Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

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bosstweedfan

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Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby bosstweedfan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:46 am

Hey TLS,

First time poster, appreciate your help. I'm wondering if I should retake in December, I already signed up just in case. I got a 161 on the September test and was hoping for high 160s. Practice scores were generally like a 161-166 leading up to the test and I probably did about 25 full tests. I have a 3.85 GPA from Penn State (University Park) and a Master's from Vanderbilt (theology) 3.66 (not that this matters as much). Waiting another cycle is absolutely not an option for me, I'm too old, 27, to wait and I am in an absolute dead-end job with no way out.

Raw score was a 77 and the breakdown was:

Section 2 (LR) - 18/26
Section 3 (RC) -24/27
Section 4 (LG) - 15/23
Section 5 (LR) - 20/25

I am shooting for Columbia or NYU, but am also applying to Fordham which I think is a shoe-in at with my numbers (hopefully). I am pretty positive I don't gave a chance in hell for NYU or Columbia with a 161, but does the GPA help at all?

I think it's worth retaking because logic games is so learnable, but they keep putting those curve ball questions on there too. My logical reasoning is stubbornly stagnant as well, even if doing blind review, I have a ceiling of like 21. And with a full-time job, I just worry if I really improve that much with just a few weeks left already.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

grades??

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby grades?? » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:48 am

absolutely retake. You will not get into Columbia nor NYU.

bosstweedfan

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby bosstweedfan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:51 am

Thanks grades??

Do you think I'd be okay for Fordham with those numbers though? It's two points under the median 50% but the GPA is over the 75% It would give me peace of mind, I am still going to retake

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Instrumental

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Instrumental » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:10 am

I would say that you probably need more time before you're able to get scores in standing with the schools for which you're aiming. Prior to the September exam I was averaging a 168 on PTs which is still not competitive at those schools and fell to a 162 on test day. Fordham's LSAT median was 163. You still have a good chance of getting accepted, but since you're still below that, I would imagine your ability to get scholarships would not be optimal. You're doing yourself and your future a disservice by trying to rush it. If you think you can get an LSAT Score competitive with the best, you should take your time to do it. I turn 30 next week. You aren't too old to wait another cycle :)

Rigo

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Rigo » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:17 pm

100% Retake.
Who cares if you can get into fordham now? It would be too expensive to justify.

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Clearly

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Clearly » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:36 pm

Listen man, it sucks to hear, but you really should sit out and do this right. You're not gonna get into great schools and you risk putting yourself in a very bad position. I sat out not one but two cycles, at your same age. I have a way worse gpa, and it took me several tries to slay the lsat, but eventually I did just that, went to a great school, got biglaw. The most likely outcome for you right now is you go to Fordham at sticker, most likely miss biglaw, accumulate massive debt with that cost of living, and find yourself making 50k while owing 300k. You'll make 3200 a month and owe 2k+ a month just in student loans. You'll have to go on PAYE. Your current job sucks, but your current plan sucks worse.

The good news is you have the gpa for nyu/Columbia or anywhere else. You have the gpa for full rides at biglaw schools. The only difference between making 3200 a month and owing 2000, and making 10,000 a month and owing 500 is a fucking multiple choice test. Don't be stupid.

Voyager

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Voyager » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:01 pm

-8 on Logic Games is a huge opportunity for you.

Logic Games is the easiest section to prep and get a perfect score on because the number of different problem types is super limited and you can memorize approaches.

However, if you want Columbia you are going to need an LSAT score at 170 to be safe and to do THAT, you are going to need to see improvement in the other sections as well.

If you are going to retake and apply this cycle, you need to hop on it TODAY to prep for the December test.

161 to 170+ with 6 weeks of prep is tough... doable but tough.

Voyager

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Voyager » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:08 pm

Also, I wrote this in another thread and think it would be helpful for you too:

One thing everyone who scored in the low 160s but was practicing in the high 160s should keep in mind is that it is rather common for people to drop 5 points on test day.

Variety of reasons:
-Nerves
-Confirmation bias on estimating your current practice scores (people tend to "forget" bad practice tests and remember the good ones resulting in an inflated sense of practice average)
-Distractions at the test center
-The impact of reusing old practice exams you have already seen (inflates the score on your 2nd go around with the practice test)
-Etc.

So if you are going to retake, you are going to have to assume that a 161 or whatever is your ACTUAL SCORE right now and not just assume that if you took the LSAT tomorrow you would get a 169 or something.

That means you need to work super hard over the next 6 weeks...

If you are prepared to charge it hardcore then I say go for it, but if you are aren't mentally up for it (and frankly, who would blame you... prepping for this test is exhausting) then I say take the 161.

Keep in mind that you are currently scoring in you practice test range. Your high was a 166.

bosstweedfan

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby bosstweedfan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:31 pm

Hey thanks everyone for your advice, I really appreciate it.

Clearly : I hear you, it's not what I want to hear, but those are valid points, is Fordham really such a dead end/rip-off then? I have heard they are stingy but I at least assumed Big Law was attainable.

I live just outside of NYC now but I'd go to a Vanderbilt, Emory, Georgetown tier school if it was worth it or doable, but I'd still have to go up at least 5 points by my estimate.

I'm assuming February retake is out of the question this cycle?

thanks again all

Voyager

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Voyager » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:40 pm

bosstweedfan wrote:Hey thanks everyone for your advice, I really appreciate it.

Clearly : I hear you, it's not what I want to hear, but those are valid points, is Fordham really such a dead end/rip-off then? I have heard they are stingy but I at least assumed Big Law was attainable.

I live just outside of NYC now but I'd go to a Vanderbilt, Emory, Georgetown tier school if it was worth it or doable, but I'd still have to go up at least 5 points by my estimate.

I'm assuming February retake is out of the question this cycle?

thanks again all


Well... look: most people think law school sucks. Worse: most lawyers hate the practice of law. Even worse: being a lawyer actually doesn't pay very well unless you are going into a select group firms/positions.

So sure, school matters a ton and Fordham is right on the edge of being a bad deal. There is no where close to a guarantee that you will make $160K+ or whatever out of that place... which should make anyone nervous.

If you want to massively improve your employment prospects, than get ready for 6 weeks of super pain as you invest a ton of time in prepping.

I'm just somewhat skeptical that you are going to go from a 161 to a 170+ in 6 weeks...

bosstweedfan

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby bosstweedfan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:03 pm

What if I rolled the dice and tried in February?

goldenbear2020

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby goldenbear2020 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:06 pm

bosstweedfan wrote:What if I rolled the dice and tried in February?


Columbia and NYU (and most of the rest of the T14) won't accept February scores, at least not for this cycle.

http://web.law.columbia.edu/admissions/ ... regular-jd

http://www.law.nyu.edu/jdadmissions/app ... tionfaq#10

ZVBXRPL

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby ZVBXRPL » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:42 pm

In similar position as OP. Where do I start to reprep? Had trouble with necessary assumption and abstract flaw questions.

Voyager

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Voyager » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:45 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:In similar position as OP. Where do I start to reprep? Had trouble with necessary assumption and abstract flaw questions.


All kinds of prep guides are on this site.

Here is how I prepped:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7241&p=136016#p136016

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calpolisci2016

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby calpolisci2016 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:49 pm

You could also suck it up at your dead end job and just study for another year and apply next year. That would really solve all of your short term concerns.

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ml2srosie

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby ml2srosie » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:34 pm

27 is really not that old especially if you are living with minimal debt right now. You are going to be in a bad situation if you settle for a mediocre place at sticker and have a shitload of debt to repay until you are 92. Very few people get big law from Fordham (check out an Above the Law article on it) and you will probably have to be in the top 15% to even have a fighting chance. Though you have a stellar GPA, there is no guarantee as to how you will perform once in LS.

I am sorry to hear the job sucks, but accruing massive amounts of debt is not a viable way out. You will end up 1000x more miserable 3 years from May when you are possibly at a dead end job but this time, have $3000 loan payments looming over your head every month.

bosstweedfan

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby bosstweedfan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:49 pm

Hey everyone,

I really appreciate the frank advice - all very helpful. I will bust my ass for December, but will not settle if I don't get the results I want.

Since logic games are my biggest weakness I have done the pithypike/ 7sage fool proof strategy of printing out 4-5 copies of each game by type and drilling over and over until I hit them in the recommended time. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I also went through the Powerscore Bible and have a limited access account to velocity prep, though I didn't find velocity all that helpful. I also use the 7sage free explanation videos a lot.

Thank you again.

laggyking

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby laggyking » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:29 am

Damn, dude. Keep up with what you are doing now, and work on LG harder, I believe Sept LG could fall into "easy " end on 7sage. You really should not have more than-2 on LG if you want a 170. I want to know how you are preparing your RC, -3 is like a mission impossible to me. LOOOL

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Clearly

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby Clearly » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:05 pm

bosstweedfan wrote:Hey everyone,

I really appreciate the frank advice - all very helpful. I will bust my ass for December, but will not settle if I don't get the results I want.

Since logic games are my biggest weakness I have done the pithypike/ 7sage fool proof strategy of printing out 4-5 copies of each game by type and drilling over and over until I hit them in the recommended time. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I also went through the Powerscore Bible and have a limited access account to velocity prep, though I didn't find velocity all that helpful. I also use the 7sage free explanation videos a lot.

Thank you again.

Personally I'd forget everytHing you know about lg d's do velocity from beginning to end. I couldn't finish 3 games after months of studying from the bible and Kaplan, eventually did velocity and ended up having time to do all four games twice on my test for -0. That section was impossible to me for a long time till Dave lol

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SunDevil14

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Re: Retake? 161/3.85 GPA

Postby SunDevil14 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:54 pm

Clearly wrote:
bosstweedfan wrote:Hey everyone,

I really appreciate the frank advice - all very helpful. I will bust my ass for December, but will not settle if I don't get the results I want.

Since logic games are my biggest weakness I have done the pithypike/ 7sage fool proof strategy of printing out 4-5 copies of each game by type and drilling over and over until I hit them in the recommended time. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I also went through the Powerscore Bible and have a limited access account to velocity prep, though I didn't find velocity all that helpful. I also use the 7sage free explanation videos a lot.

Thank you again.

Personally I'd forget everytHing you know about lg d's do velocity from beginning to end. I couldn't finish 3 games after months of studying from the bible and Kaplan, eventually did velocity and ended up having time to do all four games twice on my test for -0. That section was impossible to me for a long time till Dave lol


I'd recommend sitting out a cycle and really spending the time to master the concepts, then retake. If it is any consolation that's what I did with numbers similar to yourself, and I have not once regretted it (160/GPA 3.83). I am currently hitting the mid 170's in my PT's. (RC is my current weakness)

Like you, I really struggled with LG, I was absolutely terrible. Now I regularly complete all 4 games perfectly with minutes to spare, so improvement in that section is very doable. Below is the method I used:

1. Manhattan Prep and Powerscore LG, I meticulously went through and reviewed each book. (Make many notations and regularly refer back to them)
2. Powerscore all LG PT's 1-20 and Powerscore all LG PT 21-40 (Cambridge LG also works but I believe they are out of print)
3. Originally I would do solo games ^ then moved on to a balanced selection of 4 games, then started doing either 5 game sets/ 4 difficult games
4. After each game separate the ones you did not master from the ones you did, and after completing all 40 then do the ones you did not master again
5. Repeat step 3 if any games are still left in the unmastered pile (Make sure to photo copy the games)

Review Process:

For step 1 above: Initially I did games untimed, then checked the answers. I would then mark the incorrect question without marking the answer, and then would do the incorrect questions again. If I still missed questions I would mark the correct answer and then try to come up with the proper diagram or inference to replicate it. Finally, I would check the Manhattan Prep explanation / Powerscore explanation and often watch a 7sage explanation. There are many different ways to solve some games, so you may like different approaches better than others.

For steps 2-5* and the PT's that you do intermittently while studying: By this point most of your practice should be timed. So first do a untimed blind review, if you still missed questions then use the same process as above, i.e check answers, attempt to replicated the correct answer, and follow that up by viewing an explanation on 7sage and looking up an additional explanation when necessary. (Powerscore LG PT 1-20 and 21-40, do not provide explanations).


P.S. Since Powerscore does not have a selection for LG 41-60 I just received my order for a used but unmarked copied from the Cambridge Series. I am excited to crack it open and master all of those games. After awhile the games grow on you and become a fun challenge. As far as test scores go, the games become an ace in the hole rather than a section you struggle on or dread.



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