Retaking advice

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wsparker
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Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:13 am

I took it in Feb and got 166. Since my highest PT was 161, I was really happy with that score. I submitted my applications in September, but decided to retake in Dec. Well I took my first PT last night and again got a 161. I am really nervous I won't improve, and may do worse. Am I making the right decision to retake?? Any advice on how to make sure I do better?

Thanks!!

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hephaestus
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby hephaestus » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:15 am

wsparker wrote:I took it in Feb and got 166. Since my highest PT was 161, I was really happy with that score. I submitted my applications in September, but decided to retake in Dec. Well I took my first PT last night and again got a 161. I am really nervous I won't improve, and may do worse. Am I making the right decision to retake?? Any advice on how to make sure I do better?

Thanks!!

You should really retake. What are you doing to study that you have not gotten past a 161? Also, if you do worse, it will not hurt you at all.

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:20 am

I did kaplan for 1 month before the feb test. I hadn't studied since Feb before the test last night. This time, I ordered some manhattan books, LG bible, and some other materials. I also plan to do way more PTs than last time. I am just concerned because now the schools are holding my applications until the dec score, and it would really suck to update them with a worse score....

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hephaestus
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby hephaestus » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:23 am

wsparker wrote:I did kaplan for 1 month before the feb test. I hadn't studied since Feb before the test last night. This time, I ordered some manhattan books, LG bible, and some other materials. I also plan to do way more PTs than last time. I am just concerned because now the schools are holding my applications until the dec score, and it would really suck to update them with a worse score....

Understandable that you are worried about that, but a higher score in December will go much farther than a 166 now. Kaplan is genuinely worthless, so this alone pretty strongly demonstrates you have not reached your full potential. Work through Manhattan and the Bibles, and buy the packs of 10 PTs from LSAC, and you will improve in a few weeks.

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:28 am

Just ordered all of those things yesterday! Thanks so much for the feedback! hopefully come jan, I will be emailing with a higher (even if by a point) LSAT

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby iamgeorgebush » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:47 am

Do you have a lot of time to devote to studying? If you only have an hour or two per day, I'm not convinced that you'll improve more than 5 points over the next two months. If you can several several hours per day, then you probably will.

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:52 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:Do you have a lot of time to devote to studying? If you only have an hour or two per day, I'm not convinced that you'll improve more than 5 points over the next two months. If you can several several hours per day, then you probably will.



I have 2-3 hours during the week, and 5+ hours on the weekends. 5 points would obviously be awesome, but I will take any score increase. I thought about waiting until Feb, but some schools dont accept that score and I tend to do better when I don't have time to procrastinate. Now I just need to make sure to utilize the time I do have.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby iamgeorgebush » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:58 am

By 5 points, I mean 5 points past the 161 (i.e., 166). Considering that your highest PT has been 161, I think that's probably a better indicator of your likely score than the 166 you got in February. Sounds like you got lucky in Feb.

What what was your initial diagnostic?

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:04 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:By 5 points, I mean 5 points past the 161 (i.e., 166). Considering that your highest PT has been 161, I think that's probably a better indicator of your likely score than the 166 you got in February. Sounds like you got lucky in Feb.

What what was your initial diagnostic?


Oh okay that makes sense. I know, I have been thinking that too. I also usually perform better on test days anyway, but obviously not going to count on that for dec. And I was wrong earlier, I scored 162 last night, not that it makes thhhat much difference. This is why I am concerned about december.

My first diag was 156

ETA: I also only studied for a month between my first diagnostic and the actual test while I was in school full time, working part time, etc...

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:51 pm

Hi. First of all congrats on the 5 point jump. That's huge! I totally know how you feel: when you get a good score but not as good as you want it's so tempting to go for higher.

Here's my honest advice to you. I would STRONGLY advise against retaking the LSAT unless you are very confident that your score will improve significantly (by significantly I mean, say, 5 points). I say this for four reasons:
1. For top schools a drop in LSAT score is a HUGE red flag for AdComs. Go to any info sessino and ask about it, they wil ltell you that pretty frankly.
2. Even LSAC will admit that about 3 points of your score depends on luck. If you've been consistently hitting PTs at 161 (for example) you can expect your actual LSAT score to be anywhere from 158-164 depending on how the test clicks with you. So even if you're hitting your PTs at 168 by December, you can still hit a hard game or a bullsh*t reading section and lose points.
3. Fairly or unfairly, AdComs expect your score to bump a few points just from retaking the test (you're used to the stress, the real situation, etc).
4. You've already performed way above your PTs and, unless you have strong evidence to the contrary, I would assume your score to drop closer to those 161's.

In other words, it sounds like you got ridiculously lucky or hit some fantastic groove and you should count your blessings. Unless you have good reason to believe you can break 171 I think you have much to lose and little to gain.

That being said, if you really want to retest, what I would do is study your but off over the next few months, especially by doing lots of REAL LSAT question and full PTs (identify your weak areas and hit them hard, train for test endurance, etc.). See if your PT's are improving to above 170 with any consistency, and then decide whether to actually sit the exam.

TL;DR Either accept your score and be happy about it or start studying, take a lot of PTs, and if your PTs are not getting above 171 do not do the retake.

Good luck!

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:59 pm

All good advice.

So what if I decide to study study study, and then don't hit 170's consistently and decide not to sit. Do I email the schools saying I didn't take it?? Ugh. That just sounds bad. Or if I decide to just be happy with my score, do I tell them now that I am not taking it? I don't want to seem crazy ha.

Thanks again

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dowu
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby dowu » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:01 pm

IrishJew wrote:Hi. First of all congrats on the 5 point jump. That's huge! I totally know how you feel: when you get a good score but not as good as you want it's so tempting to go for higher.

Here's my honest advice to you. I would STRONGLY advise against retaking the LSAT unless you are very confident that your score will improve significantly (by significantly I mean, say, 5 points). I say this for four reasons:
1. For top schools a drop in LSAT score is a HUGE red flag for AdComs. Go to any info sessino and ask about it, they wil ltell you that pretty frankly.
2. Even LSAC will admit that about 3 points of your score depends on luck. If you've been consistently hitting PTs at 161 (for example) you can expect your actual LSAT score to be anywhere from 158-164 depending on how the test clicks with you. So even if you're hitting your PTs at 168 by December, you can still hit a hard game or a bullsh*t reading section and lose points.
3. Fairly or unfairly, AdComs expect your score to bump a few points just from retaking the test (you're used to the stress, the real situation, etc).
4. You've already performed way above your PTs and, unless you have strong evidence to the contrary, I would assume your score to drop closer to those 161's.

In other words, it sounds like you got ridiculously lucky or hit some fantastic groove and you should count your blessings. Unless you have good reason to believe you can break 171 I think you have much to lose and little to gain.

That being said, if you really want to retest, what I would do is study your but off over the next few months, especially by doing lots of REAL LSAT question and full PTs (identify your weak areas and hit them hard, train for test endurance, etc.). See if your PT's are improving to above 170 with any consistency, and then decide whether to actually sit the exam.

TL;DR Either accept your score and be happy about it or start studying, take a lot of PTs, and if your PTs are not getting above 171 do not do the retake.

Good luck!

That username is :shock:

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:12 pm

wsparker wrote:All good advice.

So what if I decide to study study study, and then don't hit 170's consistently and decide not to sit. Do I email the schools saying I didn't take it?? Ugh. That just sounds bad. Or if I decide to just be happy with my score, do I tell them now that I am not taking it? I don't want to seem crazy ha.

Thanks again


You're' right, no-shows are bad. BUT you can withdraw your registration, usually up until a day or two before the test, and it just disappears. You lose your money, but it doesn't go into your file, law schools never find out about it. You should know by mid-November if you're ready.

http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates- ... a-december

http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/withdraw-test-registration

Always read the rules, my friend, 8)

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:15 pm

I meant the schools are waiting for my Dec score, so I need to email them that I am not re-taking it again so that they can begin to review my app. I just don't know the best way to go about that without sounding like I am not taking it because I am or lazy or something

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:22 pm

wsparker wrote:I meant the schools are waiting for my Dec score, so I need to email them that I am not re-taking it again so that they can begin to review my app. I just don't know the best way to go about that without sounding like I am not taking it because I am or lazy or something


Ah, I see. I'd be curious to know what advice others give on this but I would be (mostly) honest with them. AdComs know all about the LSAT, most of them have taken it and gone through law school, so I would contact them and say (as politely and intelligently as possible, of course) that while you wanted to take the test for a higher score you've done a lot of preparation and talked to a lot of people and you don't think the risk of a lower score is worth the possible upside in your situation. They'll probably either:

A. Not care since you don't sound like a moron and just start reviewing your app.
or B. Appreciate your maturity, diligence, and ability to analyze a pattern of facts

Whatever you do, I think that would look less stupid than a drop in score.

Keep us posted.

PS You do better on real tests than on practice studies? Who ARE you?!?!?!

Ti Malice
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:04 pm

dowu wrote:
IrishJew wrote:Hi. First of all congrats on the 5 point jump. That's huge! I totally know how you feel: when you get a good score but not as good as you want it's so tempting to go for higher.

Here's my honest advice to you. I would STRONGLY advise against retaking the LSAT unless you are very confident that your score will improve significantly (by significantly I mean, say, 5 points). I say this for four reasons:
1. For top schools a drop in LSAT score is a HUGE red flag for AdComs. Go to any info sessino and ask about it, they wil ltell you that pretty frankly.
2. Even LSAC will admit that about 3 points of your score depends on luck. If you've been consistently hitting PTs at 161 (for example) you can expect your actual LSAT score to be anywhere from 158-164 depending on how the test clicks with you. So even if you're hitting your PTs at 168 by December, you can still hit a hard game or a bullsh*t reading section and lose points.
3. Fairly or unfairly, AdComs expect your score to bump a few points just from retaking the test (you're used to the stress, the real situation, etc).
4. You've already performed way above your PTs and, unless you have strong evidence to the contrary, I would assume your score to drop closer to those 161's.

In other words, it sounds like you got ridiculously lucky or hit some fantastic groove and you should count your blessings. Unless you have good reason to believe you can break 171 I think you have much to lose and little to gain.

That being said, if you really want to retest, what I would do is study your but off over the next few months, especially by doing lots of REAL LSAT question and full PTs (identify your weak areas and hit them hard, train for test endurance, etc.). See if your PT's are improving to above 170 with any consistency, and then decide whether to actually sit the exam.

TL;DR Either accept your score and be happy about it or start studying, take a lot of PTs, and if your PTs are not getting above 171 do not do the retake.

Good luck!

That username is :shock:


The advice is much worse. Please stop, IJ. It appears you're trying to be helpful, but much of what you're saying is bad advice. Read around here for a while instead of dispensing authoritative-sounding advice that's really just bad information.

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wsparker
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby wsparker » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:16 pm

I am gonna go ahead and study and take it. If I don't think I did well, I can always cancel. FWIW I talked to an adcom the other day and they said that doing worse doesnt really matter, unless it is a huge drop. She also emphasized that they realize taking the LSAT is a big deal, and not something to be taken lightly, so they take that into consideration. Overall, she definitely sounded like she recommended retaking for pretty much everyone.

Thanks again for everyones input

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:26 pm

Ti Malice wrote:The advice is much worse. Please stop, IJ. It appears you're trying to be helpful, but much of what you're saying is bad advice. Read around here for a while instead of dispensing authoritative-sounding advice that's really just bad information.


Which points in particular do you disagree with Ti Malice? I've read around and been through the admissions cycle myself (including an ill-advised retake) and wish I had known this stuff a year ago. Maybe I'm way off base, but all these points have been true straight out of my own experience and are things you can read about on TLS and similar sites.

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midwest17
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby midwest17 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:33 pm

IrishJew wrote:all these points have been true straight out of my own experience


You mean you used your magic 8 ball to determine how your cycle would have gone if you hadn't retaken the test?

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:57 pm

midwest17 wrote:
IrishJew wrote:all these points have been true straight out of my own experience


You mean you used your magic 8 ball to determine how your cycle would have gone if you hadn't retaken the test?


Don't be ridiculous. I called the psychic hotline.

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bouleversement
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby bouleversement » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:45 pm

IrishJew wrote:1. For top schools a drop in LSAT score is a HUGE red flag for AdComs. Go to any info sessino and ask about it, they wil ltell you that pretty frankly.


Spivey says all they care about is the highest score. You received some bad information.

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TheLawrax
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby TheLawrax » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:04 pm

Most schools welcome addenda that address changes in LSAT score of more than a few points--if it's a drop, you could say that you had the flu or you bubbled them in wrong or something like that. If it's an increase, tell them what you did to increase your score.

IMHO, you can't expect to increase your LSAT score by studying less than 10 hours a week. That being said, one practice score is meaningless--especially if you haven't been practicing recently. Go over all your answers, find out what you did wrong, study those things, then take another practice test next week.

Also, if you're considering retaking in December, the high end of the score curve has been easier for Dec than other test dates in recent years.

Hope this helps.

bp shinners
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby bp shinners » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:48 pm

IrishJew wrote:I would contact them and say (as politely and intelligently as possible, of course) that while you wanted to take the test for a higher score you've done a lot of preparation and talked to a lot of people and you don't think the risk of a lower score is worth the possible upside in your situation. They'll probably either:

A. Not care since you don't sound like a moron and just start reviewing your app.
or B. Appreciate your maturity, diligence, and ability to analyze a pattern of facts


I would not do this at all. If you decide to not retake (and I would advise you to prep and retake if you think you can beat that 166, and I think you can), then just withdraw and contact the schools to let them know you're not retaking and they should consider your file complete. No reason to go into explanations.

IrishJew
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby IrishJew » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:08 am

bp shinners wrote:I would not do this at all. If you decide to not retake ... then just withdraw and contact the schools to let them know you're not retaking and they should consider your file complete. No reason to go into explanations.


Actually, depending on the school, this might be a better approach. We tend to over-think how much other people (for example the AdComs) will pay attention to our every action, but most of the time they just don't care. No different from a cancelled score. If they really want to know, depending on the school, they may ask you, but the probably won't care.

Just wanted to clarify my thoughts on "can you beat 166." I don't know you, I don't know what you're capable of, but TLS can also throw ones sense of scale out of whack. 166 is pretty good score; it's 25% or higher for much of the T-14 and very competitive for some T-20s. Not everyone can get a 180. That being said, it is possible to raise your score, and if you really want to raise it and you think it's worth your time, I would try an intensive study regimen and see if you seem to be gaining points. You may also want to think about where you want to go and what scores it would take to get there. Regardless, I also think beating your practice tests by 4 points is a big freakin' deal.

TLS also has a list school policies towards retaking (scroll down to list):
http://www.top-law-schools.com/retaking-the-lsat.html

I have no idea when or where this info is from, but I trust it's reliable. I didn't realize how many schools only look at the top score, though that makes sense as it's the one schools have to report. A few schools, however (famously Yale) take a "holistic approach" and other schools (several T-14s) take the average, so that's another factor to bear in mind.

(PS If you do study and retest, I would give you three key pieces of advice: 1. use real LSAT questions from released tests as much as possible to study, 2. do not use simulated questions from Kaplan etc., use real LSAT questions and 3. make the bulk of your studying about real LSAT questions :) )

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Retaking advice

Postby iamgeorgebush » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:19 pm

IrishJew, buddy, you need to stop saying things so authoritatively. You are clearly a newbie to law school admissions, which is fine, but you shouldn't be giving out advice as if it's the gospel. This is why I try to stick to only giving out LSAT-related advice, because I've only been researching law school admissions for a little under a year now, not long enough to be giving out much advice.




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