Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

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SantIvo
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Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby SantIvo » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:35 pm

Here's the scoop:

I wrote my first LSAT yesterday after a solid five months of prep. I had initially planned to take the test in June, but I made the decision to delay after experiencing serious burnout in the week before that administration.

With the consequent benefit of extra study time, my PT scores toward the end of the summer were consistently high (170s), but there was big fluctuation within that range. My last four PT scores, for example, were 179; 180; 171; and 170 respectively. I attribute this, mainly, to a case of "gamesaphobia," which makes any given LG section a tense and rushed affair; sometimes you make it out unscathed, other times not so much.

With regard to yesterday's test, I had the LR RC LR LR LG version, which was definitely favorable for me, and I feel confident that I did very well in both RC and LR. In games, however, things took a predictably downward turn. I was really jittery and stymied as I approached the first game, so I wasted three or four minutes setting it up before saying 'to hell with this' and tackling the other problems. Like most people, I didn't have much trouble with games two or three, but maybe unlike most people, I didn't find zones to be especially horrific -- with the caveat that the collective dismay its evoked has me thinking maybe I screwed it up big time and just don't realize it (it wouldn't be the first time). But so after finishing up with zones I had three minutes to triage game one, and I ended up guessing on four questions out of the five.

As for possible outcomes, I'd estimate the worst case scenario for the games section to be like -10, and best case scenario to be -2.
Worst case scenario for LR + RC combined is probably -6, and best case -1.

Because I'm at or above the GPA median for every school I'll be applying to, and because I hope to be able to say the same for those schools' LSAT medians, my target score is a 173.

In light of those facts, I wonder what you all have to say about canceling vs. eating a potentially lower score. Would a cancel/175 rate more favorably than 169/175? What about a 165/175? Similarly, say I got 171/172, would maintaining an unblemished record and submitting application materials earlier in the cycle be reason enough not to retake? Facing all this uncertainty, I just don't know what to do!

To all respondents, thanks a bunch in advance for your advice. Having a soundboard to help me work through these issues makes the thought of coming to a decision much less harrowing.

Cheers.
Last edited by SantIvo on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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boblawlob
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Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby boblawlob » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:04 pm

Don't cancel. If you plan on HYS, then my advice should be ignored and you should look elsewhere for advice.

tepper
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:18 am

Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby tepper » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:05 pm

based on what you said, I don't think you're 175 material. Just take this score and apply. It's likely that you'll run into the exact same problem in Dec again if you retake. A lot of people are just way too optimistic about retaking.

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SantIvo
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Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby SantIvo » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:39 am

bump

isthisreallife?
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:07 pm

Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby isthisreallife? » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:18 am

The exact same thing happened to me, killed RC and LR but majorly bombed LG. I had been averaging PT's in the mid 170's and had a goal of 173.

If you really feel like your performance on this test was an outlier, I would't let the worry that you might not do any better next time around weigh on your decision. For me, I know the circumstances that made me panic and bomb LG are highly unlikely to happen again.

So, like you, I'm trying to figure out if I should cancel or not. With a 4.0 GPA, is it better to keep my score and if by some grace of god I break 170, apply early in the cycle? (Realizing that a 170 would throw me out of consideration for HYS) Or is it better to cancel and apply late with a 173-ish?

Then there's the problem of if we're overestimating our performance on the rest of the test. I think the question we both need to answer is if the risk of applying late with a 165ish/173ish outweighs the possible benefit of applying early with a 170?

To cancel or not to cancel? I'd love any thoughts on this. Is that 3 point bump worth it? I'd be interested to know what you decide. We have, what, three days?

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SantIvo
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Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby SantIvo » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:15 pm

isthisreallife? wrote:The exact same thing happened to me, killed RC and LR but majorly bombed LG. I had been averaging PT's in the mid 170's and had a goal of 173.

If you really feel like your performance on this test was an outlier, I would't let the worry that you might not do any better next time around weigh on your decision. For me, I know the circumstances that made me panic and bomb LG are highly unlikely to happen again.

So, like you, I'm trying to figure out if I should cancel or not. With a 4.0 GPA, is it better to keep my score and if by some grace of god I break 170, apply early in the cycle? (Realizing that a 170 would throw me out of consideration for HYS) Or is it better to cancel and apply late with a 173-ish?

Then there's the problem of if we're overestimating our performance on the rest of the test. I think the question we both need to answer is if the risk of applying late with a 165ish/173ish outweighs the possible benefit of applying early with a 170?

To cancel or not to cancel? I'd love any thoughts on this. Is that 3 point bump worth it? I'd be interested to know what you decide. We have, what, three days?


Thanks for the input, reallife.

Here's what I'm thinking about my fraught situation right now, but my mind could change in the next few days (I'm mercurial), so take it with a grain of salt.

****

While I don't view my performance on 67 to be an outlier, I don't think it represents my standard either -- past PTs indicate that I'm as likely to score a 177 as a 171, it just comes down to whether or not the games click for me. And these games have been almost universally recognized as more difficult than average. So while Tepper may disagree, I know I can show better on a games section than I did on Saturday, and I believe I'm capable of pulling a 175+ without divine assistance.

Having said that, I still don't think I am going to cancel my score, and I'd invite you to assess the following justification:

1. I think I have about a 50/50 shot of cracking 173. I felt really, really good about LR (only one question bothered me), really good about RC (two !Kung questions were a little weird), and I only know for certain that I blew four games questions; thus I feel confident I can take a -4/-5 games hit and still probably be in pretty good shape scorewise.

2. This cycle, of all cycles, I suspect top schools have really strong incentives not to average scores or to discriminate between 170/175 and C/175. With medians falling across the board, I just don't think adcomms can afford to be as finicky about matters of fluff as they have been in the past. Similarly, I've never bought the argument that a 170/173 is somehow worse than a C/170 -- the distinction seems arbitrary.

3. While I realize my late application could end up hurting my chances at mid-level t14 schools, I'm honestly shooting for the high end, and I think receiving higher, later score would more than account for the benefits of a sub-median October submission at those institutions.

But, yeah, I'm still not done evaluating the situation, so I'd love to hear what you're planning to do your own bad self.

isthisreallife?
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:07 pm

Re: Another Cancel/Retake Advice Thread...

Postby isthisreallife? » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:21 pm

If your goal is HYSCCN, than I'd have to agree, a high LSAT is gonna help you more than an early submission.

That said, if you know you're going to retake, why risk having a low first score go out to schools? Granted, you sound pretty confident about your performance on the other sections. If you're right, you'll definitely walk away relatively unscathed. In that case I agree with your point, I don't think there's a meaningful difference between a cancel/175 and a 170/175 (Except at Harvard, Stanford and NYU where I think they average the two scores).

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. My assessment of my LG score is signficantly worse than yours (guessed on the entire last game because I ran out of time), so I feel like there's a good chance by score will blow. My main reason for not cancelling is the off chance that I did well enough not to take it again. I'm out of school and working full time in a time consuming/mentally exhausting job. Making time for studying was hell.

Also, my priority is less on getting into the best school and more on getting into a T14 with a significant amount of $$. I realize that a 170 probably won't get me very far but don't alot of these schools dole out their scholarship money early? Even if I retake and get a higher score, is there still going to be money to be had come January? I honestly don't know enough about how that works to make any type of well reasoned decision there...




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