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I don't understand what I am doing wrong. Is law for me? Am I just too unintelligent?

I am the LawI am the Law Legacy Member
edited December 2018 in General 17 karma

I have taken the LSAT 4 times. I have gone 158 -> 160 -> 164 -> 163, all of which were terrible disappointments for me. Especially the last one from this November, which has completely shattered my confidence that I can do well on the LSAT.

Because of personal financial reasons, it is extremely hard to justify attending law school outside of the T14. My gpa is 3.77, so with a 164, even th T20 is largely out of the question. Let alone any scholarship.

I have managed to get logic games to -0/-1 largely thanks to 7sage, but I have just constantly struggled with LR. I can do BR, I can prepare, I can elinjnage wrong answer choices, but I cannot improve it no matter how hard I try. Everytime I go back to see what I did wrong on a question, the reasoning JY uses doesn't seem like something I can replicate and always seems to be unique to that specific question. It seems entirely contingent on sone manner of intuition that can't be explained in a way I can repeate another LR.

I don't know if a fifth take will do it for me. I am starying to believe I am simply too unintelligent to score 170+ on this exam and that building up these skills requires a core level of intuition you simply can't train. The logic games follow the same patterns. RC can be fairly repeatable. But LR seems totally alien and the explanation is completely different every single time. Even when I see the correct answer, especially for difficult question, I fail to understand the explanation for the correct and why the wrong answer isn't correct.

Employment prospects for law schools outside the T14 and at least the T20 are quite miserable. If I can't attend those institution, I greatly struggle with why I should attend at all. Perhaps the trades woukd better suit me.

Comments

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Legacy Member
    4850 karma

    You are really asking two different questions, honestly.

    1. Is "the law" for you? Multiple scores of >160 would lend one to believe that you can make it through law school, pass the bar, and become a practicing attorney.

    2. Are you cut out for T14 or T20? Who knows? I'm assuming you have set that bar because you "have to have" a big law salary to make attending law school reasonable for you. Only you can answer that question.

    However, for most of us, "the law" and "big law salary" are not the same thing. Not trying to find fault with your own personal priorities, but the title to this thread is very misleading.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

  • First, getting a 164 on the LSAT is far from being considered unintelligent. A 164 is the goal score for many very intelligent people. Some people just don't think in the way the LSAT wants you to think. There are many law schools in the top 35 that would give significant scholarships for that score. I would consider investigating further into employment prospects for top regional law schools, because from what I have seen, they are far from "quite miserable." Especially if you are the top of your class. If you feel that something else would suit you better, there are many other options out there. If your scores are discouraging, maybe take a break and consider your aptitude for other vocations. However, I think if you broaden your thoughts about law school, I think you would find many opportunities for success.

  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Yearly Member 🍌🍌
    8668 karma

    A couple of thoughts about your post:

    -3.7/164 is nothing to scoff at, T-20 is definitely in play. Please see: https://7sage.com/predictor/
    With all due respect, I think you are factually wrong about your chances at T-20. Scholarships are a different story (I think will be hit or miss), but chances are strong.

    -Scoring a 164 with "intuition" is no easy task. You're in the top 87% (?) of test takers partially on "intuition." All that really needs to happen here is to start seeing questions as repetitions of past questions, this is easier said than done, but doable nonetheless.

    -I will end on this note: you've found the source of your scoring issues: LR. You're probably fighting for 5-6 more questions correct to get into that 168+ range. 3.7/168 puts you in a really good spot for admissions. My suggestion would be to invest in a tutor and change your approach to LR. This might be the recipe for those points you've got to collect to reach your goal.

    David
    Full disclosure: I do tutor, but am currently booked for at least the next 45 days. This post is not intended to be a plug for my services.

  • ilovethelsatilovethelsat Alum Member
    348 karma

    All I can say is, if you really REALLY want to go to a top law school and score a 170+ on the LSAT, don't give up. 163/164 is ALMOST there. We're talking about just a few more questions. I know you're probably feeling really discouraged right now and although I don't know what your circumstances are, I would take some time off the LSAT - one month off, at the very least. And then come back to it with renewed focus and energy. Take that time to get your hope and motivation back up and adjust your law school plans accordingly. There are so many people who spend years reviewing practice exams and doing question after question, watching video explanation after video explanation, and they are some of the most intelligent people out there. Do not let the LSAT dictate your self-esteem - there's no reason for that. I would also make sure that the next time you take the LSAT, since it'll be your fifth time, you feel super confident going in and have been consistently scoring 170+ on your practice exams. If you're not able to consistently score in the 170+ range, then you're not ready yet. I don't know you, but I am fully confident that you can do this. People have achieved the unachievable and made possible the impossible. If this test feels impossible to you, then that should be motivation to make it possible for yourself. My mother always says: "If one person did it, then you can do it too."

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25613 karma

    I'll echo above posts in that you've done really well already: With those numbers, you outperform the overwhelming majority of the field.

    As far as pushing deeper in LR, it sounds like you've plateaued because your study habits are 160 study habits (if that), and 160 study habits don't make for 170+ test scores. I'm making a bit of an inferences here, but I definitely see one big red flag:

    @"I am the Law" said:
    Everytime I go back to see what I did wrong on a question, the reasoning JY uses doesn't seem like something I can replicate and always seems to be unique to that specific question. It seems entirely contingent on sone manner of intuition that can't be explained in a way I can repeate another LR.

    JY shouldn't have anything to do with going back to see what you did wrong. This has to be done independently; you must discover this on your own. Once you've found the solutions to these questions for yourself, check your findings with the videos. You should treat JY as a colleague worth checking with rather than as a sovereign to whom you turn for answers. I didn't master the LSAT by deferring to JY; I did it by developing my own voice into one of authority. JY was an invaluable mentor that helped me do that, but I never turned to him to solve my problems for me. I turned to him for guidance on how I might better solve them myself.

    @"I am the Law" said:
    But LR seems totally alien and the explanation is completely different every single time. Even when I see the correct answer, especially for difficult question, I fail to understand the explanation for the correct and why the wrong answer isn't correct.

    This is the central failure of your LR studies. You have to identify the issue on a deeper, more conceptual level. This is the level at which the lessons from one question transfer to others, so you've got to do a better job here. How long do you spend on these? What, exactly, do you do try to break these arguments apart to better understand them? Whatever it is you're doing, it's not good enough. Find a way to reach deeper. You must also refrain from claiming to see the correct answer while simultaneously failing to explain why it's correct. Something about your approach to the section is deeply flawed if these two things are coexisting in your mind. They are mutually exclusive.

    Reading some of this back, I feel like it may come across as a bit harsh. I think that's actually good though. You broke into the mid 160's with bad study strategies, and that means you're plenty smart enough. It also means there's a clear path forward. As Dave touched on, it can be a bit awkward for us tutors to recommend tutoring to people. But I agree with Dave that you may be at a point where that could be an effective resource if used correctly.

  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    edited December 2018 6045 karma

    I think, as has been alluded by Dave and Josh, whether you work with a tutor or by yourself you need to go deeper into your analysis of LR. JY rarely ever appeals to intuition for choosing an answer choice (for the video explanations I've watched) but even on those occasions, he gets there by eliminating wrong answer choices. There might be some fundamentals or strategies that you are weak on that each of these questions you have difficulty with capatilize on. For example, maybe you miss the 'domain' of the question. The domain or embedded modifier takes us from, for example, the realm of all moral laws to moral laws whose validity is questioned on a daily basis. If it's a strengthening question or something of that nature, it's okay to choose an answer choice that is broader. If we are to make an inference then we must remeber to stick to the domain our question set us up with. Missing the domain may be the result of not reading too closely during timed conditions or it may just be something you struggle with because of low resolution summaries.

    What is your BR score like for LR?

    I am starying to believe I am simply too unintelligent to score 170+ on this exam and that building up these skills requires a core level of intuition you simply can't train.

    I just want to say that I feel you on this but remember that the test doesn't determine your intelligence but your grit. More than anything, it tests your determination. I think part of what 7sage does so well as a platform is highlight the stories of those who really struggled to get a 170. They changed their entire lives for this. That's not to make any assumptions about what you have or haven't done but that this is a learnable test, otherwise there wouldn't be significant gains made.

    The logic games follow the same patterns. RC can be fairly repeatable. But LR seems totally alien and the explanation is completely different every single time. Even when I see the correct answer, especially for difficult question, I fail to understand the explanation for the correct and why the wrong answer isn't correct.

    I don't think I saw anyone touch on this but this may be an issue. LR questions also follow patterns, just like RC and LG. There's the classic 'some people say x but..' type of pattern but beyond that there's cookie-cutter flaws. I don't know who named them cookie-cutter because it just makes me want freshly baked cookies but the point is that there are certain argumentative reasoning patterns that repeat. For example, correlation/causation; phenom/hypo; cause/effect; sufficient/necessity. Each of these types come with cookie-cutter answer choices, incorrect and correct. Identifying a LR stimulus as cookie cutter helps save time and energy. You can identify an LR question as 'correlation/causation' for example where there's a correlation between A and B. The conclusion is 'A causes B'. If it's a weakening question, you can be confident an answer choice will say 'we've had some A and /B' and you'll dodge that trap and be like "not today LSAC". Not only does this identification help you avoid incorrect answer choices, you'll waste less time on them because it'll be so much easier to find the classic 'B causes A' correct answer choice. There's lots of cookie-cutter analysis, it extends to flaw questions, PSA, SA, etc.

    If you really want to demonstrate how patterns repeat in LR, take some stimuluses that you've had trouble with and pick them apart. Make what was a strengthening question into a weaken question, RRE, PSA, etc. What matters for this exercise isn't necessarily what is 'right' but being able to see how interchangeable the questions are. They can be tweaked to fit other types.

    Hope that at least some of this was helpful!

  • ajstephens93ajstephens93 Alum Member
    116 karma

    I would love to get a 164. Got a 159 on November. Also, T14 or T20 is not the end all be all benchmark for success in the field. I am from La Jolla, my dad went to Hastings and is doing quite well. They just hired a junior partner who went to Davis or something. One of our family friends went to William and Mary and is doing extraordinarily well. There are opportunities out there. How you present yourself and how you do in school matter a lot more than a t14 name on your resume. Do you have good networking skills? Will you be able to bring in clients? Will you manage not to piss existing clients off? Are you punctual? There are a myriad of skills that factor into success. It could take just one big personal injury or wrongful death case.

    Focus on what is in front of you. There are no guarantees in life my dude. There are a lot of young attorneys that do not attend the so-called top schools, but are doing well. Actually, it is better to graduate top of your class at a solid school, than middle of the pack at a t14. I highly doubt that you will starve. Also, a 164 does not make you unintelligent. Some people just adapt to the test better or understand fundamental concepts more easily OR just study smarter. You can get better. If you believe you cannot, I promise you it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take a hard look at your methodology. Are there patterns to your mistakes? Have you filmed yourself taking a test? Have you read Mike Kim's book? There is always a way. Listen to David Goggins.

    Also, I do not know where you learned that employment prospects outside the t20 are miserable. I would very much like to see that study. I find it difficult to believe.

    If it were me, I would use that solid score and great gpa to get into a decent school. If you are unhappy there, you can transfer! People transfer schools all the time. Work hard in school and make steps forward. I am not thrilled with a 159, but I am going to retake in January and see where I get in. My dream is to go to a Canadian school and life that sweet single-payer lifestyle, but a 159 is lower than almost every single median. Most schools that I am applying to only keep a limited amount of spots for January takers. Overall, not an ideal circumstance. But if I don't get in anywhere in Canada, you know what I am going to do? Dust my ass off and work on retooling my approach. It is possible. Keep pushing! You're better off than you realize.

    Good luck

  • jammy.kay.samsjammy.kay.sams Alum Member
    28 karma

    Get. A. Tutor.

    You have blind-spots. If you could see your own blind-spots, they wouldn't be blind-spots.

    If you could have done it on your own by now, you would have. You absolutely need a tutor.

    If you've already done tutoring, find a different/better tutor.

    Good luck.

  • mere_mortalmere_mortal Monthly Member
    91 karma

    Honestly, you're really close. I don't think you should give up.

  • janehzhang17janehzhang17 Alum Member
    49 karma

    Hello. I got my second 164 this June exam and it was my third time taking the LSAT. I am on the same boat with you. I am debating if I want to take it the fourth time and I am also facing self-doubts from time to time if I am smart enough.
    My thought about this whole issue is that I am pretty determined that I want to become a practicing attorney. I hope to represent real people struggling in the system. I know that I would enjoy the law school and practicing law so much more than this test. My career in law is not determined by these LSAT failures. Not to mention that there could be worse things happening to my legal career and I will survive.
    Maybe you could also remind yourself what brings you to law in the first place? Speaking of my own experience, if all I want to do is to help people solve legal issues and become a damn-good advocate, I think a lower T20 school with good job prospects could be a nice starting point!! Prepare the essays well and sell the whole package. There are good chances. If not law, but money, is more of an issue, there are career paths that earn much more money with so much less investments than law. I feel like earning money, delaying law school, and saving money for the law school could also be a plan. Please feel free to talk to me:)))) Good luck with everything.

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