So, apparently you have some test to take next Monday. It seems like only yesterday that you ran out to greet the friendly FedEx delivery guy as he gave you your fresh set of Blueprint textbooks. It was a sunny day, and you waved across the street to Ms. Johnson, who was talking to the milkman as little Billy practiced his baseball swing in the front yard. “I never realized how corny my neighborhood was,” you thought to yourself, but nonetheless it was a hopeful time, and you said “Gee wiz! I’m going to be a lawyer in no time!” Fast forward 12 weeks to today. You’re woozy and now suddenly aware of how much this battle with the LSAT has taken out of you. Instead of waving to Ms. Johnson, you resist the urge to ask her why the f–k she still has a milkman in 2010.
You certainly don’t need me to tell you that there is a lot at stake on Monday. Sure, you can always re-take the LSAT, but that is not the attitude you want to take into the test center. You think Kobe wakes up and says “Well, if we don’t beat Boston this year, well aw shucks, we’ll get em’ next time…?” No, no he does not. Since none of us have his prodigious and insanely unfair ability to play basketball, let’s try and use this killer instinct when filling in bubbles on our Scantron. It is certainly less exciting than the NBA Finals, but the principle is the same. I’m even considering wearing a tear-off warm-up suit and headband as I enter my testing center and take my seat.
If you have been reading my blog these last few months, you know that I have gone from my base score in the low 150s to the point where I am only a couple points away from a 170. It’s a good thing for the corporate fat-cats at Blueprint, because by all accounts their methods appear to work. However, a practice exam is a practice exam, and from what I understand, law school admissions officers aren’t that interested in how your time trials went. That brings me to my current anxious dilemma. How do I avoid choking on test day? It is a question that I am certain many of you are also asking yourself. I had a dream that I was Bill Buckner, but instead of playing first base for the Boston Red Sox and blowing the World Series with a fielding error, I was taking the LSAT and I ran out of time. Okay, I guess I wasn’t Bill Buckner in that dream. I think I was wearing a hat though…
There is plenty of advice out there. You should definitely take a look at a couple of Colin’s recent posts about what to eat on test day and how to spend this last week. He hates the LSAT as much as you do, but happens to be extremely good at it, so it’s worth the read. As far as my advice and my approach to getting over test day jitters, I have a couple things to say:
1) Some Anxiety is Good…
There is an upside to being a little nervous and anxious about the LSAT. This gets your blood flowing, raises your adrenaline, and puts you at high alert. This is simple Darwinism. You ever watch a squirrel? (Yes Rod, I’ve seen a squirrel). They’re f—ing nervous wrecks. The reason? They’re desperately looking for food while dodging cars all day. If they were completely relaxed, they probably wouldn’t do too well out there. You obviously don’t want to stroll into the LSAT feeling completely relaxed. I realize that I am going to be feeling some pressure on game day, but this can be a good thing.
2) …but Confidence is King
Too much anxiety will ruin your LSAT performance. We all have a leg-up on the competition because we took a great prep course, and it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of this. There are a couple of things I am promising myself I won’t do on Monday. I will not get stuck on one question, burn valuable time, and then rush through the other questions. If there is one question/logic game that is just brutal, I am moving on and coming back to it later. I am also refusing to get rattled by logic games, which is my least favorite section. I’m expecting the worst, envisioning four game types that I have never seen before, one of which is in Mandarin Chinese and the other that requires an introductory knowledge of astrophysics. This will ensure that I am at least pleasantly surprised.
We’re all going to do great on Monday (fallacy!). I want to know how everyone’s feeling with only a few days left, and I truly hope that all of you are ready to unleash a tsunami of LSAT swagger on June 7th.