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polisciundergrad10

got a terrible diagnostic score.. now i'm discouraged

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I took the diagnostic June 2007 test and scored a 141.. I have seen many forums with people claiming you can only really go up 10-15 points from your diagnostic test. I have bought the Powerscore books and will be studying very hard all summer to hopefully do the September 2018 LSAT test. I don't understand why i scored so low considering I have taken philosophy courses here and there (I major in Political Science right now) and I am generally good at logical reasoning and reading comp.. I scored equally low in all sections. Is it really impossible for me to score a 165+ on the LSAT if I study really hard all summer?

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Bit far off the 165 you were claiming to already have in the other thread.

10 minutes ago, Prospero said:

Yeah it is possible. I wouldn't worry too much. 

I wouldn't worry as in lose sleep over it, but a 141 to 165 jump isn't going to be a walk in the park. Is it possible? Yes. You could get a 135 on your diagnostic and through hard work and a shit ton of luck get a 180 on test day. But it's not a simple process. You have lots of time and will have multiple chances to write so come back later when you've studied.

Can you breakdown the sections a bit - what did you get on each one? It's not unheard of for people to get -20 on LG (which is very learnable) during their diagnostic, which will bring you way up after studying. On the contrary, if you bombed RC then you'll have a much more difficult time improving your score.

Edited by chaboywb
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Imo diagnostic tests dont mean much. Begin to read the books and then take another one in a couple of weeks and see where you are at. 

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I don't think the diagnostic means as much as people say it does. Please do not be diacouraged!!! 

Did you take the diagnostic timed? If so, how many questions were you unable to answer? My diagnostic was also around a 141. I was not prepared for the speed at which I needed to move through the questions so the diagnostic was a total shitshow. It took about 2-3 months of study time to get myself to a 169 on test day. 

Edited by cheesecurd
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my diagnostic was a 133 and I ended up with a 159 as my best mark. Diagnostics don't mean anything. What matters is how you study and learn from your mistakes and weaknesses. 

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You should determine what is negatively effecting your score. E.g.: was it the timing that brought your score down? See how well you do untimed and then that will tell you (and us) if the issue is getting the right answer within the time frame given or if it is an issue regarding your understanding of the questions and/or the material.

Either way, you can still get 160+ but I second @yeezy to give it a couple weeks to see how much you can improve your score. Then you'll have a better idea of how you'll fare. 

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I never did a diagnostic because I thought it is a stupid idea, a lot.of people say you can't learn for the lsat blah blah blah I disagree strongly, you can learn it ( maybe not.to 180 sure but you can get improve A LOT) and although some people.come.and get high 160s in their diagonstic( I would.considers this rare even given the assumption we believe people are.completely honest even though reality would beg to.differ, however I do.imagine in some people.this does happen and they are naturally strong at this style of testing) you don' need to be super bummed because of this score 

I did a few practice sections when I first started  and i would say if I had to guess my diagnostic it  was prob below 150 like you

I scored a 160 with 6 weeks of.intense studying and.absolutley no background in this material at all

You should habe seen my reaction to my first logic game I had a heart attack hahaha I just had no.idea how to attack it 

I have written every.lsat there is during my practice and i noticed something with myself, some tests I would score very high e.g. 175 so if I wrote.it on that day with those questions I would have done very well, and on the same day I could drop right back to 160 with another test with different questions, for me it was the logic games, most.times i would do REALLY bad on logic games but my strength in over areas would hold me.down, but if I got lucky and understood.the games I would do very well

So one score shouldnt discourage you especially considering you have not prepared, I would.recommend studying your ass off but Defintley don't give up because of a poor.diagnostic score just study really hard you can Defintley.get to.a decent score like 160 and you can try and hope.to pass that and get a good score of 165+ it's.not.impossible for you you'l know.more.where you stand after practicing and learning more and then having more data points and seeing how your pt scores are varying and averaging and which sections you really need to.work on

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OP, in case you'd like some anecdotal data on what it takes to make a 20+ point increase a reality - my first cold write was a 154, and my score (after my second write) was a 177. My prep process:

  1. 45+ timed practice tests under rigorous testing conditions;
  2. Reading every single word of the Manhattan Test Prep LSAT guides multiple times;
  3. Endlessly cruising this forum, and TLS, for LSAT tips from top scorers, aggregating the ones that seemed best, and living by them;
  4. Waking up at 6 am every day for the 3 months preceding the test, to avoid early morning grogginess on the Alamo day itself;
  5. (this is admittedly overkill, and likely useless) Charting my diet and PT scores, to determine what foods were best for optimum test performance;
  6. Driving to the testing center the day before the test (to ensure the route was clear, and I knew where to park);
  7. Sitting in the testing room the day before, and writing my final PT under the most realistic testing conditions possible (ideally, with white noise, or a television show you like playing without volume at the periphery of your field of vision);
  8. Essentially, controlling for every single possible variable, other than the people you take the test with, and the actual test-day questions.

 Essential preconditions to the above are:

               a) the ability to consistently carve out 3 1/2 hours out of your day/job to write PTs

Good luck, sir/madam. Score increases of the magnitude you're hoping for are possible, but they'll take real work, and a single-mindedness your friends might find off-putting. 

Some hope, though - admittedly, my cold score did bear little relation to my end result  (or even where I was scoring after the first five practice tests) so you may want to dive in head first with some prep materials and further PTs, and then see where you're scoring once you've become accustomed to the test. It really is a learnable test, and you won't know your own upper bound until you've engaged with these type of questions, and had some preliminary exposure to the common strategies for attacking them.

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32 minutes ago, JubalHarshaw said:

OP, in case you'd like some anecdotal data on what it takes to make a 20+ point increase a reality - my first cold write was a 154, and my score (after my second write) was a 177. My prep process:

  1. 45+ timed practice tests under rigorous testing conditions;
  2. Reading every single word of the Manhattan Test Prep LSAT guides multiple times;
  3. Endlessly cruising this forum, and TLS, for LSAT tips from top scorers, aggregating the ones that seemed best, and living by them;
  4. Waking up at 6 am every day for the 3 months preceding the test, to avoid early morning grogginess on the Alamo day itself;
  5. (this is admittedly overkill, and likely useless) Charting my diet and PT scores, to determine what foods were best for optimum test performance;
  6. Driving to the testing center the day before the test (to ensure the route was clear, and I knew where to park);
  7. Sitting in the testing room the day before, and writing my final PT under the most realistic testing conditions possible (ideally, with white noise, or a television show you like playing without volume at the periphery of your field of vision);
  8. Essentially, controlling for every single possible variable, other than the people you take the test with, and the actual test-day questions.

 Essential preconditions to the above are:

               a) the ability to consistently carve out 3 1/2 hours out of your day/job to write PTs

Good luck, sir/madam. Score increases of the magnitude you're hoping for are possible, but they'll take real work, and a single-mindedness your friends might find off-putting. 

I'm just going to address what's bolded. This is incredibly excessive. That's a stupid amount of practice tests to write, and also a ridiculous amount of time to devote to studying daily. There's rapidly diminishing marginal gains to studying, and I would wager that OP isn't looking for a HYS score. If OP were just gunning for a 160-165, an hour a day should be sufficient. As OP scored low across all sections, it seems to be more of an issue understanding the LSAT as a whole and timing, not a specific skill deficit. They'd be much better off going through at least one of the test preps, and I'd only use timed PTs to practice speed and pacing, which shouldn't take more than 10-15, any more than that and you've probably hit a skill ceiling. Yes, it's going to take work, but treating it like a full time job all summer will not be a productive use of your time.

Also, with the June LSAT, #4 is relatively moot, but the underlying sentiment stands. I probably underperformed on the Sept LSAT because most of my summer was spent going to bed around 4AM.

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@JubalHarshaw I would call that a bit of overkill for a 165-ish score that OP is searching for. But I agree with most of what you say. I did around 30 PTs and moved from a 155 diagnostic to a 170 on the real thing. Also, with a 177, where did you end up? HYS? Nice score. 

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7 hours ago, polisciundergrad10 said:

I took the diagnostic June 2007 test and scored a 141.. I have seen many forums with people claiming you can only really go up 10-15 points from your diagnostic test. I have bought the Powerscore books and will be studying very hard all summer to hopefully do the September 2018 LSAT test. I don't understand why i scored so low considering I have taken philosophy courses here and there (I major in Political Science right now) and I am generally good at logical reasoning and reading comp.. I scored equally low in all sections. Is it really impossible for me to score a 165+ on the LSAT if I study really hard all summer?

You don’t have to go to HYS just because you have 177...

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1 minute ago, providence said:

You don’t have to go to HYS just because you have 177...

I think you meant to quote me. I never said you have to go to HYS because you have a 177. However, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the best law schools in the world, and I'm sure many people would be very excited to go there. Cost is a big roadblock for us Canadians, and I presumed that, with a 177, s/he might have gotten a comfortable scholarship to one of these schools. 

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6 minutes ago, Prospero said:

I think you meant to quote me. I never said you have to go to HYS because you have a 177. However, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the best law schools in the world, and I'm sure many people would be very excited to go there. Cost is a big roadblock for us Canadians, and I presumed that, with a 177, s/he might have gotten a comfortable scholarship to one of these schools. 

Based on his post history I think he/she ended up at UBC class of 2016 or 2017.

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15 minutes ago, Prospero said:

I think you meant to quote me. I never said you have to go to HYS because you have a 177. However, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the best law schools in the world, and I'm sure many people would be very excited to go there. Cost is a big roadblock for us Canadians, and I presumed that, with a 177, s/he might have gotten a comfortable scholarship to one of these schools. 

Harvard’s scholarships at least are based on family income, not scores, and to greater or lesser extent I believe it is the same at other Ivies.

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3 hours ago, Prospero said:

Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the best law schools in the world

If I had the grades, I'd pick Oxbridge over HYS any day (or anywhere in the United States for that matter). Perhaps that's just my Anglophile tendencies speaking. (Sorry: I don't want to derail this thread.)

Edited by PerisoreusCanadensis
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thank you all for the advice! i would be happy with scoring anything between 165-170 since my goal is western or queens which definitely are not the HYS schools! I will buy PT's and practice all summer and see how i do in September! Thanks again guys :)

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23 hours ago, Prospero said:

@JubalHarshaw I would call that a bit of overkill for a 165-ish score that OP is searching for. But I agree with most of what you say. I did around 30 PTs and moved from a 155 diagnostic to a 170 on the real thing. Also, with a 177, where did you end up? HYS? Nice score. 

 

23 hours ago, Lawby said:

Based on his post history I think he/she ended up at UBC class of 2016 or 2017.

Lawby's a born sleuth - I'm practicing in Vancouver at the moment, having graduated from UBC.

Thanks Prospero! With respect to HYS (and the US generally) I never seriously considered it, for two reasons. First, the cost - 150k, in US currency, seemed steep for a career that many seemed to pull ripcords on fairly quickly after law school. Second, even with a competitive LSAT, my GPA was going to be at or below the 25% percentile for those schools, based on their admitted applicant profiles, so I wasn't keen on burning the application money, to be honest.

Also, since I wasn't from BC, moving to Vancouver seemed like (and still is) a real adventure.
 

Edited by JubalHarshaw
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