Guess What? You Should Study More for the LSAT.

  • /Reviewed by: Matt Riley
  • colin_studying_more

    Lots of people like to throw around the stats about your LSAT score and your GPA being the most important things in determining whether or not you will be accepted into any given law school.  If you thought I was going to in any way, shape or form refute that, I’m not; it’s totally true. These two pieces of info get minced and grinded into an “academic index,” with your LSAT weighed against your GPA by a ratio of anywhere from 50/50 to 70/30 depending on the school.  If you’ve got a 1.9 and 132, your ass ain’t going anywhere good.  The sad truth is that a mediocre academic index will close a lot of doors for you.

    So you should try to keep a good GPA from your freshman year onward.  For many of us, it’s too late for that.  A lot of us spent our first year learning about beer and weed and sorority girls with low self-esteem, to the detriment of our gen ed classes.  But one thing that is actually really forgiving about the LSAT is that if you do well enough on it, it can help mitigate a sub par GPA.  Look at those ratios above; for some schools, your LSAT score can be more than twice as important as your grades, so a few months of hard studying can get rid of a lot of the damage caused by being in a frat.

    I don’t mean to say that the other aspects of your application should be ignored.  People tend to think that, since a bad academic index can automatically keep you out, conversely, a good one can automatically get you in.  This is really not true.  If you have a 4.0 and a 180, but wrote the rest of your application in yellow crayon, penned a personal statement about your love of water sports, and got letters of recommendation from your two cats, Mittens and Mr. Bo, you pretty much can’t get in anywhere (East Bay Law might actually still be a safe bet – they’re right off the 580 next to the Gold’s Gym – seriously).  A great academic index doesn’t get you in, it gets you looked at.  So you do need to be thinking about the other aspects of your application.

    But at the end of the day there is nothing more important than the LSAT.  Read that again.  Internalize it.  Tattoo it on your face using a hot safety pin and ballpoint pen.  You’ll never meet anyone who says they studied too much for the thing.  Even if you could do “fine” with minimal studying on your own, which is far from certain, you could do better than fine with a class and massive amounts of time.

    If the LSAT were just pass/fail, there would be no need to study beyond the amount needed to ensure a passing grade, but with every point higher you get, you’re passing more and more of the competition.  And a significant portion of the smartest students in America take the LSAT every year, so there’s tons of it (competition).  Spending three months studying for massive amounts of time is an extremely prudent investment.  Those three months are more important than the four (or five) years of your entire undergraduate education.  Think about that.  Let’s say you go to a semester school (the good UC) and you take about four classes per semester.  That’s roughly 32 classes all together.  If you were to study for the LSAT for 12 weeks, every 3 days of studying would be more important to your admission prospects than an entire undergrad class.  Chew on that.  And then go start studying some more.

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