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149 to 170 working full time: a Reddit LSAT success story

149 to 170 working full time: a Reddit LSAT success story

Side note before I begin: getting overwhelmed with the LSAT? Don’t feel like you know how to improve? Check out my LSAT Process series! It contains the clear, straightforward strategies I used to get a 175 on my own LSAT, and my tutoring students use to get 170+ on theirs.

Ok, back to the story.

Related: a guide to studying for the LSAT


Took the guy 2 years, 4+ LSATs, and $3500. He was working full-time and taking some online college courses, so he had a busy schedule.

He was a big fan of using 7Sage analytics, drilling questions, and reviewing explanations from 7Sage to get better. He also thought the “fundamentals” approach of Manhattan LR and RC books was really helpful to fix some of his issues that he hadn’t addressed/noticed with 7Sage. Tutoring was a nice change in perspective and a way for him to slow down.

Also, he realized that he needed to embrace stress, as it was holding him back on tests. Beyond that, sleep and no alcohol helped as well.


Original Post

Hello All,

I want to share my story of success in hopes that it gives you some hope. Everyone’s path is different and some people just get it after a month, some people work 4-6 months, some people take 2 years.

On my 2-year journey of the LSAT, I read many posts on how to increase your score, particularly under certain conditions (see title); spanning reddit, tls, 7sage, and powerscore. Before score release, I was expecting another lack of score increase as several times before. For the sake of anonymity, I have only listed a few of my official scores, but I have taken the LSAT 4+ times and had no schools as of yet “judge” me, so keep up the hard-work and persevere. I feel blessed for the chance to get a good score since some of it IMO is related to chance (see “Casino Effect”), but also because I had a lot of support from my family and friends, and I had a good paying and somewhat flexible job that allowed me to spend a lot on different study methods / retakes. In retrospect, I don’t know how much I could’ve reduced this by, but don’t be deterred if you’re low on cash, there are a ton of free resources that can get you there. I think I was a bit of a slow person in general. On the otherhand, the money I spent translated to $1000s more in scholarships and an, arguably, invaluable opportunity.


  • Graduated with a STEM degree (I wasn’t good at the subject but it did give me a logic boost)

  • Worked 50-60 hours with occasional travel

  • Took online college courses toward my desired career path during this time

  • Introverted but still enjoyed a good end of the week romp out at the town

Timeline of Events – Jan 2017 to Jan 2019

  • Score Pattern: Diagnostic – 149 (Jan 2017 ~(-24 LR, -15LG, -12RC), leaving unanswered blank) to 162 (Jun 2017) to some disappointing scores lower to 165 (Jun 2018) to 170 (Jan 2019)

    • Avg PT Majority of time 167-169

    • Highest PT Score – 176 (on a reused test after 12 months)

  • Progression of Materials

    • Jan 2017: LSAT Trainer to get basics following a 4 month plan.

    • Apr 2017: 7Sage LG free material – Followed the fool proofing method to a -1 on LG (effectively do a section, review with 7Sage videos, redo until perfect and at estimated time to complete, and repeat) I did this for over 30 sections, repeating each tough one about 2-4 times

    • Gap from Jun 2017 to Jul 2017

    • Jul 2017: Bought 7Sage ultimate pack (Wish I would’ve known about this in the beginning). I did the core curriculum but I don’t like learning concepts thru video. I got a lot of help from access to all practice tests and being able to review answers I got wrong and JY’s explanations

    • Some disappointing stuff from Sep 2017 to Jan 2017. Made decision to postpone a year and take some time off of everything

    • Mar 2018: Private Tutoring and time off. I decided to get private tutoring and once and for all get this test out of the way. It set me back a lot financially, from the cost of sessions to the lack of job. This was a pivotal point so I will break this “era” out further:

      • During tutoring, I got to hear a different perspective as well as gain a more intuitive “voice” in working thru the problems. Quality over speed. I read somewhere you get the speed by getting better and this is true. you can’t rush progress. My score improved the slower I took while also gaining an intuition to continue moving forward.

      • Every 3 days, I would do a back to back PT (8sections) with a 10-minute break between the test. It was tiring. No water until break, and no food until break. I ultimately gained endurance and enjoyment for going thru the problems. Everything was a relative breeze. This burned me out though when Jun came.

      • After PTs I would spend the next 2 days deep-diving LR. I would use an excel sheet to write out explicitly: question type, conclusion, premises / sub-conclusions, a pre-phrase answer, reasons why each answer was wrong

      • I had only about 10 PTs that I had not used during this time, but I did have PTs that I hadn’t seen in a year, and I had sets 1-20 for drilling. I did it all, I mixed in new tests and they generally got me results about the same as the reused tests. I mixed in old tests with new tests, but the real deal still felt foreign.

      • I practiced meditation and writing down my stresses. (see

      • On the June 2018 test, I underperformed by 4 points on my average but glad to get any improvement, and I had to get back to work.

    • After June, I went even further back to basics, I read Manhattan LR and RC. These books explained things in a way I couldn’t even imagine. It was like being asked by Luke Skywalker what the force was… and I was Rey. You will find that gaps in studying set you back PT-wise, but as far as synthesizing, it’s like your brain reconfigures itself to the new information. I had some major issues with Disagree type and MSS questions, so I also read PowerScore LR Bible. It was good but a little less dense than Manhattan.

    • Studying for Jan 2019: I took two months off the test (work really ramped up) and got back with a fresh perspective. I went back to my very first routine that got me PT Avg = Actual

      • Test conditions exactly as expected (3 sections, 10 min break, 2 sections). I found water was crucial, by section 3, my brain dulled as I lacked water. I made note of this and drank just the right amount before going into the test room

      • 7Sage analytics to identify weaknesses + being able to create custom packets, I drilled all the questions I had gotten wrong in the past two years and reviewed them all. On the particularly hard questions, I looked at them for all questions types. (eg. for a Flaw question, I would pre-phrase answers for MBT, NA, SA, Weaken, Strengthen, etc.)

      • Refocusing on identifying the flaw / structure of the LR question helped me enormously. That was all I needed for the bulk of the questions, it even cured my lackluster Disagree question performance

      • For RC, I went from a -12 the previous test to idk but would guess a -5 this test. I read The Economist articles and “The Concept of Law” by Hart (this book is awesome as a subject and an LSAT perspective), using the same structure identification I used on LR. the paragraph is effectively a long, sometimes convoluted premise. The Economist sometimes had multiple conclusions

      • I PT’d 168 and got lucky on test day over-performing by 2 pts. No meditation, just a mantra (see below)

Some things to note

  • A self-realization I had was the immense stress and anxiety I had during test day. It was crippling me by still thinking of the questions on a prior section while working thru other sections. One post I read was from a sage on 7Sage saying that when he/she was taking the test, they realized that stress can only help them, it cannot hurt them. With that mantra, I went into the test with my stress, no meditation, and felt a peace going thru the problems (it also helped to have some law school acceptances already) (I wish I could find the post)

  • Sleep is crucial. At least the month or so before the test, catch up on sleep. Its okay if you can’t fall asleep the night before, I got like 5 hours. But prior, I had quit caffeine for a month and slept 8.5 hours a day where I couldn’t sleep at night cuz I was too rested. I felt great.

  • Don’t binge drink: During this two year period, I reduced my alcohol to a bare minimum, maxing out at one drink every couple months. In addition, I quit caffeine. It really masks your sleep deprivation. But don’t just quit the week before (bad results). It took me two weeks to not feel symptoms and a month to feel okay (cravings never went away, back on the addiction)

  • Work Stress: work can stink sometimes, it’s tiring and stressful. I recommend 3-5 business days off prior to the test

  • Schools and scholarships. I did not get anything unexpected per In fact, I got about what they expected. My rollercoaster score history on LSAT did not seem to effect my results (I did apply to T25s mainly and still waiting on other results)

  • Learn to love the material. You will read so many random things about rocks, music, culture, economics, law theory, and some ridiculous LR arguments (you could also switch between reading foxnews and CNN articles for the same effect; it’s funny how each side interprets the facts and even omits certain things the other doesn’t, on purpose or unintentionally.)

  • There are some truly great people on reddit/other forums (@Mauvedinosaur). Brings hope to what the future of law looks like.

How I would do things differently (on a budget) (Actual -> Budgeted)

  • LSAC LSAT Costs: 5x (~$1000) —-> 2x (~$380)

  • LSAT PTs: 7Sage and all books 41-81 (~$500 (prorated)) —-> A few sparing recent books and some drill books (~$100)

  • Curriculum Material: 7Sage, Manhattan, PS, LSAT Trainer (~$500) —-> LSAT Trainer, Manhattan (~$50)

  • Tutoring: 6 weeks ($1500) —> 0 weeks, find an enlightened friend/reach out to 170+ mentors wanting to give back ~$50 (coffee allowance)

Total: $3500 vs $500 (probably less).

I hope my post does not deter anyone and gives people hope for the different things we encounter on the LSAT journey. Reddit is a great community, 7Sage is too, Manhattan LSAT explanations are great. I am not a huge redditor but feel free to reach out with any questions/comments. Good luck to you on your journey!

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