When is delaying your application to law school a good idea?

Today I received an email from one of my higher-scoring students in my San Francisco class and she has a very valid question on delaying her application to law school. She has just received a job offer from a company in her industry that she'd love to work for, but taking the job means less time to study and possibly not being ready to take the November LSAT.

Don't let proctors that noisily shell and eat pistachios ruin your test...

We received a couple of emails into the show about proctors making mistakes during the official LSAT. One of them was noisily shelling and eating pistachios and someone else took a couple of phone calls.

People often think we recommend proctored practice tests because of endurance, but that is actually NOT the reason. I'll tell you why we really recommend to do them in the video.

Are you making this major mistake on your personal statement?

On this week's episode of the Thinking LSAT podcast we reviewed one of the worst personal statements I've ever read. It's a real shame because it was from an amazing student who would be a great candidate.

So this week I want to ask you if you're making these major mistakes on your personal statement too?

Fox LSAT Self-Study Guide

I didn't have the budget or the wherewithal to take an LSAT class or work with a tutor when I was studying for the LSAT. I used books to study, and did it on my own. You can too.

What follows is a step-by-step schedule that makes the most of my books and free videos to create a full self-study program for the LSAT. If you follow everything in this guide, you will work your ass off. You will do 13 full practice tests, 550 additional Logical Reasoning questions, 30 additional Logic Games (at least two times each), and you'll hear an estimated 1000 swear words and terrible jokes (just a rough estimate). Your score will improve. A lot.

Don't Let Your Ego Pay for Law School

Law schools will use your own ego against you when selling you a ridiculously overpriced piece of paper. Trust me: I’ve got an ego bigger than anybody’s, and it’s the main reason why I paid $150,000 unnecessarily for my own worthless J.D. Here, I’ll embarrass myself by sharing my own ego-driven blunder.

To 170 and beyond

To 170 and beyond

Thinking LSAT Podcast listeners might recall Episode 122, "Stop Statsturbating," wherein we discussed the case of Luke, who had dropped over a grand on a Kaplan course with zero improvement. As it turns out, Luke signed up on December 12, 2017 for my online class and so far it's working out awfully well:

Hi Nathan, I'm sure you're getting tons of these emails, but I got by my Feb 2018 score back. 

Diagnostic: 163
Post-Kaplan: 163
Feb 2018, post-3 months of FOXLSAT: 170

Million dollar LSAT prep

Some things just need to speak for themselves:

Hey Nathan!

I wanted to write you a quick update on how my admissions cycle ended up and get your feedback on my current options.

I applied to 19 schools (b/c they were free, so why not...) and received a total of $1,070,628.00 in scholarship offers from 10 schools. I'm pretty sure I got those offers based on my 174 LSAT score so thanks "a million" for the help and guidance - I really doubt I could have been as successful with you!

Why you should take the June/July LSATs instead of waiting for September

Why you should take the June/July LSATs instead of waiting for September

Every spring, I start hearing from the next year's crop of premium law school applicants—those very prepared, very lawyerly types who plan to apply early in the 2018-2019 application cycle. That's a very smart plan, because early applications (before Halloween of each cycle) give students the best chance of admissions and scholarships. Frequently, these hard-chargers want to prep for the entire spring and summer before taking the September LSAT. While it's true that the September test would allow for pre-Halloween applications, I think it's a mistake to wait that long. Here's why:

Top Four Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped off by Law School

If you've ever listened to my podcast—and you should!—you know I spend a lot of time ranting about the exorbitant prices law schools charge these days. On a recent episode, we proposed a "rebuttable presumption": Don't Pay for Law School. If you've got a trust fund, or if you're going to work in Big Law and make $200,000 per year, you can rebut this presumption. But the vast majority of law school applicants aren't independently wealthy, and won't work in Big Law. For this majority, paying full price for law school is an enormous financial blunder. The good news is, you don't have to pay—if you're smart about the way you apply. This post will offer four keys to making sure you get a great deal on your J.D.

160 on record; Is it worth a retake to try for a 164?

Short answer: Oh my god yes.

Earlier today I got a phone call from a student who was averaging 164 on her practice LSATs, but scored a 160 on her actual. She has a 4.0 from a major public university, and she's been hearing conflicting information on whether or not she should retake the LSAT, or go ahead and trust her stellar grades to get her into a top 14. Without hesitation, I told her to retake. Here's why:

1) Dramatically better chances of admission at T-14s
I loaded a 4.0/160 into the LSAC's UGPA and LSAT Score Search tool, and chose the University of Texas as a random, representative T-14 law school. At UT, the tool estimated between a 27 and 38 percent chance of admission with these numbers. Bumping it up to a 4.0/164, the same tool estimates between a 55 and 66 percent chance of admission. Yes, that's right: Four points doubled the chances of admission at this school.

2) Dramatically better chances of scholarships at "safety" schools
Choosing UC Irvine as a random, representative outside-the-top-14 "safety" school for this student, a 4.0/160 shows a 66 to 80 percent chance of admission while a 4.0/164 shows an 88 to 98 percent chance. Glancing at the ABA 509 report for Irvine, we see that UCI gives a whopping 93 percent of its class some scholarship assistance, with slightly over half of the course getting over 50% of their tuition paid for. Also looking at the 509, we see that 160 is exactly the 25th percentile LSAT score at Irvine, while 164 is just a hair below the 75th percentile at that school (165). With a 160, Irvine might actually deny this candidate admission. (I doubt it, but it's possible.) But with a 164, this candidate starts looking like a shoo-in for admission and a lock for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of tuition discounts.

3) 165+ is definitely in play
This student was averaging a 164 on practice tests before taking the September LSAT, and achieved a 160, which is well within normal fluctuations for a student of this level. (Most students have a plus-or-minus of at least three or four points around the mean.) The 160 was unfortunate, but not unexpected... something like tossing five tails in a row. Not likely, but not shocking. But what if it had turned out to be five heads in a row, instead of five tails? This same student, without changing strategies or learning anything new about the test, could score 168 if she took the test again tomorrow.

Furthermore, with a few more weeks or months of prep under her belt, this student could bump that practice average up from 164 to 166 or higher, thereby bringing 170 into her range of possible outcomes. If that happens, the "unfortunate" 160 will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. If she'd gotten a 164 on her first actual, she'd probably be off to a great, but not legendary, law school. But if the 160 forces a retake, and the retake results in something closer to 170, suddenly we start to consider the possibility of Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. I've seen it happen.

The LSAT is the primary determinant of where you'll attend law school and how much you'll pay to go there. Don't sell yourself short.

Remember This on Thanksgiving

No matter where your people come from, I'm sure you have similar stories. As an LSAT student in 2017, you are one of the most fortunate people who have ever set foot on the planet. Even if you're poor by modern U.S. standards, you're still one of the richest people who have ever lived. Maybe this can put your LSAT struggles in perspective. Take a deep breath. It's all (Thanksgiving) gravy from here.