Retake?

llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Retake?

Postby llachans » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:58 pm

I want to know if I should retake or not, but I'm not confident I can actually perform better.

I've always had terrible test anxiety as far as standardized testing goes. I do TERRIBLE. I've never felt calm during them and frequently have anxiety/panic attacks.

I was PTing consistently between 154-158 for three months and miraculously pulled off a 160 on my October test day. I've only taken it once but I think I was insanely lucky. For whatever reason, I was calm going into the test (I've legit never been that calm on any test ever). I was actually really happy with my 160 (which I know goes against every other TLS user).

I have a 3.5 GPA but now feel stuck. I live in a very saturated job market (Chicago) and my gf lives here. She's in no position to relocate easily and I don't know what to do. I honestly believe I performed at my potential. I excel in school but always freeze up on tests. I don't have money to take a prep course. I do think I studied poorly for some of my prep (I probably took more PTs than necessary instead of diligently reviewing each question).

My biggest hesitations in retaking are that 1) I won't improve and will have wasted a year for no reason, 2) On my re-take, I'll experience an intense panic attack, and 3) I'll feel like a failure (might sound stupid but I face a LOT of pressure...a lot) for postponing plans for a year.

Sorry if this sounds whiny, but I've been having panic attacks for the past week or so over this decision. I know a 160 is low (especially by TLS standards), but I know I outperformed my PTs and don't believe I'd do much better on a re-take. Do I apply this cycle anyways?

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SoPro
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:28 pm

Re: Retake?

Postby SoPro » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:25 pm

I don't feel qualified to give you a definitive answer, but I'll share my thoughts.


You state repeatedly that you feel as if you are scoring close to, if not at, your LSAT potential. Moreover, it seems from your post that, despite your test anxiety, you over-performed your PT average. These all indicate to me that a retake on the LSAT would show little to no gains. If you didn't study at all, I wouldn't be surprised if you actually scored lower, considering you scored above your PT average.

Another important consideration is *time*. Currently, you only have 5 weeks to prepare for a December retake. Taking in February for this current cycle is foolish. 5 weeks is enough time to improve your score if you study your ass off and you study effectively and efficiently. You could probably raise your score a few points, which may make a difference at a 160-164 range school. Of course, however, there is the chance you crumble on test day and score lower than 160.

Though you will want to read others' opinions, I don't think a retake is wise.


One more consideration -- apparently there is a decline in the number of applicants in this admission cycle. Thus, schools are, if I understand correctly, accepting scores that are slightly lower than what they would normally accept. I would expect this trend to continue only until the schools get a good feel for how large the applicant pool is. At that point, they may tighten up their admission standards. Also, the later in the year it is, the tighter most schools' standards are anyhow. Therefore, it's better to apply earlier rather than later, especially this year.

llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Retake?

Postby llachans » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:02 am

Thank you for the advice! I was thinking this too. There's just the tendency on TLS to always advocate retaking until at least the mid-60s but unfortunately I just suck at multiple choice tests.

So thank you! I will go ahead and apply now (or...once LSAC finally updates my letter of recs)!

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Tiago Splitter
Posts: 15495
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Retake?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:53 am

Retake is clearly the correct answer as you have so much room to improve. Sounds like you are just trying to justify making a poor decision.




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