Should I retake for a 4th time?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:07 pm

I just got a 161.
My PT average was 166, with the occasional outlier 170-ish (high 174).
Don't exactly know what happened (I messed up on that section 3 I thought was experimental, REALLY bad).

Unfortunately my track record with this test isn't so good.
In 2008, I took it just to see how I'd do, with no prep whatsoever. I got a 154.
In June 2011, after studying hard and getting between 160-166 on my PTs, I ended up with a 157.
Now I have this stupid 161, which is just good enough to open some doors, but not the ones I want.
My 3.06 GPA doesn't help.
The only potential game-changer I have is that I have 4 years of good, successful work experience with some good letters.

I was planning on applying early to schools like Hastings, UCI, Loyola, Pepperdine, and Davis. Now my only glimmer of hope at any of these schools seems to be that they accept the occasional non-urm, under the medians non-traditional applicants (at least on LSN). That's nothing to get too hopeful about, of course.

Should I retake in December for a 4th time? How bad will that look to schools? Will waiting until Christmas to apply with a better score hurt me more than chancing it and applying Early? My top choice is UCI, FYI.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:58 pm

Bump.
No advice? I could really use it, if you happen to know anything about this type of situation.

mushybrain
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby mushybrain » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:38 am

Honestly it doesn't seem like you're getting strong enough gains to expect much higher if you retake, and if you're set on applying this cycle a late app isn't going to help matters.

Danteshek
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby Danteshek » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:04 pm

Quitting your job in this economy would be a terrible mistake. But if you insist on committing financial suicide, enjoy Southwestern, and then unemployment.

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bk1
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:07 pm

Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:55 pm

bk1 wrote:Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.

bartleby
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bartleby » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:58 pm

Retake all day every day, especially in December. Don't even study hard - just make sure you are healthy in the winter time. You've already studied hard for 3 tests, just relax. Like I said in another post, December has the most generous curves lately.

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180asBreath
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 180asBreath » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:11 pm

I thought June yields the highest percentage of 170's?

Personally, I think you need to take a step back and try a new approach. Before you continue practicing, you need to learn the underlying parts of the test. It is a learnable test, if you are not demonstrating that you have learned the test (a PT average of 170+) then you need to go back and learn the test.

Good luck!

cgwifey
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby cgwifey » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:58 pm

I wouldn't re-take. If you take it for a 4th time and end up with only a few points better, I don't think it will make you look that much better to schools. Other than improving a few points each time. Unless you think you can get a 170 in December, I wouldn't retake and I think you would be better off submitting your app with early decision rather than a 4th re-take later app.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby cgwifey » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:02 pm

bk1 wrote:Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.


This does not even make sense. Plently of smart, intellegent, sucessful lawyers out there don't get a 170. Once you get into school, no one cares what you got on the LSAT. I know partners in my firm who didn't get a 170.

I think showing that it takes 4 times or more times to get that high, looks worse than just a 161 in general.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:14 pm

cgwifey wrote:
bk1 wrote:Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.


This does not even make sense. Plently of smart, intellegent, sucessful lawyers out there don't get a 170. Once you get into school, no one cares what you got on the LSAT. I know partners in my firm who didn't get a 170.

I think showing that it takes 4 times or more times to get that high, looks worse than just a 161 in general.

1.) OP has a 3.06. Unless he gets a high 160 or 170+, he's going to have some bleak choices for law school. You're right, the importance of the LSAT diminishes, AFTER GETTING INTO A SCHOOL. Note that he needs a good LSAT in order to GET INTO the school though. Also, partners at your firm were applying for jobs in a completely different legal market than we are.

2.) Schools are all about numbers. USNWR no longer cares about averages. Therefore, schools no longer care about averages. OP should definitely write a (hopefully good/well thought out) addendum regarding his scores, but taking it 4 times and getting even a 168 is MUCH MUCH MUCH more worth it than not retaking and staying with his current score.

3.) OP, it is INCREDIBLE what a few points on the LSAT can do for your cycle. If you hit the 170 mark you're looking at acceptances into Northwestern, Georgetown, or UVa...maybe even Michigan depending on how high you score and how good your PS and etc are. If you don't retake and stick with your 161, you're looking at regional bottom-of-Tier-1 schools at best. You might not (and probably won't) even crack the Top 50 with much money. Especially because you seem to be focused on California schools, who put HUGE emphasis on GPA.

4.) With WE you have some GREAT chances at Northwestern, but only if you score over a 170. Trust me, it is WORTH the time, effort, nervousness, and $$ for another test. If you can get into a T14, you will have the portability you need to return to California after graduation.

5.) DO NOT attend any school in California other than Stanford, UCB, UCLA, USC, UCD, or UC Hastings. Let me put it this way: If you attend, say, UCI...you will be competing against UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Loyola, Southwestern, Case Western, etc etc etc grads. You will ALSO be competing against graduates from the Top 14 who are trying to return to California. Your employment chances will be VERY low. Think about this very very carefully--law school is a huge time and money commitment, and you want to make the smartest decision for your future.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:08 pm

Danteshek wrote:Quitting your job in this economy would be a terrible mistake. But if you insist on committing financial suicide, enjoy Southwestern, and then unemployment.


I am thinking of quitting after this year, regardless of law school prospects. I'm not applying to Southwestern, ever.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:17 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
cgwifey wrote:
bk1 wrote:Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.


This does not even make sense. Plently of smart, intellegent, sucessful lawyers out there don't get a 170. Once you get into school, no one cares what you got on the LSAT. I know partners in my firm who didn't get a 170.

I think showing that it takes 4 times or more times to get that high, looks worse than just a 161 in general.

1.) OP has a 3.06. Unless he gets a high 160 or 170+, he's going to have some bleak choices for law school. You're right, the importance of the LSAT diminishes, AFTER GETTING INTO A SCHOOL. Note that he needs a good LSAT in order to GET INTO the school though. Also, partners at your firm were applying for jobs in a completely different legal market than we are.

2.) Schools are all about numbers. USNWR no longer cares about averages. Therefore, schools no longer care about averages. OP should definitely write a (hopefully good/well thought out) addendum regarding his scores, but taking it 4 times and getting even a 168 is MUCH MUCH MUCH more worth it than not retaking and staying with his current score.

3.) OP, it is INCREDIBLE what a few points on the LSAT can do for your cycle. If you hit the 170 mark you're looking at acceptances into Northwestern, Georgetown, or UVa...maybe even Michigan depending on how high you score and how good your PS and etc are. If you don't retake and stick with your 161, you're looking at regional bottom-of-Tier-1 schools at best. You might not (and probably won't) even crack the Top 50 with much money. Especially because you seem to be focused on California schools, who put HUGE emphasis on GPA.

4.) With WE you have some GREAT chances at Northwestern, but only if you score over a 170. Trust me, it is WORTH the time, effort, nervousness, and $$ for another test. If you can get into a T14, you will have the portability you need to return to California after graduation.

5.) DO NOT attend any school in California other than Stanford, UCB, UCLA, USC, UCD, or UC Hastings. Let me put it this way: If you attend, say, UCI...you will be competing against UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Loyola, Southwestern, Case Western, etc etc etc grads. You will ALSO be competing against graduates from the Top 14 who are trying to return to California. Your employment chances will be VERY low. Think about this very very carefully--law school is a huge time and money commitment, and you want to make the smartest decision for your future.


Thanks for the advice.

I decided to retake. Too many benefits, too few drawbacks.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:20 pm

3v3ryth1ng wrote:Thanks for the advice.

I decided to retake. Too many benefits, too few drawbacks.

No problem. Speaking as someone who improved 7 pts between retakes, it can be incredibly worth it. I'm glad you decided to do it. (:

bartleby
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bartleby » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:20 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
cgwifey wrote:
bk1 wrote:Yes you should retake and probably shouldn't go to law school until you hit a 170+.


This does not even make sense. Plently of smart, intellegent, sucessful lawyers out there don't get a 170. Once you get into school, no one cares what you got on the LSAT. I know partners in my firm who didn't get a 170.

I think showing that it takes 4 times or more times to get that high, looks worse than just a 161 in general.

1.) OP has a 3.06. Unless he gets a high 160 or 170+, he's going to have some bleak choices for law school. You're right, the importance of the LSAT diminishes, AFTER GETTING INTO A SCHOOL. Note that he needs a good LSAT in order to GET INTO the school though. Also, partners at your firm were applying for jobs in a completely different legal market than we are.

2.) Schools are all about numbers. USNWR no longer cares about averages. Therefore, schools no longer care about averages. OP should definitely write a (hopefully good/well thought out) addendum regarding his scores, but taking it 4 times and getting even a 168 is MUCH MUCH MUCH more worth it than not retaking and staying with his current score.

3.) OP, it is INCREDIBLE what a few points on the LSAT can do for your cycle. If you hit the 170 mark you're looking at acceptances into Northwestern, Georgetown, or UVa...maybe even Michigan depending on how high you score and how good your PS and etc are. If you don't retake and stick with your 161, you're looking at regional bottom-of-Tier-1 schools at best. You might not (and probably won't) even crack the Top 50 with much money. Especially because you seem to be focused on California schools, who put HUGE emphasis on GPA.

4.) With WE you have some GREAT chances at Northwestern, but only if you score over a 170. Trust me, it is WORTH the time, effort, nervousness, and $$ for another test. If you can get into a T14, you will have the portability you need to return to California after graduation.

5.) DO NOT attend any school in California other than Stanford, UCB, UCLA, USC, UCD, or UC Hastings. Let me put it this way: If you attend, say, UCI...you will be competing against UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Loyola, Southwestern, Case Western, etc etc etc grads. You will ALSO be competing against graduates from the Top 14 who are trying to return to California. Your employment chances will be VERY low. Think about this very very carefully--law school is a huge time and money commitment, and you want to make the smartest decision for your future.


everything is smart here except 5. how is ucd or uc hastings any better off than irvine. there's a ton of law schools up north too.

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bk1
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bk1 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:26 pm

bartleby wrote:everything is smart here except 5. how is ucd or uc hastings any better off than irvine. there's a ton of law schools up north too.


Agreed on the UCI comment (if you're comparing UCI to UCD/UCH it is that UCD/UCH are mediocre because they place in NorCal whereas UCI is mediocre because it is a huge unknown).

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:36 pm

bk1 wrote:
bartleby wrote:everything is smart here except 5. how is ucd or uc hastings any better off than irvine. there's a ton of law schools up north too.


Agreed on the UCI comment (if you're comparing UCI to UCD/UCH it is that UCD/UCH are mediocre because they place in NorCal whereas UCI is mediocre because it is a huge unknown).

+1. UCD and UCH at least have alumni networks that can possibly help with employment. UCI doesn't really have any sort of positive reputation or alumni networking system yet because it's so new. It's possible that down the road it'll be the UCD/UCH of the LA area, but IDK. Also I think in Norcal the difference between the TTTs and Davis/Hastings is more pronounced than between UCI and the Socal TTTs.

But bartleby, you're right in that the best choice would really be to shoot for S/B/UCLA/USC and nothing else.

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cinephile
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby cinephile » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:34 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
5.) DO NOT attend any school in California other than Stanford, UCB, UCLA, USC, UCD, or UC Hastings. Let me put it this way: If you attend, say, UCI...you will be competing against UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Loyola, Southwestern, Case Western, etc etc etc grads. You will ALSO be competing against graduates from the Top 14 who are trying to return to California. Your employment chances will be VERY low. Think about this very very carefully--law school is a huge time and money commitment, and you want to make the smartest decision for your future.


:P

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby mgp2675 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:18 pm

I would say to keep trying until you get the score you want. I am sick of hearing about how bad the economy is, but it's true. Get a good score and go to a good school for hopes of a job. No point in working hard in law school for 3 years so you can make equal or less to what you made before you were admitted, especially with equal or less job security.

I'm a tad naive on the subject since I haven't taken my LSAT yet, but I fully plan to take it twice in 2012. If I can't the get the score I want, I will not go to law school. Like the one guy said, if you go to a school that you aspire to go to, AND you don't finish in a good fraction of your class, enjoy unemployment.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby llachans » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:31 pm

cgwifey wrote:I wouldn't re-take. If you take it for a 4th time and end up with only a few points better, I don't think it will make you look that much better to schools. Other than improving a few points each time. Unless you think you can get a 170 in December, I wouldn't retake and I think you would be better off submitting your app with early decision rather than a 4th re-take later app.


This.

While I know that job prospects SUCKS for lawyers (believe me...I completely comprehend how shitty it is), it is about connections. If you're confident in your ability to work really hard, scoop some internships, and make a name of yourself in law school, I would apply now while it's still early in a cycle and go to a lower ranked school. I honestly believe that some TLS users exaggerate how necessary a top school is. There's plenty of employers who graduated from a lower T-100 school that aren't completely fixated on high rankings. I'd try and see where you get in and if you can get any money, and then go from there.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:39 pm

cgwifey wrote:I wouldn't re-take. If you take it for a 4th time and end up with only a few points better, I don't think it will make you look that much better to schools. Other than improving a few points each time. Unless you think you can get a 170 in December, I wouldn't retake and I think you would be better off submitting your app with early decision rather than a 4th re-take later app.

If you think applying early is really >>>> 5 added points on the LSAT, you're mistaken. Especially when OP can (assuming their cycle doesn't go as well as they wanted it to) decide to reapply next year in September with the better score, if they so choose.
llachans wrote:If you're confident in your ability to work really hard, scoop some internships, and make a name of yourself in law school, I would apply now while it's still early in a cycle and go to a lower ranked school.

I'm fairly sure everyone goes into law school confident about their ability to work hard, scoop some internships,a nd make a name of themselves. Why would you go to LS if you didn't think you were going to work hard? But 50% of those people still end up in the bottom half of the class.

OP, would you be willing to bet $150K or your future career prospects on the hope that you'll work hard and scoop up some internships that will put you above 50% (more, if you're going to a TTT) of your class? I'm not T14 or bust, but for people like us (I have a low GPA as well), we need all the admissions help we can get. I wouldn't push so hard if you'd hit your PT average, but you KNOW you are capable of doing better. Why would you just give up and settle for less?

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby cgwifey » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:07 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
cgwifey wrote:I wouldn't re-take. If you take it for a 4th time and end up with only a few points better, I don't think it will make you look that much better to schools. Other than improving a few points each time. Unless you think you can get a 170 in December, I wouldn't retake and I think you would be better off submitting your app with early decision rather than a 4th re-take later app.

If you think applying early is really >>>> 5 added points on the LSAT, you're mistaken. Especially when OP can (assuming their cycle doesn't go as well as they wanted it to) decide to reapply next year in September with the better score, if they so choose.
llachans wrote:If you're confident in your ability to work really hard, scoop some internships, and make a name of yourself in law school, I would apply now while it's still early in a cycle and go to a lower ranked school.

I'm fairly sure everyone goes into law school confident about their ability to work hard, scoop some internships,a nd make a name of themselves. Why would you go to LS if you didn't think you were going to work hard? But 50% of those people still end up in the bottom half of the class.

OP, would you be willing to bet $150K or your future career prospects on the hope that you'll work hard and scoop up some internships that will put you above 50% (more, if you're going to a TTT) of your class? I'm not T14 or bust, but for people like us (I have a low GPA as well), we need all the admissions help we can get. I wouldn't push so hard if you'd hit your PT average, but you KNOW you are capable of doing better. Why would you just give up and settle for less?


No, I do not think that ED is equivalent to +5 points on the LSAT. However, I do think that taking the LSAT 4 times with only showing improvement by a few points each time does not look good. Sure it shows if you work hard you can improve mildly each time, but that is not what re-takes are for.

OP, I would submit this cycle to any where T-100, If you get $ somewhere you want to go, then go. You will be able to decide if re-taking it is worth it once you know how this cycle goes.

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bk1
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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bk1 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:49 pm

cgwifey wrote:No, I do not think that ED is equivalent to +5 points on the LSAT. However, I do think that taking the LSAT 4 times with only showing improvement by a few points each time does not look good. Sure it shows if you work hard you can improve mildly each time, but that is not what re-takes are for.


You think the difference between 3 LSATs and 4 isn't marginal? The fact is that schools only have to report the highest score they have an incentive for themselves to ignore lower scores. If OP goes up then another take is generally worth it since 1 point > the stigma of another retake.

cgwifey wrote:OP, I would submit this cycle to any where T-100, If you get $ somewhere you want to go, then go. You will be able to decide if re-taking it is worth it once you know how this cycle goes.


A 3.06/161 is highly unlikely to get anywhere that is a good idea to attend even once scholarships are factored in.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:43 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
bk1 wrote:
bartleby wrote:everything is smart here except 5. how is ucd or uc hastings any better off than irvine. there's a ton of law schools up north too.


Agreed on the UCI comment (if you're comparing UCI to UCD/UCH it is that UCD/UCH are mediocre because they place in NorCal whereas UCI is mediocre because it is a huge unknown).

+1. UCD and UCH at least have alumni networks that can possibly help with employment. UCI doesn't really have any sort of positive reputation or alumni networking system yet because it's so new. It's possible that down the road it'll be the UCD/UCH of the LA area, but IDK. Also I think in Norcal the difference between the TTTs and Davis/Hastings is more pronounced than between UCI and the Socal TTTs.

But bartleby, you're right in that the best choice would really be to shoot for S/B/UCLA/USC and nothing else.


I'm not so sure about UC-I. I think it's a great school that's going to impress people with the caliber of student in produces. And Dean Chemerinsky has been doing a great job of reaching out to local law firms to create opportunities for his students.

It's a bit of a gamble, but I think that it's definitely a worthwhile school to consider.

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Re: Should I retake for a 4th time?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:15 am

crumpetsandtea wrote:
cgwifey wrote:I wouldn't re-take. If you take it for a 4th time and end up with only a few points better, I don't think it will make you look that much better to schools. Other than improving a few points each time. Unless you think you can get a 170 in December, I wouldn't retake and I think you would be better off submitting your app with early decision rather than a 4th re-take later app.

If you think applying early is really >>>> 5 added points on the LSAT, you're mistaken. Especially when OP can (assuming their cycle doesn't go as well as they wanted it to) decide to reapply next year in September with the better score, if they so choose.
llachans wrote:If you're confident in your ability to work really hard, scoop some internships, and make a name of yourself in law school, I would apply now while it's still early in a cycle and go to a lower ranked school.

I'm fairly sure everyone goes into law school confident about their ability to work hard, scoop some internships,a nd make a name of themselves. Why would you go to LS if you didn't think you were going to work hard? But 50% of those people still end up in the bottom half of the class.

OP, would you be willing to bet $150K or your future career prospects on the hope that you'll work hard and scoop up some internships that will put you above 50% (more, if you're going to a TTT) of your class? I'm not T14 or bust, but for people like us (I have a low GPA as well), we need all the admissions help we can get. I wouldn't push so hard if you'd hit your PT average, but you KNOW you are capable of doing better. Why would you just give up and settle for less?


I need something 165+ to have a chance at all the places I want to go. The good news is that it's very attainable for me, even if I haven't pulled it off before. I know the track record doesn't show it, but I consider 161 to be a bad day. I thought about it, and if I even get 1 point higher, it would be worth it. I just finished my 2nd PT of this latest round of prep- 168 and 170. Pretty encouraging. Unfortunately I'm just about out of material. I think my problem, like a lot of people, was test anxiety and burning out. I'm going to just try to stay fresh, relax, and not burn myself out. December 3rd will be here before I know it.




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