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Is it worth it?

seglen512seglen512 Free Trial Member
edited January 2015 in General 14 karma
I started studying for LSAT in July - I quit my job so that I could dedicate every waking moment to studying. I felt really good about where I was and was PT'ing at 166. Took the September LSAT and was incredibly disappointed when I got a 158. I usually get perfect scores on LG, so when that tricky section threw me off, I knew my score would be lower, but not that much lower! So I studied more for the December test, and was PT'ing even higher - 167-170. Again, I was devastated last night when I found out I only scored a 158 again.

So here's my real concern: my score doesn't reflect my ability at all, and it seems like I have a test taking problem--some serious nerves are causing me a lot of grief. I took 40 different practice tests. I only scored below a 160 3 times. That is seriously concerning to me. Is it even worth it to take the test a third time? I have this fear that I will inevitably get nervous again and wind up with a 158 for the third time. But I also really can't imagine waiting until next cycle to take the test all over again and waiting another year to go to law school. I had originally intended to apply for the 2013-2014 cycle, but unfortunately I experienced a string of deaths of people close to me during the summer when I needed to study but just couldn't. I don't think a 158 is a good enough score to get me into a school I'd be happy at. But I can't imagine waiting yet another year only to score the same 158 a third time.

So I guess my options are to go for it for this cycle with a 158 and hope I get in to one of the schools I want. Or to forego this cycle, put it off another year, retake in June and HOPE that my score will be higher even when I have so much doubt? And I have no idea what the dynamics around taking the Feb test would be.

I've just been mulling over these thoughts in my head for a day now and I could really use any outside opinion. I totally trust you guys and this forum has helped me a lot so I would appreciate any honest opinion. Thanks for taking the time to hear me out!


  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    Look a third retake doesn't hurt these days and is fairly standard... And law schools will be there even next year... and though it seems far off, it really isn't... June will be here before you know it... And you will have ample time to prep... Get some tutoring from Jon or Graeme... To me you seem like the perfect case of someone who could benefit from a few sessions of the same... Find out why this is happening... Sometimes, an outside view helps. The WORST thing that can happen is that you get lower than a 158. This is fine as for purposes of reporting, your highest score will be taken into account. at best, you will score where you are scoring on the PTs. If you end up going to law school and don't like the school you are at, you can always try for transfer to a higher ranked school. This is something to think about later though when you have exasusted the LSAT route. Remember... You owe it to yourself to secure the best deal possible for your self. don't hold back right now... You,re already far down the rabbit hole... Fully commit to the idea right now and work for June... Next admissions season is coming up sooner than you think.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    I feel taking a break, then hitting it back again is the best bet, sounds like you tried rebounding and might have either burnt yourself out getting ready to make up for ur disappointment or didn't study properly enough (despite pt increase) I know people who have scored 166 or 168 two takes in a row and 3rd time got the 170+ they were pting at earlier on... I also would say take PT's in all sorts of conditions, the worst n loud settings, quiet ones, and in between... try to take PTs at ur TC, get comfortable with this test bc nerves can kill
  • MichaelsMichaels Free Trial Member
    14 karma
    Both the September and December tests were incredibly similar to each other and had the same -12 curve as well. Most people were expecting atleast a -13 for this December LSAT. I would retake in February if you have time this month dedicated to studying.
  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    I'm in the same boat as you are and I was totally crushed to see my December score. And just like you, for various reasons, I was desperate to apply this year to law school. But, let's weigh the pros and cons. Cons: if you apply this cycle with the scores you have, there's a significant risk you won't get into the schools you want to go to. Pros: you'll start law school in the fall.
    Taking it again in June seems like a better idea. Pros: you have 6 months to study, build self confidence about the test material, and hopefully pinpoint your weak spots. Retaking it in June means you can apply really early in the cycle and possibly increase your chances at admissions and scholarships. Cons: you go to law school a year later, but maybe you can mitigate that by working/saving up money or doing internships. Of course there's a risk you get the same score, but I think it's a risk worth taking. I don't think taking it in Feb is a good idea. It doesn't give you much time to study and your application would be pretty late in the cycle.

    As much as I don't want to wait a year to go to school, I don't want to shortchange myself. Law school is a big life decision/commitment and I want to give it my all. It's possible I get stuck with the same score as the last two times, but at least then I can look back and say I did my absolute best. If I retake in June and apply in September, I'll still be submitting my application in the early part of the admissions cycle, so I can do early decision for my top choice. Anyway, I hope I helped you think the situation through. Best of luck!
  • marianjihyemarianjihye Alum Member
    17 karma
    Whichever path you take, if anxiety is what's keeping you from getting the score you know you can get, it might be beneficial to do something like meditation. There's an app called Calm that has guided meditations that are 2, 5, and 10 minutes each (and longer, if you have time for it) - perfect for busy people. There is a small fee (I think it's like $3.99), but I found it to be worth it. I too experience a lot of performance anxiety, and I have found that meditating for a few minutes before I do anything important makes me feel a little bit more calm and confident. I have this tendency to catastrophize which was making my score suffer. Meditating actually really helped me to keep those thoughts and feelings at bay. My advice is to do just a couple of minutes every day just so you practice keeping yourself in a peaceful place. Good luck.
  • kicurtiskicurtis Alum Member
    71 karma
    It's good to see your post, seglen512, because as you'll see above, I'm in a similar situation as you. I know my abilities are much higher than my first LSAT score because my PTs were very close to where my goal score was for the test day. I think for anyone who has intense test anxiety (like me), the LSAT is kind of a nightmare. Especially for retakers, my worst fear is that I'll "fail" again and disappoint myself because I'll have let my nerves get the best of me. For me, this time around studying I've really been trying to take care of my mental health. When I start to get all stressed out, I've been consciously trying to take a step back and breathe deeply, even if it's just for a few seconds. You'd be amazed at how much remembering to breathe helps lol. Also, and this is just something I've tried for me because I deal with anxiety and need a productive way to destress, but I've made a "happy list." This list includes everything that makes me feel better from drinking a warm cup of tea, to going for a run, to talking to a loved one, or playing guitar. If I'm super stressed (or not) I'll try to do at least one of these things that I know makes me feel happier, calmer, and healthier for at least 30 min to get myself back on track. And I second the meditation. It's not easy but I've just started doing it and it seems to be helping.
  • Alum Member
    463 karma
    I third meditation. There's an app and podcast called Meditation Oasis some are free, some have a fee but meditation has helped me immensely.
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