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Another chances (what LSAT range would be safe for me?)


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#1 dastrugglez

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:53 PM

Hi all,

I only recently considered applying to law and was curious about what kind of LSAT score I needed as I will only be able to do minor studying over the fall semester (I write in Dec).

Here are my stats;

Program: Neuroscience Co-op, always full course load with one summer course with 3.7 (not accounted below, if it is, minor difference)
Year 1: 89, 3.94 OLSAS
Year 2: 88, 3.90
Year 3: 92.2, 3.98 
Overall: 89.73, 3.94

I have some softs (~15, more if awards and high school stuff is considered) including my co-op placement, volunteering, club exec positions, etc.

I know that the median from last cycle was 167 93rd percentile, but having previously struggled in something similar to reading comprehension in another standardised test, I'm not optimistic and am hoping for some insight as to if (and roughly how much) I can afford getting a bit under. 



#2 pzabbythesecond

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 03:00 PM

Just aim for a 180, write it, and depending on how you do you can maybe gouge chances. Your GPA is solid. Now work hard on the lsat. Then work on your personal statement if you're in a reasonable range of getting in or if you have 90 dollars to spend regardless.
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#3 Diplock

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 01:15 AM

Coop neuroscience, only just recently considered law school, struggles with standardized testing? Let me guess. You wrote the MCAT, didn't do well, can't get into med school, and this is your back up?

 

Well, if I'm right, you wouldn't be the first. And I won't swear you can't succeed in law. But how about this as a more realistic position. You can get into law school. I'm sure of that. Maybe not U of T, depending, but is that all you care about? I would very, very strongly urge you to be sure you want to attend law school, first, and then confront the question of where you can gain admission second. I mean, the other way around is pretty ass backwards.

 

Your grades are very strong. I'm sure you've succeeded in some math and stats classes, right? You can look at the numbers for U of T and safely assume that if your GPA is in the upper range of admissions you can probably get away with a LSAT in the lower range - which is somewhere in the low 160s. No one can say more than that.

 

Please be aware, law is language. Even less than other subjects, you will be swimming in nuance and interpretation. It's kind of ridiculous to ask what score you need when it seems to me you haven't even looked at the LSAT yet. Your strong grades notwithstanding, I really don't see why you even assume your LSAT performance would put you in range of U of T at all. Anyway, decide if you really want to go to law school, first.


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#4 dastrugglez

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 05:53 PM

Coop neuroscience, only just recently considered law school, struggles with standardized testing? Let me guess. You wrote the MCAT, didn't do well, can't get into med school, and this is your back up?

 

Well, if I'm right, you wouldn't be the first. And I won't swear you can't succeed in law. But how about this as a more realistic position. You can get into law school. I'm sure of that. Maybe not U of T, depending, but is that all you care about? I would very, very strongly urge you to be sure you want to attend law school, first, and then confront the question of where you can gain admission second. I mean, the other way around is pretty ass backwards.

 

Your grades are very strong. I'm sure you've succeeded in some math and stats classes, right? You can look at the numbers for U of T and safely assume that if your GPA is in the upper range of admissions you can probably get away with a LSAT in the lower range - which is somewhere in the low 160s. No one can say more than that.

 

Please be aware, law is language. Even less than other subjects, you will be swimming in nuance and interpretation. It's kind of ridiculous to ask what score you need when it seems to me you haven't even looked at the LSAT yet. Your strong grades notwithstanding, I really don't see why you even assume your LSAT performance would put you in range of U of T at all. Anyway, decide if you really want to go to law school, first.

Hi Diplock, 

Firstly, thanks for your reply and sentiment. I see the same type of premedical students you've mentioned far too often and understand that the consequences of halfheartedly entering any program include;
a) denying a genuinely compassionate candidate admission,
b) ending up with something I hate, which may lead to dropping out and the above
I've never applied to medicine before, though I did write the MCAT, I have yet to receive my score back. 

 
While in my original post, I defined my interest in applying to be "only recent", but I've actually considered law since my early junior high school years. Back then, Neuroscience was a program I applied to out of desperation the final days of OUAC after failing to get into my other choices. I do admit that I have only been looking into law for the past few months- but not purely as a back up to medicine, but a different means of achieving the same type of goal. What I see in law is a profession that is able to work for, represent, help and build strong relationships with disadvantaged groups in the community. Why didn't I consider law during undergrad? The major factor that held me back was that I used to be an extremely weak presenter but that no longer is an obstacle. You're certainly right though, further introspection is needed on my part. 

Perhaps I was too quick to make this post as a result of being upset with myself not doing as well as hoped on the first few sections of the free 2007 LSAT, and want to apologise for the irrational nature of my post. 


Edited by dastrugglez, 24 August 2016 - 05:54 PM.


#5 drankcoffee

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 11:54 AM

Coop neuroscience, only just recently considered law school, struggles with standardized testing? Let me guess. You wrote the MCAT, didn't do well, can't get into med school, and this is your back up?

 

Well, if I'm right, you wouldn't be the first. And I won't swear you can't succeed in law. But how about this as a more realistic position. You can get into law school. I'm sure of that. Maybe not U of T, depending, but is that all you care about? I would very, very strongly urge you to be sure you want to attend law school, first, and then confront the question of where you can gain admission second. I mean, the other way around is pretty ass backwards.

 

Your grades are very strong. I'm sure you've succeeded in some math and stats classes, right? You can look at the numbers for U of T and safely assume that if your GPA is in the upper range of admissions you can probably get away with a LSAT in the lower range - which is somewhere in the low 160s. No one can say more than that.

 

Please be aware, law is language. Even less than other subjects, you will be swimming in nuance and interpretation. It's kind of ridiculous to ask what score you need when it seems to me you haven't even looked at the LSAT yet. Your strong grades notwithstanding, I really don't see why you even assume your LSAT performance would put you in range of U of T at all. Anyway, decide if you really want to go to law school, first.

 

I don't want to go off-topic here but I gotta ask, does adcomm look at science students this way too? I did biochem (with a classics minor actually) because it was what I was interested in researching (but then hated the actual wet work and hands-on experience), I never wrote the MCAT or wanted to go to med school, it was never something that crossed my mind. Are law schools going to look at my major and assume that law school is my "back up" to med school? Am I considered a redflag to law school adcomm or something? I worried about this when I first started thinking about law school two years ago but people eased my worries... now that I'm actually applying soon my nerves are getting the best of me again.


Edited by drankcoffee, 07 September 2016 - 11:59 AM.


#6 Diplock

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 02:20 PM

I'm really no authority. I would guess admissions committees guess that a fair percentage of bio students who apply at one point considered med school. Thing is, even if this is true, they don't care. They just want the best class possible.

#7 easttowest

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 04:24 PM

Perhaps I was too quick to make this post as a result of being upset with myself not doing as well as hoped on the first few sections of the free 2007 LSAT, and want to apologise for the irrational nature of my post. 

 

This is an old thread, but the bolded statement jumped out at me and I had to comment.

 

The LSAT is not an intelligence test you do for fun to see how smart you are. You can't just show up and write. You can be very smart and be very bad at the LSAT. Doing poorly on a few sections of an old exam is not at all in indication of how well you will write the real thing.

 

In my experience, being good at the LSAT is a skill that you develop. Do not be upset with yourself because you didn't do well on an exam that you haven't prepared for. If you're going to write, choose a date, consult many of the resources on this site and others and build a calendar to follow that will leave you in peak condition on test day. 


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#8 Pyke

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 06:58 AM

This is an old thread, but the bolded statement jumped out at me and I had to comment.

 

The LSAT is not an intelligence test you do for fun to see how smart you are. You can't just show up and write. You can be very smart and be very bad at the LSAT. Doing poorly on a few sections of an old exam is not at all in indication of how well you will write the real thing. [emphasis added]

 

In my experience, being good at the LSAT is a skill that you develop. Do not be upset with yourself because you didn't do well on an exam that you haven't prepared for. If you're going to write, choose a date, consult many of the resources on this site and others and build a calendar to follow that will leave you in peak condition on test day. 

 

Wait, what? 

 

Why? The LSAT is basically an intelligence test. It tests your logical comprehension, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension abilities. Strictly speaking, no studying is required. While I agree with you that very smart people can do poorly on the LSAT, it is in no way comparable to knowledge based tests like the MCAT.

 

As far as your second proposition, I basically did what you're suggesting and scored well into the 90th percentile without any difficulty at all. I'm not saying that's a good strategy -- it's not, you should aim for the best score possible, and obviously I could have achieved an even better score had I prepared properly. If your point is, "Preparing poorly is a bad idea, prepare well", then sure. We're on the same page. If, however, you're supposing that it's not possible (and/or, even if I read your post down, unlikely) that you can do limited studying and still score well, I'm afraid you're mistaken.



#9 easttowest

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:14 AM

Wait, what? 

 

Why? The LSAT is basically an intelligence test. It tests your logical comprehension, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension abilities. Strictly speaking, no studying is required. While I agree with you that very smart people can do poorly on the LSAT, it is in no way comparable to knowledge based tests like the MCAT.

 

As far as your second proposition, I basically did what you're suggesting and scored well into the 90th percentile without any difficulty at all. I'm not saying that's a good strategy -- it's not, you should aim for the best score possible, and obviously I could have achieved an even better score had I prepared properly. If your point is, "Preparing poorly is a bad idea, prepare well", then sure. We're on the same page. If, however, you're supposing that it's not possible (and/or, even if I read your post down, unlikely) that you can do limited studying and still score well, I'm afraid you're mistaken.

 

My comments were more in the context of the OP's aside that he was discouraged after doing worse than he expected when he tried the LSAT, with the thought that I was addressing him. He does not seem to be the kind (nor am I, for that matter) who could sit down and write a 90th percentile LSAT with little to no preparation. Perhaps I could now, having prepared myself for the exam in the past, but I have absolutely no interest in finding out. 

 

As far as it not being an "intelligence test", I was thinking more along the lines of those standardized tests we probably all took in middle school... although in retrospect had I been allowed to spend three months studying for those maybe I could have gone to the special school with all the smart kids. 



#10 Pyke

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:44 AM

My comments were more in the context of the OP's aside that he was discouraged after doing worse than he expected when he tried the LSAT, with the thought that I was addressing him. He does not seem to be the kind (nor am I, for that matter) who could sit down and write a 90th percentile LSAT with little to no preparation. Perhaps I could now, having prepared myself for the exam in the past, but I have absolutely no interest in finding out. 

 

As far as it not being an "intelligence test", I was thinking more along the lines of those standardized tests we probably all took in middle school... although in retrospect had I been allowed to spend three months studying for those maybe I could have gone to the special school with all the smart kids. 

 

I understand, but you need to keep in mind that the OP was in what appears to be an academically rigorous program and excelled compared to his peers.

 

Your example is a good one. The standardized tests we took in middle school are, like the LSAT, weighted against your peers. I did very well on such tests. I suspect many people on these forums did too. That is not to say that you have to do well, but think about it for a moment. For consistency sake, we'll say you start at above average intelligence, but not exceptional intelligence. Say, initially, 25th out of 100.

 

Let's suppose that there are 100 students in a given middle school class. A score in the top 25% here means you outscored 75 or so students, and were outscored by as many as 24.

 

We fast-forward to high school, and the bottom 5-10% have been left behind or otherwise dropped out. You remain 25th, but now, there are only 93 people in the group. Therefore, your percentile score is now lower -- 73rd percentile or so, compared to the people taking the test.

 

We move on to post-secondary (or tertiary) education. According to some quick Stats Can research, in 2009, fifty percent of Canadian adults (aged 25-64) had tertiary education [source: http://www.statcan.g...12008-eng.htm].Let's use that figure, because its easy for math purposes.

 

Therefore, from your initial group of 100, you now have 50 people. You're still, remember, the 25th best out of 100. However, if we did a new standardized test, your percentile score is lower still -- about 50th percentile.

We could extend this further and say, well, that 50 people includes people who go to trades or colleges, so really, we're talking about an even smaller group. There are some difficulties with this on a fairness level, as it's not necessarily true that the bottom 20% of the post-secondary group end up in trades or colleges, but on a very generalized basis, its probably true that a greater proportion of the stronger students head on to University and professional type paths.

 

For the sake of argument, let's say that you think it's the top 30%. That would mean your 25th out of 100 placement, still good enough to get you into University, remember, places you now a disappointing 25th out of 30 (or roughly the 16th percentile).

 

Let's say, however, you work really hard and manage to outperform your expectations and do really well. You decide, you know what, I want to go to law school. As part of that process, you need to write a standardized test, and finish in the top 20% of people who want to go to law school (i.e.: those who write the test). We can safely assume that not everyone in the University group is going to bother writing the test. If the top half of University students write the test, you'd need to be in the top 3% of University students to have an 80th percentile or better score, based on our numbers.

 

Let's go back to our original numbers for a second. I said that you were above average, with a 75th percentile score. Based on abilities, alone, you'd need to have been a 97th percentile scorer, way back in middle school, to project (based on comparative ability alone) to be in the top 20% when the number of people has shrunk.

 

That's the thing. You're competing against a subset of the population, not the population as a whole. A population which, at every stage, gets stronger, and stronger. Yes, life is not an IQ test and all sorts of factors influence how you do (luck of birth, environmental circumstances, financial resources, educational opportunities, work ethic, motivation, etc.), but the generalized example remains a helpful illustration of the challenge.

 

You said in your post that if you had been allowed to spend the time studying you could have gone to a special school with all the smart kids -- it was in jest (albeit, seemingly slightly resentful), but it illustrates the point. You have likely achieved an awful lot on the basis of your work ethic and motivation. That's commendable and deserves recognition. That said, life isn't fair. Some folks, unfortunately, don't need to have the three months. They just can show up and do it; and when you decide you want to aim for higher and higher benchmarks, you need to accept that, these people will be part of the pool you're competing against (and working with).

As I said, I don't recommend the approach I'm defending, it's a poor one and ought not be followed. Yet, for some folks, it is possible, and that's the only point I wanted to make.


Edited by Pyke, 20 December 2016 - 07:47 AM.


#11 rih

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:29 PM

You can probably get a 159 and still be sure of getting in as long as your PSEs don't sound arrogant.



#12 easttowest

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:51 PM

Pyke, I'm not arguing that it's impossible to show up and do well. You yourself have proven that. I'll admit that my thoughts about the test are influenced by the fact that I needed to score as high as possible on the test to get into law school. I absolutely had to put the extra hours in. Had I been more careful about my academic choices I might have been less hyper-focused on my score.

 

To bring this back to the OP's concerns, he shouldn't be discouraged because he didn't do as well as he thought he would on his first try. I'd argue that's true for most people who take the LSAT. He has a 3.9 GPA. He's obviously very smart and willing to work. If he studies how to take the test he should score well. 


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#13 Pyke

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:54 PM

Pyke, I'm not arguing that it's impossible to show up and do well. You yourself have proven that. I'll admit that my thoughts about the test are influenced by the fact that I needed to score as high as possible on the test to get into law school. I absolutely had to put the extra hours in. Had I been more careful about my academic choices I might have been less hyper-focused on my score.

 

To bring this back to the OP's concerns, he shouldn't be discouraged because he didn't do as well as he thought he would on his first try. I'd argue that's true for most people who take the LSAT. He has a 3.9 GPA. He's obviously very smart and willing to work. If he studies how to take the test he should score well. 

 

In fairness, I think everyone should study and prepare. I'm glad you were able to score well and hopefully fulfill your goals. I wish you every success in that respect.


Edited by Pyke, 20 December 2016 - 02:54 PM.


#14 easttowest

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 08:34 PM

In fairness, I think everyone should study and prepare. I'm glad you were able to score well and hopefully fulfill your goals. I wish you every success in that respect.

 

I appreciate the sentiment and discussion and wish the same to you.