Each time LSAC releases LSAT scores, there are thousands of test-takers who are less than satisfied with their results. Luckily for those folks, you are allowed to take the LSAT up to three times in any two year period. Unluckily for them, the decision as to whether a retake is “worth it” is hardly a straightforward one. Enter the Manhattan LSAT Retake Manifesto.
In the coming paragraphs, we hope to address all of the concerns that a potential LSAT retaker may have – or really should have – before deciding what their next course of action is.
Let’s start with a dose of reality. Most people see very little improvement in their LSAT score after retaking (an average of roughly two points for folks who scored between 150 and 167 the first time), and some even see a decrease in their score. Take a look at the below chart for some analysis of the success of 2010-2011 ‘retakers’ with various initial scores:
*Data courtesy of LSAC.org’s 2010-2011 “repeater” statistics (pdf).
The most important take away from this data is the marginal nature of the score increases that repeat LSAT takers tend to achieve. Just because something is unlikely, however, does not make it impossible, especially when there are some repeaters scoring worse, telling us that some people do significantly better than the 2 or so point average increase. Furthermore, there are very legitimate circumstances that may have applied to your first attempt at the LSAT that prevented you from realizing your full potential.
Check back on Monday for Part 2. There are many pages more of the LSAT Retake Manifesto to come.
Yesterday around 4:30pm EST, LSAC began the process of releasing scores to students who took the October LSAT. The curve was -13 for a 170, which means this was an unusually difficult exam – we typically see the 170 curve at -10!
Score release day is a nervy affair for students (first and foremost), parents, and test prep companies alike. We are all intimately familiar with the amount of hard work that has gone in to preparing for the LSAT, making the moment that you open that email from LSAC an impossibly sudden crescendo to the hundreds of hours of hard work put in by law school hopefuls.
As sweet as it was to hear the numerous success stories of our students in the early moments after the score release, our immediate attention is always turned to the people out there who still have a bit more work to do. There will be many students who should think about retaking the exam in December (or February, depending on when you are trying to start Law School), and many more who should not – much more on this decision will be forthcoming in my “Retake Manifesto” blog post later this week.
For the unsure student, (or anyone else curious about what was going on with this exam), we’re offering our free live online review of the October LSAT. Mike Kim and Noah Teitelbaum will be presenting the answers to several of this exam’s more difficult questions, as well as providing insight in to whether or not you should be considering a retake.
If you already have your sights set on December for one last shot at this thing ahead of the Fall 2012 application deadlines, here is some helpful info:
- The deadline to register for the December 2011 LSAT is Friday, November 4th (receipt deadline)
- Ann Levine’s blog post regarding the retake decision is a useful read
- It’s not too late to self-study! Perhaps a bit of organization was all you were lacking from previous prep efforts.
- If you’re looking for more than self-study, we offer in-person and live online Private Tutoring – a fine option for the compressed timeline between now and the December test.
- Our live online Logic Games Intensive course begins on Sunday, October 30th and finishes up before the December exam. Try it free.
After weeks of anticipation, the October LSAT scores have finally been released by LSAC! The curve was -13 for a 170, -28 for a 160, and -45 for a 150 (out of 101 questions). This is a generous curve, as we typically see 170 scores around a -10. How did you do?
Hopefully you’re where you need to be and thus can start focusing on applications. For the rest of us mere mortals, there is still some work to do.
I would suggest attending our free online review of the October LSAT on Wednesday of this week. Two our our geeky-est instructors will be going over the more difficult questions on the exam, and providing some insight in to the “should I retake?” dilemma that many of you are likely facing now.
If the December LSAT is in your future, be sure to get yourself registered before Monday’s (October 31st) deadline.
Be sure to tweet your LSAT score @ManhattanLSAT for a chance to win a cool prize!
In the increasingly fast paced, digitized, need-it-yesterday world we live in, there are few beacons of “the old school” that stand out as welcome reminders of a more relaxed by gone era. The LSAT, with its pencil and paper format, is one of these ‘throwbacks’.
In my humblest of opinions, throwbacks are not necessarily a bad thing! I can think of several examples of this: the hand written thank you note, the sky hook, rec specs, Warren Buffet, the Pythagorean Theorem – I think you get the point. When it comes to the LSAT, aren’t you somewhat appreciative of the fact that the test is in the same format as most of the tests you’ve taken since elementary school? Other grad school hopefuls must take entrance exams which require them to submit their answers in to a computer that actually determines the next question on the exam based on their last response. I’ve heard horror stories of students accidentally kicking the power chord of their machine out in the middle of the exam – the horror! Read more
Ann K. Levine, aka The Law School Expert, has just released her newest book, The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers. I’ve had the opportunity to give it a once over, and I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who is thinking about law school, about to start law school, is currently in law school, or has recently graduated from (you guessed it) law school. In short, this is a fantastic read – well worth the $16 price tag!
Chock full of advice to help the aspiring attorney through the difficult maze of career decisions in front of them, this title is a straight-talk, easy-to-read guide that would make a welcome addition to any aspiring lawyers library. Aptly described in the title as “A playbook for perspective lawyers”, Ann draws upon years of experience working with prospective law students to identify and address the most transient questions that prospective law students have.
The Law School Decision Game is not about gaining admission to the JD program of your dreams. Instead, Ann provides expert perspective on the increasingly relevant decisions that need to be made before one even begins down the path to law school, such as:
- Is law school a wise decision?
- Considerations one should make in deciding what type of law to study/practice
- How much money do lawyers make?
- The business of law
- How to pick a law school
And much more.
Ann Levine has penned an incredibly helpful resource for any individual grappling with the decision as to whether or not law school (and thus a career in law) is in their future. “The Law School Decision Game” is a welcome injection of fresh, well informed perspective to the law school conversation.
As we lay the October 2011 LSAT to rest, it is important that we remember the legacy it will leave behind. We mustn’t forget the blood, sweat, and tears that went into preparing for this exam. Hopefully, you’re coming off of Saturday’s exam feeling content with your performance. If that’s how it went for you – congratulations! I hope you celebrated properly, and cannot wait to hear about your results.
As for the rest of you, who didn’t quite skip out of the exam center whistling “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah“, all is not lost! If you’re certain things did not go well for you on Saturday, you ought a cancel your score (if you haven’t done so already, today is the last day!). And luckily, December is not too late – you can still get in to law school in the Fall 2012 using your scores from the December 2011 LSAT!
What’s important is for you to recognize what’sholding you back from achieving your LSAT goals, and then to do something about it. Here are three common reasons why you might not be seeing the results you wanted:
1) You underestimated the beast that is the LSAT. You knew the LSAT was hard, but you had no idea just how much time and energy was necessary to adequately prepare for the exam. –We see this often—students who expect that a few hours of homework and studying each week will be sufficient for maximizing their potential on this test. Unfortunately, for most people it takes much more than that. Set your sites on the December exam with your expectations adjusted.
2) I just can’t seem to get over the hump on the ___________ section. This is natural. Often students who have been studying for a while start to have a few sections of the exam really “click” for them, while one or two sections remain problem areas. You should embrace this opportunity to hone in on your weak areas and really address what’s holding you back (note: if you’re struggling with Logic Games, consider trying our Logic Games Intensive Course).
3) You prepped hard, but not smart. At Manhattan LSAT, we’re big proponents of self-study. Maybe you’ve been studying on your own, but have never really had a structured approach. This is one of the major advantages of our Self Study program: it gives you structure. It tells you what to focus on, when to focus on it, and how to channel your efforts on a particular question type or exam section. If you’ve chosen to do it yourself, be sure to add some sort of structure. Our Self Study program comes with a syllabus and course recordings, ensuring that you have a very structured plan of attack.
For those of you who are going to continue the LSAT battle from now until the December exam, perhaps we can help. We’re offering a free, live online review of the October exam and have an lsat class beginning October 17th that will prepare you for the December test.