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Super indecisive and really need some sage advice: Registered for March 2019 LSAT but idk now :/

johnwashere31johnwashere31 Member
edited March 2019 in General 41 karma

So I am in serious need of advice from others on here because I don't really know any people who have my issue/are serious about the LSAT. I would greatly appreciate any and all of your advice regarding how I should proceed.

I finished undergrad back in 2017 (a full year early) and decided to take some time off to work, travel and eventually take the LSAT.
I have been studying since the beginning of 2018 and originally decided that I was going to take the June 2018 test. Unfortunately, I didn't feel prepared for it and decided to push it back to August, paying the test change fee. I took it kind of easy and wasn't intense with my studying and timing, so come August I decided to cancel my sitting for the exam the week before the test and registered for the November exam. (Again) Right as the test date change deadline for the November exam came around, I decided to once again change the test date to January. Foolishly, I decided to take a week long hiatus from studying and after doing this it ultimately ruined my study schedule/habits for a few weeks until after the holidays. As the dreaded test date change deadline came once again, I changed my test date AGAIN to take the March exam. $565 later, it is now the week before the exam and I am anxious and having serious doubts about whether I should sit for this exam or push it back to the June exam.

Let me explain some background info so you can have a better idea of where I'm at right now:

I started to get serious about my studying after my January test date change and was committed to having this be my final change. I started to focus more on my understanding of LR fundamentals and how I was thinking about them. Around mid February was when I finally started to consistently hit the low-mid 170s in my untimed Blind Reviews of my PTs. I was only doing them untimed and didn't really start practicing with timed PTs until 3ish weeks before the exam. Unfortunately, my timed scores are stuck in the high 150s - low 160s, while my Blind Review scores are consistently in the low - mid 170s.
Throughout the course of my study using PTs (May 2018 - present), I have completed them all except PTs 73-86. My scores were always around low-mid 150s Timed and low-mid (no higher than 166) 160s BR until last month where I finally started to improve and was consistently scoring in the low - mid 170s Blind Review.When I started doing PTs timed after improving my Blind Review score I was scoring in the high 150s - low 160s timed and Here's how the Timed to Blind Review improvements usually look like for each section: RC= from - 6 or 7 to -4 or less ; LR (per section) = -5 to 7 to -2 or less ; LG -7 or less (usually because I don't get to finish all 4 games when I do them timed) to -0.

My indecisiveness kicked back in because I took PT 72 a few days ago (03/23) and started to worry more because I scored 158 Timed, 168 BR, which has been my first sub 170 BR score and lowest Timed/Blind review score in a month. I was planning to do 2-3 PTs every day until Friday before the test to finish the PTs I have yet to complete however I fear that I may be burning out already and that this may not be a good idea.

With my GPA, resume and the right LSAT score (170+), I think I have a decent shot at a T14 school which has ultimately been my goal since the start.
I know when you are applying to T14 schools that you really should only take the test once, so I am concerned that if I don't get the score that I want that retaking it would ultimately hurt my application. I'm also not sure if I would want to take it and have to cancel my score because it would still show up as 'score canceled' on my application.
On top of all that my sleeping schedule (my fault admittedly) is messed up and I don't seem very keen on taking the exam at 8:30AM.
June would be my last chance to take the exam because I don't like digital exams and especially don't want to risk being a guinea pig for the July 2019 exam. Also, the test is at 12:30PM and will be disclosed. However, the test center I wanted to take it at is full and I would have to travel further to take it, however that's not that big of a deal.

Each time I tell my family I have a test date and then tell them I pushed it back, they keep getting more and more skeptical of whether I can even achieve the score I want, which doesn't help either because I feel like I keep disappointing them by saying one thing and not fulfilling it, even though I won't be applying to law school for at least a year (fall 2020 or 2021).

Ultimately here's the question(s) I have:
- Should I postpone the exam to June and cancel the March exam?
-Would it look bad on my application to a T14 School (Especially T6s: YSH/CCN) if I took the March exam and canceled the score?
-What can I do to bridge the gap between my Blind Review and Timed scores?
-Is there really anything I can do to bridge that gap in the next 4 days?
-If I shouldn't take the March exam, how can I improve my studying so I am more efficient in bridging that gap? I have ~14 PTs which I haven't touched (73-86).
-How long before the exam should I be consistently scoring Timed to have a good idea of how I would perform under test conditions?
-How can I explain to my family once again if I change the test date that this will actually be the final test even though that is what I've been saying since November?

If you took the time to read all of this and give me your thoughts/advice/support I greatly appreciate it!
:)

Also, please excuse me if I repeat any words, phrases or if the grammar isn't perfect as it's pretty late and I just needed to get this off my chest ASAP.

Comments

  • edited March 2019 104 karma

    Hi!
    What is your goal score?
    I think the consensus in this community is that whether to delay your exam depends in large part on whether your average PT score (last fresh 5 PT's taken timed, under strict test conditions) is at least as high (preferably higher) than your goal score. If it is, take it. If not, consider delaying.

    I am a little cautious about giving this advice because you mentioned not wanting to taking an LSAT digital exam. But I still think it is best to take the exam when you are ready (average PT score at least high as your goal score).

    You also mentioned that people applying to a T14 school should only take LSAT once. I don't think that's true. Many people take it multiple times. It is best if you can pull off your best score at one try, but the highest score is usually what matters.

    Given that you plan on attending law school in 2020 or 2021, you have a pretty flexible timeline. It is okay to take it digitally if you need to, so try not to pressure yourself thinking that June 2019 is the last chance.

    I've also pushed back my exam many times (5 times actually). Each delaying felt really bad. My family got worried that I would never take the exam, but I was more than willing to face the test day once I felt comfortable with my PT average.

    Hope you found this a little helpful :)

  • johnwashere31johnwashere31 Member
    41 karma

    Hi @Small_victories , Thank you for your comment, it really helped!

    My score goal would be at or around 174 (+/- 2 points).

    (Most Recent Scores Last)
    My Blind Review average of last 5 PTs was 172 (174, 173, 171, 175, 168)
    My Timed average of last 3 PTs was 160 (159, 164, 158)
    [The first 2 of the 5 PTs were only done untimed so I don't have timed scores for them ]

    The reason why I wouldn't want to take a digital exam is because I generally don't like to take exams on a computer, regardless of the subject and all my prep has been centered around taking the paper exam (filling out the scantron, being able to freely write on the page, etc.).

    Since I have scored my goal when I did Blind Review, I am confident that given a bit more time and practicing under test conditions I can reach my goal. I have already gone through all the Powerscore books and their supplemental materials, as well as 50+ Preptests so I want to take the test either in March and/or June. Also, I am ready to stop scheduling my life around the LSAT as prepping has sacrificed my ability to search for a full time job and to accomplish other endeavors.

    My concern is that some T14 schools do average out your scores, so I wouldn't want to say, get a 160 now and a 175 in June and have that average count when I could have just gotten the higher score.

    I think I may take take 1 or 2 more PTs before Friday and see how I do and decide from there.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    I think you just need time to keep studying and you can hit your score goal.

    One thing that caught my eye was you saying you were planning on taking 2-3 PTs a DAY! Don’t do that!

    Maybe 2-3 a week. Even that’s probably beginning to push it if you have work and other commitments. The thing is, when you take PTs at a clip of more than that you’re just constantly testing yourself without giving yourself much time for learning and improving.

    You need to make sure you’re thoroughly blind reviewing your tests and figuring out what you need to do in order to not make the same mistakes on the next test.

    I only did about 15 PTs or so before taking my test. 80% of my time was spent studying my mistakes, reviewing my notes, and drilling. You just don’t get much out of taking tons of PTs if you’re not putting in the work to learn from them.

    To answer your questions:

    -No. you cannot bridge your timed score and BR score in 4 days.

    • Yes you should postpone. You have the potential to score in the range you want, but it’s going to take more time.

    -To improve going forward, I would recommend getting a tutor. That was major the turning point in my prep. Even if it’s only for a session, they can help you devise an effective study plan to reach your score. You also may want to evaluate how you’re studying and change it up. I know for me a big issue was work and other commitments taking away from my study time. The only choice that made sense for me after a while was just accepting my timeline would be longer than I had originally anticipated. After I accepted that, a lot of the stress associated with pushing back test dates and questions from family and friends was largely gone.

    -There’s no real time period I would suggest before taking your test. I would say just make sure you’re consistently scoring where you want before taking it. 5 or so tests seems to be solid advice.

    -Re: Family. I guess I would try to explain to them how important this test is and how you maybe underestimated how long it would take to reach your goal score. Show them some data on the different outcomes for acceptances and scholarships between where you’re scoring now and a 174. It’s literally life changing! A 174 will get you a T14 for free. There are very few ways to spend your time that can be so lucrative.

    Also don’t be so hard on yourself. You say you only got serious about studying after January. Imagine what you can do if you keep going!

    The LSAT is simple, but not easy. The simple part is that if you keep working hard you will keep improving. The not easy part is maintaining the motivation and energy to keep going.

    Best of luck 👍🏽

  • johnwashere31johnwashere31 Member
    edited March 2019 41 karma

    @Alex Thank you for your advice, it truly provided me with some much needed insight!

    You are correct, as I have been binging on trying to take the most PTs possible before the exam without allowing sufficient time to absorb the material in between tests.
    It seems that I have been working harder rather than smarter.

    I already had a tutor a few years ago from Testmasters. He was able to help me significantly with LR, however he didn't have much to offer with LR or RC, so I don't think I particularly need one for skills but I'll look into it. Besides, I've already spent quite a chunk of change between materials and switching test dates, and I don't quite make a lawyer's salary yet haha.

    I'll take 1 PT this week before the exam and decide on what I should do, but it seems more likely than not that I'll end up postponing the exam one last and final time.

    Since it seems you were successful in your battle against the LSAT, I was wondering if you could answer some questions regarding:
    1.) What did you end up scoring? (if you don't mind)
    2.) What was you study schedule when only taking 1-3 PTs a week? Would you take it timed one day and BR it the next, or take it Timed and BR it the same day and review the test throughout the week?
    3.)Did your PTs correlate closely with your actual exam score?

    Once again, thank you!

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    Glad to hear it!

    Yes! 7Sage and the wonderful community served me well.

    1.) I’m planning on making my stats all public once my cycle is over. I also post on r/admissions and other forums, so I worry my score could out me. You can PM me though!

    2.) My schedule changed throughout my prep. In the beginning, I just focused on the CC and fool proofing. Then I moved to drilling and about 1 PT a week. Towards the end is when I was doing about 2-3 PTs worth of material a week. However, I was breaking up tests to take into timed sections and taking only 1 full PT each weekend.

    I work full time so my study time was limited during the week and some weekends. Because of that I tried to do 2 timed sections from a test each night + review. I would aim
    to do a section of games and either LR/RC each study session.

    Each Saturday I would take a full PT and BR it after a break for lunch. But I would try to BR it the same day. Sunday was usually a day I took off from prep and work to recharge. Can’t forget to make time to have a life :)

    3.) Yup! My actual score and where I was PT’ing were in the same range. The noise and nerves of test day lowered my score about 3 points from my average, but I sort of expected as much going in.

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    I think you're putting too much stock into the idea that T14 look down on multiple scores... 4 of my really good friends went to Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and NYU and they all took tests multiple times, each of them scoring in the 160s their first time.

    You may need to brace yourself for a digital test, if only to counter any nerves that may sabotage your performance from the pressure that you HAVE to hit your target score on the June test.

    Candidly speaking, if your timed average is high 150s/low 160s, you'll likely comfortably jump to mid 160s, but 170+ might be tough, especially considering the jump between mid 160s to 170+ is probably the hardest one. LSAT is one of those tests where I feel like timing is 80% of the challenge... many people are able to do very well when given no time constraints. For myself, when I BR I've consistently scored high 170s and a few 180.

    One thing that could be helpful for you is to evaluate and understand why there's such a big gap between your BR and timed scores, and then build a strategy around overcoming those gaps. You clearly understand the concepts, so there's something about timed conditions that's handicapping your performance.

    For me, I struggle with comprehending LR answer options that are very similarly worded as they are with some MBT/assumption/flaw type questions. When untimed, it usually takes me about 5 minutes to solve those types of questions. I've been able to largely overcome this in flaw type because there is some level of repetition from test to test, but for MBT/assumption there's really no way to prepare for it and I've largely accepted this as something I likely won't master. However, understanding this as my weakness has allowed me to move on quickly from these questions, helping manage my overall time and doing well on the other questions.

    Finally, don't cancel the March exam... especially if you haven't taken it yet. I think taking the exam once under "real, but no pressure" circumstances would be a valuable experience. You'll know what it's like to take it from start to finish... the actual exam doesn't actually start right at 8... 8 is when they start distributing the tests etc. And while it's a 15 minute break, it's more like 30 minutes because of test collection/re-distribution etc. I took the November test as a "practice" and I really appreciated the experience even though I didn't hit my target score (although I scored way higher than any of my PTs at that point which was a total surprise). Also, it's a better indicator of your performance under timed conditions than any practice because well, it's the real deal.

  • johnwashere31johnwashere31 Member
    41 karma

    Thank you everybody for all of your advice and suggestions! I have decided that it is in my best interest to cancel my sitting for the March exam and to take it in June. Due to it being in the afternoon and the writing portion can be done online at a separate time, it should make the test day shorter and a bit less stressful.

  • msk12345msk12345 Alum Member
    247 karma

    Can't you take the July test and cancel after you see your score? Might be a good option.

    Also, just re-reading your post, you only want to take the test when your score is in the range you want. You're pretty far from that now; keep studying.

  • johnwashere31johnwashere31 Member
    41 karma

    @msk12345 Yeah, that's exactly why I pushed it back to June.

    My timed average of last 3 exams is 160 and BR average of 173, so I need to drill LR timing with accuracy and work on LG timing, as I sometimes run out of time on the last game because of those annoying rule replacement questions. I only started taking fully timed PTs and consistently scoring Timed Low 160s/ BR 171+ in mid February, so I'm pretty confident I just needed a bit more time to bridge that gap.

    About the July exam, they will let you see your score and cancel only if you end up taking the digital version, which is a 50/50 chance. Besides, I don't like digital tests and prefer the paper and pencil format.

  • Better every dayBetter every day Legacy Member
    246 karma

    @johnwashere31 said:
    So I am in serious need of advice from others on here because I don't really know any people who have my issue/are serious about the LSAT. I would greatly appreciate any and all of your advice regarding how I should proceed.

    I finished undergrad back in 2017 (a full year early) and decided to take some time off to work, travel and eventually take the LSAT.
    I have been studying since the beginning of 2018 and originally decided that I was going to take the June 2018 test. Unfortunately, I didn't feel prepared for it and decided to push it back to August, paying the test change fee. I took it kind of easy and wasn't intense with my studying and timing, so come August I decided to cancel my sitting for the exam the week before the test and registered for the November exam. (Again) Right as the test date change deadline for the November exam came around, I decided to once again change the test date to January. Foolishly, I decided to take a week long hiatus from studying and after doing this it ultimately ruined my study schedule/habits for a few weeks until after the holidays. As the dreaded test date change deadline came once again, I changed my test date AGAIN to take the March exam. $565 later, it is now the week before the exam and I am anxious and having serious doubts about whether I should sit for this exam or push it back to the June exam.

    Let me explain some background info so you can have a better idea of where I'm at right now:

    I started to get serious about my studying after my January test date change and was committed to having this be my final change. I started to focus more on my understanding of LR fundamentals and how I was thinking about them. Around mid February was when I finally started to consistently hit the low-mid 170s in my untimed Blind Reviews of my PTs. I was only doing them untimed and didn't really start practicing with timed PTs until 3ish weeks before the exam. Unfortunately, my timed scores are stuck in the high 150s - low 160s, while my Blind Review scores are consistently in the low - mid 170s.
    Throughout the course of my study using PTs (May 2018 - present), I have completed them all except PTs 73-86. My scores were always around low-mid 150s Timed and low-mid (no higher than 166) 160s BR until last month where I finally started to improve and was consistently scoring in the low - mid 170s Blind Review.When I started doing PTs timed after improving my Blind Review score I was scoring in the high 150s - low 160s timed and Here's how the Timed to Blind Review improvements usually look like for each section: RC= from - 6 or 7 to -4 or less ; LR (per section) = -5 to 7 to -2 or less ; LG -7 or less (usually because I don't get to finish all 4 games when I do them timed) to -0.

    My indecisiveness kicked back in because I took PT 72 a few days ago (03/23) and started to worry more because I scored 158 Timed, 168 BR, which has been my first sub 170 BR score and lowest Timed/Blind review score in a month. I was planning to do 2-3 PTs every day until Friday before the test to finish the PTs I have yet to complete however I fear that I may be burning out already and that this may not be a good idea.

    With my GPA, resume and the right LSAT score (170+), I think I have a decent shot at a T14 school which has ultimately been my goal since the start.
    I know when you are applying to T14 schools that you really should only take the test once, so I am concerned that if I don't get the score that I want that retaking it would ultimately hurt my application. I'm also not sure if I would want to take it and have to cancel my score because it would still show up as 'score canceled' on my application.
    On top of all that my sleeping schedule (my fault admittedly) is messed up and I don't seem very keen on taking the exam at 8:30AM.
    June would be my last chance to take the exam because I don't like digital exams and especially don't want to risk being a guinea pig for the July 2019 exam. Also, the test is at 12:30PM and will be disclosed. However, the test center I wanted to take it at is full and I would have to travel further to take it, however that's not that big of a deal.

    Each time I tell my family I have a test date and then tell them I pushed it back, they keep getting more and more skeptical of whether I can even achieve the score I want, which doesn't help either because I feel like I keep disappointing them by saying one thing and not fulfilling it, even though I won't be applying to law school for at least a year (fall 2020 or 2021).

    Ultimately here's the question(s) I have:
    - Should I postpone the exam to June and cancel the March exam?
    -Would it look bad on my application to a T14 School (Especially T6s: YSH/CCN) if I took the March exam and canceled the score?
    -What can I do to bridge the gap between my Blind Review and Timed scores?
    -Is there really anything I can do to bridge that gap in the next 4 days?
    -If I shouldn't take the March exam, how can I improve my studying so I am more efficient in bridging that gap? I have ~14 PTs which I haven't touched (73-86).
    -How long before the exam should I be consistently scoring Timed to have a good idea of how I would perform under test conditions?
    -How can I explain to my family once again if I change the test date that this will actually be the final test even though that is what I've been saying since November?

    If you took the time to read all of this and give me your thoughts/advice/support I greatly appreciate it!
    :)

    Also, please excuse me if I repeat any words, phrases or if the grammar isn't perfect as it's pretty late and I just needed to get this off my chest ASAP.

    Even though you have already pushed this off so many times I think you should do it again. You can’t apply to the T14 with this LSAT anyway so since you are already going to have to wait until next cycle. Additionally the PTs you should be most focused on are the most recent PTs and you haven’t even taken them. You essentially have the 14 most relevant PTs completely fresh. You should postpone and take in June or July. Drill LGs a ton and really
    Focus on the more recent PTs that you still haven’t used. If you are looking for 170+ you have a lot of work ahead but it’s defintely possible. I have taken the test twice and both times I did about 4 points worse than my PT average. Most people say 2-4 points worse is fairly normal so I think if you want to legitimately say that you think you have a good shot of hitting your target score on test day then your last 3-4 timed PTs should be about 3 points higher than your target score.

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