Student says her record-high LSAT score feels ‘like a dream’

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Emily Spade, a senior political science major, scored scored in the top 0.7 percentile on the most recent LSAT. (Chris Santucci/Staff Photographer)

By: Sarah Devine – Asst. News Editor

The University of Dayton average high score for the Law School Admission Test is a 155, according to the Law School Admissions Council website, but a UD student beat this number and set a new university record after receiving her results Monday, Oct. 28.

Emily Spade, a senior political science major, said she received a score of 174 out of a possible 180. The national average score for the LSAT is 154.5, according to the LSAC website.

Spade, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, explained she had aspirations to become a lawyer from a young age.

“Ever since I was a little kid, my grandpa used to tell me I should be a lawyer because I was so argumentative,” she said.

In high school, Spade said she participated in mock trial and shadowed attorneys. She said she also had an internship with a law firm in Chicago over the summer which gave her more experience and made her “fall in love” with the field.

When it came time to start the admissions process for law school, she said she took a practice LSAT in February without any preparation or prior knowledge of the test content and received a 160.

She said she found a blog online explaining how to raise her LSAT score by 10 points. Spade said she set a goal to reach a score of 170 and followed the blog’s instructions “religiously.”

“The blog said I needed to study 100 hours to raise my score, so I ended up studying between 100 and 150 hours over the summer and the school year. This kind of information is really interesting to me so I didn’t mind studying all the time. It was like a game for me,” she said.

Spade said her advisor also helped guide her, beginning freshman year by giving tips and suggesting classes such as Symbolic Logic to prepare her for a career in law.

“There are classes you can take at the university that will help you prepare for the LSAT,” she said.

Another tip the blog revealed was to abandon all other work two weeks before test day and focus solely on prepping for the LSAT, Spade explained. She said she thought about taking a Kaplan prep class, but decided to study independently instead.

“Aside from parents’ weekend, I was in the library every morning and night,” she said. “I ended up not doing my readings for classes, which meant I had to do a huge amount of catch-up after the test, but it paid off.”

She said she ordered all of the previous tests from the LSAC website and worked through them, charting her progress after each test.

According to the LSAC website, the test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions and four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. There are three types of multiple-choice questions: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning,.

“I took literally 25 practice tests, maybe more,” Spade said. “I thought I knew what the test day would be like, but it was completely different.”

Spade said she had “no idea” how she did on the test after taking it.

She said she thought she would attend a second tier law school, but after receiving her test score, she’s unsure of her destination after graduation or the type of law she would like to practice.

“I think I want to go into corporate law or be a defender or prosecutor,” she explained.
Spade said she’s still in disbelief she achieved her goal.

“This is surreal to me,” she said. “I’ve devoted so much of my life to this and all of the weekends I’ve stayed in or gone home to study. I’ve honestly looked at the email which gave me my score probably 10 times because I feel like it’s a dream.”