The Morning Cometh: The November 2018 LSAT Recap

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Congrats to all the November 2018 LSAT test takers! You did it! And by “it,” we mean you survived the LSAT. Of course, the LSAT has a pretty high survival rate. In fact, taking the LSAT is one of the safest ways to spend a Saturday morning, all things considered. Especially when the LSAC takes special precautions to close test centers that present any chance of natural disaster-created peril.

But, of course, hopefully you did more than merely survive the exam. Hopefully you did so well on it that this exam will catapult you right into law school. Maybe you feel that way! We certainly hope so! Or, maybe, you feel the exam was less an aspirational catapult that launches you into your dream school or more of a humiliating Japanese game show-style catapult that launches you into a tank of fetid water.

Either way, you probably want a space to talk about this exam. And that’s what this blog is for. As we do for every LSAT, we’ll summarize the post-exam chatter we’ve heard about the test. So see what your fellow test takers have been saying about the exam, and share your own experiences in the comment section!

All right, onto the November 2018 LSAT recap!

After writing more than a few of these “Morning Cometh” recaps, you start to get a sense — from the comments of my students and all the message board chatter — of whether the exam was super difficult and will have a forgiving “curve,” or relative straightforward and have a slightly less forgiving “curve.”*

(*The reductive but helpful shorthand people use when referring to the “curve” is to mention how many questions you can miss on the test and still earn a 170. A more forgiving curve would allow a test taker to miss 12 or 13 and still earn a 170 (and people would refer to this as a -12 or -13 curve). A more standard curve would allow a test taker to miss 11 or 10 questions to earn the same score (and would be referred to as a -11 or -10 curve). And a severe curve would only allow a test taker to miss 8 or 9 questions to receive a 170. )

The chatter regarding this test almost certainly indicates that this won’t be a super-forgiving curve of -12 or -13. The post-exam tenor of those tests are, let’s say, a tad bit more panicked then the post-exam conversations I’ve been having on this one. Test takers following these exams will almost always curse at least one passage or game, raging at the LSAT gods who smote them with a super difficult game or a crazy complex passage that could only be deciphered by a Talmudic scholar. On those tests, I’ll end up counseling a lot of students through decisions about canceling and retaking the test; in extreme -13 cases, sometimes I’ll end up talking with students about through this whole law school business is worth it.

Suffice to say, that didn’t happen here. There wasn’t a single consensus-that-just-put-the-fear-of-god-in-me passage or game. There haven’t been panicked emails from my students. If you look at the online hubbub, the comments are almost exclusively people trying to figure out whether a particular LR, LG, or RC section that they felt went slightly worse than another was the experimental. Given that test takers apparently weren’t cursed with some terrible game or passage, they probably won’t be blessed with a forgiving curve in recompense.

But I don’t think test takers will have a super harsh curve, either. There were a few things that test takers brought up as being somewhat difficult. It looks like there was a game about scheduling a mining operation between March and November that took quite a bit of time and required test takers to juggle a bunch of variables. The inevitable science passage was about the big bang theory, which some described at difficult. So this test wasn’t a cakewalk.

Really, November test takers were given a fairly standard LSAT. So I’d expect a fairly standard curve of a -10 or -11. The test hit some of the major themes of recent exams, with Reading Comp passages on ancient civilizations, morality and legal system — perennial favorites of the LSAT. The games covered typical ordering and grouping principles.

Given that the exam was by most accounts a typical LSAT, you should expect your score should be fairly consistent with recent practice exam scores, barring any test center disasters. So, if those diagnostic scores were around your target scores, now is the time to celebrate. Enjoy some time off from studying for this exam, take that celebration straight through Thanksgiving, and before you know it, it’ll be the score release date of December 8.

Nevertheless, you may be wondering if you should cancel your score. In that case, the good news is you have some time to make this decision. Read up on LSAC’s official cancellation policy here. Of course, it wouldn’t be LSAT-related if they didn’t take simple ideas and make it impossible to understand. To wit, according to LSAC, you have until 11:59 pm EST on the sixth day after the exam to cancel using your LSAC account. You’ve done enough deduction recently, so let us translate that for you: You have until Friday, 11:59 pm Eastern to cancel. So sleep on it. Take a look at this video, if you need a little consultation from Blueprint co-founder Matt Riley.

Before canceling, you should also be aware that nearly every law school will simply use your highest LSAT when constructing your academic index, or whatever calculation it uses to assess you as an applicant. Although law schools will see every score you got on the LSAT, the vast majority of them won’t hold having multiple LSAT scores against you to a significant extent. For most test takers, our recommendation is to choose to receive your score, just on the chance that you’ll be happy enough to with the score that you don’t have to study for the next exam.

So congratulations to all who finished this exam. Hopefully, this blog is the last thing you’ll read about the LSAT, for at least a little while. If you decide you’d like to take another shot at the exam in January, we’ll be here for you.

One Response

  1. gwa says:

    the mining game had very ambiguous rules. “no same variable can be more than 2 months in a row” — does that mean consecutive months? or would march-april-no may-june work? there was another rule that was equally nebulous. a lot of people had different interpretations. what happens when rules are this difficult to interpret? i have had difficulty with games before,but never difficulty in understanding rules.

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