9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

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89vision
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9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:52 pm

Practicing consistently, timed, 5-9 points higher than my actual score. I do not have any time to study for the December test. What do I do? No money for classes either. Pretty bummed out right now.

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gin
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby gin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:23 pm

Knowing what your score is would be kind of helpful. If you were scoring 175s on your PTs and got a 166, it's not the end of the world. All it means is that you won't be going to the schools you were hoping for, but still will be able to go to some decent schools. Again, kind of hard to tell without an actual number

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cinephile
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby cinephile » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:25 pm

9 points is pretty substantial. If you ran out of time for a RC passage or a game, maybe you can just work on stepping up the pace. Otherwise, any particular area you can concentrate on?

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89vision
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:47 pm

Practice tests ranged from 162-168. The average was 165. I scored 167 several times, including the week of the test.

Actual test 158.

The week of the test I scored a 167 and 165. The lowest score I had on any of the practice tests was a 162 since I started studying.

My timing on RC was a bit off on the actual test, but I finished all other sections.

I am graduating in December, doing two senior projects and a research seminar this semester. I could buy some books and spend about 10 hours a week studying until December. The issue was that I was improving the last two months, but just choked on the test, even though I had enough time. I had a good feeling about the test as well. This is the first test, standardized or in class, that I was prepared for and bombed.

I did not buy a powerscore for RC though, and that's something I could work on. I did buy the LR Powerscore, and it hurt my score a lot. I am really disappointed right now, I did put a lot of time into studying. Should I take it in December and/or February?

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cinephile
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby cinephile » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:23 pm

If you take it in Feb., I assume that means you're taking a year off and applying again next year, right?

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89vision
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:36 pm

I have very few options outside of grad school. I would not be able to do anything worthwhile with a year off. If I take time off of school, there is very little chance that I would go back.

My PTs were consistent. I signed up for the Dec., if needed I'll change it I will.

I don't understand why the real thing was so bad. I put in a lot of effort, took a bunch of PTs, the worst score I was getting in distracting conditions was a 162. Do I need to study much, or just take a couple of PTs, maybe read over the RC Bible, and take it again? I did not get anything below a 162 in the last month leading up to the test.

Should I apply anywhere now with the 158? Pitt is instate and has a median of 159, my GPA is 3.5, will be about a 3.6 when I graduate.

Ugh. I feel like shit.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:43 pm

What was your LG score? If you are missing more than 2-3 questions on LG, you're giving up points that you shouldn't be. Buy the LG powerscore bible and be doing as many games for practice as possible. (After awhile they can start to get fun, I swear.)

Why did the LR powerscore bible hurt your LR score? Keep in mind, if you notice a dip in score right after using it, that's understandable. Your old ways of answering LR might be better than learning a new way. But keep the following in mind: Unless you are scoring near perfect as is in LR, you need some sort of system and LR bible is a very good one to use. What was your biggest issue with it?

A big part of RC is repetition and trying to increase speed on the easier passages while maintaining accuracy. RC is harder to break down in a systematic way. There are threads are TLS that can be helpful though, that outline some of the different approaches.

Taking in December is not a huge disadvantage to applying this year. If you want to take in February though, then you really should sit out a year. There is actually nothing wrong with just waiting to take in Feb or June and try to push your score as high as possible, if you can find something to do for the year off. And by find something to do, that does not mean you have to do something incredible prestigious. It could be something as simple as: 1) Finding a place to volunteer at on a weekly basis, and 2a) finding a part or full-time job and/or 2b) taking some grad level classes or even just community college classes (if you need to stay on a parent's health insurance). I think there's something to be said about taking some time off as opposed to going straight through.

ETA:
89vision wrote:I would not be able to do anything worthwhile with a year off. If I take time off of school, there is very little chance that I would go back.


Not trying to be callous, but if this is really how you feel don't go to law school.

Law school will always be there. If you think you can't force yourself back into a classroom type setting after a year or two of work, then my guess is you will despise law school after the first semester is over. I did more studying my first year of law school then all four years of undergrad. If I didn't enjoy learning and reading for hours, law school would be hell. Instead, I really like it. I have worked in the real world and I can tell you that I prefer law school by a mile. Some other people here don't feel that way and they generally dislike law school.

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89vision
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:16 pm

Did the LG Bible, did a TON of games. Took the test, and there were questions that were not on any of the LG I practiced.

LR- miss between 3-6. The LSAC strategy helped so much more than the bible. Diagramming took far too much time, and was unneeded in most cases.

RC-Took too long on the first 3, had 5 mins to do the last one. Did not practice extensively.

I enjoy school a lot. Pre law classes are by far my favorite. Real life is a lot easier than school. Living an easy life at an easy job is going to make it hard for me to get back into study habits. I am realistic about my needs. If I took a year off, I would need to find a place to live, health insurance (assuming Obamacare gets overturned), a car, car insurance. At least at school I would have that covered from loans and/or scholarships. It would be very difficult for me to find time to study while working 60 hours (which is what I would need to pay for ALL of my expenses). I would not be able to live with my parents.

I want to get law school out of the way, and move on. It's absolutely what I want to do.

My question, again, is, two weeks before the test, lowest score: 163. Week before: 165. Considering that, do I need to be studying a shit ton for December, or just get my times down and do some fundementals? I'd be happy with a 165, very happy with a 168. Is it realistic to get a 165 on the Dec LSAT by working on RC and LG bibles, and taking tests weekly?

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thelawyler
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby thelawyler » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:22 pm

Anything is possible bro.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:32 pm

89vision wrote:
My question, again, is, two weeks before the test, lowest score: 163. Week before: 165. Considering that, do I need to be studying a shit ton for December, or just get my times down and do some fundementals? I'd be happy with a 165, very happy with a 168. Is it realistic to get a 165 on the Dec LSAT by working on RC and LG bibles, and taking tests weekly?


If you PT average is already 165, then yes it is realistic to get a 165 in Dec. It seems like you just had a bad day in Oct. I always recommend having a PT average at least 3 points higher than a score you would be happy, so I would make it a goal to push your PT avg to at least 168.

As for whether you should do a shit ton of studying for december or just "get [your] times down and do fundamentals," of course you should do a shit ton of studying. As much as I hate to say this but it's usually worth putting LSAT prep above studying for undergrad class, if you have to prioritize between the two. The difference between applying with a 3.5/168 and a 3.6/165 is big. The former has a significant advantage. Trying to maximize your points on the LSAT should be your main priority right now. So I would recommend studying a shit ton.

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cinephile
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby cinephile » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:41 pm

89vision wrote: Real life is a lot easier than school. Living an easy life at an easy job is going to make it hard for me to get back into study habits.


Everyone's different, but to say this I feel you really need to be out of school to have something to compare it to. School is MUCH easier that "real life." The amount of time I spend in class and studying is less than I spent previously at work + commute time. I'm less exhausted at the end of the day too because studying is pretty chill and much less stressful than working at job with low pay and no future. I will concede that having study loans is nice, but it's only October and you'd have plenty of time to start the job search for something next year. If you don't want to take "time off," why not apply for a fellowship of some kind, so you can still be doing research, but get paid? I guess this depends on your area of study. Lastly, I doubt a year makes a difference in losing your study habits. If you want to make law school happen, then you will - it's not like you'll give up on your dreams after a year of work. And who knows, you might find a decent job and be able to save a little for when you do start law school.

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paratactical
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:44 pm

I feel for you. I scored significantly lower on my actual LSAT than I had on any of my practice tests and it really fucked up my plans. I spent a lot of time debating what I was going to do about it. Going to a bad school with a lot of debt is a bad decision and, unfortunately, that's probably what your current score will lead to. By all means, study your ass off and try again in December, but don't sell yourself short as to what you can do with a year off. There are other options and you should look into them in case the December test doesn't improve to the point o meriting law school now.

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gin
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby gin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:59 pm

I agree. Taking a year off might be what's best for you. You might also want to think about why you want to go to law school. From what you wrote, it sounds more that your comfort zone is school and are kind of afraid to move out of it. I'm not telling you not to go to law school (I don't have the moral high ground for that), but make sure it's something you really want to do. Going to law school just to stay in school is probably not a good idea IMO. You don't have to explain your reasons to anyone, either, as long as you know it is what you want to do. But taking a year off will definitely help you put it into perspective (at least it did for me)

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89vision
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:04 pm

I am trying to figure out what went wrong. I think hitting the RC hard will help a lot if I can get the times down, but I don't understand why there was such a drop off. I took a ton of PT's in Sept., LG and LR bibles, LSAC books...just review them I guess? It's frustrating because I scored well on all the PTs in Sept., scores kept improving each week. What do I need to do to prevent this from happening again? I have that got kicked in the gut feeling right now, because I was expecting at worst 163. I could get into Pitt, maybe Temple, if I apply now, is it worth doing that? They get the Dec score regardless. Ugh. Nothing worse than seeing a bunch of people pumped up about doing so well. I have applied to real jobs and internships and such, but I've been looking forward to law school for a while...and I just shot myself in the foot big time. Well, guess all that I can do is study hard and hope for the best in December, then re evaluate things.

I'm a huge constitutional law dork. I honestly read cases for fun, go to confirmation hearings, saw Scalia speak. Law school is what I want. And it will be a lot of work. I've seen at least 6 of my friends "take time off" and never go back to school. That is what worries me.

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paratactical
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:11 pm

Maybe look for a legal internship at a court or something? Find something that is a set time limit so that you'll have another moving forward style deadline to get you to go back to school.

Seriously, though, I understand what you're feeling. I was PTing in the low 170s and got a 161 on test day. It sucks. It's fucking terrible and confusing and overwhelming, but really, seriously, DO NOT settle for a bad school with no money. You can do better; you know you can do better; and in the long run, it's a smarter decision to wait and take the test again. But mostly, if you view December as a do-or-die scenario, you're going to put too much pressure on yourself and you could wind up with similar results.

Try your ass off for December, but try to figure out alternatives in case it doesn't work. Just knowing something else is out there might help alleviate the stress and make taking the test easier.

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quiver
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby quiver » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:51 pm

paratactical wrote:Try your ass off for December, but try to figure out alternatives in case it doesn't work. Just knowing something else is out there might help alleviate the stress and make taking the test easier.
This is a good idea.

I dealt with your exact situation as well; one of the worst feelings of my life. There are 2 good things here: 1) after you get over this shock and disappointment you can use that low score as motivation to keep pushing yourself for dec, and 2) you already know you can do much better than you did, so even if you don't improve between now and dec, all you have to do is not choke and you're golden.

Is it too late to lighten your load? maybe drop one of your senior projects? If you don't like your dec score would it be possible to stay for an extra semester (graduate in may), take a minimum number of classes, and study hard for the feb/june exam?

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89vision
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Re: 9 point drop from diagnostics to actual lsat

Postby 89vision » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:39 am

I am graduating early in order to avoid any undergrad debt, I can not afford to stay another semester, and honestly would just be taking random classes. I am pass/failing one course. This sounds really emo and elitist, but I have never gone through this type of test setback. All my Professor's were telling me to look at better law schools, my friends all told me I'd do really well, and I blew it. I know I can do better.

I am set on law school, it's what I want. The structure thing has to do with some substance abuse issues (rehab 2x). School helps me keep that under control, because I enjoy school a lot more than work. I love academia.

Ah. Sorry, this is a big let down for me. 9 points is a lot. I wouldn't be bitter if it were 2-4, but 9....wasn't expected at all.

So, do I put in an application to Pitt now? It's instate. Temple is as well. Or do I wait until December to submit any applications? I'm thinking of spending at least 2 hours a day on lsat prep until then, 4 on the weekends, and go from there.

Any tips? Like I said, I was steadily improving leading up to the test. Was it just a nerves thing? Sorry, I am a bit shocked and really bummed out, and I honestly feel like an idiot with a 158 considering I was testing at 167...My heart sunk when I saw the score. I know people will judge me for it too.

Financial issues would make it really difficult to take a year off, I could lose my health insurance (I am bipolar so I need medical coverage), and I really enjoy school. I want to be able to think things will realistically and probably improve.

Thanks for the encouragement. Sorry for the pessimism. It's tough dealing with my first failure in a testing situation when there was every indication it would go well.




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