Anyone take the LSAT?

I live in England - over here we do 2 years of a law conversion course after university. I already have an offer from a law firm to pay for my conversion and give me a job afterwards, which I’d have to turn down to go to law school in America. If it was just a case of writing out a college application then going for interviews and doing a couple of tests then I’d still apply. But to spend 6 months slaving over an (expensive) exam which might not even get me into law school? No thanks… :slight_smile:

Yes, my friend who was captain of my intramural basketball champion team, and doing nothing else, didn’t get into any of the top 15 schools, with a 3.75 and 172 LSAT.

These scores also don’t mean that you will have a good job, do well in law school, or even pass the bar. Legal education is backwards that way.

Nothing is a sure thing when you’re applying to HLS, YLS, or SLS (Harvard/Yale/Stanford Law School).

The average scores at the top law schools - places like Harvard, Yale and Stanford - are about 172 in the LSAT and 3.8 GPA. So not only would a score of 170 or 171 in the LSAT not guarantee you entry to the top law schools, you’d actually be below average among successful applicants. There’s lots of stories floating around about people getting rejected from the top schools with 180 in the LSAT or 4.0 GPA’s… I’m not sure how much truth is in them but it wouldn’t be surprising if they had one of those scores but some other part of their application was weak. It’s really quite astonishing how competitive these places are - candidates who are effectively geniuses have a genuine chance of getting rejected from a law school like Yale for instance.

Thanks to everyone for the great responses. I’ll open a new thread in July with my score and get your opinions on what schools I might qualify for. Again, thanks.

FWIW, I got a 99th percentile LSAT score (I forget the actual number, but it was in line with the scores of people who had been accepted to the top schools the year before), and I didn’t get into any of my first choice schools (or some of my second tier). However, my undergrad GPA wasn’t the best, and I’m sure that’s largely what did me in. The fact that I didn’t get into any of my first choice schools was one of the biggest factors in my decision not to go to law school at all. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it, and it seemed like a big commitment of time and money for something I wasn’t sure about. But if I’d been accepted to a top school, I’m sure I would have gone. I don’t regret my decision, so I think it actually worked out for the best in my case. And now I at least know I could have gone to a decent law school (if not Yale et al.).

To echo what others have said, the practice tests are worth doing. I did a TON of them, both real practice tests purchased from LSAC and fake ones from prep books (Kaplan, etc.). I put in many, many hours in the months leading up to the test. It made a huge difference, and there’s no way I would have scored nearly as well had I not practiced so much. I didn’t take any prep classes, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have hurt.

Moving from GQ to IMHO.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Took it in 2007. I started “studying” only a month before. Just picked up a test prep book off the bookshelf at Barnes&Noble - had explanations, strategies, and 2 practice tests, with 10 more on an attached CD. Read through the book, did the two tests in the book and a couple off the CD as well (though these were less useful - taking it on a computer is much different from written, I got scores in the 150s taking it on the computer and got a 171 on the real thing).

The main things:

  1. You definitely should at least look at a prep book so you can get accustomed to the logic puzzles (“games”). There’s a certain way to do them, and since time is so limited, you need to know the best way to jump right in and get 'em done.

  2. The other parts are just basic logic and don’t really need to be practiced, but you do need to get yourself used to working at a fast pace. The reading comprehension parts are the toughest, because you need to read the entire passage before answering the 6 questions - so if you can’t get to the last one, you’re screwed.

  3. Because of the time constraints, always a good idea to skip any hard questions (they’re not arranged in any order relating to difficulty, like the SAT).

Overall I thought it was pretty easy, because it basically tests you on 1) your logical reasoning ability 2) under time pressure. I’m quick at standardized tests and have a good brain for rudimentary logic, so it was a breeze for me. Other people I know had to work their asses off studying for months and didn’t do as well. Not that they’re dumber - in fact many of them are doing much better than I am in law school - but just because they’re not as good at standardized tests under pressure. Different types of intelligence and skill and all that.

This was pretty much my experience. I took the LSAT in 2003 (at 36 years old) and scored 166. My prep consisted of two books picked up from Border’s (I can’t even remember what they were - I think one might have been a Princeton Review book) and a good night’s sleep. I found it useful to run through a couple of practice tests, mostly to get a feel for the questions asked.

I don’t think you can study for the LSAT, the best you can do is familiarize yourself with the format. It tests the way you think, not what you know, and in my opinion you either think like a prospective law student or you don’t. I think prep will improve your score over taking it cold, but I can’t imagine it would take you from a terrible score to a great one.

This was also my experience. I took a couple of practice tests in the weeks before the exam, but that was it. I got a 175, but I had a rough first year in law school (it didn’t help that I was working half-time). No client has ever cared about either my LSAT score or my law school grades.

I do recommend not dramatically changing your caffeine consumption patterns - I spend the first section having a major set of the shakes because I got a big coffee like I used to drink, even though I was almost totally decaffeinated at that point. I was lucky to not do worse on that section than I did.