How to Get a 180 On the LSAT: Kevin’s LSAT Story

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Today’s guest post on the LSAT blog is from Kevin, a student in Blueprint LSAT Prep’s online course who earned a 180 LSAT score on the June LSAT. This is how he did it.

My junior year at UC Irvine, I was forced to confront the LSAT, which I dreaded. I had always felt that I could do well in school if I put in the effort, but that the LSAT tested some sort of natural intelligence that couldn’t really be improved, regardless of effort. That’s why I was devastated when my first practice test score came out to be 152. I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Rising to the challenge, I gave up partying with my fraternity — turning down illustrious parties like Booze Cruise and Blackout — to focus on studying. Every day, I would sit myself in the library for 4-5 hours to watch Blueprint’s video lessons and do the corresponding homework. After slaving away for an entire quarter, I finally got to Practice Test 2.

I held my breath as the ticker slid to the right when I graded the test. It started off quickly, whisking through the 120s and 130s to the 140s. Then I watched in dismay as the ticker lost momentum in the 140s and settled on my score: 152. To call it disappointing would be an understatement. Doubts about being able to improve my score swirled over my head.

The next day, I went straight to my car after class (I was going to take the day off from the LSAT). That’s when I got a call from Blueprint’s Marlena, who was checking in to see how my studying was going. I told her that juggling schoolwork and the LSAT was rough, and that I hadn’t gone up a single point after two months of (what I thought was) rigorous studying. She told me that she herself only went up a single point from her first to second practice test, and encouraged me to read Colin Elzie’s post on Practice Test 2. So I got out of my car, went to the library, read Colin’s post on Most Strongly Supported, and decided to immerse myself in the LSAT for the remaining 10 weeks before my test.

I printed out all the Logic Games, Logical Reasoning questions, and Reading Comp passages that Blueprint offered online, and made sure to always have a few of each on hand. I figured that doing LR questions and RC passages when I was tired was not a good idea, so I saved them for my peak mental hours. I could do LGs in the early morning and late at night, when I wasn’t as mentally sharp. I could also do LG questions even with background noise, so I would do them in lecture whenever I thought the professor was going on a tangent. Every morning, I would do a couple of Logic Games before I went to school. If I got to a class early, or found myself with a few minutes to spare, I would pull out a Logic Game or Logical Reasoning question and try to complete it. My rule was, if I had seven minutes or more, I’d tackle a Logic Game; otherwise, I’d do Logical Reasoning questions (I hated being interrupted mid-Logic Game). I literally was trying to squeeze in as much LSAT practice as I could in a day.

After class, I would grab coffee and head to the library, where I would watch Blueprint videos, do the homework, and review questions. Most of my time was spent reviewing questions. I forced myself to painstakingly go through every question that I wasn’t 180% sure about, even if I had gotten it right. I would try to understand why every incorrect answer choice was wrong, in addition to why every correct answer choice was right. I did this until my hunger got too distracting, at which point I would quickly grab dinner and head back to the library to study until it closed at midnight. After going for a run to clear my head, I would end the day with schoolwork and a few more Logic Games. Then I would do it all again the next day.

Eventually I settled into a rhythm and found that I actually began to enjoy the LSAT. I even wrote a Game of Thrones Logic Game for fun. The highlight of my LSAT experience came when I got to the CD game explanation, and Matt Riley said that it was the game featured in Legally Blonde. I watched the relevant clip on YouTube and nerded out.

By test day, I was flying. My last practice test score was 178. The morning of the LSAT, I heard some ridiculous conversations outside the test center. One test-taker was actually explaining to another that there was an experimental section! During the test itself, I took solace in the knowledge of my efforts to prepare for the test, and tried my best. My preparation style did pay off in a direct way: for a couple of questions, I didn’t choose the answer because I knew what the right answer was; I made my selection because I recognized common flaws in the other four answer choices.

At work a few weeks later, I received the email from LSAC with my June LSAT score. I saw the 180 when I skimmed for a three-digit number, but figured they were telling me that the LSAT was out of 180 — there was no way I scored perfect. When I didn’t see another three-digit number, the most epic realization ever dawned on me. I kept checking to make sure it didn’t say 160 in a weird font. It’s like a dream come true, and I now have been accepted to some of the country’s best law schools. I hope anyone that reads this post walks away with the knowledge that the LSAT is a learnable test that can be fun, and that hard work does pay off. For my part, I will keep the self-confidence and discipline that the LSAT experience strengthened, and apply that to law school and beyond.

Thanks for reading!

22 Responses

  1. Karina says:

    I thought I was the only one whose score didn’t budge by practice test 2… reading this gives me the extra motivational boost I’ve been needing. Really inspirational. Congratulations, Kevin!

  2. Peg Cheng says:

    Congratulations, Kevin! You did the hard work and you ROCKED IT! I love hearing LSAT success stories like this. I’m sending your post to all my students and clients.

    You gave the excellent piece of advice that I’ve been hearing and giving to LSAT test-takers for years: “I forced myself to painstakingly go through every question that I wasn’t 180% sure about, even if I had gotten it right. I would try to understand why every incorrect answer choice was wrong, in addition to why every correct answer choice was right.”

    Congrats again!

    ps. Zot! Zot! Zot! I’m an Anteater too (UCI ’93).

  3. Jun Kim says:

    This is an inspirational story. Very encouraging for LSAT-ers. I also went from an initial diagnostic score of 153 to the actual score of 174. Now that I am getting admission letters from the very best law schools in the nation, the 8 months I spent studying were worth every minute.

  4. LM says:

    Congratulations! I definitely did the same thing with the Legally Blonde question :)

  5. By George says:

    By George, I think he got it.

  6. Mike says:

    You mean to tell me that a student like you studied the LSAT for 10+ weeks and didn’t realize there was an experimental section?

    While I’m not saying that that one detail discredits any of the rest of the story, I am definitely saying that part is a lie. Perhaps you or the editor added that bit to add some tension to the story, but when reading real life accounts, I much prefer stories that follow the format of reality and not the structure of a semi-climactic modern short story.

    Good read though.

    • Hank says:

      It’s not Kevin who didn’t know there was an experimental section. Someone else at his test center didn’t know:

      “The morning of the LSAT, I heard some ridiculous conversations outside the test center. One test-taker was actually explaining to another that there was an experimental section!”

  7. Brie says:

    You are my inspiration in life. I also started with blueprint in the 150s and after two months i am still at a 155, so I completely relate. Ive sucked it up and built a hut in the Library. Im in there so much that soon enough Im sure ill qualify as a legal tenant lol. Thanks.

    Also, the person above me (mike)- you need to read closely. I believe thats regarded to as “critical reading”. It may help your irrelevant dissection of other people’s success stories….

  8. […] Here’s a good example of one of our students who juggled his packed schedule by squeezing in LSAT prep whenever he could, and ended up getting a 180: […]

  9. Dr Bhaumik Shah says:

    I am physician who has completed pathology residency from India and soon going to start pathology residency from Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami. I am about to get my medical licence from Florida board of medicine as I am done with all the licence exams.
    Now my questions are
    1. Am I eligible to apply for LSAT ? I believe yes.
    2. I am intending to hit 180 but I wish to know study materials and preparation timeline specially how to prepare each section THE BEST using available resources for that.
    3. Once I clear the LSAT, how can I take up classes parallel with my residency. I know I can manage 2 hours easily everyday. If anyone knows who is MD, JD kindly mention email id.
    4. What is the opinion regarding university of Miami .

    • Greg Nix says:

      1. Yes, you are eligible to take the LSAT.
      2. 180 is the most ambitious score you could set, as only a fraction of 1% of test takers reach that score. Generally a score of above 175 is acknowledged as elite. Blueprint LSAT classroom students average an 11-point score increase, and have access to hundreds of hours of additional online material. We recommend 2-3 months of studying 3-4 hours per day to amply prepare.
      3. Law school is extremely time-consuming, especially elite schools. Two hours per day is not nearly enough time. I’ve never heard of someone attending law school and practicing medicine at the same time. If you’re absolutely committed to going to law school during your residency, you should investigate part-time programs, but you are still going to need to spend more than two hours per day on it. You should consider why you want to do both at the same time; I have a tough time envisioning a scenario that would be worth it, either professionally or personally.
      4. Miami is the 63rd ranked law school in the country. You wouldn’t need anything close to a 180 to get in; the student body’s median LSAT score there is 157.

    • Deb says:

      If you are looking at law schools in Florida, an idea would be Stetson Law School in Gulfport, although I realize this is far from Miami. They are Florida’s oldest law school, and offer a dual degree J.D. / M.D. program with U of South Florida’s medical school for the extra-ambitious. Although you said you already have a medical degree, this could mean the program would be more understanding of a doctor-student?

  10. Elyté says:

    Congrats! Could you send me that GOT LG!?!?!

  11. McKenzie Chapman says:

    I am a freshman majoring in law and have my eyes set on ivy leauge for law school. it would mean so much to me if you could get in contact with me and give me good things to use to study now 3 years in advanced now!

  12. Jacob says:

    Hi guys!

    So I just took my very first practice LSAT today with absolutely no studying prior to taking it and scored a 143. Is this about average, or is it decent for someone who has never opened a book on the LSAT before? It is October 18th and I plan on taking it June 12th of next year. My dream is to attend an Ivy League school!

    Thanks for sharing your story, Kevin.

  13. Jordin says:

    I was wondering where it was on the website that allowed you print out the practice sets you did in your extra free time? When I create a practice set online, I can only do it online. I found your advice really helpful and I think having printed questions that I could do on the go would really increase the amount of practice I get in each day. Thanks for your help!

  14. Rachel Watts says:

    I found my way to your site because I took a practice test and scored 165. I graduated college 10 years ago with a degree in Business and now own my own business. I’m actually watching a tv series that involves the LSAT and it got my curiosity going about what I would score. I didn’t even know what the score meant until I googled it. Too funny! I took 3 years of Business Law for electives in college, maybe that helped. I guess it really is more of a level of understanding than actual test preparation.

  15. Freya says:

    Can a 176-180 GPA help if we have a low GPA? By low I mean low – less than 3.0

    In other words can a high LSAT help super splitters???

  16. Olivia Schneider says:

    That was such an amazing and inspiring story. I think I am taking the LSAT in December of this year. Over what period of time did you study for your LSAT, and do you recommend any materials that will help me study? Or any other tips really, my goal is 180.

    Thank you,

  17. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad
    for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

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