Ep. 192: Understanding Your LSAT Scores
Nathan Fox May 13, 2019
Studying for the LSAT can be hard work. And when you feel like your practice test results are all over the place, even after weeks or months of work, it doesn’t make it any easier. Nathan and Ben get it, and today they dive into the question of interpreting—or not interpreting—your LSAT scores. Plus, you’ll hear more about financial aid incentives from our old friends at Concordia University School of Law in Boise, ID. And the guys set up Logic Game no. 3 from the June 2007 LSAT.
As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.
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6/3 – It’s the June 2019 LSAT
6/4 – The last day to register for the July 2019 LSAT
6/27 – June LSAT scores will be released via email
7/15 – It’s the July LSAT! Otherwise known as “the digital transformation.” Make sure you register for this test. It might be $100, which kinda sucks, but it’s basically a low-risk shot at the test. You can see what the digital LSAT is all about, and when your score comes back, you can take a look and decide whether or not to cancel. If you do cancel, it’ll still show up as a cancel on your score history. But you’ll be able to know exactly what score you’re cancelling, and how you faired on an official test day.
4:47 – LSAT FUNdamental: Understanding your LSAT Scores
You sit down, you ready your pencil, you dial up 35 minutes on your phone’s timer, and you get ready for your first ever crack at the LSAT: the cold diagnostic. Maybe you’re curious. Maybe you’re relaxed. Maybe you’re anxious about what the test has in store for you. No matter how you feel, this is the start of your LSAT journey. It could be weeks or months or even years of study, practice tests and official tests before you nail the 120-180 score that will propel you into your 1L semester. For many law-students-to-be, this is an arduous path full of elated highs and disappointing setbacks that can make you wonder: am I even making any f*cking progress on this thing? Nathan and Ben set out to set the record straight about the range of practice test scores you’ll experience during your LSAT study in today’s LSAT FUNdamental. Here are some key takeaways:
Your 120-180 is an imprecise measure of your progress as you prepare for the LSAT.Making progress has LESS to do with your score, and more to do with WHICH questions you got wrong and WHY you got them wrong. If you feel like you’re beginning to understand the test at a deeper level, you’re on the right track.
Don’t obsess over your score. It will get in the way to your overall progress.
The LSAT scale is just sixty points: 120-180. If after a month you move from a 140 to a 144, that’s great. In fact, moving the needle one point per week is a massive improvement. And a sustained two points a week is more or less unheard of. Because the scale is small, each point is precious. And each point increase moves you past hundreds or thousands of other applicants.
Remember that every time you take a test there is a possible bell curve for your outcomes. Toward the center is close to your current capabilities, and the upside represents a good mix of questions, a good day, and lucky guesses. The downside means you just had some bad luck. If you score a 160, you could also hit a 165 as well as a 154. So don’t misinterpret the downside or the upside variance—pay more attention to your moving average — the average of your last five test scores.
Different environmental issues can affect your test, like folks tapping pencils in the room, or having a tough first section that colors how you perform on the rest of the test. Learn to deal with these distractions, and you’ll have more consistent performance.
33:29 – Pearls vs. Turds
It’s your weekly Pearls vs. Turds! Or, as Ben might re-name it: it’s Turd time! He might be right, as the current scoreboard after 22 weeks is: 1 pearl, 13 turds, and 8 ties.
Today, Ashley writes in with a tip that helps her when she’s feeling discouraged after (drum rollllll): a shitty practice test score. How apropos to today’s episode! To help her from feeling discouraged, Ashley has started to think of the LSAT as kind of a new language, with nuances and new meanings, and funky conjugations. Some days she nails it. And some days she gets caught up in irregular verbs and the like.
While the guys are glad this helps Ashley feel better about that performance bell curve, they point out that it’s really not a new language. It’s the English language used in the proper way. The test makes perfect sense as it is. But if this way of thinking about it helps you keep your head down, show up, and continue your practice, then that’s awesome. This one’s a tie.
39:45 – Concordia University Law School Incentive
Back in episode 141, listener Thomas wrote in to let the guys know about a wild incentive at Concordia Law School. Anyone who gets above a 160 on the LSAT can attend for free. Badass, right? Well Amanda writes in for this episode to shed some more light on the story. Apparently they offer additional incentives leading up to the 160 score, and moreover, everyone in their small class receives some sort of financial aid. Amanda checked out their ABA 509 report and discovered that no one is receiving that full scholarship, though, and she’s wondering what gives. The guys speculate as to why this might be the case, and do a lil’ dive into Concordia’s ABA 509 report.
48:18 – Logic Game #3, June 2007 LSAT
The guys complete the setup for the third Logic Game of the June 2007 LSAT. They walk through some possible ways to approach the game, and give y’all listeners a bit of homework. Head over to the June 2007 LSAT. Dial up LG#3 in section 1. Listen to Ben and Nathan hook up the setup for the game, and then attempt the questions on your own! Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how it went. Ask questions. Tell us where you got hung up. Tell us what setup worked for you! The guys will discuss in a couple weeks.