tomwatts wrote:AFAIK, except as far as bragging rights are concerned, there is little practical difference between, say, low 170's and high 170's (as far as admissions go). Does anyone know otherwise?
Also, the original point about figuring out why the answers are what they are is crucial and often overlooked. The LSAT is a standardized test. It is designed the same way every time. It asks similar questions every time. If you get a question wrong once for some reason, oops. If you get ten more questions wrong for the same reason, you're a damn fool! Fix it the first time, so it doesn't keep messing you up.
Put another way: If you take the test the same way each time, you should get pretty near the same score. The LSAT will not change for you. You have to be the one in this relationship to change.
I agree with you to an extent. I think that if you've been preparing thoroughly, you shouldn't have large fluctuations. It always amazes me when people claim to be averaging in the mid-170s, for example, then talk about "bombing" one and scoring in the low 160s. I think if you're preparing well, a 2-4 pt. fluctuation is fine but anything beyond that should be cause for concern. That said, I also think that it's impossible to simulate the nervousness and anxiety of test day, and that alone can account for more than a few missed questions.
As for the point about low 170s being essentially the same as high 170s from an admissions standpoint, I think that the general consensus is that there is a significant difference with each point increase up until about 175-176. At that point, you're above almost every schools 75 percentile anyhow (save for Yale and maybe Harvard), so any point beyond that is pretty much for bragging purposes only--although I'm inclined to believe a 180 is worth a least a little boost.