How to prepare for a retake?

wmbg
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:21 am

How to prepare for a retake?

Postby wmbg » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:38 pm

Hi everyone,

I got my score back from the February LSAT recently and, as pleased as I am with my score (170), I feel like it's in my best interest to retake it again. However, there are some complications:

1) I've already exhausted all my PTs during this cycle of studying.
2) I'll be graduating in May and starting work Julyish, and with ~50 hours a week dedicated to work, I might not have as much free time to study.
3) I don't have any of the score breakdowns from the Feb test, so I have no idea what I did well and what I didn't do well on.
4) It's typically difficult to move up from 170, or so I've heard.

I'm in no hurry to apply to be honest, so I was thinking of retaking either this December or next year February. Any anecdotes/suggestions as to how you or others you know have handled this in the past?

Thanks!

User avatar
travman90
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:36 pm

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby travman90 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:03 pm

Generally, unless you're sure you can move up, it is a waste of time to retake at this point and instead focus on other things (GPA, PS, softs) to improve your app. Statistically, you're likely to do worse rather than better, obviously there are exceptions, but its the thinking that you're going to be the exception that often lands people in hot water. It doesn't look great on your application if you go from a 170 down to a 165 or something. Evem scoring a 169 would look bad. My cousin took the October 2010 LSAT, got a 169, took Oct 2011 and got a 168 and got rejected from most schools that should have been within his range. So my general policy after that has been unless you really think you can improve substantially, it isn't worth it trying/retaking because you will end up hurting yourself more likely than helping.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:05 pm

This link should be provided every time this question is asked: http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/inde ... 343.0.html

ETA:
The advice from the link of teaching the LSAT is extremely credited. I don't know if you'll have time to try and do this with everything else you have going on, but with a 170 you should be competitive for becoming an LSAT instructor with Princeton review or Kaplan. Just doing it to get access to the material they have is valuable. (I.e., Kaplan organizes a lot of questions by type and strength, which is helpful for working on particular things, which you need to do at this point.)
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:09 pm

travman90 wrote:Generally, unless you're sure you can move up, it is a waste of time to retake at this point and instead focus on other things (GPA, PS, softs) to improve your app. Statistically, you're likely to do worse rather than better, obviously there are exceptions, but its the thinking that you're going to be the exception that often lands people in hot water. It doesn't look great on your application if you go from a 170 down to a 165 or something. Evem scoring a 169 would look bad. My cousin took the October 2010 LSAT, got a 169, took Oct 2011 and got a 168 and got rejected from most schools that should have been within his range. So my general policy after that has been unless you really think you can improve substantially, it isn't worth it trying/retaking because you will end up hurting yourself more likely than helping.


This is bad advice, unless the OP doesn't study any more and just retakes for the hell of it (and his original score was close to his practice tests average). I know plenty of people who were able to improve substantially after a lot more studying. It's not a question of if OP can improve his score. He can. It's just a matter of whether he'll have the time and effort to devote to improving his score.

User avatar
travman90
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:36 pm

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby travman90 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:17 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
travman90 wrote:Generally, unless you're sure you can move up, it is a waste of time to retake at this point and instead focus on other things (GPA, PS, softs) to improve your app. Statistically, you're likely to do worse rather than better, obviously there are exceptions, but its the thinking that you're going to be the exception that often lands people in hot water. It doesn't look great on your application if you go from a 170 down to a 165 or something. Evem scoring a 169 would look bad. My cousin took the October 2010 LSAT, got a 169, took Oct 2011 and got a 168 and got rejected from most schools that should have been within his range. So my general policy after that has been unless you really think you can improve substantially, it isn't worth it trying/retaking because you will end up hurting yourself more likely than helping.


This is bad advice, unless the OP doesn't study any more and just retakes for the hell of it (and his original score was close to his practice tests average). I know plenty of people who were able to improve substantially after a lot more studying. It's not a question of if OP can improve his score. He can. It's just a matter of whether he'll have the time and effort to devote to improving his score.


It's not bad advice, I just advised OP against recklessly taking the test again and just making sure you are actually going to improve...because if you don't it works out to your disadvantage. It's still good advice to caution you to study hard and make sure you're going to improve. It's quite possible many people 'peak' at certain scores and if you hit around there your odds of improving go way down so why bother retaking? I don't know the OP's life story and his full capacity so I was merely offering caution.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:43 pm

travman90 wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
travman90 wrote:Generally, unless you're sure you can move up, it is a waste of time to retake at this point and instead focus on other things (GPA, PS, softs) to improve your app. Statistically, you're likely to do worse rather than better, obviously there are exceptions, but its the thinking that you're going to be the exception that often lands people in hot water. It doesn't look great on your application if you go from a 170 down to a 165 or something. Evem scoring a 169 would look bad. My cousin took the October 2010 LSAT, got a 169, took Oct 2011 and got a 168 and got rejected from most schools that should have been within his range. So my general policy after that has been unless you really think you can improve substantially, it isn't worth it trying/retaking because you will end up hurting yourself more likely than helping.


This is bad advice, unless the OP doesn't study any more and just retakes for the hell of it (and his original score was close to his practice tests average). I know plenty of people who were able to improve substantially after a lot more studying. It's not a question of if OP can improve his score. He can. It's just a matter of whether he'll have the time and effort to devote to improving his score.


It's not bad advice, I just advised OP against recklessly taking the test again and just making sure you are actually going to improve...because if you don't it works out to your disadvantage. It's still good advice to caution you to study hard and make sure you're going to improve. It's quite possible many people 'peak' at certain scores and if you hit around there your odds of improving go way down so why bother retaking? I don't know the OP's life story and his full capacity so I was merely offering caution.


I'm in agreement with most of what you are saying in this second post--though my experience as an LSAT teacher and tutor has made me very skeptical of when people peak at certain scores. Yes, if a person studies hard for close to a year, studies smart or works hard with a good tutor, and can't improve his PT average anymore, then yeah that person probably has peaked. But I think few people actually devote the time and effort to reach such a point. There are plenty of plateau-type moments when you are doing LSAT prep, but those can be overcome if you keep up the time investment and the effort.

In your previous post you were a bit less qualifying. Saying things like this

Generally, unless you're sure you can move up, it is a waste of time to retake at this point and instead focus on other things (GPA, PS, softs) to improve your app. Statistically, you're likely to do worse rather than better, obviously there are exceptions, but its the thinking that you're going to be the exception that often lands people in hot water.


is offering bad advice because what matters most is whether a person has the time and motivation to increase their score. Plenty of people might be pessimistic about their ability to score higher than their previous score before they start studying for a retake. What people should hear is that improving a score is a very real possibility for those who are willing to put in the time. Data from LSAC about retakers doesn't mean shit w/o proper context. And my experience from having a lot of contact with LSAT students is that many LSAT takers don't put in a significant amount of time for retakes. The vast majority of students I taught (or knew otherwise) who put in a ton of time studying for retakes did better.

ETA: OP, I would encourage you to post in Dave's thread and ask his advice. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=161914&start=900

MLBrandow
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:12 pm

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby MLBrandow » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:33 am

wmbg wrote:Hi everyone,

I got my score back from the February LSAT recently and, as pleased as I am with my score (170), I feel like it's in my best interest to retake it again. However, there are some complications:

1) I've already exhausted all my PTs during this cycle of studying.
2) I'll be graduating in May and starting work Julyish, and with ~50 hours a week dedicated to work, I might not have as much free time to study.
3) I don't have any of the score breakdowns from the Feb test, so I have no idea what I did well and what I didn't do well on.
4) It's typically difficult to move up from 170, or so I've heard.

I'm in no hurry to apply to be honest, so I was thinking of retaking either this December or next year February. Any anecdotes/suggestions as to how you or others you know have handled this in the past?

Thanks!


wmbg,

http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Data/ ... erData.pdf

This is a link to the latest available LSAT repeater data (2010-2011). 50 of 90 test-takers who retook a 170 improved their score, 16 had no change, and 24 performed worse (but not below 160). For all 90 test-takers, the AVERAGE score was 171.9. If we assume that the negative scores brought down the overall average as little as possible (so as to lower the gain from the gainers), and put all 24 losers at 169, we see a MINIMUM average score from those 50 repeaters of 173.9, and a maximum (assuming all 24 losers at 160) of 178.22.

This means that roughly 56% of those who retook a 170 LSAT in 2010-2011 improved a minimum average of 3.9 points. That is no small statistic.

If you believe you can do better, I strongly urge you to consider retaking. A 170 opens up a wealth of doors to many schools, but a 173 might adorn those same doors with wreaths of money (to say nothing of the additional doors it may open). You are your own best judge of your performance on the test. Did you give it your all and perform as well as you imagined you could? If so, retaking may not be your best option. If you firmly believe, however, that there is a good chance that you could have done better, prepped better, been more prepared, etc, then I think it would be wise to consider a retake.

Further, I do believe there is tremendous value in repeating PTs, but I have questioned it before if only because in my several years on this forum, I've never seen any test-taking strategies that specifically encourage repeating them. Many people have been in your position before and have taken all the PTs and still end up retaking and improving. Just because you have a seen a test before is not sufficient reason to discard its ability to still refine your own.

Lastly, if you're graduating in May but not starting work until "Julyish," surely some of this time between graduation and the start of your new job can be dedicated to prepping for a retake. Make no mistake, 170 is a great score. But retaking in June could mean as much as $150,000+ at a law school you otherwise might pay full price for.

Best of luck in whatever you decide. Only you can make that decision to retake.

User avatar
buck
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:51 pm

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby buck » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:39 pm

I retook a 170 with happy results. Following advice I saw somewhere else on this forum, I cut out all LR questions I got wrong and made a pile. I worked through this pile a few nights a week before bed. Even after I started memorizing the questions, I kept reviewing them because I wasn't trying to get the right answer, I wanted to become more aware of the mistakes I was making. This let me id and focus on problem areas, and also made me more aware during the test. I knew well what kind of questions would give me trouble and took extra care with them.

For RC, I forced myself to look up every single specific question, no matter how sure I was of the answer. The global questions, I answered from memory at first and then, if I had time, I looked up all the global questions. During the February LSAT, I managed to check around 20 of the questions against the passage.

For LG I was already at -0 most times so I just tried to improve my speed. I was able to check 3/4 games.

If you have the time to study, definitely re-take. The LSAT is a skill. It's not a matter of chance or luck. You'll do as well as you prepared.

I did every PT twice more or less. You'll be surprised how often you make the same mistake even when you recognize the question.

Good luck.

wmbg
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:21 am

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby wmbg » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:49 pm

Thanks all. I'm strongly leaning towards a retake; I feel that, while I had sufficient time to study for this attempt, I could have been more efficient in understanding the nuances of each question (especially in LR and RC).

My average spread on my practice tests was, towards the end, approximately -1 LG/-2LR/-2LR/-5RC.

I feel like 5 is way to high to average on RC, and, by working on endurance more, I can improve that section score by at least 1 or 2 points over the next few months. Also, I can probably bring my LR down to 1.5 per section by studying the logic more (this time around I glossed over a lot of questions that I got correct and didn't learn exactly why I got them right).

lsatprep180
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:26 pm

Re: How to prepare for a retake?

Postby lsatprep180 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:24 am

Regarding your first point: I've actually found re-doing tests can be extremely helpful. It can give you a chance to analyze questions in depth, and decide why each answer is right or wrong.

I second Richie's advice about teaching the LSAT to learn it - you're at a high enough level to do so. Explaining a concept to someone else forces you to clarify the idea in your own mind. Student questions will help you refine your understanding. And being explicit about why answers are right or wrong will help your own reasoning process. You don't need to work for a company - just post a Craiglist ad for your city, and you should be able to find some students.

It is harder to move up once you hit the 170s, but it can be done. Just keep track of your weak areas - as long as you're still learning new things, your score should move upwards. Good luck!




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ebmus11 and 7 guests