How unreliable is pretest consistency?

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smashingrobface
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How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby smashingrobface » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:15 am

I'm getting ready to take the LSAT in June, and according to my pattern of pretest scores I'm in really good shape--I've climbed steadily from the 160s to a consistent string of high 170s, typically within a range of two or three points. I'm excited, but TLS wisdom seems to hold that most test-takers fall a few points below their pretest average during the real thing. I'd love to be one of the exceptions.

I'll be applying with a 3.64 GPA. I know that isn't bad, exactly, and it's paired with DoJ work experience, but it's certainly not high-end either. I'm depending on a high LSAT score to give my candidacy some muscle, because I've got very strict conditions on whether or not I'll be attending (which schools I get into, money, etc).

So what's up with the standard drop in scoring? Are gameday nerves usually to blame? Is pretest average really that unreliable?

Any advice or wisdom is appreciated.

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princeR
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby princeR » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:19 am

I think the TLS widsom is to be above averaging above your goal just in case something is to happen during the test. However, I've read a lot of people who score much better on the actual test, some people drop, others stay the same. If you have been following strict testing conditions I think it's fair to say that if you are a couple points above your desired goal you should be fine. Like I said, you might do better.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:21 am

a 5 point drop seems to be very common.

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Samara
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby Samara » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:24 am

There was a poll on here once about this and the biggest category of respondents was those who scored 1-3 points below their PT average. I want to say about 1/3 reported scoring above their PT average.

I think part of it is nerves, but I also think it's that the most recent set of practice tests are generally considered to be a little harder than the older ones. Or at least different. So, if you have a PT average based on the older tests, you are more likely to undershoot than your PT average based on the newer set of tests. This is what happened to me.

guinness1547
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby guinness1547 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:40 pm

I think I had about a 4 point drop from my last 10 PT average when I took it in December. I think nerves were certainly a part of it. I also think I was a little burned out from studying.


Edit: Also my average was in the mid-low 170's, so not quite as high as yours but similar.

denvieboco
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby denvieboco » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:53 pm

It all depends on your nerves. I scored exactly what I had scored on my last few pretests.

Just relax during the text, enjoy the challenge and don't psych yourself out about the unscored section. You'll be fine.

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rinkrat19
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:12 pm

I think you should be able to predict how your nerves will affect your score. You've been taking standardized tests your whole life by now. You know your own mind (or at least you should). Do you freak out, or does the adrenaline help you focus?

I have no test nerves whatsoever, and never have. I beat my PT average and scored only 2 points off my highest PT score. The average LSAT taker seems to drop by 3-4 points, and there are always some who let nerves completely take over and bomb the test by 10-15 points.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:16 pm

Don't worry kid. It's only THE MOST IMPORTANT TEST OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE so far.
it will decide where you will live the next few years, your job prospects, and you'll probably find who you'll end up marrying where you go to law school(if not married already). No biggie. :wink:

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bernaldiaz
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:24 pm

Sounds like I was in a very similar situation score-wise. I started at a 163 and steadily worked my up into the 170s. The last 20 tests I took or so I didn't score below 171, and most were much higher. I calculated the average of my last 12, and it was a 174.4, but I had 3 179's sprinkled in as well over my prep. I ended up with a 174 on game day. I was a little disappointed because I had so many higher scores, but also knew that given that it was more or less right on my average that it was probably a decent indicator of my LSAT ability. So, to answer your question, I dropped 5 points from my highest practice test but ended up pretty much right on my average (I took about 30 PTs).

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smashingrobface
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby smashingrobface » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:40 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:Don't worry kid. It's only THE MOST IMPORTANT TEST OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE so far.
it will decide where you will live the next few years, your job prospects, and you'll probably find who you'll end up marrying where you go to law school(if not married already). No biggie. :wink:


Ain't no thang. 8)

Thanks for the advice, guys. I've been a pretty calm test-taker in the past, but then again I've never had this much riding on four hours. We'll see in June.

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moonman157
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby moonman157 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:47 pm

This may have just been me being an idiot, but while taking practice tests, mimic the test site conditions if you can. I took all my practice tests on enormous desks and was horrified when I got to the testing site and we had a tiny little desk that barely had enough room for my arm. By the grace of god I still ended up trying my highest pt score, about 6 points higher than my average (just to add some hope that some people overperform on test day, though it is far less common) but that would be my advice.

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smashingrobface
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby smashingrobface » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:02 am

moonman157 wrote:This may have just been me being an idiot, but while taking practice tests, mimic the test site conditions if you can. I took all my practice tests on enormous desks and was horrified when I got to the testing site and we had a tiny little desk that barely had enough room for my arm. By the grace of god I still ended up trying my highest pt score, about 6 points higher than my average (just to add some hope that some people overperform on test day, though it is far less common) but that would be my advice.


Huh, I hadn't really thought about that. I do know someone who took the LSAT in a room without air conditioning in the middle of an Atlanta summer. Gotta figure that's hard to beat for nasty surprises, but I'm just this side of gangly, so a small workspace would certainly be tricky.

Next pretest: Locked in a refrigerator in the middle of the dump on a hot afternoon.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: How unreliable is pretest consistency?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:14 am

moonman157 wrote: I took all my practice tests on enormous desks and was horrified when I got to the testing site and we had a tiny little desk that barely had enough room for my arm.

this times a lot.




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