People planning on going to law school are generally at least peripherally aware of the fact that there’s some sort of test they need to take. If you’ve never seen the thing, though, you may have no idea of what it consists. Having taught the test for a while, I’ve often had students who assume that a test called the “Law School Admissions Test” would have something to do with the law. This is wrong. The LSAT has in fact nothing to do with your legal studies major. Or your internship at Jones Day where you spent 8 hours a day on Facebook between “filing”.
Not only does the LSAT have little or nothing to do with the law, it doesn’t require any factual knowledge at all. You’ll never need to know pi to the 10th decimal place, the 16th amendment, or why Washington crossed the Delaware (he must have been drunk, because he was fighting for New Jersey). Rather, the LSAT exists in a vacuum, where they give you all the information you need, and you then have to extrapolate from said information. And, oh, what sweet golden-brown nuggets of information they’re going to give you! Flipping through some previous LSATs for just five minutes, I learned the following:
-Smoking pot cures herpes (great!) but causes cancer (fuck)
-Prehistoric Norwegians would often snap into a Slim Jim
-World Music can be scientifically shown to suck
I swear I’m not making any of these up. And you’ll get tons of random stuff like this, but one topic rises above all others.
My girlfriend often asks me what I do at work, at which point I yell at her for disturbing me during Miller Time. Crying ensues. When she manages to catch me during the earlier parts of the day, I tell her my job is basically about one thing: dinosaurs. She generally assumes that she missed the sobriety window. But I’m not joking. The LSAT can more or less be described as a test of the basic tenets of paleontology. According to a recent study involving me taking a second to think about it and make a broad guess, there have been literally hundreds of questions about dinosaurs on the LSAT. Dinosaurs may no longer roam the Earth, but they’re alive and well in the Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning sections (I’m still waiting for a Logic Game; “The Tyrannosaurus Rex must go extinct at some point before, but not immediately before, the Pterodactyl”). Teaching the LSAT has basically given me the equivalent of an associate’s degree in paleontology. I now know all the different prehistoric periods by name and date, how dinosaurs built their nests, and the numerous theories for dinosaur extinction (an asteroid, a huge volcano, and drug overdoses are just a sample – again, not joking). Rare is the tragedy of a dinosaur-free LSAT.
Some people react to all this by being frightened. “But I don’t know anything about dinosaurs!” they hypothetically cry out. But let’s be honest for a second. There are individuals out there who genuinely care about the law, find it interesting, and could stay up all night reading court decisions like a 13 year old girl with a flashlight under her blanket who just discovered her mom’s romance novels. There are about 34 people like this. The rest of you either want to be rich, or want to “make a difference” (which means you’re lying to yourself and/or others about your real goal, which is being rich). Either way, to anyone but autistic idiot savants, the law is boring. Answering questions about dinosaurs will be easier and more fun than answering questions about the law. If you’re like most people, you’ll be spending three years of your life indoors studying it, and then the rest of your time on earth will be slowly whittled away by trying to untangle legal minutia, as you desperately struggle to retain a grip on your humanity by going on bi-yearly yachting weekends. So you should be grateful about one last break from the law. Dinosaurs are frickin’ awesome.