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