The Laws of the LSAT
On Saturday, I took the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
Needless to say, my entire life has changed since I’ve taken it.
I couldn’t remember what it was like to do absolutely nothing for an entire day until this past Sunday. I couldn’t remember what it was like to not be taking a practice exam, thinking about how I did on my last practice exam and thinking about how any minute I wasn’t studying was a minute wasted.
But was it all worth it? There was the stress, the lack of sleep and the complete removal from everything around me that wasn’t related to the exam.
I’m not really sure, I guess in a month we’ll see how it went when I receive my score. But after reading dozens of LSAT blogs, I think I may have done it all wrong.
Apparently there is a way to go about the exam without dedicating your life to it – an idea that LSAT preparation courses don’t want to tell you.
“This is the most important exam you will ever take.”
That’s what I heard the first day of my course.
“Your entire future will be based around this exam: If you go to law school, where you go to law school, if you’ll be in debt when you graduate and if you’ll land a job after graduation.”
They even tried to tell me that this exam was more important than the Bar (reason being that the LSAT is score-based and the bar was just a pass or fail exam – as if it’s really as simple as that).
After classes – which I took through Kaplan – instill in your head that this is the most important exam and your life depends on it, they try and underestimate the difficulty of the exam. The book constantly drills you on how all of the answers are always right in front of you and how it’s all a matter of “following the rules.” My instructor constantly used words like “simple” and “easy” and by the end of the course I was sure I was going to score a 180, the highest possible score on the exam.
But then our final practice exam of the course came along and my score was lower than my diagnostic exam – which I took blindly without ever having been exposed to a question.
Most of the class faced the same issue and my instructor reassured us that this was common. We were on the right track to getting a higher score – the Kaplan guarantee.
Throughout the duration of the course, the idea about this being the most important test of our lives while simultaneously telling us how easy the exam was clearly boosted everyone’s confidence – in a negative way. I was so sure I was going to do well on the final exam because I was told how prepared I was and how “easy” the exam was.
As the weeks flew by and the LSAT seemed closer than ever, I continued studying and practicing the techniques I had learned. My score fluctuated throughout the remaining weeks so I was never truly able to predict how I was going to do. The test is over and now I will patiently wait a month until I receive my score.
The best tips I learned – some a little too late – were from LSAT blogs and previous LSAT takers. While courses can help you with strategies and make you feel more confident, I would highly encourage anyone taking the test to read up about it online as early as you can.
Regardless of what my score may be, I know that I would go about my studying completely differently if given the chance to do it all over again. After hearing countless stories about students who drastically increased their score by 10-20 points, here are the best tips and tricks I could advise future LSAT takers to follow.
- You get what you put into it – the more you study, the better you will do. It’s really that simple.
- Don’t overthink any question – even though the answer is not always in the passage like my instructors taught me, the right answer is always there, you just need to find it.
- Always attack the longest question first – it’s better to guess on a smaller section if you run out of time.
- Don’t dwell on past questions – keep focusing on the task at hand.
- Always read the stimulus first – it will help focus your reading on identifying the correct answer.
- The hardest logic games always have the easiest questions – so don’t get nervous when you don’t understand what to do.
- Remember that no matter what, you will get into at least one law school.
- The test is not a measure of your aptitude or intelligence.
- Stay calm and don’t panic – even when you are in the middle of a tougher section.
- If you truly studied your hardest, then there is nothing more you could have done to improve your score. Everything happens for a reason.