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6 Tips to Break Into the 160s

Updated: Feb 21

If you have been hovering in the same score range for a while without any progress and are struggling to break into the 160s, you are not alone. In fact, it is very common for people's LSAT scores to plateau at some point in their studies.

That being said, there are things you can do to make sure you boost your score into the 160s as soon as possible. Here are the steps you need to take to reach your target score.

Tip #1: Plan Efficiently Using Your Raw Score

Did you know there is a difference between your scaled score and your raw score? The scaled score is the one that most people are already familiar with that law schools care the most about. On the other hand, raw score is the number of questions you got correct. Most people only focus on their scaled score and as a result, they don't have a clear plan. Keep in mind the raw score necessary to meet a specific scaled score slightly varies on each test, but here are some general benchmarks to be aware of: To get a 140, you need to get roughly 28 questions correct To get a 150, you need to get roughly 40 questions correct To get a 160, you need to get roughly 54 questions correct When you have a clear understanding of how many questions you need to get correct, you are able to devise a specific plan and determine which questions you want to focus on. Take a look at your current raw score and compare it to your target. How many additional questions do you need to get correct? Use the number to determine how many additional questions you need to get correct per section, and identify what concepts you need to prioritize to get there.

Tip #2: Throw Away the Clock

If you are scoring well below the target, don't worry about doing things timed. If you time yourself, you will rush and make careless mistakes. As a result, you won't truly be thinking about the nuances of the question. Instead, throw away the clock. Even if it takes 30 minutes to answer a question, so be it. As you gain a higher level of comprehension, the speed will come naturally as a result. If you are scoring below the 160s, that means more work needs to be done with fundamentals. Timing should only be incorporated once you have a high level of accuracy under untimed conditions.

Tip #3: Focus on the Basics

Many LSAT students think that to improve, they need to get better at the harder questions. After all, most of the questions they miss are the harder ones. To improve as efficiently as possible, they try to focus on the harder questions.

I completely understand this can be tempting. But you wouldn't try to learn calculus before learning basic addition and subtraction. You wouldn't try to play a full song on the piano before learning how to play basic notes. The same approach applies to LSAT prep.

The reason why the harder questions are taking so long is likely because we need an even deeper understanding of the fundamentals. Don't worry about harder questions until you are consistently getting the lower-level difficulty questions. There are plenty of websites like 7Sage and LSAT Demon that provide very useful software for drilling individual question types, which I highly recommend.

Also, it may be tempting to jump into a ton of full-length practice tests. While there is a time and place for that, this is not the most effective approach to use. Instead, drill for a week or two and then take a practice test to see your performance on that specific subject. Focus on micro improvements rather than having massive progress overnight. As you gradually add more and more skills to your toolbelt, your score can't help but to improve.

Tip #3: Keep a Mistake Journal

Improvement comes from understanding your mistakes so that you can avoid them in the future. If you are consistently scoring in the same range with no improvement, that likely means you are repeating the same mistakes.

Keeping a journal of your mistakes will help you keep track of what went wrong and will allow you to more easily recognize those patterns. Be sure to compare your results to previous questions to see if there are any question types that are consistently giving you issues.

Keep track of details like what answer choice you picked, why your thought process was incorrect, and why the other answer ended up being correct. Additionally, try to categorize your mistake. Did you misread a statement? Did you miss a phrase or word in the passage that was important? Being specific with your mistakes will allow you to identify patterns more easily.

Tip #4: Focus on Developing Strategies

If you jump into questions blindly without a strategy, you may be able to eventually get them correct, but it would take much longer. This is because there are specific processes that others had to acquire through a long period of trial and error and learning the inner workings of the test. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it is more efficient to learn from those who have gone through the journey and understand the best way to approach questions. Also, going into questions without a strategy can lead to inconsistent results. There are plenty of great resources out there to learn strategies for each question type, but if you are interested in Impetus LSAT private tutoring, I would love to help.

Tip #5: Don't Give Up. Stay Consistent

If you are trying to get in shape, you wouldn't see progress every single day when you look in the mirror. There may be days where you look the same or even slightly worse. Yet that doesn't mean you aren't making progress. It just takes time for the progress to become apparent.

The same applies to the LSAT. There will be moments where you don't see progress in your score. But that doesn't mean you aren't improving. The most important thing is to study consistently almost everyday, if not everyday. Certain concepts are very easy to forget. If you have long breaks between your study sessions, it becomes harder to retain those key pieces of information, delaying your progress.

Stay motivated!


Cho from Impetus LSAT

Did you find this post helpful? If you are looking for personalized tutoring that is structured and methodical, click here. Otherwise, feel free to check out more free LSAT tips!

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