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December LSAT score inflation

Socrat3sSocrat3s Alum Member
edited September 2017 in General 92 karma

So my original intent was to take the June and Sept retake, but I procrastinated too much to be adequately prepared for June. Having just taken the Sept test, my concern now is that, for the Dec score to make a meaningful impact, I would have to score at least 4 or so points higher. My concern is based on some data I came across previously on one of those sites (lawschoolnumbers?) that let you play around with LSAT scores and GPA ranges from thousands of former applicants, from years 2011-16ish, throughout different stages of the app cycle. Basically, you can input a particular GPA and LSAT score range along with the month the application was sent, and based on all former applicants whose ranges match those selected, it shows the percentage of those applicants who were admitted/waitlisted/rejected to the various schools they applied (you can even exclude URM). I found that, assuming equal GPA/LSAT ranges, those who applied from roughly Sept - mid/late Nov had a significant boost in their chances of admission over those who applied late Dec - March. Specifically, it appeared that one would need an increase in LSAT of at least 2 or 3 pts to make up for applying later in the cycle. So for those of us considering retesting in Dec, I'm wondering how exactly we should weigh the above info. More importantly, is anyone else familiar with this phenomenon? Would it put us in a different category, in terms of the effectiveness of our 2nd test in improving our admissions chances, if we applied in late October/early November and updated our apps with the improved LSAT scores in January, instead of submitting the application altogether in january?


  • cgracia12cgracia12 Alum Member
    edited September 2017 737 karma

    Idk, but I had two friends get accepted into Baylor and SMU with a 160, 3.2 GPA and they took the February LSAT. Granted, they're not T1 schools, but the point is they took the February LSAT and still got accepted. Kill the LSAT, what if you apply and send LSAT later? That's what I plan to do, since I too will retake with the December LSAT. My goal is to get my apps in no later than October.

  • mazzinithesecondmazzinithesecond Free Trial Member
    61 karma

    Anyone else have any input on this? Would like to hear as well.

  • apublicdisplayapublicdisplay Alum Member
    edited September 2017 696 karma

    Isn't the range from late Dec to March wide? I would think there would be a big difference applying in Dec than in March alone. I too was concerned about the September vs December difference but I've generally had the response that there's not much of a difference applying right after a September score than it is right after a December score.

  • Mellow_ZMellow_Z Alum Member
    1997 karma

    It largely depends on your target schools. If you are aiming for T13 (maybe even T20) then there is a greater benefit to applying early. It also depends on what kind of score you receive from the September test. If you get a 169 and your target school has a median LSAT of 170, then even a 1 point increase will be a huge boost to your acceptance chances.

    @apublicdisplay said:
    Isn't the range from late Dec to March wide? I would think there would be a big difference applying in Dec than in March alone. I too was concerned about the September vs December difference but I've generally had the response that there's not much of a difference applying right after a September score than it is right after a December score.

    This is correct. If you apply immediately after you get your December scores you'd be in good shape still. If you apply at the beginning of March, you are definitely pushing it and are likely in bad territory unless you end up with an LSAT >75% and have an amazing number to pair it with. Even then, though, you might find it difficult to come out of your cycle with scholarship $ depending on things that are out of your control.

    Typically though, it's always safer to retake for a higher score.

  • AllezAllez21AllezAllez21 Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    1917 karma

    I've been thinking about this as well. It kind of depends on where you're applying and what your LSAT score is.

    If you end up scoring above the school's 75th percentile LSAT, then you've put yourself in a great position regardless of when you apply.

    A lot of the T14 schools have median LSAT and 75th LSAT scores that are only 1-3 points apart. Going from below the median to above the 75th could be a huge boost to your chances.

    If you got your application in literally the day after the December scores were released, you wouldn't be applying late really. Certainly it wouldn't be early, though.

    Another way to look at it is, if you feel you've underperformed in September, worst case the December score can be used for next cycle. Sure, it might be a bummer to delay going to law school for one more year, but in the grand scheme of things it's not a huge deal.

    Like you've already discovered, it's definitely a risk/trade off. If you delay your application and manage to only score a point higher, then you've not really gained much. If you manage to score 3+ points higher, then it will probably pay off. It depends on several factors.

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    I've been researching this topic too and everything I've found supports @Mellow_Z and @AllezAllez21

    I would suggest you look at specific schools when trying to answer this question for yourself instead of all schools.

  • Socrat3sSocrat3s Alum Member
    92 karma

    I really appreciate the feedback, as I'm sure most of you have greater insight into this process than myself. And I agree that the initial range I posted was wide (maybe mid Sept - early Dec vs late Jan - March would be a more appropriate comparison). I think my initial range posting was in part a reaction to a video I might have seen on here in which someone pretty knowledgeable about the process said basically anything before Thanksgiving is early, then toward the end of January you start getting into late territory. I'll be in a slightly awkward position in terms of numbers, as my roughly 3.66 GPA puts me somewhere in between the 25th percentile and median for most of the T14 after HYS and Chicago, while (based on my gut feeling and most recent PTs) my Sept score should be right around 170 (+/- 2). I get that waiting for next cycle is a common response to uncertainty over one's current cycle, but at some point you become increasingly cognizant of the potential 6 fig salary and valuable experience as a lawyer you are forfeiting annually with each delayed cycle. I'm just 2 years removed from undergrad but took a 3 year break between my junior and senior years to play poker professionally (I'll be 26 in October, not old but not young either). Like so many people in the 7sage community, I'm ambitious and plagued by this perfectionistic mentality that constantly leaves me feeling like I should be doing better, and each additional year of delaying my education is a blow to my ego. I know much of this is vanity but it's so hard to escape such thoughts...

  • AllezAllez21AllezAllez21 Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    1917 karma

    @Socrat3s I think you've just gotta wait until the Sept score is released and go from there.

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