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Have I Reached my Score Potential??

westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
edited March 2017 in General 3788 karma

Hey guys,

To give some background info for my prep, I had a 140 diagnostic and I studied full-time for about 2.5 years. I went through Tesmasters, Blueprint and 7sage curriculums and my highest score on file was a 160. There were a couple of untouched PTs i took in the 70s that were 163 and 166 but for the most part I would score in the low 160s or the high 150s for fresh preptests. I took all the exams, drilled problem areas and retook exams from the PT 50s to PT 70s multiple times over with inflated 170s scores and near to perfect BR score. I also drilled heavily in LG, doing virtually all the games multiple times.

Since I have used up all three takes, I'm pretty much resigned to just apply with the options I have but I wanted to know if I reached my score potential? I was originally aiming for T14 for BigLaw and other government job prospects but it seems it is out of reach due to my score.

Comments

  • MoosaderMoosader Alum Member
    234 karma

    I'm sorry that you didn't reach your goal, but I think it's important to recognize how far you've come, +20 is awesome. With my own self, I tend to set the bar super high and consider anything less a failure. It's almost as if I think to myself. "If you're not first, you're last." That's simply not true, there's second and third and even consolation. The worst part is, when people tell me that I was successful despite not reaching my goal, I pout stubbornly until they have to stab me in the leg just to cure me of my paralyzing melawncholy. +20 is a sore worthy of getting all jacked up on mountain dew and having some good ole cocaine & waffles.

    Remember, the field mouse is fast, but the owl sees at night. shake & bake

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited March 2017 3072 karma

    It's not just about drills and PTs. Qualitative work is far more important than anything else you can do in order to prepare yourself for the LSAT. When you were stuck, maybe you should have found a tutor (top-percentile scorer), or maybe not. Some issues are more easily addressed than others, but there are very few issues that can't be addressed if you have the desire. In other words, I very much doubt you've hit your peak.

    Self-awareness it the key to that 170+ most of us need for a T-14 spot.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    edited March 2017 3788 karma

    Hey @ilikephilosophy, I actually used multiple tutors, many of whom scored in 170s, and ond of whom got a perfect score, throughout the course of my studies and also implemented their advice as well. One them went so far as to hint that I was hitting my cap given how much I already studied.

    I do understand that the getting top score requires an exceptional level of self awareness. I'm not entirely sure if that is what I was missing because my drills and BR were done with an eye with where my problem areas were.

    As for desire, I have mentioned in the post that I studied full time for the LSAT for more than 2 years. I'm not seeing how lack of desire was an issue in my case.

    I appreciate your insight nonetheless.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Thank you @Moosader for your encouraging words. Your sentiments about setting the bar high and how you felt if you didnt meet those goals are almost exactly how i felt about myself.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited March 2017 23929 karma

    Your potential is a 180. It is certainly potential(ly) possible ... It almost always comes down to a matter of time. 2.5 years is a long time prepping. If you want to keep going, I absolutely have ZERO doubt you can hit a 170. It might take another 6 months or a year ....

    But that is a very ethereal analyzation and answer to your question. Your 20 point increase is nothing short or amazing if that matters to you at all.

    Let me ask you this: What is your score goal?

    You said you want big law/T14 prospects.. So depending on your GPA you'll probably need to hit a 165+170-ish. However, forget your career goals for a moment and honestly ask yourself what your goal is? I think whatever that goal is determines your potential and whether or not you've hit it. And I don't think it is easily and honestly obtainable to find out what that true potential is when you set the career goals above what's right in front of you: this test.

    This might sound stupid, but I am aiming for a 180 (ha! lmao) However, my GOAL is a 172-174ish (Meaning I wouldn't retake a 172, but am aiming for a 174+) . I know 3-4 people who have scored at this level, personally, and they are human just like me. Extremely smart and hard working, but it shows you it is totally possible if you are those things. And I am a true believer that if one can hit a 165 they are capable of a 170+. This is just anecdata based on tons of people I've come across from 7Sage, TLS, Reddit, etc... It seems like anyone who ever hit that 165 mark either stopped or retook and usually scored higher.

    That said, I've decided to take however long I need to score my goal. I got some money saved and a s/o to help out with bills. If it takes 2 more years for me so be it. I really believe, as cheesy as it sounds, you decide your own potential. Time/effort/energy are the variables that are going to be a large part of that equation. I'm lucky that I have the financial means to do this as long as I need, well, within reason. You won't see me on here in 2025, haha.

    In any case, congrats on the awesome improvement thus far and dedication. I think if it is feasible you should continue to prep and reach that T14 level LSAT score. I'm guessing you're young and you might only get one shot at your dream! I fear being 35 and having not just put in the extra 6 months. The older you get, the faster times goes for sure. I can't believe I'll be closer to 30 than 25 soon! And when I think of the last 3 years since I've graduated, what really is another year for my dreams?

    You got this! Don't give up because the fact you've asked this question indicates to me you know you are capable of more. Those who hit a 155 and know that's their score never ask if they should retake or if it's their potential. They already know....

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    edited March 2017 3788 karma

    Hey @"Alex Divine". I really appreciate your optimism and you reminded me the importance of really thinking about your goals for law. I'll have to deeply assess my situation and goals to see if I can keep going. Things are made more complicates by the fact that i already took all 3 takes and I would have to wait 2 years from my first. Nonetheless, it is definitely admirable that you set your goal high for yourself and I hope you achieve your goals.

    A big part of me feels like taking my score and gpa and just applying with what I have and using the same if not more intense effort and dedication for law school as I have done for the LSAT

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    Hey @"Alex Divine". I really appreciate your optimism and you reminded me the importance of really thinking about your goals for law. I'll have to deeply assess my situation and goals to see if I can keep going. Things are made more complicates by the fact that i already took all 3 takes and I would have to wait 2 years from my first. Nonetheless, it is definitely admirable that you set your goal high for yourself and I hope you achieve your goals.

    A big part of me feels like taking my score and gpa and just applying with what I have and using the same if not more intense effort and dedication for law school as I have done for the LSAT

    Of course! I learned when I was a depressed-pessimistic-cynical asshole that it just wasn't worth it to be positive and that would help me get to those goals. Yeah, having taken all 3 complicates it, but you can always apply with that you have and see what your outcomes are. And I know if you've seen my mosts on here or TLS I'm a fucking broken record, but 2 years of some work experience--even if it's extra--is the most underrated thing law students don't grasp. If you want to work at a big law job, it is SO much easier to interview and have a resume with some substantial work on there as opposed to what I used to have: Abercombie & Fitch, Dick's Sporting Goods, and selling cars. If you didn't go to an Ivy UG, substantial work experience is the MOST important thing outside of school, rank, and network. And I think in some cases, depending on your personal circumstance, it can trump all of those things. Especially if you meet the right people.

    When you go out and network drunk with people, you build bonds and people that will go to bat for you. The ONLY reason I had a decent job these past couple years is because when I was selling cars during summers in college an investment analyst came in and bought one from me. During the test drive we talked, we kept in touch, etc. He eventually got me an interview and my job. Otherwise, from where I went to school, it just wouldn't have been possible.

    So there's always working for a couple years and prepping as well...

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Yes @"Alex Divine" , I'm definitely thinking of doing some law related job in order to build a network. I'm from Southern California and I may have some connections to attournies in public sector through family so applying regionally may not be a bad idea. Although its not an Ivy League school, I went to Carnegie Mellon which ranks top 25 frequently. The problem is that my school excels mostly in engineering and finance, so most of my peers end up getting jobs and very few even consider law school.

    It's great to hear that networking has gotten you an excellent opportunity in your work life. You must be a great person to be around haha.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    Yes @"Alex Divine" , I'm definitely thinking of doing some law related job in order to build a network. I'm from Southern California and I may have some connections to attournies in public sector through family so applying regionally may not be a bad idea. Although its not an Ivy League school, I went to Carnegie Mellon which ranks top 25 frequently. The problem is that my school excels mostly in engineering and finance, so most of my peers end up getting jobs and very few even consider law school.

    It's great to hear that networking has gotten you an excellent opportunity in your work life. You must be a great person to be around haha.

    That's amazing! Carnegie Mellon gives you an awesome network. Have you considered working for a bit in ibanking/finance? That is what I did and I didn't have much of a background in anything. Places will teach you how to use Powerpoint and Excel and pay you! And you can make some money, make some connections, and southern Cali is where I hope to one day end up! :) So jealous.

    Thanks I appreciate that. A lot of people online think I'm out of my damn mind, but when we meet in person they just see I'm a regular black dude from NYC who likes to drink. Maybe too much... lmao

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Hmm I actually thought of either working in finance or consulting before I began my LSAT journey, but unfortunately I struck out during those pesky case interviews :(. Working in Finance or IBanking would definitely be interesting, but I'm just concerned of being couple years removed from undergrad and not having substantive work experience to show for that time period. Although I did do some market research work for a start up for the year I graduated, the company unfortunately closed down. Haha NYC is definitely a nice place to practice and I definitely wouldn't mind ending up there as well. Although I do know Columbia and NYU places well in BigLaw, does Fordham place well in BigLaw for a New York regional school. Law School Transparency states that Fordham placed about 33% of its graduates in Large Firms. I'm not sure if we can assume that means Big Law?

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited March 2017 3072 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    Hey @ilikephilosophy, I actually used multiple tutors, many of whom scored in 170s, and ond of whom got a perfect score, throughout the course of my studies and also implemented their advice as well. One them went so far as to hint that I was hitting my cap given how much I already studied.

    I do understand that the getting top score requires an exceptional level of self awareness. I'm not entirely sure if that is what I was missing because my drills and BR were done with an eye with where my problem areas were.

    As for desire, I have mentioned in the post that I studied full time for the LSAT for more than 2 years. I'm not seeing how lack of desire was an issue in my case.

    I appreciate your insight nonetheless.

    Did you use Powerscore methods/tutors? Just curious.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @ilikephilosophy I used the Bibles when I first started out but I found the material from 7sage and Blueprint to be more instructive and intuitive for me.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    @ilikephilosophy I used the Bibles when I first started out but I found the material from 7sage and Blueprint to be more instructive and intuitive for me.

    Fair enough.

  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    893 karma

    Wow. I hope I can get a 20 point jump. Remember, learning is the number of repetitions and the time in between them. You could always take a couple of years to make some money, then get back to it aiming for your 170.

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast from personal experience I would say, no you haven't hit your highest potential. My diagnostic was 141 four years ago. Yep, you read that correctly. Four years ago! I haven't been studying consistently for 4 years but more on than off. My highest score is 171, BR and 169 timed. I had an 8 PT increase in the last 5 mos. I think it comes down to your mindset. Well for me anyway. I've had a lot of illness, stress and anxiety during my prep so I believe this no doubt affected my performance. My focus and dedication wasn't always the best. I'm not at my best now but I'm definitely doing a lot better than previously. My goal was 163-165 but I've scored a 169 so I've increased my goal to at least a 171. I should be trying to achieve that 180 but I'm a slacker so... I was itching to go ahead and take the test as well but I knew I could do better and I knew my dedication to the test wasn't what it needed to be. Go ahead and apply and see what happens. If you're not satisfied get back up on the pony and try again. You've got nothing but time at this point.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Hi @tanes256!. Wow 169 is very impressive!! How were you able to obtain that score increase? Was this after multiple takes?

  • mollskl8mollskl8 Legacy Member
    51 karma

    Thanks for this post @westcoastbestcoast - I am a similar situation of wondering about whether I've reached my potential (not necessarily the 2.5 years of full-time studying - wow you've really got a lot of motivation) so I appreciate your frankness!

    @tanes256 I am also curious whether after 4 years of you've had to re-take the same tests more than once and did you feel that was helpful? Someone once told me, actually the president of a testing company that helps underrepresented students prep for the LSAT, that after about a year you will have forgotten the substance of tests you've taken, so it will be the same as taking a fresh test. I've just been wanting to get more feedback about that and how long most people wait before doing re-takes as fresh tests, if that's a thing around here?

  • imharrisimharris Alum Member
    466 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast first of all congrats on the big score jump! you've already heard it, but +20 is huge. something to consider: where do you want to practice big law/gov't law? T14 schools are awesome at placing you in those jobs in the major markets, but hometown alumni networks are also very useful. you mentioned Fordham as a possible choice. I went there for my undergraduate degree they had an extensive network in NYC. I think you'd find it easy (assuming you do well in school; though you don't seem to lack for motivation or study habits) to get a job in BIG LAW in NYC upon graduating there.

    If you want to stay in Southern California, then perhaps USC, UC DAVIS, or UC SAN DIEGO (more scholarship options are likely here too) are good options.

    Personally, I also believe the west coast is the best coast and do not want to leave the great pacific northwest. my first choice for law school is the university of washington and most folks I've talked to out here say a UW degree is worth more than a Harvard degree in Seattle. as an added bonus if I get in: instate tuition!

    lastly, I'll second @"Alex Divine"... real world job experience is priceless. given our changing life expectancy and the financial state of social security/medicare you'll probably end up working in law till you're 80. what's a few more years before law school?

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast thank you! And kudos to you as well! I think I need to clarify though. I haven't taken the test yet. The scores above are from times PT or BR. Not really sure how to explain the increase though other than identifying weaknesses and actually dedicating the time and effort. I was always "naturally" a B student and could fairly bs my way through so I figured I'd give it a try here too, but nope! I tried to cut corners on a lot. I remember skipping the invalid arguments parts because why do I need to know that if I know the valid arguments?? Or so I thought. Then once I went through the curriculum I had to just start breaking my weaknesses down. Determine which question type was giving me issues and then figure out what about the question type was causing the issues. I've done more drilling than anything. I think this is general study prep. I haven't done anything that hasn't been discussed here. I think this last increase came from taking a break and coming back fresh and putting everything together.

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma

    @mollskl8 I haven't taken that many retakes surprisingly. I have remembered questions or passage being familiar but never enough to remember an answer or remember the flaw or trap AC or something like that in an LR question. There's a question earlier in the PTs about trash and it's used twice but the question type changes. After seeing that I was able to just kinda tune it out if something seemed familiar because they could've been asking two different questions. Hopefully that makes sense. I can't really say whether the retake was helpful or not though.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    Hmm I actually thought of either working in finance or consulting before I began my LSAT journey, but unfortunately I struck out during those pesky case interviews :(. Working in Finance or IBanking would definitely be interesting, but I'm just concerned of being couple years removed from undergrad and not having substantive work experience to show for that time period. Although I did do some market research work for a start up for the year I graduated, the company unfortunately closed down. Haha NYC is definitely a nice place to practice and I definitely wouldn't mind ending up there as well. Although I do know Columbia and NYU places well in BigLaw, does Fordham place well in BigLaw for a New York regional school. Law School Transparency states that Fordham placed about 33% of its graduates in Large Firms. I'm not sure if we can assume that means Big Law?

    Hey!

    I don't remember where I posted this (which thread on here or TLS), but I was just talking to a friend who goes to Fordham about big law and everything. She said it was increasingly hard(er) to get from Fordham and the OCI (on campus interview) and career services were kind of lacking in some ways. We were out drinking and I don't remember the details or even what she meant by some of it because I'm a 0L. I guess my takeaway via her experience was you have to hustle because you got Columbia>NYU> and every other T14 who feeds into NYC big law. Fordham is good, but it's ranked in the 30s or whatever.

    You can definitely get big law from Fordham, however. I'd try to be solidly top 15% just to be sure if I went there. There LST does say they place a good amount into large firms though and they are generally pretty reliable.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    Hey! Sorry this is late but I just wanted to jump in here! Some things may be reiterated but I just wanted to share my experience.

    I was in a similar position as you not too long ago. It may sound radical but I changed the way that I looked at and studied for the test. More specifically, I slowed down tremendously to try to understand the logical structure of each question; I went back to lessons that broadly encompass the test (weaken, flaw, into to logic, etc.); and I stopped score chasing. The last one really solidified the other two and this really allowed me to push through my average. When I focused on my processes, I slowed down significantly. Honestly, on a test I took recently, all I did was worry about and think on my processes. When I did so, I scored 4 points higher than my highest PT. I am not saying you will get the same results. I am saying that there are ways that you can redefine your approach to improve your score.

    Hope this helps!

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