NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

skyscraper86
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NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby skyscraper86 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:35 pm

Hello everyone,

I am in panic mode. I took a diagnostic LSAT (through Kaplan) and thought I would do better than I did. I got a 146. The schools I want to go to are GWU, BU, BC, Fordham, or GMU, so I know that a 146 isn't even going to get me anywhere close. My GPA is good (3.7) and I am in Teach for America. I had a lot of leadership positions in college and I am also getting my master's degree right now, so I think my softs are ok. However, I know that my LSAT score needs to be higher, and I am aiming to score 166 to get into the schools i want. However, I can't take it until September (teaching takes up ALL my time until the summer so there's no way I'll be ready for the June one.)

However, I plan on dedicating my whole summer to the LSAT since I will not have to work until school starts at the beginning of September. Do you think it's possible to bring my score up 20 points if I study really hard from June until the September LSAT? If so, what should I do? Do you recommend taking a course? If so, which companies offer the best courses? I hear Testmasters and Powerscore--is one better than the other?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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flhealth
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby flhealth » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:45 pm

start reading really dense material like academic journals, art criticism pieces, and magazines like Foreign Policy and the New Yorker...heres one more piece of advice i wish i would have realized before, a light bulb went on when i grasped it...identify the conclusion and select the answer that impacts the conclusion, i know that sounds really basic, but I improved my score dramatically when i isolated the conclusion and worked from there....good luck

Ohioboy115
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Ohioboy115 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:48 pm

I started at 155 and Kaplan LSAT Extreme got me up to lower 170's on practice tests, ended up with a 166(not spectacular but I had to take it). I didn't put as much effort with the outside homework as I should have, so although I've always done well on standardized tests, it helped me simply bc I had 15 hours a week in a room where all I could talk about was the LSAT. Basically if you're real self motivated, buy the books, do a ton of practice tests, and maybe see a tutor once or twice. If you're not (like me), take the class, its worth it.

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Massimiliano
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Massimiliano » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:49 pm

I'm basically in the same boat as you. I bombed my Dec. LSAT and am retaking in October, giving myself ample time to prep. It's great you're giving yourself time because you don't want a low LSAT score to torpedo your application (when you are so strong in every other area). Based on all the research I've done, the LSAT score is pretty much the most important factor in admissions decisions. It's essential to score at least a 160, though I suppose everyone has their own limitations. Based upon your academic history, it seems like you should be able to get a solid score if you put the work in.

Check out the "LSAT prep" category on this board. There are awesome study guide outlines, advice from students that scored over 160, and suggestions on what materials to buy. Since you have so much time, don't wait until the last month or two to study. Start in at least 6 months in advance and prep 1-2 hours per day. Cramming right before the test is a poor strategy, because this test evaluates a set of skills and methods that can only be developed (for low diagnostic scorers like us) over several months.

Anyway, I'm clearly no pro on this since my current scoring is nothing to write home about. If you find some effective strategies or materials, let me know! Best of luck!

Marmolada
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Marmolada » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:49 pm

That's a rough diagnostic score, but yeah, 20 points is possible if you put in 3-6 hours a day starting in July, follow a well-organized regimen, use the available prep materials efficiently, and don't choke on the day of the test. Kaplan and Testmasters are both fine if you're unsure as to how to structure your preparation.

Oh yeah, and personally, I wouldn't look on this site until you have your score and are looking for application advice.

Marmolada
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Marmolada » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:51 pm

Also, it depends on which sections you did badly on, relatively speaking, on your diagnostic. If you bombed the logic games, you're in luck, they're learnable. If you bombed the reading comprehension, I'd say a 20 point increase is unlikely.

abqcarl
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby abqcarl » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:54 pm

Hi there - Guess I'm living proof that there's no need to panic. My "diagnostic" LSAT score, taken in March, was a 148. My actual LSAT score the following September was a 172.

Really, really dedicate yourself to practice tests. In my case, it was all a question of developing familiarity to the point of boredom with the material (although there was a solid 5 week period when I was sure logic games would never be cracked). I bought every book of tests previously published, did every single one, and went up a point or two on each. In my opinion, a class wouldn't have helped, as I certainly didn't need to pay $1000 to be walked through a test once a week. I was doing 3-4 tests a week already. They'll have you memorizing strategies, but not always the strategies that will work best for YOU-you need to develop those on your own.

I think I know exactly how you feel, but quit panicking. And if you're aiming for a 166, you're aiming too low. Keep your eye on the 180. Buying all the books was expensive (less expensive than a class by about $750, though) and the time invested was a total drag, but walking into the test in September confident that I was going to nail it was, as they say, priceless.

skyscraper86
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby skyscraper86 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:55 pm

That makes me feel better. I did the WORST on LG. My other sections weren't great, but they weren't terrible either.

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badfish
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby badfish » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:56 pm

1) Calm Down. Your diagnostic is not horrible. Plenty of people have started with diagnostics in the 140's and ended up in the 160's and 170's.

2) You have a lot of time to study for this test. Three months is an eternity and if you dedicate yourself to the LSAT over those three months your score will improve dramatically.

3) I would suggest reading this thread. It should answer all of your questions.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=396

Marmolada
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Marmolada » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:07 pm

skyscraper86 wrote:That makes me feel better. I did the WORST on LG. My other sections weren't great, but they weren't terrible either.


If you study as hard as you say you will, I can almost guarantee that you'll regularly be pulling 0-3 wrong on LG by September.

There's not that much LG material to prep with though, so use it wisely. Once you've taken a section, its useless as a benchmark. Even so, rework old games, over and over. Save the most recent LG sections for the weeks leading up to the actual test.

tvaddicted
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby tvaddicted » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:10 pm

Hitting a 166 is more than possible...you should aim even higher than that. My recommendations would be to really familiarize yourself with the LSAT. If you need to take a course, take the Powerscore course. Their logic games and logical reasoning methods are very helpful (I think they are the best out there). To give you an example of how much you can improve, I started out with a 153 diagnostic at Kaplan. I was enrolled at a Kaplan course in June. I took the course but my score did not rise that much. I ended up with a 156 on the last practice test. At the suggestion of fellow TLSers, I enrolled in a Powescore course and postponed my LSAT from October to December. Aside from going to all the classes and doing all the homework, I bought all the recent tests and would take at least 2 or 3 a week. This is essential. You really need to develop and hone your timing skills so that come test day you will be able to answer all the questions with a minute or two to spare. Also, do not get down on yourself even if you do not do so well on one practice test. Instead, review your mistakes and see why you got an answer wrong and why the right answer was correct. You will need to be consistently performing well on your practice tests (162 and above) so that you can be sure to hit a mid-to-high 160's score on the actual thing. I ended up with a 166 on the December test, and I missed 9 on games. You do not have to be great at games to score high on the LSAT. Always remember that games makes up only one section of the test. Play to your strengths....if you are strong at lr and rc, then really focus on those and dont get discouraged if your games' performance is not so good. Good luck! With enough preparation, you can certainly improve your score to above a 166!

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flhealth
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby flhealth » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:11 pm

Marmolada wrote:
skyscraper86 wrote:That makes me feel better. I did the WORST on LG. My other sections weren't great, but they weren't terrible either.


If you study as hard as you say you will, I can almost guarantee that you'll regularly be pulling 0-3 wrong on LG by September.

There's not that much LG material to prep with though, so use it wisely. Once you've taken a section, its useless as a benchmark. Even so, rework old games, over and over. Save the most recent LG sections for the weeks leading up to the actual test.

get prepped has a book called Ace the LSAT logic games....they have real ones and they have ones they made up...the ones they made up are the best made up ones out there...i recommend this book if you run out of games

Marmolada
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Marmolada » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:15 pm

tvaddicted wrote:Hitting a 166 is more than possible...you should aim even higher than that. My recommendations would be to really familiarize yourself with the LSAT. If you need to take a course, take the Powerscore course. Their logic games and logical reasoning methods are very helpful (I think they are the best out there). To give you an example of how much you can improve, I started out with a 153 diagnostic at Kaplan. I was enrolled at a Kaplan course in June. I took the course but my score did not rise that much. I ended up with a 156 on the last practice test. At the suggestion of fellow TLSers, I enrolled in a Powescore course and postponed my LSAT from October to December. Aside from going to all the classes and doing all the homework, I bought all the recent tests and would take at least 2 or 3 a week. This is essential. You really need to develop and hone your timing skills so that come test day you will be able to answer all the questions with a minute or two to spare. Also, do not get down on yourself even if you do not do so well on one practice test. Instead, review your mistakes and see why you got an answer wrong and why the right answer was correct. You will need to be consistently performing well on your practice tests (162 and above) so that you can be sure to hit a mid-to-high 160's score on the actual thing. I ended up with a 166 on the December test, and I missed 9 on games. You do not have to be great at games to score high on the LSAT. Always remember that games makes up only one section of the test. Play to your strengths....if you are strong at lr and rc, then really focus on those and dont get discouraged if your games' performance is not so good. Good luck! With enough preparation, you can certainly improve your score to above a 166!



Sorry, but this is terrible advice. Nailing the games section is crucial to a great LSAT score. If above poster had aced LG, he might be looking at HYS. If you want to make sure you get your 166, ace LG. It is far and away the most learnable section.

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bishopus
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby bishopus » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:17 pm

Read/work the powerscore logic games bible.

Read/work the powerscore logical reasoning bible.

Take all the LG sections you can, under timed conditions.

Don't worry about taking whole timed tests until you can confidently deal with any logic game you come across--this WILL happen if you put in the time.

Good luck. It's a bitch of a test, but it's NOT an IQ test, and it is 100% learnable.

skyscraper86
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby skyscraper86 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:33 pm

Ah, thanks. You guys have made me feel a little bit better about my pathetic diagnostic score.

There's one thing that there seems to be a lack of consensus on here: whether or not to sign up for a prep course. I have a little bit of time to decide, but I am really wondering if it's worth the $1,100 to take one. What do you all think?

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whuts4lunch
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby whuts4lunch » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:05 pm

Marmolada wrote:
tvaddicted wrote:Hitting a 166 is more than possible...you should aim even higher than that. My recommendations would be to really familiarize yourself with the LSAT. If you need to take a course, take the Powerscore course. Their logic games and logical reasoning methods are very helpful (I think they are the best out there). To give you an example of how much you can improve, I started out with a 153 diagnostic at Kaplan. I was enrolled at a Kaplan course in June. I took the course but my score did not rise that much. I ended up with a 156 on the last practice test. At the suggestion of fellow TLSers, I enrolled in a Powescore course and postponed my LSAT from October to December. Aside from going to all the classes and doing all the homework, I bought all the recent tests and would take at least 2 or 3 a week. This is essential. You really need to develop and hone your timing skills so that come test day you will be able to answer all the questions with a minute or two to spare. Also, do not get down on yourself even if you do not do so well on one practice test. Instead, review your mistakes and see why you got an answer wrong and why the right answer was correct. You will need to be consistently performing well on your practice tests (162 and above) so that you can be sure to hit a mid-to-high 160's score on the actual thing. I ended up with a 166 on the December test, and I missed 9 on games. You do not have to be great at games to score high on the LSAT. Always remember that games makes up only one section of the test. Play to your strengths....if you are strong at lr and rc, then really focus on those and dont get discouraged if your games' performance is not so good. Good luck! With enough preparation, you can certainly improve your score to above a 166!



Sorry, but this is terrible advice. Nailing the games section is crucial to a great LSAT score. If above poster had aced LG, he might be looking at HYS. If you want to make sure you get your 166, ace LG. It is far and away the most learnable section.



Each to his or her own strengths. I missed 7 on logic games and got a very decent score. In fact, those with scores 155-180 tend to have more discrepancy section to section than those with lower scores. Score discrepancies are common amongst high scorers. I personally did very well on logical reasoning, not so much on the others, and that carried me to my score. Its not like I didn't try to improve on the other 2 sections, but at a certain point I simply wasn't improving.

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Massimiliano
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby Massimiliano » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:32 pm

Yeah, I'm very curious about a prep course, specifically PowerScore. Is it worth the cash?

skyscraper86
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby skyscraper86 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:11 pm

Bump

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flhealth
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby flhealth » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:44 pm

Massimiliano wrote:Yeah, I'm very curious about a prep course, specifically PowerScore. Is it worth the cash?

if you are scoring less than a 150 then it might be worth it...i learned two tricks that improved my test taking...unfortunately i wasnt tested on the two things i learned....wasted $500
Last edited by flhealth on Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hrvd214
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby hrvd214 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:01 pm

study hard, it can be done.. i made drastic improvements in all three sections using actual practice tests.

MaiKleenex
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby MaiKleenex » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:09 am

I improved 15 points using Powerscore. I also took a Princeton Review class but I despised it. The key is hard, hard work and half a Xanax.

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goosey
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby goosey » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:20 am

I'm up about 11 points since my initial diagnostic, dont let it get to you too much. Just use it as a motivation. Start early with your studying, and definitely take a course. The course basically laid the foundation for me--it was money well spent. I took the powerscore course and loved it. If you do all the hw, you're all set.

jasonrenejones
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby jasonrenejones » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:37 am

x
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chicagolaw2013
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:54 am

OP, try taking a different test for another diagnostic, preferably one from LSAC themselves.

I know KaplanLSATInstructor will try to convince you otherwise (cue the violin, I'm sure he/she is on the way onto this thread), but the Kaplan diagnostics are not indicative of your real starting score. I took a Kaplan diagnostic and scored a 142. I thought that it couldn't possibly be right...I scored a 1370 on my SAT with no prep, I'd been prepping for the GMAT (still contemplating a JD/MBA) and my diagnostic there was a 650. I mean, I know it's not the same test, but I know that standardized tests in general are usually my thing. So I decided to take another diagnostic (no studying in between), the 2007 June LSAT that is free on the LSAC site. 155, dude. 142 to 155 with no studying in between, taken about a week apart from one another? I think something's up with the Kaplan materials...

P.S. My PTs from that point forward were in the 160's, so I'm thinking that 155 was the right diagnostic. :D

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badfish
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Re: NEED to improve LSAT score 20 POINTS--what to do?

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:03 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:OP, try taking a different test for another diagnostic, preferably one from LSAC themselves.

I know KaplanLSATInstructor will try to convince you otherwise (cue the violin, I'm sure he/she is on the way onto this thread), but the Kaplan diagnostics are not indicative of your real starting score. I took a Kaplan diagnostic and scored a 142. I thought that it couldn't possibly be right...I scored a 1370 on my SAT with no prep, I'd been prepping for the GMAT (still contemplating a JD/MBA) and my diagnostic there was a 650. I mean, I know it's not the same test, but I know that standardized tests in general are usually my thing. So I decided to take another diagnostic (no studying in between), the 2007 June LSAT that is free on the LSAC site. 155, dude. 142 to 155 with no studying in between, taken about a week apart from one another? I think something's up with the Kaplan materials...

P.S. My PTs from that point forward were in the 160's, so I'm thinking that 155 was the right diagnostic. :D


Kaplan diagnostic materials are actual, administered LSATs. Maybe you felt more comfortable taking it the second time? It definitely didn't have anything to do with the Kaplan materials being different than other prep tests.




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