Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

HG180
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Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby HG180 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:51 pm

Hello folks!

This looks like a great online community full of knowledgable people! I'm impressed with everyone's willingness to help. Here's my situation:

I am a college graduate from a private, top 20 university. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA in three years. I started a non-profit organization afterwards. I am shooting for HSC (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia), but I will be just as happy going to many other T-14 schools, like Penn, UC Berkeley, Duke, and Georgetown.

After studying for a good, long few months and scoring consistently around a 167-173 range, occasionally above that (175) and occasionally below that (163 on PT 72), I sat for the June 2015 LSAT for the first time. It unfortunately did not go so well. In one section I messed up on timing (I set my own time on my analog wrist watch) and was extremely rushed; I was so cut on time that there were at least 13 questions that I feel very, very negative towards. That hurt my confidence in the moment, and the next section (LG games) I also felt very, very uncomfortable with. At this point, I was out of my groove and spent a lot of time panicking instead of reasoning correctly.

I predict that I scored in the low 160s, possibly higher/lower (SD 158-163). I will definitely be taking it again in October, and maybe even again in December. I know I am capable of scoring a 170 at least one of those times. I've done it multiple times on PT before. Between now and then, I will be doing nothing but studying.

So, I would like everyone's opinion on two things:
1. Should I cancel?
2. Even if they say they take the highest score, how bad would a 158/167/172 look? What about a 158/170/172?

Thanks for your time in advance.
Last edited by HG180 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

br714
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby br714 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:11 pm

Consensus seems to be that law schools (with the possible exception of Yale) only care about your highest score as that's all they're required to report. What do you gain by canceling? Keep it. May be better than you think. If not, you'll want the specifics to keep you prep for that retake.

HG180
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby HG180 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:30 pm

Consensus seems to be that law schools (with the possible exception of Yale) only care about your highest score as that's all they're required to report. What do you gain by canceling? Keep it. May be better than you think. If not, you'll want the specifics to keep you prep for that retake.


Thanks for the quick response! I appreciate it very much.

I actually called HLS admissions (slightly OCD, I know) and asked them about my "low score vs. cancellation" situation.

The response I got was this:
a) A cancellation will not hurt you necessarily
2) HLS emphasize the highest score, definitely. However, they also take into account all scores on the applicant's testing history; they look for trends.

From this, it seems to suggest that a cancellation will not hurt me, but a very low score might. What do you guys think?

Thanks everyone in advance. I have less than 3 days to make this decision. Please, more suggestions are welcomed!

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EnderWiggin
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby EnderWiggin » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:44 pm

HG180 wrote:
Consensus seems to be that law schools (with the possible exception of Yale) only care about your highest score as that's all they're required to report. What do you gain by canceling? Keep it. May be better than you think. If not, you'll want the specifics to keep you prep for that retake.


Thanks for the quick response! I appreciate it very much.

I actually called HLS admissions (slightly OCD, I know) and asked them about my "low score vs. cancellation" situation.

The response I got was this:
a) A cancellation will not hurt you necessarily
2) HLS emphasize the highest score, definitely. However, they also take into account all scores on the applicant's testing history; they look for trends.

From this, it seems to suggest that a cancellation will not hurt me, but a very low score might. What do you guys think?

Thanks everyone in advance. I have less than 3 days to make this decision. Please, more suggestions are welcomed!


You indicated that you had been scoring much higher on PTs during your prep than you anticipate scoring on the real deal. When you retake, it seems like you would want to thoroughly understand, analyze, and improve upon the questions that tripped you up on test day. If you cancel, you lose a very valuable tool in doing this because you will not receive the score sheet where you can go question-by-question and adjust your prep time and methods accordingly. If your goal is to score higher the next time, you should take full advantage of reviewing your work on the PT that you have under the most realistic conditions to date - PT75.

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fisheatbananas
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby fisheatbananas » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:33 pm

Most schools take the highest score. I remember seeing a list of the few schools that take all of your scores into consideration (whether that means they just look at the trend, or average them) some time ago. Sorry I don't remember where but I could look into it later. Maybe you can do a search or someone else here would know.

Just from googling it quickly, I found this
http://blueprintlsat.com/lsatblog/law-s ... at-scores/
From this article:

Without any further ado, the results:

Schools that claim to consider the highest score:
Yale
University of Chicago
Northwestern
Cornell
UCLA
Pepperdine
Southwestern

Schools that claim to average:
NYU
Berkeley
Duke
University of Virginia
Georgetown
Loyola

Schools that won’t commit either way:
Harvard
Stanford
Columbia
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan
UT Austin
USC

But keep in mind this is from 2009, so the data might be outdated

AReasonableMan
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:14 pm

I would cancel. If you weren't prepping in your target range anyway you will have to retake. While schools take the highest score, many of these schools can afford to be picky and a score like a 158 won't present you in the best light. In this hypothetical situation, we're looking at either a blank and 172 or a 158 and a 172. The former looks better.

Clearly, there's a difference of opinion, and the real test can be a valuable study tool. However, the test is really merely another preptest so you could get a similar measure of your performance from any other recent preptest. The question is really if the added value of knowing what you got offsets the cost of showing the lower score.

HG180
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby HG180 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:54 pm

I want to thank everyone for their time and their input.

After a few discussions with some people close to me (as well as weighing the pros and cons myself), I have decided to cancel my score. I think everybody has a point, but when it comes down to it -- a 158 will not help me; a 165 wouldn't either. I am aiming to get a 180 or bust; and neither a 158 or a 165 on the June test is representative of what I am capable of.

I realize that my copy of the June 2015 test will not contain my answers, but I still have a pretty clear memory of the answers I put down for each one. I do think when I have access to that test, again, I will be able to go back and put in the answers from a few days ago. I will definitely study them from there.

I am so glad I joined this forum. Thank you all. You have all helped me make a great - and arguably very important - decision.

Wish me luck! On this journey to conquer the LSAT, it looks like I'm just getting started.

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buckiguy_sucks
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HG180
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby HG180 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:30 am

buckiguy_sucks wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:I would cancel. If you weren't prepping in your target range anyway you will have to retake. While schools take the highest score, many of these schools can afford to be picky and a score like a 158 won't present you in the best light. In this hypothetical situation, we're looking at either a blank and 172 or a 158 and a 172. The former looks better.

Clearly, there's a difference of opinion, and the real test can be a valuable study tool. However, the test is really merely another preptest so you could get a similar measure of your performance from any other recent preptest. The question is really if the added value of knowing what you got offsets the cost of showing the lower score.


This is bad advice. This hypo is so unrealistic it is almost completely irrelevant. If you have a strong application and submit early, you could have a 155, 165, and 175, and top schools won't take other 175s "over" you. You aren't competing with other applicants in this way.


Canceling a score has no purpose, because schools ONLY care about the highest score (See Spivey thread and his website for supporting info) and you are depriving yourself of the random chance you did score well enough and also depriving yourself of your most significant practice test data if you plan on retaking anyways


Thanks for your input, buckiguy_sucks!

The problem is, I have my sight set on HLS, Stanford, or Columbia. For those schools, the random chance that I did score "well" (highest possibility is in the low-to mid 160s) does not make it more likely that they will take me. It will hurt me, though, if I scored worse than that.

If this was a matter of whether my score was between a 160 or a 170, I would definitely keep it. Unfortunately, it is not. On my practice tests I have scored well into the mid-to-high 170s, so anything less than a 170 I would not use to apply to law schools with. In other words, keeping this score is useless, because either way I don't want to use it.

I look forward to studying and doing well on the real one this coming October. Wish me luck? :D

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buckiguy_sucks
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HG180
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby HG180 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:43 am

buckiguy_sucks wrote:
HG180 wrote:
Good luck with your studying.

You may think keeping the score is useless (its not) but what I want to stress is that cancelling is equally useless. There is literally no benefit. Schools will see your lower score, yes, but they will not care at all. They will look at your higher score ONLY. What is the benefit of cancelling the score if it affects law school admissions in now way?

Keeping the score gives you great study materials. And you probably did score in your PT average anyway (even though it's not what you want). Everyone panics game day and thinks they did poorly. If you haven't canceled it yet, don't.

Anecdotally, for my first take I was PTing at 163. Game day test came and I absolutely bombed it. Screwed up LG completely and though RC had ruined me. Thought about canceling the score. I didn't and ended up with a 167. LG still sucked but turns out I did a lot better than I anticipated in RC and LR. You have no idea what your score is, and canceling is useless.


TL;DR don't cancel


As exciting as it might be to see that I've over performed in the end, the risk of having landed below the 160s is not worth it.

I am trying to go to Harvard Law School. I called their admissions and the general response I got is:
1. A cancellation will not hurt you
2. A low score might

Maybe for most schools, as a general rule, keeping your score has more advantages than not. However, for people who want to go to HYS, keeping a low score can definitely hurt you. Thanks!

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AReasonableMan
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby AReasonableMan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:42 pm

buckiguy_sucks wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:I would cancel. If you weren't prepping in your target range anyway you will have to retake. While schools take the highest score, many of these schools can afford to be picky and a score like a 158 won't present you in the best light. In this hypothetical situation, we're looking at either a blank and 172 or a 158 and a 172. The former looks better.

Clearly, there's a difference of opinion, and the real test can be a valuable study tool. However, the test is really merely another preptest so you could get a similar measure of your performance from any other recent preptest. The question is really if the added value of knowing what you got offsets the cost of showing the lower score.


This is bad advice. This hypo is so unrealistic it is almost completely irrelevant. If you have a strong application and submit early, you could have a 155, 165, and 175, and top schools won't take other 175s "over" you. You aren't competing with other applicants in this way.


Canceling a score has no purpose, because schools ONLY care about the highest score (See Spivey thread and his website for supporting info) and you are depriving yourself of the random chance you did score well enough and also depriving yourself of your most significant practice test data if you plan on retaking anyways

You're assuming the process is wait and see who applies versus admissions offices coming in with a set plan of which #'s to admit. At the top of the school list are schools who can both meet their goal, and be discretionary about non-# type elements. I admittedly haven't researched admissions in 3 years, but I'd be confident that as Law School Transparency replaces USNews as the predominant online source for distinguishing between schools, the less schools will be motivated by the USNews rankings when making admission choices.

nmh2089
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby nmh2089 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:41 am

I definitely wouldn't cancel. I went through the exact same thing you did.

Harvard does not care about other scores. The state specifically on their website that they only take the highest score into consideration. So even if you got a 160 the first time, it will not matter. Several admissions officers that I have spoken to from various T6 schools have stated that canceling your score has no point to it. First off, you don't know what your score will come out to. For all you know, those 13 questions you weren't sure on, you could have gotten them all right. You could be potentially canceling a 170+. Secondly, unless there is a major 15+ point difference between your two scores, it will not matter. And if there is, you can easily write an addendum for it.

ChillTomG
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Re: Advice needed: Cancel or keep?

Postby ChillTomG » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:24 am

Agreed with everyone else so far. Definitely do not cancel your score!!!! I was thinking of doing the same thing since I only had five weeks to prepare and need a 178+ for admission to HYS (3.65 GPA).

Also, I am sure you know this, but with a 3.85 GPA you are going to need a 172 LSAT or higher to have a good chance of admission at H. So keep on studying and retake in October!




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