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Retaking the LSAT in October after a June LSAT score that didn't get the job done? Tune in for Law School Expert's podcast featuring Noah Teitelbaum from Manhattan Prep, John Rood from Next Step Test Prep, and Rob Tauer from LSAT Freedom. Get tips on re-taking the LSAT: How to approach it differently this time to get different (better!) results on test day.
Hi! You've reached the Law School Expert Blog Talk Radio Show. Welcome! I'm Ann Levine, Law School Admission Consultant from lawschoolexpert.com and author of the Law School Expert Blog. Today's topic is a timely one. We're talking strategies for taking the LSAT again and I have got a great panel of people today and I'll introduce them in just a minute. As we go through the show, if you are logged in to Blog Talk Radio and you are listening live, you can chat questions to me and to our guests as we do the show. And we will incorporate those into the show as best we can. So first, I want to introduce Noah Teitelbaum from Manhattan Prep. He is the Executive Director of Academics there including Manhattan LSAT. He developed the curriculum. I'd love this part, self-proclaimed LSAT geek and he is training teachers and teaching students for over a decade on the LSAT and other topics. So, welcome Noah!
Thank you great to be here, Ann.
Rob Tauler is here from LSAT Freedom. He has graduated at Harvard Law School in 2005 and he scored in the above 99% in the LSAT and he has been teaching the LSAT. He is a tutor for 10 years. So, welcome Rob!
Thank you very much Ann.
And now, last but not the least, we've got John Rood. He is the President of Next Step Test Prep. They provide one-on-one LSAT tutoring nationwide and he has been teaching the LSAT since 2006. Hi John!
So, we've got a very experienced group of guys here. I do notice always a group of guys. I gotta get -- you know we get to work on those guys, but (crosstalk) I am pleased to have you all here (laughs). We know -- what I did is I wanted to talk to them, I have getting a lot of questions from my Law School Admission Consulting clients and from my blog readers about retaking the LSAT. And I found four really popular scenarios and I'm just going to -- let people know in advance right now. What we're going to be addressing. So, people know will be addressing something that applies to them. We're gonna talk first about the person whose thinking about retaking their LSAT course. We're going to talk about some who does not do well in standardized test ever. And talk about with someone who does not well in standardized test that thinks they could do better and we're going to talk about test anxiety and a couple of other things that our common themes for people who are retaking the LSAT. You guys ready?
Alright! So, we start with person number one. Let say person number one says to you I took the Kaplan prep course. I didn't raise my score too much from my initial diagnostic testing and I'm gonna retake the course, though because they have this great guarantee program. So, any thought you guys have on that or tips for person number one. Why don't we start back over here and we start with you John.
Sure! Yeah! Thanks Ann and we get this sort of request quite a bit and will off and actually talk too soon who have taken the Kaplan class twice and kind of got some of the results and that's not necessarily Kaplan's fault. What I always think about it is that there is this tendency to think that because there is a free class offer that you should take it and what most students don't realize is that -- I mean they have probably really just they don't think about it. The class is gonna be the same the second time right. So, there is some possibility that your first instructor was new and your last instructor is going to be a complete pro and is doing for years and years on doing much better job, but what I've mostly seen is that student don't tend to improve very much, just going through the class the second time, because they are essentially resetting through the same lectures that they've gone through. And now it -- I mean may be that case and we seen this before where they're student does the Kaplan course want them and just like doesn't really go or they kind of go sometimes if they don't any home works. So, if you try harder you'll improve, although that's the case with pretty much everything in life, but generally I don't to people making giant jumps doing the same thing a second time.
Thanks John. You know I was probably the same thing you know it's -- it didn't not work the first time not gonna work in the second time. So, you know it's generally a good idea to shake things up and actually no I'm gonna turns to you next and also as part of that you know I think it's a great time to introduce people to people the actual statistical likelihood of improving your LSAT course the second time. And any things you know you would recommend to help pick that person who is retaking their Kaplan test or planning too right now their Kaplan program and you know any advice that you could give them about how to defy those statistics. So, I'll turn to you Noah?
Sure! I must admit when I came to -- I work from home when I came in my office this morning and push my computer on, it actually completely died (laughs). So, I can't pull up the actual number that I have, but they're...
Oh that's okay we're forgive that. Yeah!
They're on the LSAT website and they're pretty soldering actually about the average improvement and we do -- I am sure like all of us here I guess will be a lot of people who are retaking and we tried to show them that -- and at first, it seems like we're gonna scare them off but we're really off with saying you gonna have to do something radically different because the average is -- I think may be one of you guys you know tap your head but...
Like one -- the people who have scoring 150 to 160. I think on average improve about two points or something like that, which it's just on average doesn't mean everyone, but...
So, you have to you know -- it's not about expecting that just two point its' about recognizing that what's happening because a lot of people just doing the same thing. And I agree with everything you said so far and I don't wanna just repeat it, but I really want to add that I thought -- you know a couple of different test and I will say that unlike may be the GMAT where if you happened you've not learned the formula for the Pythagorean theorem, heaven forbid, and then you learned it, you could have a marked difference in your performance because you now this piece of information. I say that, one of the things I love about the LSAT. It's an awful that can set that you've love this standardized test is that it's very well written. It's really testing skills of analysis, skills that make you a successful first year Law student and while we all take our job seriously and you know we all hopes student improve their scores. If I were gonna try to read the ultimate Law School Applicant you know I would turn my child into that. I would be focusing on their education from kindergarten through college. There are a lot of pieces that should be in place and for some people for whatever reason; some major pieces are not there. They have not doing challenging analytical work in college. They haven't reading dense text and so, it's ends of being that the prep courses or the self-study program whatever it is, is one of their first real exposures to this level of work and it can take some people time and so they are cases where people don't take in something effect in time does the tricks because now they've got more experienced with more complex cognitive move. So, I agree that -- usually just doing the same thing doesn't work, but they are people who -- it can't help and I think one of the indicator is you know if you are still moving up and then you take the LSAT you know if you haven't heard, hit your plateau and then -- usually there is a one plateau and then another ride if you haven't sort of gone through both those rises, may be that's still more to be gained.
Thanks and that's super helpful. I wanna move on to our second scenario here. I get this a lot from people especially on my blog. I have a post about very low LSAT scores that has been up there for maybe three or four years and it's literally has 1500 posts from people, like "what about me", "what about me", but really all of the "what about me" is boiled down to the following. I don't do well in standardized test ever. I hate them. I've taken the LSAT twice. I've got 142 and 146. I took a prep course. I studied on my own for six months. I have no money left for expensive tutors. What should I do? Rob, what do you tell that person?
Well, first of all we come across of a lot people we just either freak out on the exam or just get very anxious during the test. So, we just have a mental block and think that they cannot do well on standardized test generally. And I would say the first road block is overcoming that mental block. People who feel this way that they don't do well on standardized test only the generally the experience of the SAT and you know maybe a couple of state administered test in high school. So, it's not you know for the first time you tell me, it's not freak out and you know this does not really a wide enough sample to think that you know you're dooms from the start. The second reason is people should be optimistic is that the LSAT is fundamentally different in this test. Well, being generally a good taker will help you on any standardized test. On the LSAT with the right practice, we can see improvement, even in the students and as you guys we're touching upon on the first point. You know it's -- you have to follow certain elements to improve on the exam and it's really formulated in terms of the amount of practice and the type of practice you do. You will see improvement. And certainly, there are ways to cope with test the anxiety. In fact our course has an e-book available as part of the course that helps deal with those types of issues and you know just part of that, it's just normal, but there is certain things you can do to manage that and you know that happens from lowly as a key taker to professional athlete. So there is nothing wrong with being anxious for something that has a high level of importance like this, but you know, if you do the actual work and you become comfortable with it and you take certain steps to minimize your test the anxiety, then really this should not be a big concern for you.
Okay! So, let's say someone taken at 140 to 146 is that assuming those scores of within three period. They've got one more chance to take it. John, what would you do if this person calls you and said you know I only have money for a little bit of private tutoring, but like -- is it possible for me to break that 150 you now I just don't know what to do. And what do you tell them first John?
Sure! I mean the first thing that we do is that we talk to them pretty extensively about what they have done in the past. Because really, really broadly speaking and over generalizing them. There is two types of students, so there is a type of student who has already done all the right things and has already improved a lot, but just once more. Right? They just want to get to a better school. So, for example, you know if this student who scored you know 146. If they started at 136 and they took the prep course and did all of the other studying and they got you know a 10 point improvement, oh that's already pretty good. You know and they can probably do better. And the other side of that is that sometimes, there are students who -- even if they're trying really hard just haven't seen the right improvement you know they have improved may be two or three points but not really I think significant or you know they were prep testing significantly higher like five or six points higher, which I think we're gonna come back to and just need to figure out what to do for the day of the test. So, both of the situations are a little bit different, but I mean generally what we do with students who -- were gonna work with individually for -- just a pretty short time you know like may be less than a month is, we wanna make sure that we're talking -- were asking the student to talk through a bunch of different problems. Like really LSAT problems. And what we find is that you know -- after you've been doing this for a while and you see that there is about 10 or 15 different things that students can do wrong in any given problem, but if you are studying by yourself, it's really, really hard sometimes to figure out which those are. So, what we wanna do is work with individual students to kind of diagnose their performance, understand are they going through things the right way or you know should their methodology be different and a kind of -- what are the couple of problems that they've go into. One anecdote for this is that, we work with the student and as it's actually a really common problem was really bright.
We generally missed two to three questions on logical reasoning and reading comp. So, they will give a really good score, but they are lively gave score was terrible and you know just by working with that student pretty briefly. The instructors were able to see whether they are not writing enough down. Right! So, even other smart person were trying to do this complete logic game problem all in their head. Without doing a diagram or they kind a make like a cursory diagram. So, that's one of those quick things that we can say you know "hey you made haven't do this wrong for you know six months now. If you make a couple of small changes, then we can help you make them that may be worth of a fairly significant job.
Thanks John! You know, I get these questions from the office. I'm not an LSAT tutor. I -- so I have you guys for -- but, you know, people talk to me about what are the chances for me to improve. Where can I go to Law School with this low scores and you know I generally think that there are two or three categories of this people fallen to contact me with this question and I even -- I have many clients on the situation too. And many of whom even have near perfect grade at good school and they just have this LSAT issue and I think it would be missed if we didn't bring out that sometimes, this is due to disability. A learning disability difficulty that has been diagnosed and LSCC will not offer accommodation to many people. It is a very common problem and so, people just still they cannot perform the same with the LSAT as they have done in school and as they have done on previous standardized test where accommodations were given. So, I think in those cases you know if you are not getting this in time, you know that's with the blockage for you and you always work the certain way. That's a different story. You may not be able to conquer this in the time allotted and then there is other things we can do, you know, in terms of explaining the LSAT score and what have you within the application materials, but the third time is not usually the charm I think for those -- for individuals that fall into that category. I think there is also a category of people who, as Noah said, you know they are just academically under prepared and they may not -- in most cases I think those individuals don't even realize it. They don't realize that the college they went to is not as regret as another college or they maybe the first in their families to go to college, they maybe immigrant families that you know they may just not be familiar with the fact that they are just not academically prepared and they are always going to struggle on some level with this test then I think that at some point, people need to look at okay so can I get into a law school I'd be happy attending with my current scores. They need to serve address to how realistic their dreams and goals are and I think that that's an important piece of it too.
It is not just that well if I just do something differently, I am going to improve because I think from many people, that's not the case. I don't know if anyone has any comments on that.
Well I would add something in the -- maybe I think it was Robert -- I think who went to the law school right?
You know the LSAT is a very good predictor of your performance in first year of law school and I think that, you know, all of us are making a living here, also people doing LSAT Prep, but the remises say -- did not point out that for some people, a low LSAT score is the wake up call they need and I don't wanna just you know have listeners going out from this show and thinking, oh you know there are these tests and I will be able to do it. Law school is tough and it's a very challenging program and for some people your struggle with the LSAT is going to be a pre-course three-year struggle with law school and, you know, mostly that I've ever been in the law school so I'm seeing a little bit beyond my expertise but...
I think it can be very bitter pill for people to swallow. I mean I offer free initial consultations and I do have to tell people often you know that I think not need so this is I think they need to be more realistic about their goals because it may not be for them I don't want them calling me in a year after getting academically dismissed from I'll just put in here Thomas Cooley saying you know now what do I do. You know what other thing is then you're stuck because you are out of situation and you are out, but I do talked to many, many people who have 142s and 146s and go to law school and do great I just had a client who this year went to Florida Coastal School of Law and he is transferring to Emory, I mean there is hope for people. It is not that it is a hopeless situation and I am not trying to turn people away and say they will never reach their goal of becoming lawyers, but I think self analysis is important part of success in this process so I wanted to make sure we address that.
I would like to add to that if I would this is __18:09__.
You know this is also the financial omen of it. What I have seen is there is sort of like two types of students that come through at this stage and they are like well you know lawyer will be cool. Let's try the LSAT. More positive attitude toward the whole thing (crosstalk) and then the second type of student - yeah I like making money that sounds great and then there is a second type of student that you know just a little bit more driven and has a clear conception of what they wanna do I wanna do environmental law. I really wanna do immigration law and I know this even before they take the exam and so for that second type of student, I don't think there are eventual school or whatever school they gonna do is as important as the first student who is emanating to a financial transaction that keeps followed in their entire lives and so I think...
Rob, that is a fabulous point and it is something that I think about on top of my claims all the time and it is usually -- the people at first quite category have never heard of the Wall Street Journal in New York Times, but if they're listening to this show perhaps they might have heard of my book, the Law School Decision Game where we talked about this and the things you need to know before you go to law school and the things you need to think about and I absolutely agree with you but that second category of people. It is not about where they go; it is about what they do with it. So thank you so much for bringing that up. Let's go to the other end of the spectrum and I get a lot of this too and these are more fun problems because it is like what's the Twitter has shape people had been using lately be high class problems, right? So, let's have what high class problems. The person who has a 166, but practices were around 170 and she want at least to 172, so what can she do to boost her score in three months before the October LSAT. Why do not we start with you Noah.
Great. Well I love high class problems and I'd like it only have them to the rest of my life. I think that (crosstalk)
What do you think about that the best about the years, you know.
Yeah. Well I think this person is an exciting student to work with first of all, I'd say often that student is working of pure brain power like if I would draw it, it would be someone sort of scrunching their forehead and just trying to think their way through the test and you know, the bright people are good at standardized test usually, but they are over relying and again this is a big generalization, but sort of typical story, but over relying on their -- just sheer brain power and they don't have a structured approach to different question. They don't have kind of a ritual on how they are going to take this test and it is putting in that understanding of the test, the steps, you know, that is not what I am talking like this huge flow chart of, you know, 500 steps for each, you know, every question type and __21:10__ of it but very concrete and usable and flexible strategy. So basically, I am saying they need to learn some strategies and stop just trying to think out this test.
That's a great suggestion. Alright Rob, you have been there done that. What do you say to this person?
Well I actually has been learned in that because you know when the exam is turned up to the pretty high school and then you know I was doing pretty well but I was sort of stock in this range that was not where I want it to be and really to get to that next level I think it is a lot of it is gonna be mental and what we advised students to do is you know to - this seems count on two to so many people but we advised them to take a vacation and get away from the material for a week and let it soaked in. Also what Noah was touching upon which is getting a lot more comfortable with your routine. I developed a routine for the exam and you know eat the same thing before you take it in a test like setting go to the actual location where the exam gonna be administered and eat the same things in developing a level of comfort with the test scenario and then you will be surprised how much this little things have an affect on your overall performance aside from you know substance of improvement which a lot of students feel like they reach like the end of the road like this is as high as we can they, get but what we found is like a few tweets you can really improve on your overall performance.
Thank you so much so I was just thinking about I was having a flashback to about two and a half years ago and Noah you and I were sitting in cafe in New York in a very rainy day and we were talking about how people should deal with the unpredictability of what can happen at a testing center on test day and I remember saying to you I think that you guys should in your practice session environment you have the proctor talking to the whole thing have the cellphone go up, have the air conditioning banging away, have the you know have all kinds of craziness and interruptions and people sleeping and like that would just be the ideal way to practice studying for the LSAT because this junk happens on test day and I think the unpredictability of it is what causes a lot of people, the test anxiety that they complained about. You remember that conversation Noah?
I do, it was on the Sixth Avenue with the whole Belgian place. Yeah, I think there is really two businesses that one of us guests should open and one is this travel agency that sends people on their vacation to take a break and the other is to hire someone to come in and disrupt your proctor exam. I think this - but yeah I agree that people should take their practice test in a variety of environments and, you know, I think probably we all give proctor exams and they are, you know, we try them very realistic and there are going to be some natural interruptions but I think taking a back step in a cafe, taking in a super silent place sometimes naturally distracting the people, I think that is a great idea of variety also practicing panic you know give yourself only, you know, 26 minutes for the section. You know you're not going to do well practice making those tough decisions.
It is so funny you said that I am. I did this I took in two bar exams passing both the first time, in case anyone to give me high time about it, but the second bar exam I took in a year state of Colorado, Noah, I completely mess myself up and gave myself only half the allotted time on each of the multiple choice questions on the bar exam and I am freaking out like, oh my god how I am not having time to read this what is going on? What's wrong?. Yeah that's why I'm going to a math field. That is why I went to law. So this stuff that generally happened and you got to regroup in I remember regrouping going back to all my questions again when I realized what I have done and I think that is only part of it. People have to understand that their test might be delayed in hour and a half. They might get hungry like they can't let this things throw them if they really have to focus on it. John, I don't know if you have any stories about this or suggestions about how to get your money around this things because a lot of time that quite people week are retaking the LSAT, they don't want to cancel their score after that testing the environment, but you know they are little worried about this kinds of problems. What do you tell them?
Yeah absolutely. I agree with everything that has been said on the topic, but there is a couple of things that the LSAT is pretty bad at communicating about what actually happened on test. So, they will tell you all the legalities for sure but there is something, something that tell our students, but presenting by yourself you might not get this stuff. So, the first thing that I think surprises students about the day of the test is __26:24__ of this is the waiting so, if the student is reporting to a large test center in a major urban environment, they can expect a really substantial wait while everyone else could check in and sent to rooms and then once everyone is in the rooms and there is a long process reading all the kind of legalities, all the processes, they got to do their honor code statement etc. etc. so you know the student expect to start the test at 8:30 in fact you know may be over an hour after that. So, that's one thing that I might sure the students prepare for and then may be take a newspaper just to kind of chill out and relax a little bit while they are standing in line and of course once they get the test from their camp, they can't do that so, I mean I that's a major thing and then I definitely agree that they just need to soon to see and make sure that when they are doing their preparation or doing it in a realistic environment, and this is Noah said, that's not necessarily requires environment. I love when the students do their work and kind of university library settings because that is -- you know it is pretty quiet, it is not like a party, but there is people walking back and forth and then make sure that the students are using like a realistic timing device so I found lot of students that come to us and having using like their egg timer or their digital timer or have like this incredible level of precision in terms of their performance especially if they are the higher scoring student were talking about. So let's say you know I am average I am finishing a logic game in 9 minutes and 37 seconds. And I will say, well that's great, but you know you need to make sure that you were thinking about how you actually gonna do this on the day of the test where you will be lucky to have a digital clock in your room most likely gonna be relying on your watch.
Thank you so much for that I want to go back and make sure we're addressing the question that I think is most on people's minds right now were doing show in not quite mid July and people just got in there June LSAT scores and they're -- it is a big time for retaking the LSAT. I think it is between the June and October outside because you still get to apply very early in the cycle and take advantage of rolling admission when you retake in October and so this is really a crucial time where it is a little less of a risk to retake the LSAT and not lose out on the advantage of applying early and so you know people are really deciding right now. Should I stick with June and apply now or should I retake in October and so you know as you were saying John earlier you know I really talk to each person to how they studied you know what they practices or what they standardized testing history is and all of that then I also want to emphasize to people that if once they sort of have an inkling of whether they are good candidates for improving their score significantly on a retake. I then want to assure them that they are not loosing out by not submitting their applications in September. I think that's a really important point that law school admission officer and I can tell you because I was one, you are spending September and October on the road. Okay, you are not reviewing applications. I mean, it's very rarely ideal time for that. You are out and about recruiting applicants especially in years like this when application numbers are down. So, I would rather have someone take the time and do it right and apply in a thanksgiving timeframe then rush in applying September when they could have applied with the stronger application so I'd love to hear from you guys you know and I will give you each a chance to do this. When do you know someone really should really take the LSAT aside from the obvious they didn't prepare the first time what are the some examples of people you know who you have worked with that. They were great candidates to retake the LSAT. Why don't we start with you Rob?
Well I think, the first candidate that she definitely retake it as someone new whether they took a practice course initially or not, has only improved five points something like that from their original score. In our experience, like students, regardless of the course that they take really, so this is an applaud for our course. If they do the work and they have proper instruction, they can improve 10 to 15 points. No problem, sometimes more. Of course that all depends on where you start and the fact that student inaugurations, so if you are only improving four or five points or something like that then there are certainly a lot you can be doing to improve your score, whether the switching, the instruction or switching how you prepare and touching upon what we discussed in the first point which was whether you should retake the same course over and over again including all the downside and said like if somebody is doing the same thing over and over again, I am expecting different results.
Well, I mean, this is the primary example of that because students just think alike. Well, maybe I just wasn't paying attention the first time I hope just do the same thing again. I think it is really important to find your groove and in chose of improving your LSAT score. That means getting proper instruction on how to approach the material and teaching your mind how to analyze these problems and do well and it's not an overnight process. As some students are taking cram for the LSAT like they can of Psychology 101 exam and that's just not the case, it really training your brain not only to do well in the LSAT but to do well in law school beyond. So, if students take that approach and have the right instruction and study a massive amount of material and focus on improving their strengths, probably improving their weaknesses then they are almost guaranteed to increase their score within that range I said.
And thanks Rob. John, how do you help someone decide whether they're a good candidate to retake the LSAT?
Sure. Well I think Rob pointed out a couple of really good one. So, I will say that broadly when we're talking to them, they have to say something that kind of makes us think that and a lot of students don't. So, I mean a lot of students I think were not a good candidate to say at first. Yeah, I agreed that the student is only improved by four or five points, definitely they should consider retaking it. I think that if a student has an achievable goal, they should consider retaking the test and what I mean is that we'll have a lot of students were based at Chicago we do a lot of work here and so by meeting in I mean a lot in person with students who were or Chicago students you know they say "I took the test and I got a 154 and I really wanna go to the Loyola for Law School", then I'll say "Yeah, you probably should and there it's not even a matter of anything about the test is that you know if they've got a goal they want to make sure that they're giving themselves a chance to meet that goal. I think that's important, but you know more often we will just see certain things in student's record that suggest that they need to retake the test. So for example we had a student that is starting our program that was -- we're going through his history he says "Okay, my average score on my Prep test was 145 and then I took the LSAT and I get a 145 and I was really disappointed I say well why is that what you expected and he said "No, because when I took my practice test I did not really concentrate" and I figure out he is really trying I'd go up five or ten points it was like oh, well.
I understand you're perspective, we want to make sure that we get you started on the right program and emphasize the importance to do in their homework stuff. So usually there is, it could be anyone with 50 different things so I know I'm not exactly answering the question, but once you've been in the game for awhile like the three of us have you start to see those same patterns recur with different students.
Okay. Noah, anything to add there, because if none I have got some great questions from people who are chatting live, but if you wanna start with a good example of when someone should retake and when they shouldn't, that would be great.
Sure. Yeah, and I see them on the chat there, I dig up a little laptop here. I think great responses and I totally agree another indicator of course would be scoring better on your practice test then on the real thing maybe you just had a bad day sort of thing or test anxiety issues to resolve. Now the thing is they could save you to talk about the counter side of this is someone who with maybe double the time still cannot get a question right. That's a tough situation and there's gonna be a lot to learn say about logical reasoning if even with a large amount of time they can't reason through an argument because the other side and this is the person who I think is a great retake candidate who with a little bit more time can compete together and that's back to that story of this person who probably just doesn't have a strategy in place but does have some real strong brain power, there. So, yeah I see this question how long to wait before studying for retake. Well I think you want to give yourself a nice long trajectory for study. Especially if you gonna be digging out ineffective strategies and trying to replace them with new one. You want to give yourself a nice long runway. So I was up pretty soon for the October LSAT you know doing your application this week or next and then starting up with a great plan. A lot of anxious people have increases plateaus and then it increases so you want to give yourself time to go through that whole process. I find that when you learn something you certainly need a sleep on it and that's more than just one night for her to settle in and practice it so that actually become how you approach the test not just some fancy idea that you got.
Absolutely, I kind of play really great during the tennis last sem and then when I am actually in a match, I forget everything I am supposed to be doing and I think that it all comes down to a practice in the LSAT part of that. So I know couple of things based on that, why is that you do have time for those who do a thing to apply the law school and retake the LSAT, okay. You don't have to rush and write your personal say in this week and then start LSAT probably next week and there is a way to incorporation both and obviously a timeline on my website and then I recommend and obviously I work with client on that but it's definitely possible to do both and applications are even out until end of August at the earliest. So there is no great huge rush at this time of the year. When I talk also about, guys quickly I want to interject some of the benefits of improving your LSAT score. Obviously people do it sometimes just because they have a magic number in their head and they've just want to hit. Sometimes it is matter of bragging rights and pride and sometimes it's just, you know, they feel like that LSAT is like a label on their entire work as an individual and they just did some videos on that and actually John and I just talked about that too on a recent video, but there can be some really concrete good reasons for you taking the LSAT. Obviously one of that is to put you more in range with the schools you hope to attend and the other quite frankly is scholarships that, I really want my claims to have a choice between attending that dream Law School they never thought they'd have a shot at and a great scholarship to another really good Law School. I want people to have that choice. No matter what they choose in the end I want them to have really thought about that problem so that later, they don't have regrets about the decisions they have made. And so especially if that person going from 166 or 172 or even some of the person going from 146 to 154 depending on where they're applying.
That can be a factor and so there is some incentive and there is just a little bit of risk here because for those listeners you are sort of new to the application process, six years ago the LSAT really changed how they do this in the ABA and so Law School is no longer really average scores they take the highest of multiple scores. When those one or two Law Schools -- Columbia says that they're averaging scores, what they really mean is they are going that for their internal processes, but they are still, they still have incentive to way the highest score to place going to wait on it because that's the score they will report to the ABA and for rankings purposes etc. So if you can get that, whatever your highest score is, is a good thing. Now, I recently had a client who went from a 158 down 10 points and guess she is gonna have to explain that cause that's just looks bizarre you know, but for most people there's not a lot of risk in the retake and so I think that is why this has become such a huge topic and its so I just wanted to interject that so what do we tell people like, how many practices should people keep doing in the next month or six weeks to decide whether they are really thing and improvement that merits than retaking this test. What do you think Rob, what would you tell someone about that?
Well, these students should consider the overall environment and unfortunately now where environment looks has been well-publicized where the LSAT score is just ever more important because they really have to go to top 14 schools to get trained at top law firms now this doesn't mean if you don't get in one of those schools like you're not going to be alert or anything like that. But to get that sort of high level training, the sticks are really high and of course the financial words of doing so are a lot higher as well. So if you are writing that range where you are competitive for one of those spots I would say, my hands are down you should definitely give it a go. If your concern is just going to law school and you're talking about improving a few points from a 155 to 157, then you may wanted to consider the possible negative effects which is taking the time and effort to improve your score and also the chances that you wouldn't do as well the second time around, but if you are in this competitive range and once you are in that range, then the other rewards that you've discussed Ann, like getting great scholarships come into play. So I would say if you run around that range, your prime candidate to retake the exam or has noticed that you know if you had a bad day, if you had to leave in your exam or something like that then you should definitely take it again.
And when do you know to fish or cut bait, John? Like when do you tell someone like I know like people working with you guys is in a tutoring capacity are already finally enjoy it and emotional invested in retaking the test, but I mean realistically, what do you tell someone who has been practicing for let's say its beginning of September now and their practice exam scores are really not much different from where they scored on that first test. There was then a point or two either way or three, what do you tell that person? Are they really going to have a chance to improve their scores? When do they give up? What do you tell them Noah?
Well, I think the policy about counseling is really generous and you can even just not show up that believe it just one of your three attempts so I say keep pushing and sometimes that a month before the LSAT wake up call is really what people need the light of fire and we schedule a proctor exam sort of at a certain point to give some kick in the butt to students who are taking it too easy. So I am not a big fan of giving up in this situation because you can just you can say I am not going to go I am going to council withdraw from the LSAT. So I think the big idea here is whatever your scoring on, let us say the last two practice test, you shouldn't expect anything better than that one of the other guest speaking about that, right? If you were scoring 145, that's what you gonna get. So just keep on...
I mean I usually say there is a threeish point place there where people score lower on the real thing just because of unforeseen things like what happened this time with the pages look different. They are formatted differently you know just this nerve or new question type or just something throws you a little bit and you were very rarely is there anyone really get exactly your point or two better that is how they were doing on those last two practices, right? I mean people have to expect a little cushion there I think unless you disagree.
No, no I agree that there is I think a standard is to go a little bit lower and it's unusual to go several points higher than your Prep test. Sometimes you live in California, you come to Colorado with a higher altitude that could also lower your scoring you know or take you time.
Yes I know. A lot of people are flying in from overseas to take the LSAT here because the overseas test occasions are horrible and so then they are like surprise when they're jetlag taking the test, but part of this is just being realistic about the situation and printing for a nice -- with a minute left, I really just want to say a couple of things. First of all, I want to thank you guys for giving such great tips to our listeners and for always being available to do that. I get lots of great feedback on what you guys do, so thank you so much for being here and offering this great insight I'm hoping we run it again here and coverage just about every kind of LSAT taker here, but if not, the blog is definitely open for additional questions and of course you can contact this guys directly. John doing Next Step Test Prep, Noah through manhattanLSAT.com and Rob through LSAT Freedom and they're all on Twitter and they are all bloggers and they're out there so you guys feel free to approach them and take advantage of their fabulous expertise. For more about the Law School Application at admission in Harvard, you can check out lawschoolexpert.com/blog. You can follow Law School expert on Facebook, Ann Levine on Twitter. We are all over the place and I just want to thank everyone so much for tuning in today and looking forward to our next Law School Expert Blog Talk Radio show so thank you.
Thank you Ann.
Thank you very much, Ann.
Alright, bye guys and good luck on the LSAT retakes everybody.
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It's good to talk.