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163 and a 3.81 GPA, debating on a retake---any advice?

kicurtiskicurtis Alum Member
edited July 2015 in General 71 karma
So I retook the June 2015 LSAT and got a 163. Now this is much better than my first actual test score which was a 153 (did not study in the right way or right amount of time), however, I was scoring between a 165-169 before I took the June test. I'm planning on applying to schools of different tiers but my top three T14 schools are Berkeley, Michigan, and Northwestern, which I plan to apply to early binding. What I'm debating is whether to take the October test for probably a max increase of 5 points. I have a 3.81 from Michigan and have been working as a paralegal for a little over a year now. What I'm wondering is if I have a shot at Northwestern and Michigan with these credentials (I'm not a URM). I know a higher score would definitely make me a stronger candidate but I also don't know if it's worth risking getting a lower score than the one I have now. I'm working full-time right now and am planning on applying for the Fall 2016 cycle so I don't know how much intense studying I can do between now and October. The thing is that I feel like it's just a few small differences that caused my lower score so I think I'd need to focus on tweaking certain areas of the test if I did decide to retake for the last time. I know I'm thinking out loud here but I'm really going back and forth on this one. Any sage advice is much appreciated!

Comments

  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    6732 karma
    Admission with those numbers is not unheard of, but very unlikely especially for a non-URM candidate. Odds are you won't get into any T14 with those numbers, though T20 is a reasonable bet. If you're okay with that, fine. If not, retake.
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    1654 karma
    I think Berkeley is definitely out with a 3.8. Your best chance in the T14 is Georgetown. If you had a 4.0 gpa, UVA ED would be a possibility as well. I think you will get into USC, Fordham, Emory, UT (?), UCLA (?), GW, etc. You most likely have to retake to get into a T14. Barring URM status, the applicants with low LSAT scores who the T14 takes usually have a 3.95+ gpa (usually 4.00).
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    There is literally no downside to a retake other than having to study more. NU is very splitter friendly but the same is not as true for reverse splitters which you are in my book since your GPA is almost a full point over mine. Honestly I think Michigan is probably your best shot, and you could likely get either Berkeley or NU with a 170+. Even a 168+ would likely get you GU, NU, or Michigan. The $50,000 ED deal at NU is probably your best bet though so I'd study hard (it is 150 grand after all) and retake in October, have your app already ready to go, as long as you clear 168 then interview first week of November and then submit all your other apps. Sitting on a 163 with your GPA is crazy in my opinion and you will seriously underperform your potential. Also, what were your BR numbers looking like? That should provide some good insight as to the ceiling you could hit in October.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    @kicurtis said:
    for probably a max increase of 5 points. I have a 3.81
    people need to stop this, don't put a limit on the amount you can increase! Just because you max range b4 your take was 5 points higher is by no means the highest score you are capable with another 3 months... At this point you were scoring higher, you understand the test pretty well. Now comes even more refining and work, even if reusing most of your material. There is no way to know if you will increase at all, but also no way to know by how much you will or will not increase with more time and effort put in. If you are happy with your current possibilities and your career goals are very obtainable currently and you feel like retaking just won't work for you.... ok. But if you have the energy and determination to get back on the saddle then go for it, worse that can happen is a decrease which realistically is not really bad considering how most schools look at your LSAT
  • kicurtiskicurtis Alum Member
    71 karma
    @Pacifico for reference to my numbers my last 6 PTs before the June test were PT 66: 169 (BR 178), PT 71: 165 (BR 173), PT 72: 165 (BR 173), PT 73: 168 (BR 177), PT 74: 167 (BR 173). I'd have to be reusing a lot of material although I do still have untouched recent PTs. At this point I'm just not even sure what to focus on since my RC and LR fluctuate between -2 and -7 (for LR I don't really have a question type that I'm consistently getting wrong) and my LGs fluctuate between -2 and -6. I'm also worried how it will look to school if my LSAT score shot up from a 153 to a 163 but then went back down to say a 160 or something.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    Most all schools only care about the highest, so don't worry about that. And with those BR scores you'd be selling yourself short not to retake. Don't worry about reusing tests, you'll just be focusing more on maxing that BR when you recycle PTs.

    You should definitely lock up that LG before anything else. You're just leaving points on the board there. Then I'd say dive into the trainer to shore up your reasoning/argument structure skills (which are obviously there given your BR scores). Do you have speed or anxiety issues during times PTs that affect your scores?
  • AlejandroAlejandro Legacy Member Inactive ⭐
    2424 karma
    ^ what @Pacifico just said
  • ddakjikingddakjiking Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2116 karma
    If you think you can improve, you should totally give it a go! You have an amazing gpa that a lot of people would metaphorically (hopefully) kill for!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @jdawg113 said:
    people need to stop this, don't put a limit on the amount you can increase! Just because you max range b4 your take was 5 points higher is by no means the highest score you are capable with another 3 months... At this point you were scoring higher, you understand the test pretty well.
    JDawg with some truth here! I like this attitude. I mean, I'm all about managed expectations, but we have nothing to lose with this test by dreaming big[ger] and working hard[er]. Well, ok, don't kill yourself, folks ... But with this much money on the line, I say, go whole hog.
    @kicurtis said:
    for reference to my numbers my last 6 PTs before the June test were PT 66: 169 (BR 178), PT 71: 165 (BR 173), PT 72: 165 (BR 173), PT 73: 168 (BR 177), PT 74: 167 (BR 173).
    @kicurtis With those numbers, I'd say your potential is NOT maxed out at a 163. No way. Keep on truckin' ... Join the BR groups. If you do nothing else for your prep, this will at least help uncover weaknesses and refine your reasoning. Keep an eye on the forums (in the Study Groups section) for the posts about the schedule.
  • kicurtiskicurtis Alum Member
    71 karma
    @Pacifico said:
    I'd say dive into the trainer to shore up your reasoning/argument structure skills
    @Pacifico, I obviously am not up to date on the lingo so what exactly do you mean by "the trainer?" Just want to make sure I'm using the right resources. And yes I do have major test anxiety (actually if you see my other posts they're mostly about anxiety lol) although I was much less stressed on the June test compared to my first test because I knew I was more prepared. After reading all the comments, I think I'll be even less stressed on the October knowing that at the very worst I'll apply with the 163 I already have. Thanks for all the comments everyone, and if anyone has any more tips for honing my skills to lock in those higher scores I'm all ears!
  • inactiveinactive Alum Member
    12637 karma
    @kicurtis said:
    I obviously am not up to date on the lingo so what exactly do you mean by "the trainer?"
    He means @Mike Kim's LSAT Trainer: http://www.thelsattrainer.com/
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    1654 karma
    @kicurtis
    Are you by any chance a VA resident? If so, I would apply ED to UVA.
  • kicurtiskicurtis Alum Member
    71 karma
    Thank you @"Dillon A. Wright"! @alexandergreene93 No, I'm a Michigan resident--hoping that and my B.A. in Phl from Michigan might help me with Michigan's ED.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    @kicurtis here's my approach to LGs if you haven't seen it before: http://7sage.com/discussion/#/discussion/2737/logic-games-attack-strategy

    Feel free to hit me up with any questions you have about the write up.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @kicurtis said:
    After reading all the comments, I think I'll be even less stressed on the October knowing that at the very worst I'll apply with the 163 I already have.
    I think that's a good way to think about it :)
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