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Loki2323

Do I have a shot? [144 diagnostic, write in Nov?]

LSAT Date  

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  1. 1. Which exam should I take?

    • November
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    • January
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Posted (edited)

Hey all, new to this forum and I just took a timed diagnostic exam and scored 144, my goal is 160. I have been studying since August 15 full-time using Kaplan.

I'm applying this round for 2020 admissions and January is the last acceptable exam for all most all the Canadian schools. Do you think I have a shot?
I have a pretty good understanding of the LR material but still struggle with the questions and I do struggle quite a bit with RC. My strongest section is LG (I scored 18/23 on the diagnostic exam).

I thought of registering for the November exam but I only have a few days to decide, if not I was going to take the exam in January. I plan on studying full-time and putting as much effort in as possible. 

Thanks for all your help!

Edited by Loki2323

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I mean, not gonna sugarcoat it, 144 is extremely low. So the good news is that there is lots of room for improvement and you can probably pick up 10-12 points easily with more study. Getting from mid 150's to 160 is where you'll likely have problems. RC is generally considered the easiest section, so maybe address your issues there? Are you not able to read the section fast enough, are you reading strategically to answer questions, marking key points, etc.

You are doing well on LG which imo is the most learnable section and the one most people have trouble with starting out, so I'd refocus on RC to boost your score and then LG.

In terms of which test you should take, that will depend on which schools you are applying to. Look at the admissions sites and see how they assess applicants (do they average LSAT scores, only look at highest, place most weight on highest, etc).

You should be doing more timed diagnostic tests as well if that was the only one you've done so far. Aiming at the January exam, you should be doing minimum 2 a week if you are studying full-time, plus timed individual sections, and ramp up as the test gets closer.

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15 minutes ago, Draken said:

I mean, not gonna sugarcoat it, 144 is extremely low. So the good news is that there is lots of room for improvement and you can probably pick up 10-12 points easily with more study. Getting from mid 150's to 160 is where you'll likely have problems. RC is generally considered the easiest section, so maybe address your issues there? Are you not able to read the section fast enough, are you reading strategically to answer questions, marking key points, etc.

You are doing well on LG which imo is the most learnable section and the one most people have trouble with starting out, so I'd refocus on RC to boost your score and then LG.

In terms of which test you should take, that will depend on which schools you are applying to. Look at the admissions sites and see how they assess applicants (do they average LSAT scores, only look at highest, place most weight on highest, etc).

You should be doing more timed diagnostic tests as well if that was the only one you've done so far. Aiming at the January exam, you should be doing minimum 2 a week if you are studying full-time, plus timed individual sections, and ramp up as the test gets closer.

Yeah it is pretty low! I mean for the most part in RC when taking passages on their own (like not taking a full timed section)  I usually get 4/7 or 4/6. I just think when I'm timed I tend to rush through the reading.

Most schools in Ontario take the highest score and then the schools in Alberta average their scores. I am hoping to go to school in Alberta

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5 minutes ago, Loki2323 said:

Yeah it is pretty low! I mean for the most part in RC when taking passages on their own (like not taking a full timed section)  I usually get 4/7 or 4/6. I just think when I'm timed I tend to rush through the reading.

Most schools in Ontario take the highest score and then the schools in Alberta average their scores. I am hoping to go to school in Alberta

Then don't write Nov. It's too soon for the improvement you want and a bad score will just drag you down.

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand this timeline at all. If you applied, shouldn't you already have a set LSAT date? In any event, January is definitely feasible. LR is 50% of the exam so you improve that section, along with your already strong LG, and you'll be in the 160 range.

Edited by Trew

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5 hours ago, Trew said:

I don't understand this timeline at all. If you applied, shouldn't you already have a set LSAT date? In any event, January is definitely feasible. LR is 50% of the exam so you improve that section, along with your already strong LG, and you'll be in the 160 range.

I have not submitted my applications yet they still are saved, because they are due Nov 1. So I can modify the exam date

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3 hours ago, flyingfish said:

I would ditch Kaplan and use different test prep materials.

How come? Is Powerscore better? I also heard of 7sage?

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1 hour ago, Loki2323 said:

How come? Is Powerscore better? I also heard of 7sage?

hire a private tutor

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On 10/7/2019 at 6:13 PM, Loki2323 said:

How come? Is Powerscore better? I also heard of 7sage?

Kaplan in the past has not used real LSAT questions, though I am far removed from the process so this may have changed. 

There is an abundance of LSAT material and study guides out there. If you are serious about this test, do some research and create of plan of study. 144 is abysmally low and no one here can predict how you will perform on the next one regardless of which study materials you use. This is a logic test. There are no quick fixes. 

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On 10/6/2019 at 1:15 PM, Draken said:

I mean, not gonna sugarcoat it, 144 is extremely low. So the good news is that there is lots of room for improvement and you can probably pick up 10-12 points easily with more study. Getting from mid 150's to 160 is where you'll likely have problems. RC is generally considered the easiest section, so maybe address your issues there? Are you not able to read the section fast enough, are you reading strategically to answer questions, marking key points, etc.

You are doing well on LG which imo is the most learnable section and the one most people have trouble with starting out, so I'd refocus on RC to boost your score and then LG.

In terms of which test you should take, that will depend on which schools you are applying to. Look at the admissions sites and see how they assess applicants (do they average LSAT scores, only look at highest, place most weight on highest, etc).

You should be doing more timed diagnostic tests as well if that was the only one you've done so far. Aiming at the January exam, you should be doing minimum 2 a week if you are studying full-time, plus timed individual sections, and ramp up as the test gets closer.

I will argue 144 is not a low starting point.  I think you can give yourself a decent shot of getting above 160 in November if you study everyday and take at least 15 practice tests. But with 6-7 weeks this is still doable.  

Why not register for both, then see what score you're getting on practice tests before deciding if you need to push it to January. 

Also ditch Kaplan if you didn't commit a lot of money to it yet.  That's my personal view but I improve only after moving on to self study from books and practice tests. 

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On 10/6/2019 at 1:34 PM, Loki2323 said:

Yeah it is pretty low! I mean for the most part in RC when taking passages on their own (like not taking a full timed section)  I usually get 4/7 or 4/6. I just think when I'm timed I tend to rush through the reading.

Most schools in Ontario take the highest score and then the schools in Alberta average their scores. I am hoping to go to school in Alberta

It wouldn’t have been low had it been a cold-diagnostic prior to any serious LSAT studying. However, since you have been at it since August, it is a little concerning. That said, it’s definitely possible for you to increase your score from that mark, and probably by a not-so-insignificant amount.  

Sometimes the material takes longer then desired to sink in before you get the “a-ha!” moment. It's not so different from a course during school where you don't understand anything until the week before the final exam! So, at about a month and change of studying, I wouldn’t fret. Although I do think it useful to take measure of how your current study regimen has felt for you so far. If you think the materials you are using may not be the best fit, there’s great news; you can change them!

Manhatten offers a wonderful RC prep guide that you could try. There are many, many alternatives as well. You should feel free to start experimenting! Private tutoring is also an option. The key for me in this is seeing that you typically score 4/7 on untimed sections. Not only is that likely to be a killer to your score when you get to timed sections, but if you can get 4/7 you likely have the ability to get 6/7 (5/6) or 7/7 (6/6) consistently (on the untimed sections). Focus on that. Really dissect your prep sections and see why you went astray: did you get tripped up on language in the AC, did you misread the stimulus, did you have a hard time between two answers and picked the wrong one, etc. Figure out why you are getting the questions wrong (and to a lesser extent, why you are getting the others correct). Address your key issue and practice again.

Once you can get the answers more or less correct (say 5/6 per passage) consistently on untimed sections, move on to timed sections. You’ll probably find that once you’ve slayed your demons (that is, figure out why at the moment you get the questions wrong that you do) that timed sections will become easier because the time won’t be such a burden.

Because the above takes a good deal of time I would recommend the January write as others have suggested. I would also, depending on how your studies progress, consider deferring for a year. If your A1 school is Alberta and they average scores, it’s better to wait than potentially have to write off that option.

Hope that’s helpful.

Edited by AllanRC

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