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99th percentile LSAT but struggling with GRE


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I scored in the 99th percentile when I wrote the LSAT about a year and a half ago and only missed three questions combined on the three sections (one reading comprehension and two logical reasoning) that are highly relevant to the verbal part of the GRE. Given how well I did there I thought the verbal portion of the GRE would be a breeze, but after doing my first practice questions today I've realized that it's much more difficult than I thought, as I scored only 15 out of 20 on part of a 'Diagnostic' from Manhattan, which according to a table in the book would only put me in what I believe was the 158-161 range and nowhere near the 99th percentile.


Is it unusual for someone to get a very high score on the LSAT but struggle like that with the verbal part of the GRE? I understand that I'm early in my prep, but considering the studying I did for the LSAT it's disheartning to see my scores here.

Edited by quietman
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Hi quietman,

Speaking as a scorer in the 99% on the verbal GRE, as well as someone who has taken a fair amount of LSAT practice tests, I can assure you the GRE is exceedingly learnable (both V + Q). Also, it's much easier than the LSAT overall.


I can't speak to the efficacy nor accuracy of the Manhattan diagnostics (I used Magoosh), but I can attest to RC on the LSAT being much more difficult than the verbal portions of the GRE.


To hit 170, basically all I did was practice all the Magoosh problems and memorize (or attempt to, anyway) 1,000 GRE practice words. I'm assuming someone who scored -3 (is that a freaking 180? :o ) on the LSAT probably already has a pretty firm grasp of the English language.


I wouldn't be disheartened were I you; I'd be encouraged. Anyone who has an HLS admit in their back pocket (yes, I stalked you a bit) shouldn't feel humbled by the GRE!


I'm sure your score will improve the more you practice. In fact, I'd bet on it.


Also, not to give you unwanted advice (but, of course, why else would you be here?), but I'd really give due consideration to the HLS/HKS joint degree. I read your other post where you stated you were more interested in MPP-specific work than law, but I'd also point out that although the Kennedy School is very good, it hasn't produced presidents (and countless other senators, CEOs, billionaires, etc.) yet. I know it's crazy expensive, but you're holding one very golden ticket (I'm sure you already knew that, though).


Anyhow, good luck with the GRE verbal prep. I have faith in you!

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Thanks for the reply!


I guess I was probably naive in thinking that because I did so well on the LSAT I'd just stroll into the GRE and breeze through the verbal part without any specific study for the exam; I think I overestimated how similar they'd be. I'm also glad you say that the GRE is quite learnable, because one of my worries is that progression tends to be significantly more difficult than it was for the LSAT, a test that I had some early problems with too but eventually mastered apart from logic games.


I'd think I'd still like to do the joint degree (in which case I could apply without this pesky GRE!) and I admit that my stated gravitation toward the MPP is part rationalization given that I'm disappointed I probably won't be able to afford that.

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Um, hi Boston_Hopeful, I hope we can talk about this in person when you're here.  HLS and HKS have great track records - both of them - in public service.  And as for presidents, etc, here's a partial list (cribbed from Wikipedia).  


Doug Bereuter (MPA '73) - former U.S. Congressman, Nebraska

Brendan F. Boyle (MPP '05) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 13th District of Pennsylvania

Felipe Calderón (MPA '00) - former President of Mexico

Gerry Connolly (MPA '79) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 11th District of Virginia

David Cunliffe (MPA '95) - Leader of the Opposition, Parliament of New Zealand

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (MPA '02) - President of Mongolia

José María Figueres (MPA '91) - former President of Costa Rica

Alan Grayson (MPP '83) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 8th District of Florida

Katherine Harris (MPA '97) – member, U.S. House of Representatives, 13th District of Florida;

Brian Higgins (MPA '96) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 27th District of New York

Stephen Horn (MPA '55) - former U.S. Congressman, California

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (MPA '71) - President of Liberia, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Ban Ki-moon (MPA '84) – United Nations Secretary General

Jim Langevin (MPA '94) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District of Rhode Island

Lee Hsien Loong (MPA '80) - Prime Minister of Singapore

Stephen F. Lynch (MPA '99) – member, U.S. House of Representatives, 9th District of Massachusetts

Miguel de la Madrid (MPA '65) - former President of Mexico

Dan Maffei (MPP '95) – former member, U.S. House of Representatives, 25th District of New York

Jamil Mahuad (MPA '89) - former President of Ecuador

Jim Moody (MPA '67) - former U.S. Congressman, Wisconsin

Larry Pressler (MPA '66) - former U.S. Senator from South Dakota

William Proxmire (MPA '48) - former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin

Jack Reed (MPP '73) - U.S. Senator from Rhode Island

Eduardo Rodríguez (MPA '88) - former President of Bolivia

Carlos Salinas de Gortari (MPA '73, PhD '76) - former President of Mexico

Joe Sestak (MPA '84) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District of Pennsylvania

Rob Simmons (MPA '79) - former U.S. Congressman, Connecticut

Peter G. Torkildsen (MPA '90) - former U.S. Congressman, Massachusetts;

Robert Torricelli (MPA '80) - former U.S. Senator from New Jersey

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (MA '45, GSPA) - former Prime Minister of Canada

Sir Donald Tsang (MPA '82) - Hong Kong Chief Executive

Chris Van Hollen (MPP '85) - member, U.S. House of Representatives, 8th District of Maryland

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