Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

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Eggs

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Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby Eggs » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:44 pm

The title mostly says it all. If you can take it as many times as you want, and schools really just care about the top score, why do people feel the need to cancel before knowing what they got?

LivHandsome

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby LivHandsome » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:09 pm

Most of what I've heard has suggested that schools consider all your scores, unless you can provide a compelling reason that the highest one is more representative of your capabilities than the others (e.g. death in the family right before test, etc.). If that's true, it might be a good idea to cancel a score if you think/know you didn't improve so it doesn't reflect poorly on you.

This is mostly coming from info on T14/T20, though, so maybe it's different for other schools. I'm also pretty new to the game, so take this with a grain of salt, I guess.

nixy

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby nixy » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:17 pm

It's probably based on advice that's a hold over from when you couldn't take it as many times as you liked.

Schools only care about the highest score, because that's all they have to report. But they will see all your scores, for whatever that's worth.

LivHandsome

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby LivHandsome » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:26 pm

nixy wrote:It's probably based on advice that's a hold over from when you couldn't take it as many times as you liked.

Schools only care about the highest score, because that's all they have to report. But they will see all your scores, for whatever that's worth.

Huh. Well then feel free to ignore me, OP.

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Wild Card

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby Wild Card » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:24 pm

Fundamentally, they're dumb or they lack common sense, in underestimating how much the score matters.

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to take the LSAT unprepared, because I don't come from an upper middle class family but did very well on the SAT with minimal prep. When I finished Section 1 without getting to 10 of the questions, it hit me there that if I didn't cancel, I'd get a terrible score.

I went to a very good college, too, but it didn't occur to me then that so many advising resources were available to me, and that I could and should have asked for help.

QContinuum

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby QContinuum » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:52 pm

Eggs wrote:The title mostly says it all. If you can take it as many times as you want, and schools really just care about the top score, why do people feel the need to cancel before knowing what they got?

In general, there's no good reason to cancel - unless, say, you panicked and froze and left half of a section blank, or something along those lines where it is absolutely certain you messed up bigtime. If there is even a chance you did well (or better than the previous time(s) you took the LSAT), there is no good reason to cancel.

Those who feel a need to cancel understandably assume it'll hurt them to have a low(er) score on record. But in reality, law schools don't care*. They only care about the highest score, as that's the only score they need to report for ranking purposes. It's just like how 0Ls naturally assume they need to have a particular major, or have particular extracurriculars, or volunteer experience, or whatnot to boost their chances of admission. Perhaps the law school admissions process would be better if that were true - but that's not the world we live in.

{Exception: Yale does care, apparently, but 1) so few applicants are even remotely competitive for Yale anyway, and 2) even those who are competitive for Yale should not base their LSAT strategy on a single school. Yale is not a "reliable outcome" for any applicant, no matter what their numbers are.}

SlipperyKipper

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby SlipperyKipper » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:39 pm

I cancelled because I unwisely decided to spend the entire night before the exam studying. Did not sleep well, arrived at the exam early and exhausted, and pretty much blanked on an entire section. I knew I did not perform well and decided to cancel rather than have a sub-par score. It was my second time taking the exam so I knew how the process worked, I just was not in a good mindset when I sat for the exam and it had an effect on my performance. I did end up re-taking and did much better.

QContinuum

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby QContinuum » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:29 pm

SlipperyKipper wrote:I cancelled because I unwisely decided to spend the entire night before the exam studying. Did not sleep well, arrived at the exam early and exhausted, and pretty much blanked on an entire section. I knew I did not perform well and decided to cancel rather than have a sub-par score. It was my second time taking the exam so I knew how the process worked, I just was not in a good mindset when I sat for the exam and it had an effect on my performance. I did end up re-taking and did much better.

Thanks for sharing your experience. For other readers of this thread, the above is basically the only situation where it's a good idea to cancel: where you left an entire section or half-section blank, and thus it's certain you didn't do well. Anything short of that - even if you think you misunderstood a RC passage, or misbubbled a question or two, or got stuck on a logic game - is still worth not cancelling. There will always be something that doesn't go perfectly on test day. The last time I took the LSAT, there was an entire game I simply couldn't crack (despite usually going -0 on LG) and I blindly guessed on something like 4 LG questions. I still ended up getting a very high score overall - high enough that I didn't need to retake. It would have been an utter waste if I had panicked and cancelled that score.

SlipperyKipper

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby SlipperyKipper » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:14 pm

QContinuum wrote:
SlipperyKipper wrote:I cancelled because I unwisely decided to spend the entire night before the exam studying. Did not sleep well, arrived at the exam early and exhausted, and pretty much blanked on an entire section. I knew I did not perform well and decided to cancel rather than have a sub-par score. It was my second time taking the exam so I knew how the process worked, I just was not in a good mindset when I sat for the exam and it had an effect on my performance. I did end up re-taking and did much better.

Thanks for sharing your experience. For other readers of this thread, the above is basically the only situation where it's a good idea to cancel: where you left an entire section or half-section blank, and thus it's certain you didn't do well. Anything short of that - even if you think you misunderstood a RC passage, or misbubbled a question or two, or got stuck on a logic game - is still worth not cancelling. There will always be something that doesn't go perfectly on test day. The last time I took the LSAT, there was an entire game I simply couldn't crack (despite usually going -0 on LG) and I blindly guessed on something like 4 LG questions. I still ended up getting a very high score overall - high enough that I didn't need to retake. It would have been an utter waste if I had panicked and cancelled that score.


It was a tough decision deciding to cancel. Like Q said, if it were a small number of questions I misbubbled or one game I didn't understand, I would not have cancelled. But, I blanked on the entire reading comprehension section. This section, on my previous LSAT and PTS, I had been consistently answering >90% of the questions correctly. So I knew losing that section was going to SIGNIFICANTLY reduce my score. I did not want a low-150 score reported as I did not want to have to explain the huge discrepancy between my first LSAT attempt and 2nd attempt (the situation at issue). So, I cancelled

Blueprint LSAT

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Re: Why do People Cancel LSAT Scores?

Postby Blueprint LSAT » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:19 pm

This one seems pretty well covered, but I figured I'd add my two cents. I'd agree there aren't that many circumstances where you would want to cancel. Mostly it is for when something terrible happened and you know for sure you messed it up, and not just a little, or when you know from your practice that you aren't there yet and you intended to take a live exam just to get practice.

Our site had a blog entry on this topic a little while back if you want to check it out.

https://blueprintlsat.com/lsatblog/lsat ... p-it-help/

Andrew McDonald, Blueprint LSAT Instructor.



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