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Any advice..please help

janelleengjanelleeng Alum Member
in June 2018 LSAT 154 karma

So I've been studying for the lsat for about a year now, and I can honestly say I've improved alot in each area from when I started. However, I took the Dec 2017 lsat and the one yesterday and still feel I didn't do well. I'm feeling hopeless and I feel like I'm watching my dreams crumble right in front of me. I'm worried to retake it again and get the same result because I know law schools look down upon too many takes. I've never worked so hard for something in my life. I've went through every prep tests and it just seems like the scores I get are not reflective of how much I studied. I blind review extensively and did every logic game 10 times each. Reading comp has always been my weak point but I've definitely made improvements. I just don't know why the progress I make when I'm studying is not showing on the actual test. If anyone has been in a similar situation and has any particular advice, I would greatly appreciate it.


  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    edited June 2018 8694 karma

    So a few things to discuss before the conversations gets off the ground:
    1.There are plenty of people who have taken the LSAT 2,3,4 times and got into amazing schools from their 3rd or 4th attempt. So a retake is not necessarily going to be a huge detriment. I would ever go so far at this juncture in my response to say to you: don't worry at all about this, worry instead about getting a great score.

    2.Diagnosing the issue here is key. So the way I see it your situation is this:
    you've got a high quantity of work/review and results on exams that do not necessary reflect the amount of work you've put in. This is frustrating, but common and not impossible to overcome.

    The question I'm asking is, what can account for that fact pattern? What can account for putting in so much work and not seeing the resulting increase in one's exam one might expect?

    I think there are basically two possibilities. Now, with the caveat that I'm a stranger on the internet giving you advice I think the two possibilities are:
    A. You've expeirenced some sort of test day nerves/anxiety about sitting for the exam (very common)
    B.The quantity of your work does not necessarily equal the quality of the work.

    The issue here can even be some combination of those two factors, or possibly something else all together. Now, there are "tests" we can do to check the possibility of "B" being our culprit here. For instance, I know you've done the quantity of work, but what have you extracted, retained and then deployed from that work for future problems?

    So, for instance: name every way we can weaken a correlation/causation argument on LR. If 2 or 3 things don't instantly come to mind: there is room for quality improvement in your approach. There a dozen or so questions like this we can ask that might help pinpoint the problem. If you know all the answer and they are instinctual, the issue might be test day nerves. Either way, your first step should be to ask these questions and diagnose what is going on, so we can proceed to fixing the issues.

    Note here that I have based my response on the assumption that if we are doing quality work in the amount you are doing, we should be retaining a degree of information to use on future problems that allows us to improve and I would argue to cover enough bases to improve substantially.

    I hope this begins to help

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    I haven't really been in the same situation, but...

    Your dreams should not be crumbling unless they are really time sensitive. Schools might not like too many takes in the abstract. However, their incentive to look only at the highest score when making admissions decisions is really strong. Increasing their LSAT median(which is based only on the highest scores of students) is the easiest way for them to move up the rankings.

    Here is Washington University in St Louis's applicants sorted by LSAT score and GPA.
    (I have no idea what range of school you are looking at, but just want to show you how determinative top LSAT score is at many schools).

    If you clicked on the link you wwill see that nearly no one with a 168 or above and a GPA above a 2.8 gets rejected or waitlisted. The handful of people who did(maybe 8 ish out of hundereds) could have been rejected/waitlisted for anything from missing an interview, to sending the wrong essay in their application, to being jerks, and I guess theoretically those reasons could include taking the LSAT too many times. But I guarantee you that there were some of the vast majority of those green dots who got their 168 or above way after there first or second try. Because law schools by and large don't decide who to admit. US News does by giving them a ranking which is most easilly changed by getting a higher median LSAT score.

    So hopefully that clears up that it doesn't matter what law schools think or say about taking the LSAT too many times, getting the highest score you can is still worth it.

    However, you still have to get that high score. It is always going to be possible to underperform on the actual LSAT. You can do meditation and mindfullness exercises and such to try to make sure you aren't underperforming from sheer panic, but there is still going to be a risk that you by chance underperform on the test you take.

    However, the higher a base you start from the more you can underperform and still do reasonably well. It sounds like your studying has built that base up higher than it was before. Either you'll get a higher score than your first time or you'll manage to get the same or a lower score because you underperformed to a greater degree. If you keep getting that base higher, the chances of you underperforming by more and more each official take are negligible especially if you can convince uourself there isn't so much pressure on the next take because you can always retake.

    You meentionedquite a bit about your prep, but it is hard to offer much specific advice for how to go forward and improve because you didn't tell us which sections went wrong on the test. If you know then you just need to work on those sections more and possibly in a better way. If not, you'll find out where to focus most of your energy in a couple weeks when you get the score back.

    So no dreams are crumbling. It's just going to take a little more time and focused work. The more you improve the less stressful the exams get.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited June 2018 2531 karma

    If you study for this test for an entire year and you genuinely believe that you've invested the effort and time that is necessary to do well on the test and you still do poorly you are faced with two options. Wait two years until you try the LSAT again and work in the mean time. Or accept the fact that your LSAT score is lower than you originally wanted and consider your options in a lower range of law schools.

    For the first scenario, you can use this time to beef up your resume. You could become a certified paralegal or try to develop a solid legal background to get a sense of what kind of law you might be interested in or whether the law is really the right career for you.

    For the second scenario, you want to make sure that the schools you are considering have decent employment numbers. Most students on forums like 7sage or TLS are overly concerned with the viability of sub t14 schools. If you have a specific region in mind, you can look at sub t14 (but still t50) (159-164ish LSAT) schools that have good numbers in that region. In this scenario you have to accept the fact that you probably wont make it into Big Law, and you probably won't be making a 6 figure salary right away. But that doesn't mean that you won't be doing meaningful work. It doesn't mean that you will be poor either. These schools are not the cream of the crop, but they still are great schools for many students who attend them.

    If you want a good legal job but go to a lower ranked school, you need to be in the top portion of your class. Generally the top 25% at t30-t50 schools will land good jobs at graduation in the region of that school. It is incredibly hard to predict your class rank when going into law school. You have a rough sense by the numbers and your history as a student, but class rank is not something that you should be expecting when you enter into a given school.

    I know this advice isn't the most earth-shattering advice but just a reminder - hope that it helps :)

  • janelleengjanelleeng Alum Member
    154 karma

    Thank you for your responses guys! I'm not sure why I'm underperforming, because when I practice at home everything is pretty clear. Of course timing is an issue but I always go in to the test accepting the fact that I won't be able to complete each section. I know that I won't ever score a 170 or above but as of now a 150 seems impossible even after the extensive studying I've done. I'm not sure how to re-study because I've already went through every prep test so I remember some of the answers . I would really hate to give up on the dream of be coming an attorney over one test. Its just upsetting because I put in so many countless hours and really feel like I'm capable of at least passing. I just want to pass this test and move on with my life but it seems to be a huge roadblock for me at the moment.

  • studyingandrestudyingstudyingandrestudying Core Member
    5254 karma

    Maybe try the ThinkingLSAT podcast. Have you listened to it yet? I think giving yourself credit for finishing the CC and taking and reviewing PTs and the other post-CC exercises are really important. Stay in the game and keep working. I saw a quote today that may help: "Failure is never final." Another thing: maybe give yourself a couple days to rest because you just went through the live exam.

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