Rod’s June 2010 LSAT Recap: Why I Might Start an Alpaca Farm

BPPjodi-lsat-blog-alpaca

I hope that everyone survived the logical whiplash of Monday’s exam, and I suspect that many of you have burned, incinerated, and/or dropped your LSAT books off of a tall structure (that last method of destruction is actually pretty lame. I mean, your LSAT books aren’t going to shatter into a million pieces when they hit the ground, someone’s just going to have to pick them up). To those of you who are done with the LSAT forever, I congratulate you. I know that you are all dying to know how my test day went, and I shall spare no detail (except any intellectual property of the Law School Admissions Council, of course).

The night before the LSAT I watched the Laker game with a few friends and went to bed at around 11:00 PM. I slept like a big 6’2” baby — apparently missing an earthquake in the process. Waking up at 7:00 AM and feeling refreshed, I cooked myself a pretty big breakfast and met a friend at the gym for a solid hour and a half workout. For me, this was a great decision, because I was surrounded by people who were not thinking about the LSAT and doing some physical activity worked off any anxiety that I had. I must say, I felt like a million bucks on Monday. No. I felt like $2 million bucks — and I’m talking post-income tax. I even had this vegan girl I know whip me up this “green drink” smoothie that apparently contained like 16 different organic vegetables that were read bedtime stories as they grew — but lets get back on topic.

I enjoyed a nice drive to Malibu where I was to take my test at a certain university — I won’t say which one. Again, I was wide awake, calm, cool, and in a great mood. I entered the test center building around noon. I had prepared to see a war zone of uniformed officials with metal detectors and tazer guns, and this did not turn out to be the case. There was a short line of five or six students waiting to check in. Nobody was dry heaving over a stack of test prep books, and there were no Michael Clarke Duncan-looking bouncers ready to pat us down for iPhones. I checked in and sat down in my seat at about 12:10.

Now here is one thing I wasn’t prepared for. I sat in my seat for one full hour before anyone even said “Welcome to the LSAT.” There were another 40 minutes on top of that for the usual administrative stuff, and we did not actually start the LSAT until about 2:00 PM. Again, I was still feeling wide awake and ready, but those two hours did not help. It’s not like I could bust out my iPhone and check CNN.com, shoot some texts and check last nights sports scores. As you are well aware, you don’t have much to work with. I read my Vitamin Water label 15 times. At this moment in time, nobody on planet Earth knows that label better than me.

I opened to Section 1. Games. While my least favorite section, I was still energized and ready to go. Maybe it was the extra kale my hippie friend had put in my smoothie. Without going into too much detail, I essentially ran out of time after 3 1/2 games, and my initial reaction was that it just felt like a strange section.

Section 2 was logical reasoning — my jam. Now, in the three weeks or so leading up to yesterday’s exam, I would literally finish any practice logical reasoning section with about 3-5 minutes left, going over the 3 or 4 questions I had marked to double check. On test day, this was not the case. I did finish the section, but with only 20 seconds left. It seemed to be about an average level of difficulty, but I may have left a question blank. One thing I did notice is that while there are usually two or three questions that make me laugh on the LR section, this was not the case on game day. I am sure this is due to added stress, but c’mon LSAC, gimme something to work with here.

“Turn the page to Section 3.” Games. Fuck. On the one hand, I was relieved that this would give me an opportunity to redeem myself for the first games section, on the other hand…well, it sucks, you know? Without disclosing super secret LSAT information, I did not get the impression that these games were any harder than other games sections. Again, my problem with games is pacing, and while I think I answered all the questions with accuracy on the first 3 games, I didn’t have time to dive into the fourth game, and thus I am enthusiastically hoping that answer choice “B” is popular among the last several questions.

At the 15 minute break I was still alert and able to process the reaming I had just taken. Best case scenario: I killed the LR section, missing 2-3. It’s unlikely but definitely possible. On the Logic Games side, the best case scenario is that I only missed 1 or 2 questions on the first three games combined, and I picked up a few guessing points on the last game. I have scored in the high 160s while missing an entire game. I needed to destroy the last LR and RC sections if I wanted to get close to 170.

Section 4 begins at around 4:30 PM, almost five full hours after I originally took my seat. I get through the Logical Reasoning section, feeling fairly confident about my performance. I had about a minute left to take a few deep breaths.

Section 5 begins, and I must admit, I was getting tired. I needed some of that hippie vegan kale juice. Where’s my damn kale! As far as the topics of the passages, I will say this: like most facets of life, if you happen to be a Hispanic bee-keeper, you had the advantage. It’s time for me to break the news to the Blueprint bosses: I’m starting my own LSAT prep company. First of all, there are going to be 101 hours of instruction (pretty clever, right?). The first hour of class will teach students argument structure and diagramming conditional statements, with no time for questions. The other 100 hours will be divided equally between studying everything there is to know about bees, and studying any public figure whose societal influence was surpassed only by his or her cultural richness.

I usually don’t have any problem getting through all four reading comp passages. Occasionally, I will have to rush through the last passage, but I can always pick out some key ideas and answer a few questions. I was just about to read the first sentence of the last passage when my proctor announced the 5 minute warning. Then a weird thing happened. I almost literally lost the ability to read. Call it test fatigue, call it a mini panick attack, but I kind of froze. I was thinking to myself “It’s going to take you 5-6 minutes just to read this legal passage. You need points.” I then flipped back to the other passages to check my work, but I couldn’t really do that because I was thinking about the last passage. Ultimately, I had to pretty much guess on all but two questions on passage four. This was both atypical for me on the reading comp section and ensured that I wouldn’t get the score I was looking for. Bummer.

As far as the writing sample, all I can give you is my opening sentence, which is one of the finer sentences I have written: “The Ortegas’ goal of viewing the solar eclipse on their upcoming trip is as exciting as it is worthwhile.” Hate to leave you hangin’ like that, but I don’t want to rile up the LSAC by disclosing anything else.

Ultimately, I underestimated the differences between practice test conditions and test day conditions.

#1: I didn’t fully expect to be waiting so long before the test began. I was not prepared for 12:00 PM to 6:15 PM.
#2: When I took practice exams, I usually just circled the answer on the test and checked my answers directly from the page. Turns out bubbling the answers actually takes some time.
#3: During practice tests, I would have my cell phone clock right in front of my face. On test day, I was in the back row, the two clocks were about 75 yards away from me, and the watch I used I borrowed from a friend and it didn’t have numbers on it. This actually made a difference for me, as when I went to check the time, I had three really bad options.

Now, am I going to cancel my score? I’m obviously curious about what I got, and I subscribe to the Ari Gold notion that “there are no asterisks in life, only scoreboards.” I’d also like to know what that logical beat down adds up to for the sake of comparison. Am I going to re-take the LSAT? Who knows, but like you I really don’t want to think about it for a week or two. I’m disappointed, but there is always a backup plan. After all, I’ve heard that raising alpacas can be both rewarding and lucrative.

– Rodderandack “Rod” Taynes

20 Responses

  1. GREanyone? says:

    weird. i was at that malibu school too… and my experience was basically identical, down to having only 5 min for the last passage. I feel you pain.

    ps. i’m surprised you didn’t comment how at about 12:45 after 75% of the people finally made it in the auditorium the proctor let about 10 ppl get up to use the bathroom…. all of whom had to re-check in. I wanted to scream!

  2. Simi Bob says:

    Hey, I was the one that asked to go to the bathroom at that school in Malibu. I mean, they were taking forever on the check-in. Why not ask?

    Anyway, the test was tough… I’m going to keep it. I was a mid 150’s after testmasters going into it and I think I got about the same although games was a killer.

  3. me says:

    I feel your pain as well. We waited SO long just to get the test booklets in the room! & why is it necessary not to have any water during this time?

    …and if water is so distracting, why can proctors have it the entire time?! lol…anyways, yeah I took my test in Norcal & we didn’t get out until 5:30.

  4. Rod says:

    Don’t worry Simi Bob, I don’t blame you. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

  5. ThePepp says:

    I too was one of the 10 who went to the bathroom during that lull. With a games section like that, taking a piss would have been disastrous. Problem was the two girls checking us in, slow slow slow.

    Best part of the ‘bu? That beautiful ocean view during break. Nothing like that to get you pumped for RC.

  6. lauren says:

    I am a little freaked out because this was my testing experience exactly (besides the fact that I practiced bubbling in my answers). I am, under and other circumstances, an excellent standardized test-taker, but the lsat really got under my skin. I thought my nerves would have subsided by the time I started actually working the test, but they did not and they really slowed me down. I had the exact format that you did, the games (my least favorite) twice before the break. All in all, Monday was one of the worst days ever. Every problem you had and the ones you guessed on were the exact things that I had guessed on. But I am only looking for a 165. Do you think you got about that?

  7. Kristin says:

    I’ll raise you one on the distracting proctors.. not only were they slurping down water.. one of them (not one particularly easy on the eyes) was reading a book called “The Mystery of the G-Spot”.. have they no shame?

  8. Rod says:

    I’d like to clear up the fact that I had no problem with my proctors, they all seemed very nice and did a perfectly adequate job.

    Kristen – if only there was an excerpt from “Mystery of the G-Spot” on the reading comp section, I think we would all be better for it.

    If I had to guess my score from Monday’s exam it would be anywhere between 161-167, which is below what I want.

    Lauren – that’s pretty crazy how similar our experience was.

  9. Xnegd says:

    I know you’ll can’t give exact details, but out of weird curiosity, and with the mention of the “O” family, I was just curious. Did you pick 1 or 2? Or, can we not ask that?

  10. JK says:

    are you keeping the score?

  11. Tom Allred says:

    That was funny. I enjoyed reading that. I took the test in Michigan, and I think the school I took it at was being foreclosed on as we tested. I actually enjoyed our proctors, one of them was really nice to look at…which did not help my score, but it was better than your water bottle. I think I scored somewhere between a 120-180, but am not confident in that prediction. It could be lower. Ha. We only had one games section, and of course I handled it like Monica Lewinsky in the White House. I did not keep the sweater I was wearing though. I think cell phones are the thing that keeps us going on toward the next level. Proctors can have them, you cannot. Profs can, you cannot. When you go to the courthouse, lawyers can bring them in…you cannot. It’s all about the cell phone usage. Actually the only reason I have for going to Law School, well the only one I can think of. I think their might be a solar eclipse tomorrow, so I had better plan on staying indoors…like the freaking Ortega’s should have.

  12. Elyse says:

    Yeah, if I had to guess my score is between 160-167. and I’m nervous. I think I should cancel because I have a 152 and need a high score on this to make up for it. And I wanted to be more in the 164-173 range (my PT range).

    I am really not sure though. I’m debating. Because I didn’t do as bad on games as I thought I did originally. Or at least I’m pretty sure now that I didn’t do THAT badly.

    I wanted to cry after the LSAT. I did cry after the LSAT. I honestly thought I did worse then the 152 but wait – that thought wasn’t exactly rational. I need HELP deciding what to do.

  13. Dave says:

    Hi Elyse,
    I think I already addressed your questions about cancellation in another post, but let me know if you need any additional guidance.
    Thanks,
    Dave

  14. Elyse says:

    Dave,

    At the moment, I have decided NOT to cancel. I think “thinking” I screwed up on games led to this irrational fear that I did HORRIBLE. I had to guess on a few for RC but LG went okay.

    Worst comes to worse, I will take it a third time come October. Some of the schools I’m targeting (Notre Dame, for example) take only your top score, which is good for me given my situation with the really low 152 on record.

    I’m just crossing my fingers and praying that my 3.9 GPA won’t be for naught by not canceling. I made the mistake of not canceling before and that might have made me a bit jumpy on this one to cancel this time.

  15. Matt says:

    I took the LSAT in New York but I find it extremely funny that I had almost entirely the same experience. I had trouble getting to the end of the logic games section. (Of which I only had one). I found the reading comprehension a bit difficult but nothing more then the practice tests and I felt I did well on the logical reasoning section, which is also my best section (Of which I had three.)

    Like you I’m aiming for a score around 170. Practice tests I ranged between 166-175. Ideally I’m hoping for a 170 but I can’t really figure out how much of my negative thoughts are based off second guessing myself on that logic section and how much are the realistic notion that it was a harder games section than I was prepared for.

  16. Lindsey says:

    Well put, Rodderandack! To plagiarize the preceding post, I had almost entirely the same experience also. Ironically, my mother raises alpacas & she loves it.

    My test was structured as yours was – LG, LR, LG, LR, RC and by the time I got to the third RC passage I had completely lost the ability to read. RC is usually my favorite section, with avg 0-2 missed on practice tests, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed all of the ?’s on the fourth passage.

    I always practiced using the time on my cell phone as well. On test day, I reset my watch to noon at the beginning of each section so that it would be 12:35 at the end of it, and I actually forgot to push in the button to start the time. TWICE!

    Anyway, only one more week to speculate. Thanks for the good humor, and best of luck!!

  17. Rod says:

    Matt – it sounds like your experience on the June LSAT wasn’t too different from your practice exams, and I bet you did better than you expect. I would never have considered canceling my score if it weren’t for that fifth section (reading comp) where I was not able to finish the last passage, which virtually never happened in my practice exams. Best of luck on that score!

    Lindsey – best of luck to you on that score report as well. It’s weird how many people had similar LSAT experiences as me (Rodderandack Taynes). Also, give me your mom’s phone number — I want to go 50/50 on that Alpaca farm.

  18. It interesting to read the experiences of others!

    I’m a Canadian student, based in Toronto, Ontario – and I wrote the LSAT in Windsor, ON (because spots in Toronto were filled months before). I went with two good friends of mine, who sat on either side of me during the LSAT, which made it easier to have someone to laugh the anxiety off with during the break.

    I got Reading Comp first, which was a real horror because I was already tired after the reading comp. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be – which made me think it was experimental – and I was right.

    I had logical reasoning second, and logic games third. The third and last logic game really messed me up – especially the last one, but I think eventually I got the hang of the third one and hopefully racked up a few points there.

    After the break I had logical reasoning again, and last, Reading Comp. Reading Comp as your first and last section is really quite horrible, especially when the last one counts. Its exhausting. Its usually my weakest section, but with my bombing the logic games, I am banking on a better Reading Comp score… After talking to a friend post-LSAT, and realizing I made some stupid mistakes on the Logical Reasoning section, I have a terrible feeling I am re-writing the LSAT for October.

    Alas! The trials and tribulations of a pre-law-desperately-trying-to-get-into-law-school student!

  19. Xnegd says:

    Fyi – Scores were just released this moment.

    Good Luck everyone!

  20. Brad says:

    The test would be bias if a passage was an excerpt from a book about “G-Spots.” The men would have much lower scores but some may understand why their girlfriends/wives/fiances may have left them.

    I see a trend in LSATs and difficulty per section. I’ve reviewed LSATS 45-60 and they alternate difficulty with cycles. For the October LSAT it looks like the Reading Comprehension will be a KILLER and some of the Logical Reasoning questions will be tricky but the Logic Games will be surprisingly easy. Then again you never know with LSAC and there could be a new type of Logic Game featuring I’ll stop. If LSAC reads these the last thing I want is to inspire them.

    The strange thing about measuring difficulty is that it’s subjective. The December Logic Games was said to be INSANE. No offense but I thought it was childishly easy. Yet I found the Reading comp in on the December 2010 test to be a backbreaker. My strong sections generally are LR and LG though and I struggle with RC. And I’m a former English major to boot and have a mother who serves as Dean of the English department. Funny how that works. I legitimately fear the RC section.

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