Taking the LSAT

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Austin at CALI pre-law blog has posted some useful LSAT advice today here. However, I’d like to make a few points about his comments based on my training of evaluating what an LSAT score says about someone and what it does not:
1. I’m a fairly bright person and I did very well in law school and passed every bar exam I took on the first try. However, even if I spent a year doing nothing else besides LSAT preparation I would not get a 175. It’s an aptitute test, and it’s not a memorization based test.
2. That being said, you can’t go in blind. While it’s not knowledge based, the questions are weird and take some getting used to. You need to train yourself to think like an LSAT taker. If you dedicate yourself 1-4 hours/day for 2-3 months, whether on your own or by taking a prep class or using a tutor, then whatever score you get is probably the right score for you. If you are not someone who studies well on your own, or if you generally struggle with standardized tests, then take the prep course.
3. If you try it on your own and think you would do better with a prep course, then the new policy of taking the higher score works in your favor. Just don’t count on anyone considering you with a February LSAT score, even if they say they will (for entrance that fall).
4. If you score 5-8 points lower on the real thing than you were doing in diagnostics, then that’s probably the right score for you.

It does not work to “shoot for” a goal score. I have lots of people tell me “I really want to break 160” or some other arbitrary number that sounds good. That’s too much pressure and not a productive way of looking at the test.
I’m happy to answer questions about this if anyone has….. just email me at [email protected] or post a comment. I know this is a hot topic.

5 thoughts on “Taking the LSAT

  1. Rick Lax on said:

    “If you score 5-8 points lower on the real thing than you were doing in diagnostics, then that’s probably the right score for you.”

    what if i scored 10 points less?

  2. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    If this was the first time you took the test, you may want to consider retaking it. Other factors to consider include: where you hope to attend law school, your schedule in the next two months, and finances. If you have the time and are trying to keep your options as open as possible, there isn’t a lot of harm in retaking it since the higher score is what matters now.

  3. Angelica on said:

    Is it true that making 10 points or more than the previous LSAT is seen as a positive by admissions and that it may increase chances of admissions?

  4. Angelica on said:

    Do you recommend studying right up until the day before the LSAT? I had a Kaplan professor advise us to stop studying @ 4 days before the exam and another student who took the test said he studied up until the morning of the test. What is the best approach?

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