February LSAT- Yes or No?


hny_flying

Hey!

I'm a final year law student from Asia and wish to wish to work in the US for atleast 5-6 years. Although LLM was my first inclination, I learnt that a JD is better for securing a good long term job in the States. Now to apply for JD I have to write the LSAT in February 2011. Do you think it's too late considering preparation time and admission in good schools? Or do you think it's better to get a year of work ex, prepare better and then apply? I'm a top student with class position of top 2%. Kindly help me as the registration date for LSAT is nearing.
Thnx

Hey!

I'm a final year law student from Asia and wish to wish to work in the US for atleast 5-6 years. Although LLM was my first inclination, I learnt that a JD is better for securing a good long term job in the States. Now to apply for JD I have to write the LSAT in February 2011. Do you think it's too late considering preparation time and admission in good schools? Or do you think it's better to get a year of work ex, prepare better and then apply? I'm a top student with class position of top 2%. Kindly help me as the registration date for LSAT is nearing.
Thnx
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hny_flying

I know this question is not common to many of the people browsing through these forums. But if anybody has any kind of insight, even small, I request you to kindly share your thoughts. Anything would be greatly appreciated :-)

I know this question is not common to many of the people browsing through these forums. But if anybody has any kind of insight, even small, I request you to kindly share your thoughts. Anything would be greatly appreciated :-)
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Wow, it's been a while since I've been on this board posting, so here's my first response in two years.

I think the answer is so individualized that folks just aren't inclined to give advice that might be wrong in your case. Here are a few things you should think about first before reading the rest of my response:

1) If you do poorly on the LSAT, will that in any way affect your chances of transferring from an LLM to a JD program? That is, if you do poorly on the LSAT and therefore pursue an LLM instead, would the school consider your LSAT score if you tried to transfer into the JD program? If not, then taking the LSAT is low risk. It will not hurt your LLM chances or your transfer from LLM to JD chances and opens the possibility of direct to JD admissions.

2) How much time do you actually have to prepare for the LSAT and how much time would you normally expend on preparing for such an exam? I didn't do much prepping for the LSAT when I took it, but for the two weeks I prepped, I prepped very very intensely. This is how I study, and so it worked well for me, but if you are one who likes to prep for a long time and are otherwise busy with other things, then try to give yourself adequate preparation time.

3) If you do not take the February LSAT, when is the next available exam period in which you would feel prepared for the LSAT? Are you willing to wait that long? (What I'm really asking is, how badly do you want the JD over an LLM? Are you willing to wait to increase your chances at a good JD degree?)

It's really hard to know what you mean when you presume you will not do well (given your prior standardized test performances). Are you saying you do not do your usual top 2% good or that you really truly do poorly? You need to be honest with yourself as to what you think your scores might be on the real exam.

I think the best way to do that is to purchase or download two different real, full LSAT exams and sit down and take them under timed conditions (separately) and see what your score is. (I suggest you take two exams on separate days because first exam scores are almost always horrible due to the surprising style of questions of certain sections. Second exam scores are usually much better and more accurate predictors of your final score.)
If it's very low, you'll still have to decide whether to take the exam, but you'll have a rough idea of what kind of preparation you need (as an aside, I will tell you that it is very possible to improve an LSAT score 20 points or more with just a couple of weeks of focused study, but it is highly unusual and depends on what your testing weaknesses are).

If your practice exam goes well, then there is no reason you cannot sign up now and just keep practicing until the actual exam. You can make your final decision about applications depending on how you feel after the exam, or you can wait until you have your scores if you are willing to sit out an application cycle before applying to JD programs.

Wow, it's been a while since I've been on this board posting, so here's my first response in two years.

I think the answer is so individualized that folks just aren't inclined to give advice that might be wrong in your case. Here are a few things you should think about first before reading the rest of my response:

1) If you do poorly on the LSAT, will that in any way affect your chances of transferring from an LLM to a JD program? That is, if you do poorly on the LSAT and therefore pursue an LLM instead, would the school consider your LSAT score if you tried to transfer into the JD program? If not, then taking the LSAT is low risk. It will not hurt your LLM chances or your transfer from LLM to JD chances and opens the possibility of direct to JD admissions.

2) How much time do you actually have to prepare for the LSAT and how much time would you normally expend on preparing for such an exam? I didn't do much prepping for the LSAT when I took it, but for the two weeks I prepped, I prepped very very intensely. This is how I study, and so it worked well for me, but if you are one who likes to prep for a long time and are otherwise busy with other things, then try to give yourself adequate preparation time.

3) If you do not take the February LSAT, when is the next available exam period in which you would feel prepared for the LSAT? Are you willing to wait that long? (What I'm really asking is, how badly do you want the JD over an LLM? Are you willing to wait to increase your chances at a good JD degree?)

It's really hard to know what you mean when you presume you will not do well (given your prior standardized test performances). Are you saying you do not do your usual top 2% good or that you really truly do poorly? You need to be honest with yourself as to what you think your scores might be on the real exam.

I think the best way to do that is to purchase or download two different real, full LSAT exams and sit down and take them under timed conditions (separately) and see what your score is. (I suggest you take two exams on separate days because first exam scores are almost always horrible due to the surprising style of questions of certain sections. Second exam scores are usually much better and more accurate predictors of your final score.)
If it's very low, you'll still have to decide whether to take the exam, but you'll have a rough idea of what kind of preparation you need (as an aside, I will tell you that it is very possible to improve an LSAT score 20 points or more with just a couple of weeks of focused study, but it is highly unusual and depends on what your testing weaknesses are).

If your practice exam goes well, then there is no reason you cannot sign up now and just keep practicing until the actual exam. You can make your final decision about applications depending on how you feel after the exam, or you can wait until you have your scores if you are willing to sit out an application cycle before applying to JD programs.
quote

By the way, you'll note that I made references to your other LLM to JD posting (that was the posting I saw first). In answer to your JD question and waiting --good work experience is always a positive for an international candidate. It is also best to apply early in a school's application cycle and can be a bit of an advantage in admissions. If you have any doubts at all about your readiness to take the LSAT, and you can line up a good job for a year instead, then by all means, wait and apply next year. Your chances will be as good if not better next year.

By the way, you'll note that I made references to your other LLM to JD posting (that was the posting I saw first). In answer to your JD question and waiting --good work experience is always a positive for an international candidate. It is also best to apply early in a school's application cycle and can be a bit of an advantage in admissions. If you have any doubts at all about your readiness to take the LSAT, and you can line up a good job for a year instead, then by all means, wait and apply next year. Your chances will be as good if not better next year.
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finnis

sv_hyd, I suppose I have some insight, as I was admitted to a top US program with a February score. I think you can adequately prepare for the LSAT if you are strong in the tested areas (I had about three weeks of prep, and did fine.) Other people don't feel comfortable until doing months of prep work, so it's really a personal, subjective thing

Note that some schools have admissions deadlines around the time the February scores are released.. So you may have very little time to prepare applications based on that score. You may want to prepare applications for schools you desire to attend, and then send in your LSAC report after the February score is released.

Also note that the February score is just that, a score, and does not provide you with the areas you did well in, which isn't as helpful as the other test dates for recognizing your trouble areas, in case you weren't already.

Good luck!

sv_hyd, I suppose I have some insight, as I was admitted to a top US program with a February score. I think you can adequately prepare for the LSAT if you are strong in the tested areas (I had about three weeks of prep, and did fine.) Other people don't feel comfortable until doing months of prep work, so it's really a personal, subjective thing

Note that some schools have admissions deadlines around the time the February scores are released.. So you may have very little time to prepare applications based on that score. You may want to prepare applications for schools you desire to attend, and then send in your LSAC report after the February score is released.

Also note that the February score is just that, a score, and does not provide you with the areas you did well in, which isn't as helpful as the other test dates for recognizing your trouble areas, in case you weren't already.

Good luck!
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