Whenever I met new students I used to ask them what their “goal scores” were. I ended up hearing “180!” a bit too often, so I switched to asking this: “What is the minimum score you’d be satisfied with (and not take the LSAT again)?” This question provided a better sense of the student’s goals. So, the true goal is to get YOUR top LSAT score. We’d all like to get 180s, but it’s just not possible for us all to realize that dream. If you disagree, I also have a bridge to sell you.
So, this strategy/pep talk is for those who are nearing LSAT game day and are not scoring a 180. Let’s say you’re scoring 168-170 on your latest preptests, that means that you’re roughly missing 7-12 questions between the four “live” sections. And let’s say you’re pretty strong with the games and RC – perhaps 1 wrong in each of those usually — but you miss 3 – 5 in each of the LR sections. If we’re a 6 weeks from the LSAT, there’s no reason whatsoever to assume that you can’t improve on that, but if you’re 3 weeks from test day, it’s time to face the facts: you’re probably going to score within the lower range of your recent preptests. So, at that point, if you’re not happy with such a score, do not take the LSAT!
If you are happy with that 168, then start practicing getting your top score. This means that you should practice getting ~10 questions wrong. Most importantly, practice making those 10 incorrect the 10 questions you find difficult. In other words, don’t get easy questions wrong and don’t leave yourself rushing on tough questions that are within your reach. Instead, take educated guesses on the really tough questions that you know — through experience — you’re probably not going to get right. If you allow yourself to do that — instead of throwing 2-3 minutes after that question — you’ve bought yourself some time for the challenging question that is within your reach.
If you practice taking the test this way, you are much more likely to find yourself scoring at the top of your practice range instead of towards your bottom.
In case you feel like you’ve become a serious nerd, look how bad it gets around here. Chris Ryan of ManhattanGMAT and me. (Reminds me of Rain Man. )
Stop worrying about this sort of stuff — get back to studying for the LSAT. While you’re at it, don’t worry about:
1. When your experimental section happens (sometime in the first 3 sections)
2. Whether it’s a good testing center.
3. The curve this year.
4. Whether to start with (A) or (E).
5. All questions emanating from reality shows, unless it’s an LSAT-related show, which to my knowledge, has not yet been developed.
With love . . .
A recent article in the National Law Journal raises some critical issues about the effects of US News & World Report’s annual rankings. What I found most disturbing are some of the tricks that law schools play to increase their rankings (accepting students as part-timers, hiring graduates so those grads are not unemployed), and the ranking’s effect on how law schools spend their money is disheartening. According to a GAO study, tuition at law schools has risen because of the need to hire top faculty amidst an increasingly competitive market.
If you’re on the fence about where to set your sites, one thought to consider when you’re facing the rankings game is whether you’d like to be in the top 10% of the 20th school on the list, or in the bottom 10% of the school ranked number 8. Your ranking within your class can make a difference in terms of your experience at school and how potential employers view you.
Well, we won’t know scores for some time, but we’ve started getting some feedback from our students. We stay away from talking about LSAT content to respect the testing process, but we’ve had students saying that it was a pretty standard LSAT for them. A common report goes like this: just wanted to say I felt extremely prepped and ready for the test yesterday. A great relief to walk in there and really be “surprised” by nothing.
Here is another nice letter: //www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=98343&p=2271246#p2271246
As a warning to future LSAT-test-takers, I heard from a few students who felt they did not do their best because they found themselves pressed for time. Even if you are great on your timing on practice tests, the reality of taking the LSAT can make you act differently. That’s why I sometimes recommend practicing with 34 or 33 minutes per section.
On another note, turns out that LSAC will be a bit slow with sending back scores this time. Even the LSAT elves need to take time off during the holidays.
If you’re interested in reviewing the LSAT with us, we’ll be hosting a review workshop in about a month, so stay tuned.