school well equipped with years of professional WE? I suppose that has to do with a student's age, but on that subject, is there a notable average age among law students (is it rare to find 22-23 year-olds)? One question leads to another. Thank you all for enlightening the naive youth that I am. :idea:

It depends on the school, but there are certainly a good amount of people with significant WE...but most likely the majority of admits/applicants are either K-JDs or only have 1-2 years of WE. I don't think it should be that rare to find people in the 21-23 range (I will be, and I'll have 1-2 years of WE), though, so I wouldn't worry about it ^_^




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