Since getting to law school, I haven’t gone to the gym very often. But when I used to try to stay healthy and had time to do things unrelated to school, I tried to go somewhat frequently. In the beginning, I got very frustrated when I didn’t see immediate results. For example, any time I worked out my abs, I expected to wake up the next morning with a chiseled six-pack. Unfortunately, I was (and remain) disappointed by my lack of washboard abs.
For those of you who just finished Practice Exam 2 as part of the Blueprint curriculum, you may be expecting a similar sense of disappointment at not seeing your score instantly improve from your diagnostic results. Just like you shouldn’t expect massive gains from just a few reps at the gym, you shouldn’t expect a massive score increase on your second exam; rather, you should focus on a couple key aspects of the exercise.
1.) Comprehension of the Initial Lessons
At this point in the course, you’ve covered some of the first few questions type for each of the three sections of the LSAT. The practice exam is mainly meant to give you an indicator of your comprehension of those few sections that you’ve covered. For example, if you didn’t recognize indicator words for a diagramming question, you may want to review the sections that cover diagramming. I’m not suggesting you should’ve gotten every single “Must Be True” question right, but you should’ve had a relatively clear understanding of the methods to employ. I would highly recommend going back through the exam and paying close attention to the question types you’ve already encountered in class to make sure you have a good handle on how to approach them. This will not only provide you a great opportunity for review and reinforce good test-review habit, but it will allow you to ask questions about any foundational concepts. Don’t worry about the other question types at this point—you haven’t covered them and you aren’t expected to get them right with any degree of consistency at this point.
2.) Perspective on the Road Ahead
The second practice exam is also meant to give you a road map for the issues you will encounter as the course progresses. It should’ve helped you understand the importance of timing in particular (you won’t have to worry about timing until you’ve covered all the material, so that isn’t a pressing concern right now but as I’m sure you experienced, it is difficult to get through all the questions in a timely manner). You may have even found that it took you longer to answer the question types that you had covered because you’re not entirely familiar with the methods yet. As you drill the methods and become more comfortable with them, the time it takes you to answer the questions will decrease. It is essential that the methods become automatic for you, and Practice Exam 2 should’ve affirmed the importance of practice and repetition.
Practice Exam 2 can be a tremendously discouraging experience if you focus on the numbers…so don’t. Instead, focus on reviewing and understanding what you’ve covered so far and maintain perspective for the weeks ahead. I don’t have a six-pack because I stopped working out (and there are just way too many pizza lunches at school), but you can achieve your goals if you stay focused and driven!