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14 point drop from Prep tests to test day score. ADVICE PLEASE :'(

aishatungaishatung Alum Member
edited October 2017 in General 104 karma

Hi everyone!! I wrote my Sept 2017 LSAT a month ago and before that I was scoring consistently in the high 160's to the early 170's on all my prep tests. I got my LSAT score today and scored a 158. I am genuinely confused and I don't know what went wrong. I get bad test day anxiety and I have never even scored lower than 163 even when I had just started pt-ing.
I wrote the June 2017 LSAT as well and had really bad anxiety and got 160.
I don't know what I can do for December. My fundamentals are pretty solid considering I was hitting 170's even on very recent prep tests.
I am concerned as well that I did worse on the second time round and what law schools will think when they see that. Any advice on that?
I know that I can do well on the LSAT but I don't know what happens on test date and how to overcome that anxiety that gets me a score that is not representative of my abilities. Do I have enough time to make enough of a difference before December?


  • Maoammm1Maoammm1 Alum Member
    25 karma

    Hey I totally feel you!

    The September test was my first go at the LSAT and I got a 161, around 10 points lower than the average score of my past 10 PTs. I m really disappointed since I've already postponed it once (I wanted to take it in June) and I consider myself pretty well prepared.

    However I somehow knew what went wrong during the test itself, so I am not completely clueless to why I didn't get a high enough score.

    For example, I really messed up my 2nd LR section because I spent too much time trying to finish shading the circles on the scantron for the previous RC section. This was a strategy I invented in hoping to save one or two minute on the RC section(So instead of shading the circles completely, I'd just put a dot on the right circle, and move on to the next question) and it totally worked against me this time round.

    Because that LR section had 27 questions, and it wasn't particularly easy that I could breeze it through, AND after allocating time to shade for the previous section, I was running out of time by around the 23rd question and that caused me to panic big time. As a result, I couldn't even comprehend the last 5 questions, and ended up having to guess them all.

    I suggest making a list of the things that you think might have affected your performance on the test day, and go through each of them to see if anything could be done about it.

    Also, blind review the test materials that LSAC just gave you, figure out why exactly have you made the wrong choices.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9366 karma

    I'm sorry to hear this. I am disappointed with my score as well.

    Where do you usually take PTs? I recommend that you take PTs under conditions as much like actual testing conditions as possible.

    Do you meditate or do something to reduce your anxiety problems? Did you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep the night before the test?

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    Hey @aishatung

    I'm sorry to hear about your score drop. It sounds like the stress of the test is affecting how you perform. I recommend checking out this book called "Performing Under Pressure" by Weisinger. I think it does a great job at explaining how to mitigate test day nerves and the like so that we can perform our best when under pressure.

  • ZaTablerZaTabler Alum Member
    513 karma

    I scored 9 points lower than my average pt score. Hang in there and don't give up.

  • 92 karma

    I also scored 8 points below my average test score: I want to tell myself it was Hurricane Irma, having no power the whole week of the test, not finding out we were taking the test until the Friday before, but I am still so fucking disappointed in myself. I want to say that for most of us, it relates to @"Alex Divine" was saying, and so much of it is pressure. I think there is only a small percentage of people who got the score they wanted, and I believe that the best thing to do is to try again. According to the LSACs, they are only really going to care about your top score. Best of luck love.

  • SamiSami Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10746 karma

    I feel the same way. I scored 6 points below my average, and 10 points below some of my most recent PT's. I got a score I hadn't gotten in months. But that being said, LSAT is a lot about trying till you hit your average. But, getting anxiety can really hamper your performance.

    Have you thought about getting professional help for anxiety? I am going to tag @daniel.sieradazki for you because he has successfully overcome anxiety. Maybe he can offer advice on how he overcame it.

  • 37 karma

    Hey! I know exactly how you feel. I just got my score back and got a 156 after scoring 165-168 on every pre-test I did in the summer. I've actually never scored below a 162 on any pre-test when studying so it's really disappointing and embarrassing. I too let the pressure get to me and my mind blanked entirely; the first LR section blew my confidence. Coupled with the judges passage, those two were bad enough to kill my score.

    I personally am re-taking December. My Canadian apps are all in but I know I can do better and it sounds like you know you can too! I'm focusing on 70-82 and really reviewing them to know every detail.. I definitely burnt out at the end of my prep trying to focus on too many tests and the wasn't helpful. I don't know if that's the same for you but trying to focus on too many at once really caused a lot more anxiety and pressure.

    Keep in mind a LOT of people do bad their first time, and it's only 7 weeks until you can get redemption and beat the test :)

  • goldmistgoldmist Member
    32 karma

    @aishatung As I was reading your post, I felt like I could have written it. I'm on EXACTLY the same boat. I took the June test, and also scored a 160. And in this round of practice testing, I was reaching mid 160s - low 170s. And in this Sept test, I also got a 158.

    I'm still thinking of a gameplan as well (and I am also concerned that schools will see a decrease in score). Last night, I spoke to a friend who is now at Harvard law. She said that schools (except Yale), really don't care about multiple LSAT scores, just the highest one, because that is the one that would affect the school average.

    Given how the LSAT has unlimited takes, and with her advice, I plan on studying for the December test, but only taking it if my scores stay within the range I would accept (i.e. the lowest score I will accept is 168, so if my lowest PTs go less than 168, I will withdraw). If I end up withdrawing from this Dec test, I will instead defer and study for the June 2018 test and apply next cycle instead. When we apply is really important, and even if we submit our applications with our Sept score (and let the admissions officers know that we are waiting for the Dec score), admissions won't review our application until the Dec score is out, which is Jan 2018. At that point, significant number of spots would have already been taken, and unless that Dec test score is stellar, we might have a better chance at next cycle.

    Would love to hear your feedback, and I'm so comforted to hear that we are not alone.

  • aishatungaishatung Alum Member
    104 karma

    @akistotle I usually take my prep tests in the library. I think my biggest mistake was no simulating time conditions as much as possible. Even though I did time each section, I took bathroom breaks in between etc. I think leading up to December I will blind review and really aim to take tests only under test conditions.
    I don't meditate for my anxiety and I don't usually suffer from anxiety but the week leading up to the exam was extremely difficult and I was soooo nervous on exam day

    @goldmist I am so glad to know I'm not alone on this especially in regards to the score drop we've seen from PT's to the actual exam. I have already signed up for December but I am so nervous that the same thing is going to happen again especially with the added pressure. I wanted to apply to schools with my September score but every school that I was planning on applying to is not within the range I got in Sept. I also don't really want to wait another cycle, I'd ideally like to start law school in the fall. Please message me if anything, we're on the same boat and we definitely help each other along the way. Do you know why you had such a significant score decrease compared to your PT's?

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    edited September 2018 1694 karma

    @aishatung , @goldmist , @paigekochanski , @sami, @dazedandconfused , @Maoammm1

    How are you guys? Any updated?

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