LSAT Diary: Massive Score Improvement

LSAT Blog LSAT Diary Massive Score Improvement

This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Michela, who followed one of my LSAT study schedules and went from a 148 to a 163!

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Thanks to Michela for sharing her experience and advice!

Michela's LSAT Diary:

Throughout the course of my studying, I found that there weren't enough inspirational stories of big points gains [ed. I've since organized them] and while I was struggling I was always looking for success stories of those who started really crappy and worked their way to a respectable score. It's helpful to hear from people who had to work their way up for their score, and not just from those lucky individuals who get 165 their first try.

Some background info - I have a 3.88 GPA with a BA in Criminology. I wrote the lsat in December 2009 and February 2010, scoring 148 and 149 respectively. I wrote the February 2011 LSAT and got a 163. So how did I do it?

I made the difficult decision to drop one of my varsity sports. I played both basketball and soccer for my university so I dropped the more time-consuming one (bball) and quit my other extracurriculars such as volunteering. I kept soccer however which was a good choice as my teammates were so supportive of me. I graduated this past summer with my BA and started my MA in Criminal Justice which was a huge relief as it's only once a month and is designed for working professionals. So basically not having undergrad courses was a huge advantage, I treated the lsat like a full time job, with nothing else except soccer practice and the occasional work shift. The rest of my strategy:

The first thing I did was realize that using fake LSAT questions was a huge mistake. With advice from Steve's LSAT Blog, I got rid of all my crappy prep books from Kaplan, Barron's, Princeton Review, etc. I also got the Next 10 Actual Official LSATs and LSAT SuperPrep which I highly recommend. Basically I collected as many real tests as possible starting from about PrepTest 20.

I then went to Staples and made 3 copies of every single logic game from every single test. When you photocopy make sure you label at the top what PrepTest it came from! Then, I categorized every game into Linear, Grouping, Pattern, Hybrid etc. Do this, but don't get too specific with the names, just generally categorize.

Every day I would do at least 4 games. The biggest thing for me was getting rid of the "all or nothing" approach. It's like when people don't go to the gym at all just because they can't invest 2 hours every day. This is a bad approach as even just 15 minutes of exercise is hugely beneficial! The same thing applies to the LSAT, chip away at it, do a couple games everyday, it doesn't have to be a big daunting 5 hour a day schedule.

The LSAT Blog has been an invaluable resource. I purchased the day-by-day 3 month LSAT study plan and it was the best money I've ever spent in my life. I started it in mid-November to gear up for Feb 11' and I followed it to a T. For these 3 months I would do my daily assignments at the school (conveniently my school) where the test would be. I rotated rooms each day to get a feel for the different rooms the test could be in. Sometimes I would even get some of my soccer teammates to sit in the room and silently do HW because it somehow creates more pressure. When I wrote PrepTests in the last month, I went all out, ziplock bag and everything. Used the same pencils, ate the same thing at break, filled out the certifying statement and the response sheet, etc.

Oh yes also, you have to control everything outside of the lsat. I completely changed my lifestyle. For 3 months I got up at 5am so that by 8:30am my brain would be fully functioning. At 5am I got up, worked out for an hour, showered, ate, drove to school, got there around 8:30 and did LSAT prep until 12:30. Then I had soccer practice until about 2:30. then I would review my work/PrepTest from the morning and drive home and be in bed by 9pm.

I actually managed to complete P90x during these 3 months which was a nice side effect of the LSAT I guess? Now that I think about it I can't believe I did this everyday, it's sick, I could not get up at 5am now to save my life.

I also did all the weird visualization stuff that I never thought worked, but apparently it does. I made sticky notes with 160+ on them and put them all over my room. I made a poster with the logos of all the law schools I wanted acceptance to and put that in my room. I also envisioned myself succeeding and opening my email to an amazing score.

Photo by bdorfman


  1. Inspirational! Thanks Amy! I am working towards a better score on the Oct LSAT. I hope for similar success!

  2. I also increased my score tremendously. My first practice test was a 141 and by the time I finished I scored a 155 on the LSAT. One of my professors used to work for Kaplan and told me it was nearly impossible to increase a score by more than about 10-12 points, but I gladly proved him wrong.

  3. The sticky note trick with your ideal score/school name is definitely a motivation for myself as well!

    Congrats on rocking the LSAT!