As you might have noticed, the NCAA March Madness tournament is underway — accompanied as usual by lower productivity in offices all across the land (or not?) and lots of illegal gambling. And upsets. While it’s too early to know whether this year will have any memorable Cinderella story, some high seeds have already fallen to their lower-seeded opponents, with consequences reaching millions of brackets.
If you’re taking the LSAT, you, too, need to avoid getting upset. There are lessons to take from these March Madness games.
How to Avoid Getting Upset by the LSAT I: Avoid overconfidence
New Mexico coach Steve Alford complained earlier this season about what he saw as disrespect for the Mountain West Conference, to which his team belongs, in the polls. As his team finished the season ranked tenth in the polls and achieved a 3-seed in the tournament despite all that, it’s hard to imagine that Alford and his players would have felt terribly threatened by lowly, 14-seeded Harvard.
Yes, in basketball, unlike in the law school rankings, Harvard is lowly.
Harvard showed them, winning in a 68-62 upset victory. And no, Jeremy Lin didn’t sneak away from his NBA duties in a bad disguise.
How to Avoid Getting Upset by the LSAT II: Don’t overlook the easy stuff
You should never take the LSAT lightly. More importantly, don’t lead yourself to believe that anything is easier than it is. If you’re practicing some LSAT questions, say, a kind of LSAT Logical Reasoning question or a variety of LSAT Logic Game, and you find yourself getting most of it right, but it feels like a fluke, don’t write whatever it is off as something you have down. Review it, and practice more, until you know you have the LSAT topic in question mastered.
How to Avoid Getting Upset by the LSAT III: Don’t prejudge your opponent
Oregon entered this year’s NCAA tournament as a 12-seed, despite winning the Pac-12 conference tournament and finishing second in the conference in the regular season. They proceeded to knock off Oklahoma State, the 5-seed, by the not-so-close score of 68-55. Even the opposing coach said before the game that Oregon wasn’t a typical 12-seed.
While Oklahoma State had the advantage of knowing whom they were facing, when you take the LSAT, you’re seeing everything for the first time. It’s true that the games and reading comp passages earlier in each LSAT section tend to be easier, but that isn’t a guarantee. That 12-seeded LSAT Logic Game (I mean, say, the second one of four in the section) may turn out to put up quite a fight, and might even be the toughest one to beat of the four on the particular LSAT test you happen to take.