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Hello everyone, 

I've seen quite a few posts of people being admitted in the range of (high 140's, low 150s) that being said there is a group of people that advocate for retaking the lsat until you get a "high score" (160 +) . 

Then there is the group of people that advocate for applying/not retaking once you've tried retaking it a few times .On the lsac wbsite they also say something along the lines of "your lsat score only improves so much".  

IS time better spent prepping/retaking the lsat OR is it better spent gaining experience (work/volunteer ect.) Let's assume the person has a decent CGPA and doesn't need to compensate with a super high lsat. 

Because I've seen such a wide variance these past few years and schools are switching to "holistic" models I thought I would raise this question. I know there are some schools that target the lsat and some schools that don't focus on it that much. 

Would love to hear what people have to say about this topic and their experiences with delaying applications/ retaking the lsat. 

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Depends. How many times have you taken it? What are your scores? Even at this point, regardless of your answers to the previous 2 questions, I think the general sentiment of GPA and LSAT > softs still stands. 

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In a situation where someone has a high CGPA, low LSAT, I would say the easiest course of improvement is getting a higher LSAT. 

While it may be true that some schools are switching to a holistic method, it remains so that LSAT and GPA are far and away the primary determinants of applicant success. 

If you improve your volunteer work, etc. perhaps that opens you up to one or two additional schools. If you improve your LSAT, you improve your chances at every single school. 

To me, it's not hard to see where you should focus. 

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There may be rare cases of people being accepted with high 140s, but that would presumably be paired with an exceptional GPA, or else very unusual circumstances, and a mature/access category. As a general rule, that LSAT score is not competitive for Canadian law schools. I'm not sure many schools publish their data in this much detail, but you can certainly see the admitted student (for regular category) grids for UoA (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-u9luOkViBOYVM2bWFMcmJNcUpOZVBZY0lsTVpyOGRIaGFR/view) and UoM (http://law.robsonhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web-stats-201790-1.pdf). In both cases, 151 is the bottom of the lowest LSAT category (UoM only made offers to people with a 4.0 or above for 151-154, UoA admitted 1 person with a 3.9/151-2 and 1 with a 4.0).

 

If you're assuming that "a decent CGPA" is 3.9 or above, low 150s has a possibility of admission. The lower "decent" means, the higher the LSAT required. It's true that western schools tend to be more numbers focused (eg UoM don't even accept a personal statement, and as I recall people have reported admission to some other schools in some years before their statement was submitted), but even eastern schools don't typically weigh non-numbers factors heavier than numbers, they just allow them into the mix at all.

 

If I were you, I'd focus on getting an LSAT in at least the mid-150s instead of spending time trying to add volunteering and other things to a resume. People with genuinely "impressive" ECs don't have them suddenly appear shortly before admissions - they've typically been done at a high level for a long time.

 

This does of course depend on other factors, like what your GPA is,  and which schools you're considering.

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19 minutes ago, Destroythelsat said:

Then there is the group of people that advocate for applying/not retaking once you've tried retaking it a few times .On the lsac wbsite they also say something along the lines of "your lsat score only improves so much".  

Between my second and third writes, I went from 85th to 94th percentile, and I still think I could have done better (barely slept before the test). 

Keep in mind, it is exponentially easier, in my opinion, to improve from a 148 to a 156/8/60 than it is to improve from a 162/168/70. At a high 140s range, there's a lot you can actively seek to fix. 

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2 minutes ago, LegalArmada said:

Between my second and third writes, I went from 85th to 94th percentile, and I still think I could have done better (barely slept before the test). 

Keep in mind, it is exponentially easier, in my opinion, to improve from a 148 to a 156/8/60 than it is to improve from a 162/168/70. At a high 140s range, there's a lot you can actively seek to fix. 

This is what I have heard as well. Thanks for sharing the data. 

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Posted (edited)

To the above responses, I haven't written the lsat yet so that's why I'm curious to hear what other people have to say.  I've heard both sides of the coin, and I think each has their merit, but of course it all goes back to the applicants softs/numbers/school of choice. 

The schools I'm considering are - Uwindsor, Lakehead and Ottawa.  

 

I've also had a few friends who applied with a lower end lsat, but didn't get accepted into their choice school. They were going off of the mentality ( once you're in you're in) so they picked whatever school had accepted them and threw in the towel for the the LSAT. 

Edited by Destroythelsat

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15 minutes ago, Destroythelsat said:

I've also had a few friends who applied with a lower end lsat, but didn't get accepted into their choice school. They were going off of the mentality ( once you're in you're in) so they picked whatever school had accepted them and threw in the towel for the the LSAT. 

I buy in to this mentality, to a certain degree, but it really depends on what you think 'lower end' means. If you've got a perfect 4.0 GPA, and a 145 LSAT, I'd say you're better off to spend the time and money moving your LSAT up than taking the risk. Even at the schools you mentioned, a mid-140 (or even a high 140, if you're applying general) isn't safe.

That said, if you're scoring 151-156, and have a perfect or near-perfect GPA, you are probably okay, and may consider it not worth improving the LSAT. I know at that GPA level, with a good LSAT (165+) you have a good chance at scholarships, which probably more than make up for LSAT expense. But when I took the test, I aimed fro a 160+ (as you do) and got a 159. I figured it wasn't worth it to re-write. I got accepted everywhere but my top choice.

There reasons why both sides of the argument are compelling is because there are legitimate reasons to choose both. If you're going for scholarships/ top schools, then its worth it to retake. If your LSAT is so low that the odds of you getting in are dependent on an act of God and a generous adcom, retake.  But if you're happy to be in anywhere, there's a lot to be said for never having to look at LSAT prep materials ever again.

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Posted (edited)

If you’re volunteering for the purpose of padding your apps (not saying you are) than it’s better to spend that time studying for the LSAT. I personally wouldn’t bank on a 140ish score. 

Part of this is how risk-averse you are and how much money you are willing to spend on apps. If you have a borderline LSAT (or borderline GPA) but want to apply broadly (which might end up being more expensive than a rewrite) that’s your choice. I would be much more comfortable rewriting a second or third time to raise a low score before applying.

Edited by Psychometronic

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41 minutes ago, 3rdGenLawStudent said:

I buy in to this mentality, to a certain degree, but it really depends on what you think 'lower end' means. If you've got a perfect 4.0 GPA, and a 145 LSAT, I'd say you're better off to spend the time and money moving your LSAT up than taking the risk. Even at the schools you mentioned, a mid-140 (or even a high 140, if you're applying general) isn't safe.

That said, if you're scoring 151-156, and have a perfect or near-perfect GPA, you are probably okay, and may consider it not worth improving the LSAT. I know at that GPA level, with a good LSAT (165+) you have a good chance at scholarships, which probably more than make up for LSAT expense. But when I took the test, I aimed fro a 160+ (as you do) and got a 159. I figured it wasn't worth it to re-write. I got accepted everywhere but my top choice.

There reasons why both sides of the argument are compelling is because there are legitimate reasons to choose both. If you're going for scholarships/ top schools, then its worth it to retake. If your LSAT is so low that the odds of you getting in are dependent on an act of God and a generous adcom, retake.  But if you're happy to be in anywhere, there's a lot to be said for never having to look at LSAT prep materials ever again.

Great summary for both sides of the argument. Hopefully this will help others as well. LOL at the last line. I think we all feel that way about LSAT prep. 

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29 minutes ago, Psychometronic said:

If you’re volunteering for the purpose of padding your apps (not saying you are) than it’s better to spend that time studying for the LSAT. I personally wouldn’t bank on a 140ish score. 

Part of this is how risk-averse you are and how much money you are willing to spend on apps. If you have a borderline LSAT (or borderline GPA) but want to apply broadly (which might end up being more expensive than a rewrite) that’s your choice. I would be much more comfortable rewriting a second or third time to raise a low score before applying.

That's what I'm thinking as well. The option of retaking isn't palatable for most, but can often lead to great rewards, as well as getting into where you want. 

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Posted (edited)

LSAT is a very learnable test and there is no downside to taking more than once since your highest score is considered AND LSUC has recently removed the 3 writes restriction. The only potential downside to taking the test as many times as possible is expenses, monetary and personal. 

LSAT score is factored into admissions much more heavily than ECs are, so taking the LSAT is more likely to improve chances of admission.

 

Edited by Trew
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If you end up needing to reapply for a later cycle I'm assuming you need new LOR's and a completely different personal statement ? The ones I have right now are really good, but I don't want to "waste" them, especially my concept for my personal statement. (Looking for advice from people that have reapplied).  I know it won't hurt to apply for this cycle ( I have Sept, Nov, and Jan ( lakehead) to retake the LSAT, but I'd like to hear feedback from people with more experience. 

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7 hours ago, Destroythelsat said:

If you end up needing to reapply for a later cycle I'm assuming you need new LOR's and a completely different personal statement ? The ones I have right now are really good, but I don't want to "waste" them, especially my concept for my personal statement. (Looking for advice from people that have reapplied).  I know it won't hurt to apply for this cycle ( I have Sept, Nov, and Jan ( lakehead) to retake the LSAT, but I'd like to hear feedback from people with more experience. 

You don't have to get entirely new LORs. You just have to get the people who wrote you them to resubmit. Obviously, improving LORs is nice, if possible. I rewrote my personal statement, but I built off my old one and improved it dramatically for my (finally) successful 2nd cycle. 

Don't worry about wasting them, that's silly. You should be putting everything you've got forward on your first try (note: this advice does not apply necessarily to LSAT attempts). 

Plan to get in on your first try. Write your best statement, and get your best LORs, and get the best LSAT score you can (you have three tries, like you said). If you have to apply again, make improvements where you can. 

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