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What do I do...?

jennyleejhjennyleejh Alum Member

So... I just checked my December scores (I know late) and I'm lost for words. It was my third take, but... my score dropped. First take cancel (felt incredibly ill, cancelled as soon as exam ended), 2nd take 166, 3rd take 165...

I've been seeing consistent improvement in my PTs for the past 6 months, and were averaging in the 173-74 range for the last month of preparation. Though there was that one weird PT which I bombed out on (I believe PT 81), scoring a 167 a week before my actual exam... and I'm starting to think whether that score psyched me out.

I just can't figure out where I went wrong either because I took the undisclosed test in Asia so I'm just really lost as to what I should do next and am even questioning whether I'm really a good fit for law school... (I can take a guess that LR messed things up, since that's where I make the most silly mistakes when I panic). After all the months of studying, seeing a score drop is incredibly discouraging, especially when I was seeing progress in my PTs.

I worked hard on my college GPA, got a 3.94 from UChicago and am really frustrated about my LSAT scores weakening my application. Should I even go for a fourth attempt in February? In fact, do I still even have a shot at the T14 schools if I take the test 4 times? And not applying for this cycle will mean that I will have taken 2 years of gap year... and of course I plan to go on internships and work on projects if I delay my application but I don't know if such a long break will also hurt my chances at the top law schools. What should I do... any word of advice would be appreciated :(


  • KalayaanKalayaan Alum Member
    edited December 2017 213 karma

    You have a great shot at the T14 with such a high GPA and that LSAT score. Also, taking another "gap year" won't hurt you at all; in fact, it might even boost your chances as it gives your more work experience (which is what you should look at those "gap years" as).

    However, idk if a fourth take would hurt you. I haven't read anything that said it would, tho.

  • calcal101calcal101 Alum Member
    582 karma

    Don’t have tons of advice...but come on, dude. 3.94 at U of definitely have the smarts for law school. Don’t get yourself down.

    Have you met with a tutor? Is there a section of the test where you tend to either get lucky or not? For me, that section is LG, so I’m going to drill way more in preparation for February

  • jennyleejhjennyleejh Alum Member
    145 karma

    Thank you both @Kalayaan and @cal270 I really needed some words of encouragement :(

    I was aiming high for HYS so I can't help but feel disappointed... If I feel that these scores don't reflect my best potential, it'd be better to take a shot at a fourth try right? :(
    I fear that any score below 170, even with a 4.0+ GPA won't be considered at the top law schools. If anybody else has input on 4th takes and its impact on applications, I'd greatly appreciate it..

  • Legally_SpeakingLegally_Speaking Alum Member
    547 karma

    If I were you, I'd definitely take advantage of the fact that the LSAC no longer limits LSAT test takes to three and with even just a marginally better LSAT score you'd be a candidate for serious scholarship money at "lower end" T-14 schools. Obviously, while everyone handles stress differently I can think of a few strategies/test-taking tactics that have helped me immensely: 1) During LR sections I skip around constantly so as not to waste any necessary time, 2) redo any parts of the core curriculum where you feel you don't have anything less than absolute mastery, 3) Don't be afraid to take breaks from studying so as to avoid any short or long-term burnout, 4) perhaps introduce or reintroduce some form of meditation and/or exercise into your daily routine

  • jennyleejhjennyleejh Alum Member
    edited December 2017 145 karma

    Thank you @"forest.dearing.2017"... as you said I feel like I would gain more than lose from a fourth try... the hurdle left is convincing my parents to let me take another gap year... :'(

    I think one big challenge during my last preparation was that I was never able to fully simulate test day pressures during my PTs. I had seen more or less 90% of the PTs, and even though I did not remember the content of the questions, somehow I was able to be more confident, and thus more relaxed with the correctness of the answer I chose. So if I prepare for the fourth take, I fear that the I will repeat the same mistake of under-preparing for the pressures of test day (especially because I'm incredibly sensitive to such pressures). Do you, or anybody have any advice on how I should go about studying in my case? :(

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited December 2017 2531 karma

    The schools which make up the T14 are massive bureaucracies that focus almost all of their efforts on selecting students that fulfill their quotas. If you reach your PT score on the actual test, it won't make any difference how many times you wrote the test or how many gap years you took. They will accept you.

  • Legally_SpeakingLegally_Speaking Alum Member
    547 karma

    @"jh.lee_jenny" I would consider getting a part-time job if finances are any part of the concern in taking another gap year and/or show your parents the very real likelihood of your acceptance at practically every T-14 school if you were to score a 170 or above (the website LSN is a great resource). If you're worried more about having a "gap" on your resume following graduation I would consider volunteering or engaging in some other meaningful project. As for having used up so many practice tests, I would make very judicious use of the remaining clean PT's by spacing out when you take them so as to allow yourself the proper time for blind reviewing.

  • jennyleejhjennyleejh Alum Member
    145 karma

    Hi @"forest.dearing.2017" , thanks so much for your advice. Could I just ask one more question (or anyone else that has some advice), though I know that this is probably something that I know best... I'm wondering if given my current situation, it'd be best to take my 4th LSAT in February or wait it out till June...

    Having taken the undisclosed test in Asia, I still don't really have a good sense of where I went wrong, whether it was reading or LR that I messed up on. Though I can predict that both were problematic given the huge drop from my practice tests. So not only am I worried about fine-tuning my weak areas in about a month, I also feel mentally unstable, having lost much confidence in what/how I have studied so far. I guess the "pro" side of taking the February exam is that I could take a shot at upper tier schools this cycle... but that's of course ONLY IF... I break the 170s...

    On the other hand, June is pretty far in the future and having already committed a year to LSAT, I'm worried about the burn out if I commit more months to (re)studying. But I guess I feel more secure about having more time to work on my weaknesses/figure out overcoming text day anxieties and such...

    That's my thought so far... and though I'm leaning towards June.. I'm just very averse to wasting my time which makes it hard for me to give up the February exam and get it over with :( Agh

  • Legally_SpeakingLegally_Speaking Alum Member
    edited January 2018 547 karma

    @"jh.lee_jenny" I would opt for taking it again in June if possible. As someone who has delayed taking the LSAT, I can attest to the occasional difficulty in avoiding burnout and general LSAT fatigue, however it is fairly easy to overcome if you're flexible with your study schedule.

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