Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests Forum

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mailtojunkr

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Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by mailtojunkr » Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:40 pm

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I scored 170 on my 1st LSAT in june 2023 which is below my usual 174 on practice test. I have 4.05 GPA, T4 softs (3 legal summer internships and 1 summer internship at a management consulting firm), no URM, straight undergrad to law school. I am only interested in Harvard, Columbia, NYU, UPenn and Berkeley.

Should I cancel this so I can take LSAT another 2-3 times to get to 174+?

If I don't cancel this 170 and take LSAT 2 more times,
1) it may look like I am trying to bump my score and I heard law schools don't look at that favorably.
2) If I score 175+, it would look like a big jump which may also not be looked at favorably

Rule23andMe

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by Rule23andMe » Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm

Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself

talons2250

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by talons2250 » Thu Jul 06, 2023 2:19 pm

mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:40 pm
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I scored 170 on my 1st LSAT in june 2023 which is below my usual 174 on practice test. I have 4.05 GPA, T4 softs (3 legal summer internships and 1 summer internship at a management consulting firm), no URM, straight undergrad to law school. I am only interested in Harvard, Columbia, NYU, UPenn and Berkeley.

Should I cancel this so I can take LSAT another 2-3 times to get to 174+?

If I don't cancel this 170 and take LSAT 2 more times,
1) it may look like I am trying to bump my score and I heard law schools don't look at that favorably.
2) If I score 175+, it would look like a big jump which may also not be looked at favorably
Do not cancel your 170. That is a really good score that could very well get you into all the schools you identify. You don't know that you'll do better than 170 if you take it again, and you could actually do worse. People generally score lower than they do on practice tests, so your experience is actually very typical.

No one will look at you retaking as a negative thing. Why would a school think it was bad that you were attempting to get a better score by taking again?

And if you score 175 or higher, your prior 170 probably won't dilute that. I've only heard of such things from very idiosyncratic professors at Yale who review applications. And you're not even applying to Yale, so...

nixy

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by nixy » Thu Jul 06, 2023 2:19 pm

If you think you can do better, yes, retake. Canceling doesn’t really matter. No one will have a problem with you having two scores or you having a decent improvement on the second, but if you’re going to retake canceling is fine. Only risk is that you end up with a lower score and your 170 is gone. Up to you whether you think that risk is significant.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by Pneumonia » Thu Jul 06, 2023 3:17 pm

Feel free to retake, but don’t cancel your score. No one will look down a first-try 170, and even that possibility is far outweighed but the risk that you’ll do worse on the retake.

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mailtojunkr

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by mailtojunkr » Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm

Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by Pneumonia » Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:29 pm

mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm
Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.
Yes, they do look. I'm not even sure they can avoid "looking." But they use only the highest. Outside of Yale, schools care about the LSAT only because US News does. And US News uses only the highest. It's that simple.

mailtojunkr

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by mailtojunkr » Thu Jul 06, 2023 6:49 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:29 pm
mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm
Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.
Yes, they do look. I'm not even sure they can avoid "looking." But they use only the highest. Outside of Yale, schools care about the LSAT only because US News does. And US News uses only the highest. It's that simple.
When I said "look", I meant take into account. The top schools get enough top applicants that they don't have to only consider the top LSAT score.

bokampers

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by bokampers » Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:22 pm

mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 6:49 pm
Pneumonia wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:29 pm
mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm
Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.
Yes, they do look. I'm not even sure they can avoid "looking." But they use only the highest. Outside of Yale, schools care about the LSAT only because US News does. And US News uses only the highest. It's that simple.
When I said "look", I meant take into account. The top schools get enough top applicants that they don't have to only consider the top LSAT score.
Don’t ask for advice if all you’re gonna do is argue against it. It is well known that law schools other than Yale only *actually* care about your highest LSAT score. Regardless of the official line that some random admissions office receptionist was trained to tell you over the phone. The entire mantra of TLS for the past 10-15 years can be summed up as “retake.” That’s for good reason and backed up by years’ worth of anecdotal data. There is no need to cancel a 170. Nobody will ding you for improving; just don’t score lower.
Last edited by bokampers on Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nixy

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by nixy » Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:26 pm

mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 6:49 pm
Pneumonia wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:29 pm
mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm
Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.
Yes, they do look. I'm not even sure they can avoid "looking." But they use only the highest. Outside of Yale, schools care about the LSAT only because US News does. And US News uses only the highest. It's that simple.
When I said "look", I meant take into account. The top schools get enough top applicants that they don't have to only consider the top LSAT score.
Of course they say that. But the statistics don't bear that out. People get into the schools that their highest score indicates they would get into. Schools aren't going to say that they ignore the first number because they're not going to say that they ignore anything related to your application, and because there may be some kind of hypothetical factual circumstance in which it's actually material and they want to be able to consider it. But all that matters is that they don't formally compute an average.

Besides, the schools you reference get top applicants, but still have to care about their LSAT percentiles.

(Also, the mere possibility of canceling after you got your score is very new. So historically someone who thought they could do better was stuck with submitting 2 scores. It doesn't appear to have harmed their chances anywhere near as much as a higher score helped them.)

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Pneumonia

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by Pneumonia » Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:17 pm

mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 6:49 pm
Pneumonia wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:29 pm
mailtojunkr wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:21 pm
Rule23andMe wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:57 pm
Yes retake - any possible "penalty" (unlikely there is a meaningful one) for retaking is far outweighed by the higher score itself
I called Columbia and Harvard and both said that they look at all the LSAT scores (not the highest) even though they do not formally compute an average.
Yes, they do look. I'm not even sure they can avoid "looking." But they use only the highest. Outside of Yale, schools care about the LSAT only because US News does. And US News uses only the highest. It's that simple.
When I said "look", I meant take into account. The top schools get enough top applicants that they don't have to only consider the top LSAT score.
Ok well in that case, yes, they “take it into account.” The same way they take your personal statement into account. And your letters of rec. And your undergrad major. And the “interests” section on your resume. No school is going to deny looking at your whole app. According to them, the entire process relies on holistic, feel-good magic. But I took your question to be asking about whether an earlier score actually matters in the real world. And the answer there is no. The caveat being that—like interests sections on resumes and all the other fluff—it can matter at the extreme margins. Think the top and bottom 0.1% of the spread. If you jump from 136 to 176, that might raise eyebrows (if unexplained). Same as if your resume says you’re interested in “authentic vampirism” or if your recommenders say you are a virulent racist. But going from 170 to 174 is totally normal.

mailtojunkr

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by mailtojunkr » Sat Jul 08, 2023 3:32 am

Thanks to all those who responded. Really appreciate your time and advice. I decided to cancel the score as I feel its not reflective of my abilities. Also when I called the schools' admissions they all said that a cancelled score is not viewed negatively. Hence my decision to cancel and retake.

mailtojunkr

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Re: Should I cancel a 170, scoring 174 on practice tests

Post by mailtojunkr » Fri Dec 15, 2023 10:35 pm

Greetings. Just an update: I did cancel 170 and retook and got 174 which I am at peace with. Thanks to the wonderful community here

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