Friday, October 24, 2008

Should You Re-Take the LSAT

Ok, LSAT scores are out. (Boy, am I glad I was right about that early release! Phew!).

So, you're either ready to go ahead and put together your schools list and apply to law schools or else you're agonizing about the pros and cons of re-taking the exam in December. (or both!)

I know what you're worried about:

1. You're concerned about rolling admissions and taking advantage of applying early.

2. You're concerned about the likelihood of actually improving your score enough to make it worthwhile.

3. You don't know which schools will average multiple scores and which rely on the higher score.

4. You don't know how to explain away this score in an addendum.

5. You're freaked out about spending more time and money on this #@@!*&$^@ing test.

So, what advice is the wise "LawSchoolExpert" lady going to give you tonight?
First, relax. You're exhausted from the anticipation and anxiety. Your score might look better to you in the morning.

Then, once you've taken a deep breath and gotten some sleep (or had a few drinks, whatever works for you : ), check out this post I wrote last year about the decision whether to retake the LSAT in December.

Some peppy news:
1. I had an a client who re-took the LSAT in December when his original score was a 167, got a 171 and is now at NYU Law School.
2. I had a client last year who jumped from a 157 to a 164 to a 173.

Some realistic news:
1. I had a client last year whom I thought should not retake the LSAT but she insisted and got the exact same score as her original. She is at a Top 20 law school, by the way, despite her LSAT being way below its 25th percentile.

What does this tell you? It means you have to know yourself. You have to analyze the likelihood of having a different (and better) result. And you are way too exhausted to make that call tonight, so get some rest and call me in the morning. I'll be here.

And, yes, I am still accepting clients for Fall 2009 admission...

68 comments:

  1. Ann,
    I'm crushed! I took the LSAT in June and October and my score actually decreased from a 154 to a 151. Any advice? Should I prepare like crazy for the December test, or write an addendum (my apps are all ready to go besides that)?

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  2. Ann,

    first of all, love your blog -- seriously has gotten me through some rough times when I felt all hope was lost.

    ON a positive, I improved my score from a 148 (June '08) to a 160 (Oct '08) .... I honestly cannot be more elated!!! This puts me in the category of how do I explain myself in an addendum but I hope that the results will speak for themselves.

    Anyways, Thanks so much for producing this blog ... it does keep me sane through the cold winter that is the law school admissions process.

    Cheers,

    A-tony in Bloomington, IN

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  3. Hi. I definitely understand your frustration. The answer depends on where you're planning to apply - do those schools say they factor the higher score into your index or the average, and what are your chances given each calculation according to the school's 25th percentile and median LSAT numbers?
    About December, it depends how likely it is for you to raise your score. (how you were doing on practice exams, how you do generally on standardized tests, if anything crazy happened during the October test, etc.)
    About the addendum, it depends on whether you have a real reason or something concrete to explain but I absolutely hate an addendum that basically says, "I wish I'd done better on the LSAT."

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  4. To A-Tony:
    YAY!
    I love hearing good news!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Re: An Addendum. I took the LSAT in October 2006 and got a 149 (while a senior in college). I recently took the October 2008 LSAT and scored a 165. Should I bring attention to the two scores, or do I let the 2 year period and the significant improvement speak for itself? Thanks!

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  6. Ann,
    I came acoss your blog and it has mad me feel marginally better. My score was a 146, GPA 3.63. I took the LSAT 3 years ago with no prep and got a 142. This time I took a prep course and scored below my diagnostic. I am a non-traditional student and am looking at schools with a median score of 154. Should I re-take the LSAT? Is there any hope that I can get in with this score? Thanks for your advice.

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  7. For the person with a jump to the 165, you should probably have a very brief explanation for those schools that average multiple scores.

    For the person applying to schools with medians of 154, it's just not enough information to decide. How many people does the school take each year with your current score?

    It's really hard when everyone puts anonymous as their names... I may have to put up some "Commenting Rules" on the site : )

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  8. Hi Ann,

    I was really quite dumbfounded when I received my LSAT score of 151 this past weekend. I had been, up until that point, quite hopeful of my admissions chances for several key schools - I graduated magna cum laude with a 3.8 and I have been working for the past year and a half as legislative aide to a State Senator in the State Legislature. What surprised me even more is that Reading Comprehension was, by far, my poorest section. I was a dual History/Women Studies' major, and all I've done for the past year is read, analyze, summarize, write - I certainly never struggled with RC in the past! That being said, I never performed well in standardized tests, and while I did study for the LSAT every day with prep books, the demands and stresses of my job prevented me from taking a prep course. Yet I am aware that the 'poor standardized test taker' explanation puts me in the same boat with several other people. Thus, at this point, I am debating between retaking the LSAT in December or adding an explanation of my score. I thought I would be in a better position to defend the section I did the most poorly on, but I am torn because I feel the current score severely limits me. My top choice in the state of Ohio is Ohio State, and I am waiting to speak with an admissions officer there. However, I was hoping to receive your input, it would be much appreciated!

    JG

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  9. Ann,

    Thanks for the helpful post! I got a 167 on the Oct LSAT, after scoring in the low to mid 170s on practice exams. I have a 3.59 (not so great), but from a top school. I would love to get into Berkeley. Should I retake?

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  10. Hi JG - you didn't tell me how you were doing on practice tests, but if you have the potential to raise your score 5 or so points, it might be worthwhile. I have a feeling the person at Ohio State will tell you the same.... Good luck!

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  11. Kimiedre - I think you have a shot - absolutely! With a strong application and all of your ducks in a row.....

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  12. Hi Ann,

    After drowning my sorrows on Saturday, I'm now making plans for future and ready to give LSAT another shot. I've been scoring in the low 160s before the real on on October. But with a 151 and a 3.04 from Berkeley, I think my chances at say Hasting/Davis/UCLA are slim to none. I think I can pull a 5 point increase if I take the December test, or wait till next Feb/June to score around 165 which I think will be capable of. I would greatly appreciate your wise input for my scenario.
    -Should I gamble with what I have now & apply early to as many schools (I have I have Cali, Texas and NY schools in mind)?
    -Superprep for the December, expecting to get 3-9point increase
    -or delay my application until next year, giving me more time to prepare, gain more work experience and enjoy life a little such as international travel/road trip (I am leaning more favorably to this option day by day).

    Hope this helps others like me. wow I am starting to like bloggin.

    p.s. currently with 1+ yr experience at a small law firm, strong letter of rec from profs and boss

    ReplyDelete
  13. I took my first LSAT in February 2007 and received a 165. I retook this October, and got a 174. A 9-pt jump is significantly higher, and I believe I can attribute my first score to illness (the flu, specifically). Do you suggest writing an addendum, or should I let the numbers speak for themselves?

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  14. Future President: Submit a BRIEF addendum.

    (My previous comment posting was obviously for Lancelot. LOVE these names... I wish I could choose a fake blogging name, but that would defeat the purpose of me blogging I suppose...)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Ann!
    I took the LSAT in October and got a 165...lower than any of my practice tests (I had been testing in the 167-170 range). I had my sights set on a top 14 school, but with this score am wondering what my chances are.
    I have 4 years work experience at a big 4 accounting firm, a masters in accounting from UVA, and a CPA. I'm really hoping that this will help me since my LSAT was lower than I hoped. Do you suggest that I apply early decision to one of the top 14 schools, or wait and re-take the LSAT in December? I really want to start the application process ASAP!
    Any advice you can offer would be very helpful! Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I got a 157 on my October test, and was quite dismayed considering I was typically scoring between a 162 and a 167 on about a dozen timed practice tests. I retook the test by myself 2 days ago and got a 165 (granted I worked a little more quickly having seen the q's 3 1/2 weeks earlier). I think the factors for the difference were 1)about 3 q's wrong due on actual test due only to mis-bubbling 2)extremely high test-time anxiety (I was up until 2 am because I was unable to sleep despite taking a sleeping pill at 11:00) 3)overkill in studying during the few days before the exam coupled with a stressful period at work.
    I registered for the December test, but the q is if I should submit the rest of my applications now or just have them ready and submit them all in late December with the new score. Someone I trust told me that if I submit earlier there is the risk of being perceived early as a "157" test-taker when I could potentially score significantly higher in December.

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  17. Ask schools to hold your review until they have your new score. Problem solved!

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  18. Ann,

    I took the test in June, off a whim (just a few practice tests) and got what I deserved, a 147. October (20 practice test later), I got a 150. I've consistently scored high 150's and low 160's.

    What should I do?

    A 160 score in December would put me in the hunt for my dream school. I know I can better my study habits for the next month but I'm freaked out that you can only take the test 3 times in 2 years. That means, December would be it. I can go for the gold, and try for the 160, or I can wait, take a year off, and be miserable.

    What to do?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Tripline,
    You might find the decision is made for you if you haven't already registered for the December LSAT....
    Ann

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  20. Ann,

    Luckily for me, there are 4 testing sites open in the Philadelphia area, including one walking distance from my home. Do you have any advice?

    I appreciate it,
    Tripline

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just got my lsat score should i take it a third time in feburary? i know i can get in the 160 's if i take it again. My gpa is 3.0,the first time i took the lsat i got 142 second time 154 should i take it over?

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  22. The answer depends on where you're applying, and the impact of waiting until February for your score to be released....at least if you're applying for Fall 2009, I worry about applications being held up. But, if you are only competitive at the schools you've selected with a higher score then that answers that question....

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  23. Hi Ann,

    I feel horrible about my October 08 LSAT score - 152. I was scoring around 157 on the practice tests. I don't give rolling admissions much weight and am thinking of taking the December LSAT. Having said that, I already took a Kaplan prep course. What do you consider the best strategy to doing better to be? Do you think there's hope?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for writing, Nadejda.
    You haven't told me enough information for me to know if there was a problem with the way you were studying for the LSAT, or what you should do differently. It's fine to take the December test if you think it's likely you'll raise your score. Perhaps just keep doing what you were doing and spend a little time with a tutor on the places where you are getting stuck.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ann,
    I have until tomorrow to register to retake the LSAT in December. After about 15 practice tests, scoring an average of 167, I took the test for the first time in October 2008 and made a 157. I want to get into UGA, Mercer, and/or Emory. Please help! Should I retake the exam in December, or with this score and a 3.4 GPA from William and Mary, are my chances pretty good for getting into these schools?

    Thank you!!
    JLE

    ReplyDelete
  26. JLE,
    I can't comment about chances at individual schools in the blog format, but if you were doing so much better on practice exams and could still pull that off, I do think you're a great candidate to retake the test. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ann,

    I don't know what to do! Here are my stats, tell me what you think

    -Neither parents nor any siblings went to college
    -My father didn't graduate high school
    -I am co-coordinator of a Homeless Legal Clinic @ the RI Coalition for the Homeless
    -I do lots of volunteer work for the poor
    -Strong interest in pursuing Public Interest Law
    -I have 2 recomenndations from Suffolk law alums in my favor...

    -149 Oct. 2008 LSAT (UGH)
    -3.3 GPA

    I'm looking to go to Suffolk - that's my main goal. I don't want to look at Top 20s or anything. Suffolk is my match.

    SHOULD I RETAKE THE LSAT??? I don't do well on standardized tests, and I don't have the time to prepare for it again to my fullest.

    HELP!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Danna,
    Put together an AMAZING application and see what happens! Let me know if I can help in any way.
    Ann

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  29. Hi Ann,
    I scored 169 in February then plunged to 162 in October. I aced every section except for reading comprehension which I missed 11/27 on. I have never had more than 4 reading comprehension errors on a practice test, of which I have done 10 under timed conditions. I was extremely surprised at this and do not know how to explain it. I want to go to NYU or Columbia, should I write an addendum or retake? Thanks

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  30. Sophia,
    Only you know your potential to perform on the LSAT; I don't know how your practice scores were going, etc. You may want to submit an addendum about the 2nd score, and if you're signed up for December and think you can beat the 169 then go for it.
    Ann

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  31. Dear Advisor,

    I am a 2005 Tulane University alum applying to law school for Fall 2009. I am disappointed with my October LSAT score of 151 and trying to decide if I should take the exam again. I took a prep class prior to the Oct. LSAT and throughout the class my highest practice test score was 158 so I know I am capable of scoring better. However, I am wondering if my time would be better spent working on my applications rather than studying for the December test.

    I double majored in Political Science and History at Tulane with a cummulative GPA of 3.3. Since graduating I worked for the Department of State for two years and most recently I have been working for the Department of Defense in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy as the Director of the office's International Personnel Program. This current job has kept me quite busy with international travel which is one of the reasons I think my LSAT score was lower than it could have been. The problem with taking the December test is that I am most likely going to be in Poland the first week of December to continue negotiations on a status of forces agreement with the Polish Government. If this is indeed the case I probably would not get back to the US until Friday afternoon so may not be at my best Saturday morning for the test.

    So, rather than taking the test again I am thinking of employing the strategy of applying to part time programs at some schools where 151 is at the low end of the LSAT range. In particular, I am looking at applying to the part time programs at the University of Maryland, Loyola-Chicago, Depaul, Denver, American University, and Catholic University. Do you think applying to these part time programs is a good strategy and do I have a chance to get in to any of them with my current LSAT score? I have some good work experience that I think might make up for the low score. My goal is to specialize in international law and my current job has given me experience in that field. Also, I have secured a letter of recommendation from my supervisor from when I worked with the State Department and from my current boss the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. So, I am trying to decide if I should spend the next month studying to take the LSAT again or crafting a stellar personal statement and application for these part time programs. Again, I think I can do better on the LSAT but don't know if my circumstances are conducive to retesting. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dear Advisor,

    I am a 2005 Tulane University alum applying to law school for Fall 2009. I am disappointed with my October LSAT score of 151 and trying to decide if I should take the exam again. I took a prep class prior to the Oct. LSAT and throughout the class my highest practice test score was 158 so I know I am capable of scoring better. However, I am wondering if my time would be better spent working on my applications rather than studying for the December test.

    Let me give you some background on myself. I double majored in Political Science and History at Tulane with a cummulative GPA of 3.3. Since graduating I worked for the Department of State for two years and most recently I have been working for the Department of Defense in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy as the Director of the office's International Personnel Program. This current job has kept me quite busy with international travel which is one of the reasons I think my LSAT score was lower than it could have been. The problem with taking the December test is that I am most likely going to be in Poland the first week of December to continue negotiations on a status of forces agreement with the Polish Government. If this is indeed the case I probably would not get back to the US until Friday afternoon so may not be at my best Saturday morning for the test.

    So, rather than taking the test again I am thinking of employing the strategy of applying to part time programs at some schools where 151 is at the low end of the LSAT range. In particular, I am looking at applying to the part time programs at the University of Maryland, Loyola-Chicago, Depaul, Denver, American University, and Catholic University. Do you think applying to these part time programs is a good strategy and do I have a chance to get in to any of them with my current LSAT score? I have some good work experience that I think might make up for the low score. My goal is to specialize in international law and my current job has given me experience in that field. Also, I have secured a letter of recommendation from my supervisor from when I worked with the State Department and from my current boss the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. So, I am trying to decide if I should spend the next couple of months studying to take the LSAT again or crafting a stellar personal statement and application for these part time programs. Again, I think I can do better on the LSAT but don't know if my circumstances are conducive to retesting. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ryan,
    I would be happy to speak with you. I always offer initial consultations and you raise a lot of issues that cannot be addressed easily in a blog format. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Ann

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  34. Ann,

    So here's my info:

    -I've been working at Washington Mutual Bank for roughly five years. I started off as a high school intern and am now a senior financial rep--and obviously I am now an employee for JP Morgan Chase

    -I've done so much community service within the past five years because WaMu was all about helping the community.

    -I have a letter of recommendation from my manager who I was with for about four years, as well as three from UCLA professors. I also have one more from a vice president/manager at washington mutual bank--but I figured five is just overdoing it.

    -And now for the not so great news: My GPA is at a 3.3, and I received a 156 on my LSAT test in October this year.

    That is basically a summary of what my applications are going to say. I honestly do feel very strong about my applcation--particularly my personal statement--because i talk about how i worked with a multi-billion corporation when it was at its peak performance, all the way until it went bankrupt so I have a lot of real life experience..and blah blah blah-

    But...I'm worried about how my LSAT score is going to affect me actually getting into law schools. My number one choice right now for law school is BU because of their dual degree in banking and financial law, and I am on fairly good terms with the dean there--but I'm still concerned about my lsat score. Im schedule to retake the test in december and I am pretty sure that I can increase it a little bit--but should I wait on sending in my applications, or do you think I have a decent chance of getting into some schools?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Sadia,
    Of course you can get into law school with your current stats; it's all about managing your expectations. Creating a balanced school list is important if you want to be successful the first admission cycle you're applying.
    Ann

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  36. Ann,

    My scores are the following:

    6/06 - 157
    10/08 - 159

    I am considering taking the LSAT in December (late deadline is 11/14). Before the first test, I took the Kaplan Prep Course. Before the second test, I took fifteen+ practices tests and studied on my own. Most of the practice test scores were in the 162-168 range. I really do believe I can score higher than a 159. On the night before the October test, I didn't get good rest. My current scores and GPA are in the ranges of the schools to which I will be applying. All but one of these schools are schools which take the highest score, and the one which doesn't averages and requires an explantion for the higher score. I would like to bring the score up for scholarships and such. Should I retake? If so, is there a new strategy I should take?

    Keith

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  37. Keith, you seem to be pretty intent on retaking so as long as you continue studying I don't see a downside. The likelihood is that the score will come back in the same scoreband, but 2-3 points might help you - I don't know enough about your overall record to know how much you need the help of 2-3 points, but I don't see any reason to discourage you from retaking at this point.
    Good luck!

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  38. Ann,
    I am deeply disappointed with my LSAT score. I took the OCTOBER LSAT and I got a 140. I graduated a year early from College with a G.P.A of 3.74. I am unsure if I should retake the december LSAT or keep studying for the Febuary Exam. I really would like to apply to St.Johns School of Law in Queens, NY for the FALL 2009 semester.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey Ann,

    I absolutely LOVE your work! I was on amazon looking for books on advice for law school admissions, this past summer,and came across your book. I bought it right away, and its been a great asset!Im hoping you can help me out on your blog, as much as you have with your book.

    I am taking a year off before (hopefully!) going to law school in fall 2009. I graduated from Rutgers, NJ, this past may with a 3.0, as a double major in poli-sci and psych. My low GPA wasnt because i didnt apply myself hard enough, but because i struggled the first 3 semesters as a pre-med student, thinking that was what i wanted, and spent my sophomore year in therapy treating my eventual depression springing from years of repressed memories of sexual abuse as a child.. In 2006, the summer b4 my jr. year I initiated my double majors and later decided to go to law school. I took the lsat in dec 07 and did horrible, scoring a 146, when i was scoring between a 152-156. Re-evaluating myself, it dawned on me how no matter how hard i tried, my concentration and retention rarely improved (ive struggled with this my whole life). I went to get checked out for the sake of putting my worries to rest, but instead was diagnosed with mild ADD in January 08.

    i re-took the lsat in June, thinking i would do much better because of the different way i was handling the situation. I was scoring consistently between 156-161 and thought i had a much better chance of getting between my 158-160 goal. Unfortunately, the day of the exam, and this is going to sound UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, i forgot my medication for my ADD, and my concentration and retention levels were shot, resulting in a score of 150.

    I am now taking the lsat in december and wanted to know what you thought. I really want to go to new york law school, but am worried EXCESSIVELY of my low lsat score history, and that i will be taking it 3 times. More importantly, i just spoke with the LSDAS and was told the schools wont receive our LSDAS reports till jan 5th the earliest. Do you think i have a shot, or am i just fooling myself? How should i address the multiple lsat issue with my schools? in fact here's a question that keeps stirring in my head, am i even a likely candidate given its already november? Im planning to send out my applications by next week the latest, BUT what do i do abt my horrible lsat scores??? what should i be aiming for this time? i was thinking a 160 minimum. I keep scoring between my usual 155-160 range (depending on the day ive had before i start studying)

    sorry for the mouth-full. Your opinion would mean a lot.

    thanks so much!

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  40. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for all your work. I've been removed from Law School scene, and have been working as a pastor for the past few years, and decided to give Law School another shot. I graduated from college with a 3.59 gpa, and got a Masters with a 3.29 gpa (4 year program in 3 years). I've been averaging 162-165 on the LSAT practice tests thus far, but was wondering if you'd advise just to keep studying for the Feb. one, or take it in December. I want to go to Fordham.

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  41. Robintob,
    Thanks for your post. You're doing pretty well on practice tests and studying appropriately - take December and apply. February really puts you way too late in the admission process; by the time your app is read in March, people are already on a waitlist....

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  42. Dear Puja,
    First, I have to clear the air. I believe you read a book by Anna Ivey. You may have found me on amazon, because I reviewed her book on that site, but I cannot take credit for her book.
    About your LSAT, take it the 3rd time in December, take your medication, do your very best. Apply to your schools while you're waiting for the score. Send an addendum to explain the multiple LSAT history.
    Do your personal best on the LSAT - that's all you need to do.
    Good luck with it, and please let me know if I can help you in any way.
    Thanks for reading the blog.

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  43. Ann,
    I took the Oct. LSAT and got a 175, having gotten in the 176-180 range consistently on practice tests. I am applying to schools this cycle with my 175, and am wondering, if it turns out I don't get into the schools I'm interested in, is it worth it to take a June test and reapply the next go-around? I'm seriously considering deferring for another year anyway, even if I get in where I want to go (and if the school will let me). GPA is 3.73 from a top Ivy, if that matters.
    Thanks.

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  44. Pantagonian - your plan sounds like a good one and may even help you on waitlists.... I had a client one year who raised his LSAT 5 points in June and was immediately admitted off the WL.... But it's risky!

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  45. Ann,

    My LSAT score jumped from 164 to 170. I am mostly applying top 20 schools, and I don't know if I should add an addendum to explain the score discrepancy. Is a 6 point jump significant enough that I ought to add a brief addendum? I don't want to make any excuses, but it was just a bad test day!

    p.s. LOVE your blog.

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  46. Hi Rosie, Glad you love the blog. Congrats on the score increase!
    A sentence explanation would probably be worthwhile.

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  47. Hi,
    I am currently a 1L and thinking of transferring. I scored in the 80th percentile on the LSAT with almost no prep. I am wondering how transferring works with LSAT scores - can/should I retake even though I have already started school?

    LB.

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  48. Anonymous - you're done with the LSAT. Everything rides on your 1L grades. Good luck!

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  49. Hi Ann. I recently scored a 157 on the LSAT and I have a 3.17 cum GPA and 3.03 degree GPA from NYU Stern. I know 157 isn't a good score to get me into top 40 law school, but am not sure if waiting to take February lsat and then apply is worth it. On my practice tests, I scored above a 157 two times (159 and 163), of the 10 tests. I have also not been studying the past month, but I signed up for the test at the same test site just in case. I desperately need advice of how to continue with this process be it to just apply or retake the exam. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Lsathelp3,
    My advice is not to concentrate so much on the "top 40" and to find a school where you will be competitive because it's great that you got a 157 when you only scored above that twice in practice. Work hard in law school, do well, and you'll be pleased with your opportunities.
    Happy New Year.

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  51. Ann,

    I got a 148 LSAT and 3.1 GPA from an ivy. I am applying to the evening division of only two schools ranked around 66 and 68 (I think). I had no prep and studied for the LSAT around 10 hours before taking it. I have ~3 years work experience (top bulge bracket investment bank and consulting work) and have won numerous awards. My scores, as indicated, are low. I am not sure if the scores will be good enough for a 66/68 ranked school or if I should save my money and take a different course of action.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    ConfusedLSAT

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  52. Hi Ann,

    I really, really wish I'd read your post about LSAT prep before I took the LSAT, especially the line "Remember - setting a goal score NEVER works; it only sets you up for disappointment".

    I went the self-study route--I had always done decently well on standardized tests (1500 SAT, 760 and 790 GRE) with virtually no prep, and I figured the LSAT would be the same.

    I only started "studying" about a month before the exam, and this consisted of reading some of the books, but mostly just taking practice tests--I took a total of 5 actual old exams, and a few from books. I consistently scored low to high 170's. The difference is that I skipped the step of adding in an additional experimental section because I felt there was no way to authentically duplicate the uncertainty. In retrospect it may have been lack of endurance that resulted in my actual score. I was both crushed and shocked by my score of 165.

    My gpa is fairly low--3.15--but it's from one of the top three liberal arts colleges notorious for not giving many good grades. I completed a Fulbright scholarship after college, which I know carries some weight in academia, but I don't know if the same is true for law.

    My plan is to apply to a few top 30 law schools for this year, and if necessary, retake the LSAT and reapply next year. What I'm wondering if applying with these numbers, being rejected, and then reapplying with better LSAT scores would hurt me more than simply retaking the test (with a prep course this time) and waiting a year.

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  53. Sveta,
    I think your plan sounds like a good one. Reapplying next year with better scores and also updated personal statement and resume (and perhaps LORs) would be fine, really. Or, you may be happy with your results this year and consider transferring.
    Good luck, and thanks for reading the blog.
    Ann

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  54. Wow, this blog is fantastic!!
    Ann- I was hoping you might be able to shed some light unto my situation.
    I am a Canadian undergraduate student with an avid passion to pursue a career in Entertainment Law. The one school that offers the program most tailored to my interests is UCLA. I understand that there are very high admission requirements- one of which I am extremely concerned about- the LSAT.
    I have a 3.87 Cumulative GPA, great work experience in the entertainment industry and in extra-curricular activities, and I have received amazing letters of recommendation from a noted professor, my boss at 20th Century Fox Films, and a supervisor for an extra-curricular student organization I am involved in (Hillel). My LSAT score, however, is only a 160 (81%ile). On practice exams I score an average of 170, but when test anxiety is taken into account in the real situation, my mark suffers. I wanted to try and boost my score, but I did not register in time for the February exam and that is the final LSAT they accept for Fall admissions.
    Do you think I have any chance in being admitted? It is my dream to go there!
    Also, I was curious if you know of any scholarships for international students in the odd chance that I do get admitted... all of the merit scholarships I have come across seem to be for California or US residents only.
    Any advice you could give me on my situation would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    -Jayme

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  55. Hi Jalter,
    If your Feb. LSAT score comes back more in line with your practice tests, you may be waitlisted at UCLA since it's so late in the cycle. With the current score (and applying so late in the game), I would not be overly optimistic. I wish you the best of luck with it!
    Ann

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  56. Hi Ann.

    This is the first time I am posting. I am 39 yrs old, been out of College since 1992 - graduated Top 200 school with a 3.4 gpa Political Science. I have worked for the private sector in various management positions at software firms since 1994. I was recently laid off and am seriously considering law school. I am looking to take the Sept 2009 exam for Fall 2010 admission. I am married with children and my wife currently works so I 'think' we can get through the financial hardship for the three years it will take. What are your suggestions/thoughts? Should I even go through with this adventure?

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  57. Hi Ann.

    This is the first time I am posting. I am 39 yrs old, been out of college since 1992 - graduated Top 200 school with a 3.4 gpa B.S. Political Science. I have worked for the private sector in various management positions at software firms since 1994. I was recently laid off and am seriously considering law school as a new direction in my life. I am looking to take the Sept 2009 exam for Fall 2010 admission. I am married with children and my wife currently works so I 'think' we can get through the financial hardship for the three years it will take. What are your suggestions/thoughts? Should I even go through with this adventure?

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  58. David,
    You should go through with this adventure if, and only if, you are cognizant of how much law school will cost and what you can reasonably expect to make upon graduation and if you've done your research about possible legal careers. Also, assuming you want to attend law school in the city where you are currently located, look into the admission criteria for those schools - that's a good thing to be aware of. If you decide this is the right path for you, then give the LSAT your all (but consider taking June instead of September) and go for it! Let me know if I can help.
    Ann

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  59. Hello Ann,

    Hoping for Sep 2009 admission, I wrote the LSAT in Feb 2009 and scored a 151. With my GPA of 3.2, I am almost certain that I would not be accepted to any schools I applied to without a 160. Now that I will likely not be attending Law School in the fall of 2009, when Should I re-write the LSAT for 2010 admission?

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  60. Hello Ann,

    Hoping for admission to Law School in Sep 2009, I wrote the Feb 2009 LSAT and scored a 151. With my 3.2 GPA, I am certain that I will not be accepted to any of the schools I applied to without a 160. Now that I will likely not be attending Law School in this fall, when should I re-write the LSAT for 2010 admission?

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  61. Dear Ann,

    The LSATs for the Feb 2009 test were just published, and needless to say I am somewhat disappointed by my score. I really wanted to get into a Top 10 school, but with my current GPA of 3.75, and LSAT of 164 I think my chances are slim.

    I scored significantly higher in all of the 40 practice tests that I have taken, and am wondering if I should risk taking it again or just accept my slim chances of getting into a Top 10 school. I have lots of great extracurriculars, including two study abroad experiences, with one as an political researcher in the UK.

    I have lots of extracurricular activities that relate to law, and am looking at graduating from my undergrad in 3 years with a double major in Philosophy and political science.

    I would be really happy to get into UC Berkley with my current scores, but the chances don't look good. I was wondering if it was worth the risk of retaking the LSAT or not?

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  62. Warren, I no longer use this blog. I responded on the new blog: http://www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog/2008/10/24/should-you-re-take-the-lsat/comment-page-2/#comment-1040

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  63. Laloi, I answered your question here (since I no longer use this blog):
    http://www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog/2008/10/24/should-you-re-take-the-lsat/comment-page-2/#comment-1044

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  64. how terrible does it look to law schools that i went down from a 166 to a 163 with a two year difference b/t test dates? and is there a point in writing an addendum explaining my decrease when i have no actual way to explain my decrease?

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  65. Maura, For more recent posts on this subject, please see: http://www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog/2008/10/24/should-you-re-take-the-lsat/comment-page-2/#comment-1044

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  66. Hi Ann,

    I am a non-traditional candidate - engineer with 8 years work ex and now I have my own engineering consulting firm. I have undergrad GPA of 3.84 (from India) and while managing a full-time job and my company (in U.S. now) I did not have much time to prepare and being out of school for 10 years did not help much so my first LSAT was 149 in June, I took again in Sept (again with only 3 wks preparation) and got 157. I am thinking of taking again in Feb and I think I can get 162-63. What do you think would it be worth it? My choice of schools are U of Illinois / U of Wisconsin and with 161 I would be within their 25 percentile range. Thanks.

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  67. Himanshu,
    I am no longer using this blog. For the full discussion, please see: http://www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog/2008/10/24/should-you-re-take-the-lsat/
    If you have comments, please post there.
    I am not a fan of applying with a February LSAT, and you may want to check out discussion relating to rolling admissions before deciding to re-take. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

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