What are my chances and a few other questions!

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NJMike
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What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:43 pm

ME
Hello all before I go into my robotic/stats mumbo jumbo I just wanted to introduce myself as a person. My name is Michael and Im one of many law-school hopefuls who will be applying for the class of 2014 admissions cycle. I became interested in law during winter break of my junior year after spending two and a half years trying the pre-med track (and hating it). After alot of thinking nad pondering of the world (literally) I settled upon pre-law for a number of reasons but mostly because I want to change the world! I'm overexaggerating but I did feel that my potential to impact the way the world runs was limited by the pre-medical track. Law, however, is central to every society in the world and for this reason (amongst others) I decided that law was right for me.


BACKGROUND INFO/HARD NUMBERS
- Actual GPA:" 3.777
- LSAC GPA: 3.76
- 4th year student at Rutgers University - New Brunswick in New Jersey
- Double major in Biological Sciences and Psychology
- White male


SOFTS
- Job all four years in a doing secretarial work (just general secretary/paperwork stuff)
- Volunteer at medical office for the past four years just helping out with patients and whatnot (not sure about number of hours but probably 250-300+ a year)
- Editor/vice president of student publication at Rutgers (2009-2010)
- Editor-in-chief (to-be) of the same publication (2010)
- Possible intern-type position with local superior court judge (2010)
- Have my own small online business


QUESTIONS/ISSUE

My issue is that my LSAT practice test scores have varied DRAMATICALLY (all using the official LSAT books from LSAC). Two days ago I got a 163, which worried me. Today, however, I managed a 176 under identical conditions. Im really confused and worried that my performance on the actual test day will vary similarly.

In addition Ive hit the following speedbumps:
- Withdrew from a class (got a W, NOT an F)
- Am going to do an extra semester to finish my double major, which leaves me with a semester off (which I have heard might look bad)

My questions (at last) are the following:
- Will my "speedbumps" significantly impact my chances of attending a top tier school?
- What type of LSAT should I be aiming for to attend Cornell or Columbia? (My two top picks)
- Should I even bother applying to Harvard/Yale(lol)? And if so what are your suggestions?


I'm a pretty confident person so I haven't been stressing too hard over this because I figure I should be able to stabilize my LSATs with practice, Im just looking to hear what people say about my stats/info. Theres a chance that my LSAC GPA will hit a 3.8 if my slight upward trend continues (Ive had 4.0s for the last two semesters and am hoping to continue to get them for the next two).

Thank you and happy (belated) New Year! :mrgreen:

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JazzOne
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:53 pm

Step up your game, son. The semester off will not hurt you in the slightest. You are just a solid LSAT score away from an outstanding cycle. Prep for the LSAT harder than you've ever prepped for anything in your life because your score will be the largest determining factor in where you end up. Good luck!

Sourpunch
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sourpunch » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:59 pm

What the fuck? You're applying for 2014? You have YEARS ahead of you to study for the fucking LSAT. Take a prep course and study for an entire year and push yourself closer to 180. Then go to harvard.

NJMike
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:21 pm

Im applying FOR 2014 as in Im hoping to get in during the 2011 cycle; as far as trying for Harvard it seems like a pipe dream to me since I dont have any ridiculous qualities. Also thanks for the kind words jazz, I appreciate the support. Ive been cracking the books pretty hard.

Any other helpful advice??
Im pretty open to critivism so if you see any obvious flaw in my application lemme know.

NJMike
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:22 pm

JazzOne wrote:Step up your game, son. The semester off will not hurt you in the slightest. You are just a solid LSAT score away from an outstanding cycle. Prep for the LSAT harder than you've ever prepped for anything in your life because your score will be the largest determining factor in where you end up. Good luck!


Do you think getting a W will screw me over?
Also nice avatar, Im a big poker fan and love to play!

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sauer Grapes » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:25 pm

....
Last edited by Sauer Grapes on Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JazzOne
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:20 pm

NJMike wrote:Im applying FOR 2014 as in Im hoping to get in during the 2011 cycle; as far as trying for Harvard it seems like a pipe dream to me since I dont have any ridiculous qualities. Also thanks for the kind words jazz, I appreciate the support. Ive been cracking the books pretty hard.

Any other helpful advice??
Im pretty open to critivism so if you see any obvious flaw in my application lemme know.

You might want to consider delaying your graduation one more semester. Just put off one of the requirements until the spring. That would allow you to take a bunch of easy classes and pad your GPA a bit. Yale and Northwestern are probably out no matter what, but a solid LSAT score will make you competitive everywhere else. I mean, even if you miss HYS, a good LSAT score will get you into a T6 and a few full rides in the T14. At this point, it's all about your LSAT score, but if you really want to shoot for Harvard, a slight GPA bump wouldn't hurt.

NJMike
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:08 pm

JazzOne wrote:
NJMike wrote:Im applying FOR 2014 as in Im hoping to get in during the 2011 cycle; as far as trying for Harvard it seems like a pipe dream to me since I dont have any ridiculous qualities. Also thanks for the kind words jazz, I appreciate the support. Ive been cracking the books pretty hard.

Any other helpful advice??
Im pretty open to critivism so if you see any obvious flaw in my application lemme know.

You might want to consider delaying your graduation one more semester. Just put off one of the requirements until the spring. That would allow you to take a bunch of easy classes and pad your GPA a bit. Yale and Northwestern are probably out no matter what, but a solid LSAT score will make you competitive everywhere else. I mean, even if you miss HYS, a good LSAT score will get you into a T6 and a few full rides in the T14. At this point, it's all about your LSAT score, but if you really want to shoot for Harvard, a slight GPA bump wouldn't hurt.


Wow, that makes me feel really good... I was thinking I might be SOL for the entire T14. What type of LSAT am I looking for to get into Columbia do you think? Like 171-173? What about Cornell? Man I hope you're right, I've been dreaming of getting into Harvard since high school (originally for med) and that'd be amazing!

Sourpunch
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sourpunch » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:09 pm

I think you have a whole year to do the LSAT. Do it in June so that if you fuck up, you can do it again in September.

Here is my advice, please take it:

1) Take a Prep Course, Blueprint or Testmasters: Preferably Blueprint. It will change your life. Do not be stupid enough not to do it. I was PTing at 155 until I took Blueprint, and I got a 169 on the actual exam, while I was prepping at 173. Very satisfied. Trust me, I tried the studying alone + bibles thing. Stupid move. Sign up for a course and focus on their books and methods ONLY.

2) Take the LSAT in June, but if you mess up, CANCEL, don't keep score: Don't make the mistakes a lot of some idiots on TLS do. They come back here saying "OMG I THINK I MESSED UP BUT I'LL KEEP MY SCORE ANYWAYS" then cry when they get a 155. Sometimes, shit happens. I wasn't that stupid. On September 09, I choked on an RC section and even though I literally ass raped the rest of the test, I cancelled because I knew that 3 to 4 extra mistakes on RC will drop me from a 169 to a 165. Which is NOT what I wanted.

So I re-took in December, felt confident, kept the score and got a score that will get me into a T-20 or T-30, perhaps one of the T-14s.

3) Apply early: If you apply the minute the application goes up, you will have a HUGE chance of getting accepted into reach schools.

Don't make my mistake. I applied on Dec. 28th. The result is that I'm now up against a ton of people, when all I want is UCLA...I should have EDed to UCLA, I know a lot of people who got accepted with sub par numbers (one guy with a 3.3 and 165 lsat) because they applied EARLY.

good luck. Oh, and Harvard is attainable...just take the prep course and thank me later...

Finally, STAY AWAY FROM KAPLAN, THEY WILL FUCK YOU UP.

NJMike
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:21 pm

Sourpunch wrote:I think you have a whole year to do the LSAT. Do it in June so that if you fuck up, you can do it again in September.

Here is my advice, please take it:

1) Take a Prep Course, Blueprint or Testmasters: Preferably Blueprint. It will change your life. Do not be stupid enough not to do it. I was PTing at 155 until I took Blueprint, and I got a 169 on the actual exam, while I was prepping at 173. Very satisfied. Trust me, I tried the studying alone + bibles thing. Stupid move. Sign up for a course and focus on their books and methods ONLY.

2) Take the LSAT in June, but if you mess up, CANCEL, don't keep score: Don't make the mistakes a lot of some idiots on TLS do. They come back here saying "OMG I THINK I MESSED UP BUT I'LL KEEP MY SCORE ANYWAYS" then cry when they get a 155. Sometimes, shit happens. I wasn't that stupid. On September 09, I choked on an RC section and even though I literally ass raped the rest of the test, I cancelled because I knew that 3 to 4 extra mistakes on RC will drop me from a 169 to a 165. Which is NOT what I wanted.

So I re-took in December, felt confident, kept the score and got a score that will get me into a T-20 or T-30, perhaps one of the T-14s.

3) Apply early: If you apply the minute the application goes up, you will have a HUGE chance of getting accepted into reach schools.

Don't make my mistake. I applied on Dec. 28th. The result is that I'm now up against a ton of people, when all I want is UCLA...I should have EDed to UCLA, I know a lot of people who got accepted with sub par numbers (one guy with a 3.3 and 165 lsat) because they applied EARLY.

good luck. Oh, and Harvard is attainable...just take the prep course and thank me later...

Finally, STAY AWAY FROM KAPLAN, THEY WILL FUCK YOU UP.


Wow that's such honest advice, I really appreciate it! I will definitely be ready to apply the minute (the second even!) that I can and obviously Im going to continue working on the LSATs. As far as cancelling my score I think thats a great idea if I get a bad feeling about the exam. How do adcomms feel about cancelled scores though?

I've always felt that studying alone worked best for me. Why not just get my hands on the Blueprint material and use that? (Im not criticizing by any means, just trying to learn as much as I can)

What type of studying regimen do you suggest? For now Ive been trying to do 2hrs three times a week. Too little? you think?

viking138
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby viking138 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:29 pm

If you're already PT-ing around the 170s, a course won't be much help. Instead, make sure that you know why you get questions wrong, and just as important, why you get questions right. Review your PTs thoroughly. I was a very intuitive test taker and probably should have gotten a tutor to give me a firm explanation of why some of my answers were right since I "knew" they were but couldn't verbalize it. Knowing why things are right or wrong will definitely help improve your test performance since you can apply it to similar questions.

If I were you, I would hire a tutor for a short session once a week to go over the things you're unsure of and then just take lots of PTs under test-time conditions (timed, all four sections at once) and make sure to review them thoroughly.

Good luck!

viking138
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby viking138 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:32 pm

NJMike wrote:Wow that's such honest advice, I really appreciate it! I will definitely be ready to apply the minute (the second even!) that I can and obviously Im going to continue working on the LSATs. As far as cancelling my score I think thats a great idea if I get a bad feeling about the exam. How do adcomms feel about cancelled scores though?

I've always felt that studying alone worked best for me. Why not just get my hands on the Blueprint material and use that? (Im not criticizing by any means, just trying to learn as much as I can)

What type of studying regimen do you suggest? For now Ive been trying to do 2hrs three times a week. Too little? you think?


Also, I recommend taking a full PT at least twice a week and then doing a section every day so that you're never out of the LSAT mode. However, it depends how far off the LSAT is for you. I worked very hard without any material besides the Powerscore Logic Games book for a month and scored a 170 last February. I think I could have done better, however, if I'd spent a bit more time studying. I started in the 160s and it was mainly the logic games that I had to fix which is the easiest section to improve on, so I was lucky in that way.

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JazzOne
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:39 pm

I think sourpunch hit this one on the head, except the part about taking a course. I would opt for a tutor instead.

I'm not a number cruncher, but I'll throw this out there:
165+ In at T14
170+ In at T10 (maybe T6)
175+ In at T6 (maybe HYS)

Someone correct me if that's inaccurate.

Sourpunch
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sourpunch » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:01 pm

Man do not sacrifice a chance at scoring high with LSAT. If you have Blueprint in your area, sign up for the course, it's only $1,000, which is nothing really in light of the chance to score 175+.

Trust me man, if you are still scoring 163s, then you will get a 169 on this exam no matter how hard you study.

If you do a prep course, do all the homework, learn all the methods, I guarantee that on LSAT exam day you will be extremely confident and ready to get a high score.

Don't make my mistake...I self-studied and had to postpone admissions for a year because I knew it wasn't working (but figured it out too late).

And I am a self-studier too. I just didn't realize something--the LSAT is about technique, and you need someone to teach you it. Blueprint does it amazingly well.

DO NOT GET A TUTOR. First, a tutor is useless and will pull alot of shit out to inflate the time and cost you money. Second, it costs a shit load of money. You will end up spending $4,000 or more. Since you're a self studier, tutor is useless too. But in a prep course, you will HAVE to do ALOT of self studying. 4 hours of class time will be equal to at least another 4 hours of you just studying by doing the shit load of homework and prep tests they give you.

Finally, this is really good advice you should take: Do NOT focus on taking prep tests. They do nothing. Let me repeat. NOTHING. A prep test is just a way for you to figure out how you are improving and to focus on timing. What you should do instead is consider the LSAT as a series of 4 sections, and dedicate each day to a single section. For example, Monday, do logical reasoning sections and time it at 32 minutes.

Why is this better? First, you won't be tired as shit after a 3 hour exam. The result is you will be able to review your one section carefully and realize that the LSAT is all about understanding how to tackle weaken, flaw, assumption, must be true, describe, explain and strengthen questions (as well as others, including parallel, parallel-flaw, etc...).

This is why a course is excellent. It forces you to go by this method. The course is structured so you will really only have time for one PT per WEEK. Which believe me, over a 3-4 month period, is ENOUGH. Count it. One per week, 4 months= 16 PTs. Then, on the final 3 weeks, you can start doing 2 to 3 per day to start focusing on timing exclusively.

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jawsthegreat
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby jawsthegreat » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:06 pm

I took a Kaplan course and made a 173

Sourpunch
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sourpunch » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:31 pm

Fluke. Seriously you seem to be either a major buzz kill or some kind of anti-conventional wisdom kind of dude. roflmao

NJMike
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby NJMike » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:41 pm

Wow so many helpful hints!
You guys are all giving me excellent advice. If I am understanding correctly what appears to be the consensus is that the classes teach you technique and studying at home reinforces it? I just dont see what techniques they could be teaching that are so valuable especially considering that (no exaggeration) I finish my sections with 5mins+ to spare on average (Ive had over 10mins left before). But I will pester my family and see if I can get together enough money to take advantage of the course you guys have suggested.

Can anyone tell me a specific piece of advice you've received just so I can see what type of things I could expect to learn from a class?
Also can anyone give me a website where I can post problems I get wrong to see why I got them wrong? I feel like that would give me basically everything a tutor could.

Thanks again guys, seriously. You are all extremely helpful. Im actually taking notes on all this so I make sure not to lose any of it.


Oh and by the way:
"Trust me man, if you are still scoring 163s, then you will get a 169 on this exam no matter how hard you study. "
I dont know that I necessarily believe that especially considering that I just scored a 176 on a PT. I should clarify that the 163 was after not studying for about 8 months. What happened was I studied last year for three months fairly consistently, was scoring high 160's, low 170's (occasionally) and then stopped. Then I picked up a practice test randomly one day and got a 163. I do appreciate the rest of your comments though.

s419
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby s419 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:46 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:I took a Kaplan course and made a 173


Me too, but with a 175. The key I think in any prep course is to try and find out who is teaching the class. My teacher had been doing this for over 8 years and was amazing. That is what you are paying for.

Sourpunch
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Re: What are my chances and a few other questions!

Postby Sourpunch » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:36 pm

My final piece of advice is not to fuck up your gpa. Man, I had a 3.6 until I decided to get a C on ONE course. One course disqualified me from a ton of schools. Make sure you take nothing but easy courses and you get As on all of them otherwise it will be something you will regret forever...I know I do.

If your gpa remains as high as it is, I don't think you should worry. Worst thing that happens is you get a 165 and go to UCLA or something. But if your GPA drops, then it will force you to piss your pants knowing that the LSAT is your only chance.

I mean seriously, imagine I had fucked up in december and gotten a 160 or a 155, what would I do? Without a stellar gpa all you can do is pray your LSAT is at the least a 165+, and hopefully higher!

So focus on school VERY important. Don't neglect it.




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