I Did Worse the Second Time I Took the LSAT. Help!

So you re-took the LSAT and did worse the second time. Maybe it was your third time. Regardless-don’t worry! This is a super common situation. When I applied to law school, I took the LSAT 3 different times. The second time I took the test, I scored a 170.

That was a pretty good score, I thought, until I saw that most top law school median LSATs went up that year, AND they decided to change the rules to accept the highest score. (In the past, they averaged ALL of your scores so there was a significant downside to re-taking.)

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of stress I went through when I scored lower that third time. I thought I really screwed myself over by taking the risk of sitting for the LSAT after I’d scored a 170.

But in the end it didn’t matter. Here’s why:

Law Schools Only Care About Your Highest Score

If you examine the self-interest of law school admissions departments, you’ll find that maximizing their LSAT medians (and quartiles) is a huge priority. As long as they can report your highest score, they’re not really going to care that much about your second highest score. Now maybe–maybe, if there’s a gigantic drop of say, 8+ points, they’ll have second thoughts. But even then they might just defer your decision until later.

It Says Nothing About Your Ability

Most applicants believe that the LSAT somehow suggests how ready they are for law school, or how smart they are. In reality, the LSAT is an imperfect measure of legal aptitude–and law schools know this. If you score a 165, for example, your “true” score is probably anywhere from 162 to 168. That’s a huge range! So if your score drops by a few points, that’s just your standard measurement error. Law schools know this.

An Otherwise Solid Application Will Make Up For It

If you’ve got great grades (or even just OK grades) this probably won’t be a huge issue. Schools will look at the totality of your application, and won’t reject you outright. If you’ve got a long record of academic success, your total record will carry the day. However, if you’ve got bad grades, AND a big score drop, you’ve got a little bit more of a concern. But that’s where putting together a strong, coherent applicant with recommendations that mitigate your weaknesses, artfully deployed addenda, and a strong personal statement comes in.

Take the LSAT a Third Time!

If you did worse your second time, absolutely go for it again. Don’t just let that second score sit there. If you take it a third time, and that ends up being your highest score, law schools will–out of self interest–consider that the only LSAT score that really matters. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the LSAT to the admissions committee. Admissions Deans have lost their jobs due to plummeting law school rankings due to falling LSAT medians. You better believe they’re looking out for themselves.

So keep your head up. Re-take that LSAT. Double down on your preparation, and make sure you’re preparing the right way. If you’re not sure if you need to take a course or self-study, take a look at my post Should You Take a LSAT Prep Course? Five Questions to Ask Yourself First.

A New Year

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I updated my blog. Sometimes work and life gets super busy and I just get out of the habit of posting.

Anyways, since it’s a new year, I thought I’d sum up the big events of 2016 and what I’m excited about for 2017!

Visited Taiwan – For the first time since 2005, I visited Taiwan. This time was different than the other times because I didn’t go with my family. Mrs. Lexaholik and I went on our own. See this post for a recap of our trip!

Got Married! – Mrs. Lexaholik and I technically got married in 2015 but we spent 2016 celebrating with our friends. We had a big party (“wedding reception”) for us and our friends. Our reception was a bit unconventional and included fun games like Wedding Family Feud.

Became an Uncle – In March I officially became an uncle! Being an uncle is super fun because you don’t really have to do all the hard parenting work but you get to play with and spoil the baby. Watching my niece grow up week by week is pretty nuts. The speed at which developmental changes happen make it seem like she’s a completely new person every time I see her.

Closed My Business – After running my own business for about a year, I decided to close it down. I do plan to go back to entrepreneurship later down the road, but for now I’m back to working for other people. See the post where I announced to my decision and what I learned for more details.

Became a Salesman – I began a new career by taking an entry level sales job for a tech startup. I sell software to lawyers, so my legal background is a pretty good fit. I haven’t posted about my new job at all, but I plan to in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Visited Japan – This year, Mrs. Lexaholik and I took another trip out to Asia, this time to Japan. It was a lot of fun and I saw a lot (also plan to post about this down the road.) We got a JR Pass, which gave us access to the high speed train, which allowed us to explore beyond Tokyo. It was super fun and super tiring–it took me weeks to get over the jetlag!

Those are all the big highlights for the year. Before I go, I’ll leave you with this:

It’s Your Fault Donald Trump Got Elected

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you are a well-educated, moderate to liberal U.S. citizen. You are shocked and horrified that Donald Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton in the general election. Perhaps you’re angry that the country has more bigots and racists than you thought. Perhaps you are upset at Bernie supporters who didn’t come out for Hillary.

At the end of the day it comes down to you. It was YOUR fault that Trump got elected.

Here’s why:

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Biographies Can Mislead Us About the Path to Success

I published an article on LinkedIn about John Quinn and his winding path to creating the Quinn Emanuel firm:

During law school, I was a voracious reader of biographies. I saw them as road maps to success. My takeaway from reading the hundreds of detailed profiles of successful people was that if you were smart and worked hard, massive success would directly follow.

I had no idea how completely wrong I was.

Feel free to read the rest of the article here.

Do NOT Cancel Your LSAT Score

Now that it’s finally over, I bet many of you are wondering the same thing: “Should I cancel my LSAT score?” I’m sure there are some of you who crushed it on Saturday–but most of you are probably feeling uneasy about how you did. So I’ll help you make the decision:

No. Do not cancel your LSAT score. 

There’s a lot of debate online about whether you should cancel your LSAT score. You are obviously free to make your own decision, but in my personal opinion you should never, ever cancel your LSAT score. Here’s why.

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