If you plan on taking the February LSAT, then today would be a good day to start studying. But, if you’re superstitious about doing anything on Friday the 13th, or you’re not sure about taking the February LSAT, then I have some advice for you.
The February LSAT is kind of weird. For all the other LSAT administrations you will have exactly one “experimental” section, but for the February LSAT the whole thing, in two ways, is “experimental.”
First, some of the content might be slightly weird or unusual. Maybe you’ll get a prompt that’s going to be hard to pin to a question type. Maybe a weird Logic Game intro will show up. Such things shouldn’t be a major issue for you. If anything truly weird or unusual comes up, it will be weird and unusual for everyone, and the LSAT score “curve” will reflect this.
Second, once your LSAT score comes out you won’t know what mistakes you made because LSAC does not release the February LSAT questions. This can be annoying if you don’t end up doing as well as you would have liked, since you won’t be able to evaluate exactly what went wrong. This isn’t really a huge problem. You’ll know where your weak points are from your most recent practice LSAT scores, and such weaknesses are pretty stable in the short term.
However, the February LSAT shouldn’t put you off just because it might be a bit weird.
Most law schools won’t accept a 2014 February LSAT score in time for the application cycle that ends in 2014. So, the February LSAT is probably going to be your first chance at the 2015 application cycle. This makes the February LSAT attractive for several reasons.
First, the LSAT is the kind of test you can study for. We’d be living in a very sad world if people couldn’t learn logic; thankfully that’s not the case. However, a lot of people don’t really think that they can improve their LSAT score by a massive amount. These people usually change their minds after a few months of serious studying. If you see your LSAT score go up by 11 points, then you might be inspired to extend your study time and shoot even higher. By starting your LSAT prep very early in the application cycle the upper bound on your LSAT score is determined by how much you’re willing to study, and not by law school application deadlines.
Second, studying for the LSAT isn’t the only thing you’ll have to do to get into law school. You’re also going to have to suck up to a few professors to get recommendation letters, write a personal statement or three, and possibly some additional addenda and essays. These things take time, and you cannot afford to be sloppy about these softer parts of your law school application. Most people end up postponing both the LSAT and getting their other application materials in order until they have to do both at the same time. Don’t do this to yourself. Get the LSAT out of the way early, and then spend a healthy amount of time crafting the perfect personal statement(s) and cultivating awesome recommendation letters.
Third, things don’t always go according to plan. Your practice LSAT scores in the week before the actual LSAT will be a great indicator of your score. However, things can go wrong. Last October, LSAT takers on the Internet were complaining about an LSAT proctor that called time five minutes early. Some others were forbidden from using their analog wristwatches to time themselves during the test. Others just had a really bad start to their day and got thrown off during the LSAT. But, if any of these awful things happen to you on the February LSAT you can just plan to take the June LSAT and still get your applications in early.
This brings us to the final point. Getting your application in early is a great idea. Most schools offer some sort of early decision process that might give your admissions chances the slight bump you need to get in. But, even outside of such a process, most law schools accept students on a rolling basis. This means that students are accepted as soon as their applications are evaluated, so it makes sense to get yours in while there a ton of spots still available.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to start your LSAT prep early, but I wish all of you good luck, no matter what you decide to do.