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Diagnostic (Cold Test) vs Final LSAT Mark; a correlation?

  

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  1. 1. Does the Diag score correlate "well" with a final well prepped LSAT score?

    • Yes
      31
    • No
      34


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I just got my mock LSAT back from one of Kaplan's free test days. I got 149, which was frankly higher than I had expected (I was aiming for 130 or so). It was a cold test with absolutely no prep (I didn't even know there were 5 sections). So I was actually a bit surprised that I got 149. So then here I come on this forum and I see people cold testing in the 160s, and I get a bit worried I'm not cut out for the LSAT.

 

So the question is, do you guys think there is a correlation (and if so, how strong) between the diagnostic score and the final LSAT mark one is able to achieve?

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I feel like this is kind of a weird question. There's probably data out there on this. I don't have it, and I'm too tired to go googling, but if there is then asking for random opinions is kind of silly. Anecdotally, some people score 20 points higher (or more, probably) than their first PT, and some people do worse.

 

If the question behind your question is "Should I give up now because a 149 gets me in to exactly nowhere?" then the answer is no. There's no reason you can't do better than that on a real LSAT, if you're willing to put in the work.

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Perhaps my Google-Fu is not strong enough, but I am unable to find any aggregate data regarding this topic (there were, however similar threads on other forums from many years ago).

 

And thanks for the encouragement, but I'm still aiming for 180 (wishful thinking maybe, but it never hurt to aim high).

 

The reason behind my question (and poll) is to gauge an opinion based on anecdotal evidence from the self-selecting population here on the forums (which I suppose would best reflect my background). It really is more of a curiosity as to what people think rather than what I am personally capable of. And whatever the result, I will see it as an encouragement anyway (if people say no, I will be more motivated to buck the trend; if people say yes, I will be at ease even more so).

 

I hope this will be a friendly discussion. If this happens to not be the case, I am fully content with letting this thread settle in the archives.

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My diagnostic was a 163 and actual was a 164 (couple years ago, retaking in october). I was practice-testing at around 168 with a pretty large range (162-180), so it was unfortunate. Here are the mistakes I feel I made:

 

-Never went over my wrong answers; just kept taking tests

-Didn't take enough recent tests

-Practiced a lot less in the month before the exam (school started up)

-Focused way too much on logic games at the expense of the other sections

-I should have better simulated test conditions by adding sections

 

I'm hoping to fix a lot of these problems through a summer's studying.

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My first unprepped diagnostic was 147, 2nd one that counted 163...it's really a matter of time, some people get it right away, some take a couple weeks, some take months to make that jump. If it doesn't click right away just keep practicing and reviewing, it will come.

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You should not rely on diagnostic tests as indicators for your possible LSAT score, instead use them to analyze your strenghts and shortcomings. Pinpoint your weak sections (for most people its the games), figure out if you repeat same or similar mistakes. Focus on those areas for improvement,and later practice practice practice. Make sure to use official LSAT questions to practice, I always found questions prepped by second parties to be not LSATish.. 149 is a good starting point. You can do it! =)

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My cursory morning Google also failed to reveal the kind of information that would be helpful here. Hopefully someone else knows more than I.

 

To add my anecdote to the list, I wrote a 168 my first time, and came away with a 170.

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In my experience I've found that diag scores do correlate to actual scores, but not in that way that seems to be assumed (that one gets the same score).

 

People starting higher often end up higher as well. I've found people in the high 140's, for example can far more often break into the 160's than people starting in the 130's. This should make sense -- the stronger you start, the further up you go. Someone starting at 170 will have a much easier time getting to a 172 than someone starting at 160.

 

But, does the cold diag place your approximate actual score? Assuming plenty of time dedicated to prep, more often than not that's not the case -- I'd say the vast majority can significantly improve (the average score increases I've seen have been in the double digits).

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I diagnosed at 152 AFTER reading both bibles very thoroughly. I studied non stop for 5 months and pulled off a 167 on test day. I wrote every single test, every single logic game three times and reviewed (almost)all my incorrect answers(some with a tutor). I also wrote my final 7 or 8 practice tests either in a busy but quiet part of the uni library or the actual room my LSAT was scheduled to take place. Additionally, at 9am I choked down same fruit smoothie, knock off red bull, and toast meal every time I wrote the test, and limited washroom breaks to the specific times they would be during the test so I could limit my liquid intake accordingly. I also wrote one or two tests with 2 minutes less per section. I also booked a second test date before I wrote my first in advance in case I blew this test I would be in on the next sitting, also partially to remove any tension. The LSAT became my needy and demanding best friend. I bought, begged and stole(pdfs) for it and probably would have pimped my sister to Steve Schwartz for it.

 

My long winded and almost on topic answer to you is that if you don't have the (un)natural aptitude to score a high 160 on your diagnostic you're going to have to do a ton of work (if you absolutely need a high score to be even considered for law school like myself). I was initially aiming for a nightmarish jd/ llb and ended up in Calgary. I shot for the clouds and ended up on the moon. Maybe you can too. Probably not though. There's not much room at the top.

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Yup...

 

I was speaking to this kid at Chapters the other day who got a 147 diagnostic, he casually commented on setting T1 American schools like NYU, Boston U, Chicago, and Boalt as his target. THere is nothing wrong with setting high goals, but that was just too unrealistic in my opinion. Assuming he is the average individual, upping from 147 to 169 LSAT isn't going to be achieved. It just won't.

 

Its within reach if he was aiming at a 162-163, assuming that he pulls something similar to Robo Tron, but a high 160s is just jokes for him.

 

I went through several months of studying too, and I found out that its hard to improve logic and reading comp. I think that a good part of the 167 from Robo Tron was his smart strategy to study in the test room, that would have taken off some pressure on test day.

 

Otherwise, I would say 99% of people score within 15 points of their diagnostic. If you want to see some evidence? I have relevant data from 2009-2010 LSAC publication data on 1st and 2nd time test takers, and their average score differences. The sample size is in the ten thousands.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by PennyWise

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The thread thus far shows on a microlevel the spectrum you're going to find elsewhere:

 

Some people get it from the start and some don't, but the skills are teachable (to a certain extent). I feel the LSAT is a pretty good in terms of testing aptitude, nevertheless this site is full of great anecdotes like 3-18 and robo exploding 10-20 above their diagnostic.

 

I diagnosed at 168 and wrote a 164. Didn't practice very hard which was a bad idea because I used a half-developed technique on the reading comprehension which slowed me down and cost me marks.

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Yup...

 

I was speaking to this kid at Chapters the other day who got a 147 diagnostic, he casually commented on setting T1 American schools like NYU, Boston U, Chicago, and Boalt as his target. THere is nothing wrong with setting high goals, but that was just too unrealistic in my opinion. Assuming he is the average individual, upping from 147 to 169 LSAT isn't going to be achieved. It just won't.

 

Its within reach if he was aiming at a 162-163, assuming that he pulls something similar to Robo Tron, but a high 160s is just jokes for him.

 

I went through several months of studying too, and I found out that its hard to improve logic and reading comp. I think that a good part of the 167 from Robo Tron was his smart strategy to study in the test room, that would have taken off some pressure on test day.

 

Otherwise, I would say 99% of people score within 15 points of their diagnostic. If you want to see some evidence? I have relevant data from 2009-2010 LSAC publication data on 1st and 2nd time test takers, and their average score differences. The sample size is in the ten thousands.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I stupidly wrote the LSAT 4 years ago without studying...needless to say it was not a highpoint in my life...and I scored 147. I wrote again in December this year after studying and actually applying myself and got 167. It is certainly do-able.

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I think it also depends on what sections give you the most trouble. For me, it was RC which is really difficult to improve on. My diagnostic was around 160, hit 165 on test day (PT'ed at 165-170).

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I had 144 diagnostic. 6 Months later took a course and wrote about 5-10 4 section practice tests with scores from 155-165 and scored 155 on the final test. A few months after that wrote about 10 5 section tests ranging between 158-168 and scored 158 on the actual test. I feel I can jump to about 163 + with a 3 month plan like Steve or Pike. You should'nt see this thread and lose hope it all depends on how much effort you put into this and which way you study, big gains aren't necessarily rare.

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While I think those that start higher on the scale will generally have higher test-day scores, I think a high quality and amount of preparation is far more determinitive of LSAT score than your diagnostic. There are plenty of examples of this among the members of this board (PennyWise being one).

 

For the record, my cold diagnostic was 159, I prepped for one month (final week PT average 170), and got 164 on the actual test. I think the difference between my high PT scores and my actual score was due to a bad test day - poor sleep, far too much coffee, unfamiliar and cold test room, etc., all of which could have been avoided with better planning and preparation on my part. My LSAT was good enough (just finished first year!) but it was a gamble.

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My diagnostic was around 160, hit 165 on test day (PT'ed at 165-170).

 

This is exactly what my experience with the LSAT was, except I never hit a 170 on a PT. Only ever hit 169.

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Diagnostic was 145. Score on test day was 156. I'm going to spend more time studying though and try getting my score higher

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Diagnostic was 145. Score on test day was 156. I'm going to spend more time studying though and try getting my score higher

 

Another hockey player nickname, the trend is catching.

 

Bure, Kesler, Ovechkin, Getzlaf.

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