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Help! Scores declining close to test day

sblum
LSAT Novice
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:13 pm
Points: 4

Hi
I am so confused by my test scores and I am at a lose on how to fix the problem. 2 weeks ago I reached my peak score of a 168 and since then they have been declining significantly, going to a 163 and a 161, almost the scores I got before starting the course. I don't know what to do and I am really nervous because I feel like I know the material but then the test scores show something different - especially logical reasoning. The first section I will get 88% right and then the second I will get 65%. I am so worried that I won't be able to fix this before September. Can someone please help me? Is this normal?
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:18 pm
Points: 2,282

Hi S,

Thanks for the question! Because of the way the LSAT is constructed, it's almost unavoidable that you have score variation. Two elements that cause this are what I call the casino effect as well as section difficulty balancing (links on articles about all this are below). These phenomena are a natural result of the fact that the test is made by humans, and although it's an awesomely good test, it's still not exact.

What it comes down to is that the LSAT isn't a perfect test (no exam is), and thus every time you take it there's an expectation that your score will move a bit. Anything within one standard deviation is considered a basically "identical" score from a statistical standpoint, and this is one reason that LSAC reports scores with a score band of several points plus and minus from your actual score (see http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/your-score/score-band for more info). That band is to let law schools know that your "true" score could be anywhere in that range.

Now, what you've just experienced is a variation that's lower than you might expect. But, after a number of tests and also reaching your highest score yet, it's also not surprising that that would happen on occasion. And, in your scoring range, at times a single missed question can cost you one scaled score point. So, a very small variation in performance can have a severe impact, and that is happening because right now you are scoring at a really high level.

After posting a lower than expected score (the 163), you probably exerted undue pressure on yourself, and in a way probably made it more likely that you'd have a subpar performance.

For more info on score variation, I've included a bunch of links that discuss various aspect of how this all works. I find it fascinating, and you might too:



The last thing I want to talk about it your test mentality, and I'm going to be a bit blunt here. I'm doing this because I think you need to hear it, not because I'm trying to give you a hard time :-D After posting 168, you should be more confident about your abilities. One or two lower score (and not even a catastrophic one) shouldn't throw you off like this. Instead, it should re-focus your mind and make you even more determined to destroy this test. But I feel like it knocked you back a bit. The LSAT just threw a punch at you, and you have a choice now to stay down or get back up and kick its ass. And trust me, if you can score a 168, then you can kick some ass! So, the second set of info I want to reference for you involves test mentality and obtaining a stronger mental edge.

I've written quite a bit about positive thinking (and even did a seminar on it), and so I'm going to link to some of that here. I hope that you read and watch each one of these, and that you absorb it all and make it your own:



Last, I'll leave you with this quote from Michael Jordan, followed by a final thought I've pulled from another post I made on this topic:


    "I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." —Michael Jordan

Failure on practice LSATs is the best possible thing that can happen to you. Why? Because each time you miss a question, you learn about what you need to get better at. Don't look at a low score on a practice test as a bad thing. Look at it for the opportunity that it is, and then capitalize on it.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2290
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:18 pm
Points: 2,282

One other post I want to direct you to, which as for students with stuck scores, but also contains advice about reviewing questions that I think would help you: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/how-to- ... -are-stuck.

You will bounce back form one or two low scores, and deep review is the way to lower that score fluctuation per section.

Good luck!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran