LSAT Diary: Test Day Score Drop, Stress Practice Tests (Part 2)

LSAT Blog LSAT Test Day Score Drop Stress Practice Tests
This LSAT Diary comes from Max, who scored a 176 on the June LSAT using my 4-month LSAT study plan.  His diagnostic LSAT score was a 155, making this a 21-point increase!

(This is Part 2 of his LSAT Diary. See Part 1 here.)

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Thanks to Max for sharing his experience and advice!

Max's LSAT Diary, Part 2:


1. My entire test average (not including the original 155) was ~169, with a high of 176. By the end, getting over a 170 was not a surprise, and getting below a 170 was a bit of a disappointment. My score on the actual test (176) was the same as the highest practice test score I ever got, and I think I only got that score once, and felt like it must have been a fluke. This is worth noting, because I was told by a few people (including an admissions officer at a law school) that I should expect my actual test score to drop as many as 5 points from my average practice test score. In the same way that your test score can be lower than you might have expected, it can also be higher. I was hoping for a 172.

2. Stress practice tests! Stress keeping strict time limits! Time limits require discipline, and it was hard for me to learn; I took it in steps. When I first started taking practice tests, I would give myself enough time to finish, and record the extra time in notes (e.g. "for LG: -2 but with 5 extra minutes"), but by the end I was very strict with the time requirements, even if I had to guess on the last few problems.

3. Be organized. This (I think) will be the best thing for your sanity and your score. Well before you plan to take the test, determine how long you have. Determine how much you'll have to work each day. Determine what you'll work on each day. Then record your progress as you study. If you develop a system and believe in the system, I bet you'll do better, and I bet you will feel better about doing it. I recorded all of my work and progress, especially with the practice tests.

4. After I took the test, I wasn't sure how I had done. I answered all of the questions, and even had time to go back on a few of the sections. I was extremely surprised by my score, and feel very grateful to have it over with and not have to go through the studying process again. I texted my score to a friend who just finished his 1L at Harvard and had given me some pointers along the way. His response "It is a testament to the fact that hard work pays off." I like that.


- I would have read more argument-based essays on the side.

I would meditated more to practice focus (like awareness and breathing-based meditation).

- I'm so happy I was training for a long run at the same time. It allowed me not to obsess too much about the studying and gave me a daily physical outlet.

- I'm so happy that most everyone around me kept reminding me that this test is not even close to the most important thing in life ("even if", as one friend joked, "one point can mean a difference of $50,000").

- After the test, I donated what small amount of money I could afford to Steve for his efforts with this blog. It wasn't anything close to the value of the blog for me. It's so nice that there is at least one free resource out there for people who want to study for the LSAT. Thank you Steve.

Photo by Paul Watson


  1. This LSAT Diary series is awesome, Steve! You are helping a lot of others by giving some people a venue to share their experiences taking the (actual or even practice) exam. And congratulations, Max! Hard work does pay off.

  2. Hi Max. I have a bit of an odd question and, honestly, am almost ashamed to ask. I have trouble with the time limits and I'm an intelligent person in all ways possible. There's a small internal part of me that keeps thinking/asking, "Do these test takers, the ones who have time to spare, take prescription meds such as adderall?". It's possible that I'm being too "relaxed" when I time myself, or perhaps I'm not abandoning the proper questions which chew up my time, but like I mentioned, I cannot help but to wonder if the majority of the extreme high scores are due to the aforementioned external input and I would very much like to know your experience. Thanks!!