Too early to begin?

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gatesome
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Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:01 pm

Hello everyone!

I'm just finishing my sophomore year of college but I've been passionate about law for years. Is it too soon to begin LSAT prep? I almost want to because I find logic fun, but I've been warned by others to not prepare for more than 3-4 months pre-LSAT. (As of right now I intend to take the June 2013 test).

I've always been pretty good at standardized tests. Pre-college I scored 99th percentile on the ACT taking it completely dry (didn't know there was a science section until the day before the exam) and a 2200 in the SAT after a month or so with a prep book.

Never before having seen more than a sample question or two I took the free preptest (June 2007 I think) a few days ago. I scored a 151 counting time limits and a 157 when I let myself finish all the questions. From what I understand, this is a pretty average score so I have lots of room for improvement.

Still though: Is it too early to start? Do I risk actually harming my eventual performance if I start too early and build up expectations?

Thanks for reading!

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Br3v
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby Br3v » Wed May 02, 2012 8:04 pm

gatesome wrote:Hello everyone!

I'm just finishing my sophomore year of college but I've been passionate about law for years. Is it too soon to begin LSAT prep? I almost want to because I find logic fun, but I've been warned by others to not prepare for more than 3-4 months pre-LSAT. (As of right now I intend to take the June 2013 test).

I've always been pretty good at standardized tests. Pre-college I scored 99th percentile on the ACT taking it completely dry (didn't know there was a science section until the day before the exam) and a 2200 in the SAT after a month or so with a prep book.

Never before having seen more than a sample question or two I took the free preptest (June 2007 I think) a few days ago. I scored a 151 counting time limits, but a 157 when I let myself finish all the questions. From what I understand, this is a pretty average score so I have lots of room for improvement.

Still though: Is it too early to start? Do I risk actually harming my eventual performance if I start too early and build up expectations?

Thanks for reading!


I wouldn't start more than 5 months before exam, no less than 3

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 8:06 pm

Do you have a lot going on this summer? You might consider taking the Sept/Oct 2012 exam if you know your summer is going to be pretty easy. It's easier to study for the LSAT when you're not balancing schoolwork & activities.

If you're doing IBanking this summer, disregard this advice.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:09 pm

acrossthelake wrote:Do you have a lot going on this summer? You might consider taking the Sept/Oct 2012 exam if you know your summer is going to be pretty easy. It's easier to study for the LSAT when you're not balancing schoolwork & activities.

If you're doing IBanking this summer, disregard this advice.


I have an internship (law related) but it isn't more time consuming that any other job...but taking the lsat during the first semester of my junior year seems a bit overly ambitious...

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 8:17 pm

gatesome wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Do you have a lot going on this summer? You might consider taking the Sept/Oct 2012 exam if you know your summer is going to be pretty easy. It's easier to study for the LSAT when you're not balancing schoolwork & activities.

If you're doing IBanking this summer, disregard this advice.


I have an internship (law related) but it isn't more time consuming that any other job...but taking the lsat during the first semester of my junior year seems a bit overly ambitious...


When do you plan to apply? It lasts for 5 years. Why would that be ambitious? I did that. I never really understood why people thought studying for the LSAT during the last 3-5 months of junior year instead of in the relatively light summer beforehand was better.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:27 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
gatesome wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Do you have a lot going on this summer? You might consider taking the Sept/Oct 2012 exam if you know your summer is going to be pretty easy. It's easier to study for the LSAT when you're not balancing schoolwork & activities.

If you're doing IBanking this summer, disregard this advice.


I have an internship (law related) but it isn't more time consuming that any other job...but taking the lsat during the first semester of my junior year seems a bit overly ambitious...


When do you plan to apply? It lasts for 5 years. Why would that be ambitious? I did that. I never really understood why people thought studying for the LSAT during the last 3-5 months of junior year instead of in the relatively light summer beforehand was better.


Short answer (remember I am new to this process): I think the education I'll receive during my junior year will enhance my analytical thinking skills significantly enough to wait until after junior year.

Also, I am NOT a morning person and never have been. The idea of an afternoon exam is far more appealing--as that's the time of day I would normally be studying.

All nighters or partying aside, I don't think I've been awake at 7am once since high school. :P (excluding summer work too I suppose)

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 8:31 pm

gatesome wrote:
Short answer (remember I am new to this process): I think the education I'll receive during my junior year will enhance my analytical thinking skills significantly enough to wait until after junior year.

Also, I am NOT a morning person and never have been. The idea of an afternoon exam is far more appealing--as that's the time of day I would normally be studying.

All nighters or partying aside, I don't think I've been awake at 7am once since high school. :P (excluding summer work too I suppose)


I mean, I don't think your junior year will help you with your LSAT...at all. Not a bit, not a point. But if an afternoon exam is really that preferable for you, and you think you'll be able to study during the school year as well as the summer, then I guess that works. Maybe start looking at stuff a little over winter break.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby shifty_eyed » Wed May 02, 2012 8:35 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
gatesome wrote:
Short answer (remember I am new to this process): I think the education I'll receive during my junior year will enhance my analytical thinking skills significantly enough to wait until after junior year.

Also, I am NOT a morning person and never have been. The idea of an afternoon exam is far more appealing--as that's the time of day I would normally be studying.

All nighters or partying aside, I don't think I've been awake at 7am once since high school. :P (excluding summer work too I suppose)


I mean, I don't think your junior year will help you with your LSAT...at all. Not a bit, not a point. But if an afternoon exam is really that preferable for you, and you think you'll be able to study during the school year as well as the summer, then I guess that works. Maybe start looking at stuff a little over winter break.


My speculation is that it might, simply because his cold LSAT PT score was significantly lower than his ACT/SAT scores would have predicted.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:41 pm

Also my GPA sucks cawk (well, compared to most of the people on this site, probably) but I do go to a pretty tough university with noooo grade inflation. I'm aiming to graduate with a 3.3 but I'm told GPA is a lot less important than other factors like lsat/work experience.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 8:44 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:
My speculation is that it might, simply because his cold LSAT PT score was significantly lower than his ACT/SAT scores would have predicted.


Meh the ACT tests subject matter knowledge, the SAT tests whether you can read and do basic math, and the LSAT tests where you can read, think logically, and think analytically. The only correlation is in the reading part, and the fact that someone who thinks rather logically & analytically should have an easy time doing basic math (though, someone who has an easy time doing basic math isn't necessarily all that logical or analytical). Unless the OP is in a major that is particularly rigorous in these skills at a rather rigorous department, I very much doubt it makes any difference. OP, are you a computer science major at MIT or Caltech or something of similar rigor in these skills? If so, I withdraw my statement, junior year might matter.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby shifty_eyed » Wed May 02, 2012 8:45 pm

gatesome wrote:Also my GPA sucks cawk (well, compared to most of the people on this site, probably) but I do go to a pretty tough university with noooo grade inflation. I'm aiming to graduate with a 3.3 but I'm told GPA is a lot less important than other factors like lsat/work experience.


As someone applying with a similar GPA, that's not really true. Do everything you can to raise your GPA in the next two years. You still have plenty of time! Once you graduate, your LSDAS is SET FOR LIFE, HAUNTING YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:47 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
shifty_eyed wrote:
My speculation is that it might, simply because his cold LSAT PT score was significantly lower than his ACT/SAT scores would have predicted.


Meh the ACT tests subject matter knowledge, the SAT tests whether you can read and do basic math, and the LSAT tests where you can read, think logically, and think analytically. The only correlation is in the reading part, and the fact that someone who thinks rather logically & analytically should have an easy time doing basic math (though, someone who has an easy time doing basic math isn't necessarily all that logical or analytical). Unless the OP is in a major that is particularly rigorous in these skills at a rather rigorous department, I very much doubt it makes any difference. OP, are you a computer science major at MIT or Caltech or something of similar rigor in these skills? If so, I withdraw my statement, junior year might matter.


I'm a neuroscience major torn between a philosophy minor and a political science minor. (We can only do two majors OR one major-one minor).

I'd rather not say what school but if you're really analytical you can probably figure it out.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:50 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:
gatesome wrote:Also my GPA sucks cawk (well, compared to most of the people on this site, probably) but I do go to a pretty tough university with noooo grade inflation. I'm aiming to graduate with a 3.3 but I'm told GPA is a lot less important than other factors like lsat/work experience.


As someone applying with a similar GPA, that's not really true. Do everything you can to raise your GPA in the next two years. You still have plenty of time! Once you graduate, your LSDAS is SET FOR LIFE, HAUNTING YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.


I was a bit disheartened when I discovered that LSAC (or whichever acronym) recalculates your GPA because I got a C in a class (lack of effort not ability) then retook it as an extra class the next semester and got an A. My school only counts the A; I didn't realize until recently that LSAC counts both. :(

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 8:52 pm

Neuroscience won't help, political science definitely won't help, and philosophy will only help if you're taking a logic course, but only marginally, and you can easily just do that on your own with the logic games bible by Powerscore. Since your GPA is so weak for law school admissions(no, really, you need 170+ right now on the LSAT go to anywhere good) you *really* might want to consider that maybe you work on the LSAT now so you can spend spring semester focusing on bringing up your GPA.

ETA:

Actually, you shouldn't be going straight through. That GPA is too weak. I think it's generally too risky to K-JD unless you're going to a school with very good job placement, like Columbia, and even then you benefit from the WE. I wish I had WE. You need to spend the next two years trying to bring your GPA up as high as possible--you need your senior year for your admissions cycle. You also need work experience. So in that case, forget what I've said about taking the LSAT this fall, it's too early and your admissions cycle needs to be 2014-2015 or 2015-2016.

Reasons:
1) Work experience prior to law school gives you a boost in legal hiring. Full-time work experience, not internships or externships. You will need this since you're not going to be able to go to a top 6 school unless your GPA brightens up significantly, and at the lower ranked schools you'll do better at hiring to have work experience.
2) Your best shot right now is Northwestern, which generally wants at least 2 years of full-time work experience.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 8:59 pm

Do you recommend that I try some GPA padding? I've seen some students do it --they take one extra class each semester for an easy A, generally a 100 level writing or sociology class.

Wouldn't that be frowned upon by law schools though? I imagine they can see right through it. Would it be better to get a A-/B+ in a 300-level neuroscience course or an A in a 100/200 level writing? Or is that overthinking it?

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acrossthelake
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 02, 2012 9:17 pm

gatesome wrote:Do you recommend that I try some GPA padding? I've seen some students do it --they take one extra class each semester for an easy A, generally a 100 level writing or sociology class.

Wouldn't that be frowned upon by law schools though? I imagine they can see right through it. Would it be better to get a A-/B+ in a 300-level neuroscience course or an A in a 100/200 level writing? Or is that overthinking it?


I mean if you had a 3.9GPA and were trying to make yourself more attractive to Yale, sure. But, to be blunt, your GPA isn't going to be good enough to get you into a law school that cares.

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gatesome
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby gatesome » Wed May 02, 2012 9:21 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
gatesome wrote:Do you recommend that I try some GPA padding? I've seen some students do it --they take one extra class each semester for an easy A, generally a 100 level writing or sociology class.

Wouldn't that be frowned upon by law schools though? I imagine they can see right through it. Would it be better to get a A-/B+ in a 300-level neuroscience course or an A in a 100/200 level writing? Or is that overthinking it?


I mean if you had a 3.9GPA and were trying to make yourself more attractive to Yale, sure. But, to be blunt, your GPA isn't going to be good enough to get you into a law school that cares.


Haha, fair enough. Thanks for keeping me grounded...I'll work on that 179. ;)

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LexLeon
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby LexLeon » Fri May 04, 2012 11:45 pm

It would be foolish not to begin preparing over this summer. Often people will wait until 3-5 months before the exam and then realize they're still a good several score bands below where they want to be. Look over the test at your own pace for the next year, and when next June arrives, you should be ready to crush it.

venalis
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby venalis » Sat May 05, 2012 1:32 pm

I agree with above. It's never too early to begin studying for the LSAT. The test doesn't change (with a few minor exceptions which you'll learn if you start studying). It doesn't hurt because the more you study the higher your school will get. My score improved greatly because I started studying really early with my time spread out (think of all the sleep you're getting between studying). My score jumped a ton this way so... of course I knew I wanted to be a lawyer as a kid. Do it.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat May 05, 2012 1:35 pm

start studying 6-8 months in advance. Take the test in October of Junior year, so that you can retake in December and June or December and Feb or whatever.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Too early to begin?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Sat May 05, 2012 4:41 pm

Never too early, and listen to ATL




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