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170+ Diagnostic?

jlewis2618jlewis2618 Alum Member
in General 69 karma

Hi all - Was wondering if I'm crazy or not...

In my time studying for the LSAT, I from time to time come across people who claim to have scored 170+ on a diagnostic, and in this case, today I stumbled on a website that offers different advice to people who score 170+ on it.

I majored in Philosophy, graduated summa cum laude, and came into the LSAT with an understanding of logic and argument structure. I aim for 170+ as well but in my diagnostic I had never seen anything like the AR section and didn't finish a single section in time scoring a 155. Even scoring in the 160's without understanding the element of timing and the content of the exam seems extremely difficult.

Am I assuming incorrectly that other people are taking their diagnostics before studying anything?

Am I gullible for believing that people are just walking in off the street and scoring in the top 2%?

Another part of me feels like there is NO WAY someone can just sit down with 0 preexisting knowledge about the LSAT and crank out a 170+. But it is apparently common? Furthermore I see people claiming to score consistently above 170 within a few weeks of studying. I feel like its the equivalent of someone just deciding to take up basketball and making it into the NBA just showing up to a tryout without ever practicing.

If anyone here has been able to do this, how do you think it was possible? High caliber IQ? familiarity with content or time constraints?


  • mrowley91mrowley91 Alum Member
    203 karma

    I've never heard of what you're describing--that sounds insane! The highest I heard for a starting score were 1) a friend of mine who started with a 162, but this was after he had taken the GMAT , and had been studying for the GMAT for 4 months, and 2) on the Thinking LSAT podcast, Nathan (the co-host) once referenced a friend of his who I believe was a logistician and got a 164 without studying. Whoever, those people are (if they exist), they probably won't be on 7Sage!!

    p.s. my friend who scored the 162 the first time ended up with a final score of 173 after 3 months of studying and is now at Harvard. You don't have to be one of those people who immediately scores in the 170s to get into a crazy good law school!

  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    3481 karma

    I really doubt it's a "common" phenomenon, but I don't think it means they took the diagnostic with prior studying. I think those are the type of people who are really good at and have experience with brain teasers, logic puzzles, etc. Many people can do well on RC and LR in their diagnostic based on their college education but tank the LG in the diagnostic because it's so unfamiliar.

  • kilgoretroutkilgoretrout Alum Member
    795 karma

    It's either extremely rare or they were familiar with the material beforehand without being aware of it. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

  • berkorbustberkorbust Yearly Member
    13 karma

    It has certainly happened before but don't let the performance of others stress you out or bother you. Focus on your own self-improvement and results will come easier :)

  • oneeightyhopefuloneeightyhopeful Monthly Member
    8 karma

    So, I got a 163 in my diagnostic on Thursday night. However, I did have an understanding of the importance of pacing, and I had been reading things about the LSAT off-and-on for quite some time. I would not count that as studying, per se, but my mind was in a certain frame of thinking going into it, and I definitely did better because of it.

    That said, I scored -11 in LG, -4 in LR, and -2 in RC. Clearly, I need to focus on LG.

  • jlewis2618jlewis2618 Alum Member
    edited August 2020 69 karma

    Thanks for your thoughts all, its a bit reassuring that it seems the consensus is that its rare --- which is so intuitively obvious, but nonetheless makes me scratch my head when I read articles like this where the first thing they do is mention what to do if you score 170+ on a diagnostic:

    The internet probably makes it seem more common than it is, but it does make sense that some people come in and kill the RC sections and can do well on LR like some on you did.

    Much respect to the 160+ diagnostic guys!

    Good luck to everyone!

  • AlwaysBeClosingAlwaysBeClosing Alum Member
    87 karma

    My friend Will Hunting has done this before. He is also a janitor at MIT.

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