LSAT Diary: How Michael Improved His LSAT Score

LSAT Blog Diary How Improved LSAT ScoreThis installment of LSAT Diaries comes from LSAT Blog reader Michael, who went from a 148 to a 163 on the LSAT!

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Thanks to Michael for sharing his experience and advice, and please leave your questions for him below in the comments!

Michael's LSAT Diary:

148 to 163: Yes, It Is Possible

[Thank you Steve for allowing me to share my story. I hope this influences others to pursue the LSAT with success. May your worldly and highly recommended expertise assist others.]

I am part of the 1% of LSAT takers. No, not the 1% of test takers who score above a 175; I represent 1% of re-takers who increased their scores by more than 7 points. I am telling you this because yes, it is possible to learn the LSAT and ultimately succeed.

I was part of the 33%. In February 2011, I received a 148 – well below my expectations, especially after months of studying. Forced with two options, re-take the test or forget about law school, I realized the answer was simple: Do not give up. With self-study and Steve’s LSAT Blog, I realized my potential with a 163. I would like to share my volatile LSAT experience to ultimately show you this test is indeed manageable.

During my February 2011 LSAT experience, I relied on a popular group-tutoring company. The classrooms were filled with fifty or more students eager for a chance at LSAT stardom. After $1,500 and a 148, I understood the large groups were not conducive to proper studying. There was little to no chance for individual attention and the lessons seemed rehearsed. Larger study groups offer success to many LSAT writers, but I would recommend re-takers re-tool their study strategies.

In order to improve my score the second time, re-shaping my approach to the LSAT was fundamental. I am referring to a Blitzkrieg, “three-pronged” battle plan: strategy, psychology and physiology. Mentally, prepare yourself with new tools to ace the LSAT; psychologically, understand the hard work the next few months will require; and physiologically, complement your studying with healthy eating and exercise. Attain a “can-do” attitude and prepare to attack each aforementioned category in order to attain success.

The Law School Admission Council is ready to administer parallel flawed reasoning, “Principle/Application” inferences and causality. Perhaps frightening topics, but you will counterattack. To prepare myself mentally, my Logical Reasoning strategy was to learn the fundamentals, drill problems and then write timed sections.

Logical Reasoning continued to be my weakness as I continually received a combined twenty wrong. Self-study did not seem to appealing as I met constant failure with Logical Reasoning, particularly because it is half the test. Yet I continued and drilled with the mentality that, “I am capable” and “Yes, I will do this.” Your mood must complement your studies. Listen to motivating music; dead lift 500 pounds; and read Steve’s blog. After enough anxiety through constant drilling, I hit my breakthrough by focusing on my weaknesses. Gradually, my -20 became -10. Grind through your studies with steadfast optimism and I guarantee you will achieve your goal.

Analytical Reasoning, or Logic Games, is perceived to be the hardest part of the test, but is in fact the most manageable. Many Logic Games are repetitions with different variables as there are only a few game types: pure sequencing, linear and grouping alongside the rarer types. To master Logic Games, I wrote each game three times in order to understand the repetitions. Break down different game types and drill each.

Reading Comprehension complicates the LSAT because varying strategies exist. To mark or not to mark? Too much marking? After studying full-time for three months and much research, I cannot say there is a unifying strategy for RC. It is personal. Common tips include looking for certain indicators, but whether you mark the passage or not, learn to “map” the passage’s flow. Be wary of perception shifts, the author’s attitude and minute facts. The best advice I can offer for Reading Comprehension is to drill and discover the best strategy.

After numerous practice tests and nightmares, the October 2011 test day finally arrived. At the beginning of my studying, I felt the test was light years away, but it arrives quicker than you think. I can regurgitate the typical “prepare your plastic bag the night before; sleep for at least seven hours; and eat protein in the morning,” but the test is more than that. It is a competition against yourself in accordance with how far you are willing to go. By test day, there is not much else you can “do” to improve your score, as your studying is complete. Mentally prepare yourself for yourself.

I had a Wall Street job I quit to study for the LSAT. Sounds crazy, right? Not really, because when you want something desperately you need to follow your dreams and do whatever necessary. I quit my job to study eight hours a day, forty hours a week for a test I previously “bombed.” My father and grandfather are attorneys, so I suppose it is genetic. Who knows? What I do know and guarantee is if you work hard with a strong mentality, you will succeed. I promise.

Photo by bobaubuchon


  1. This is definitely what i needed to read, thank you so very much you have no idea.

  2. How many months did you utilize to re-study? I took it in October, got a 144 and have been discouraged since. I am looking at taking time off and re-taking in October 2012 or studying hard for the February exam and applying late in the cycle to my state schools.

  3. Three friends brag about not studying or studying casually for one month and getting 165-152-157 with 2.5GPA!/Engineering/business undergrad.

    Nice to hear success from someone who found the LSAT not so friendly but conquered nonetheless!

  4. You are amazing! What a champ

  5. Thank you for the response, I am studying for October '12 now. I re-read yours and many other LSAT diaries for encouragement!

  6. This very encouraging as I just received my June 2012 score. I feel very disappointed and helpless as my score is lower than I ever expected it to be, but something in me keeps wanting to fight back, study more and retake it in October...

  7. Awesome work, keep it up! Hope you're doing well in law school