On Sunday, Bubba Watson captured his second green jacket by winning the 2014 Masters tournament. While golf and the LSAT may not seem to have too much in common (apart from causing incredible amounts of frustration and driving many to drinking), Watson’s performance can be a source of inspiration for LSAT students in several ways.
Tip #1 on Becoming an LSAT Master: Mistake Minimization
Over the course of four days and 72 holes, Bubba Watson finished only one round of golf over-par. Augusta National, the home of the Masters tournament, is one of the most difficult courses in the world, and it is made even more difficult for the Masters. With treacherous, narrow fairways and incredibly fast greens, Augusta National is a true test of every aspect of a player’s game. Watson used booming drives and consistent putting to minimize mistakes and play consistently solid golf. While he was not perfect, his all-around performance was excellent and propelled him to a first place finish.
LSAT students should seek to follow the same approach. While it is nearly impossible to expect perfection on the LSAT (unless you’re the one out of 10,000 people who manages to score a 180), it is possible to minimize mistakes by performing well on every section and avoiding errors. Honing your Logical Reasoning, Logic Game, and Reading Comprehension skills will allow you to avoid mistakes and maximize your LSAT score. Even if you have one section that goes “over-par,” a strong all-around performance will help you reach your goals and achieve your target score.
Tip #2 on Becoming an LSAT Master: Maintaining Control and Avoiding Panic
While Watson’s performance was exceptional, there were moments where he appeared to be slipping. Not only did he relinquish his lead after the third round and settle into a tie atop the leaderboard, but he also fell behind in the final round itself. Despite these struggles, Watson maintained control of his game. He didn’t panic or start worrying about the holes ahead; rather, he confidently approached each challenge as he encountered it and managed to regain his lead.
Similarly, LSAT students should maintain control even during rough patches. Whether these rough patches occur on a practice exam or on the actual LSAT, they can be overcome. Instead of panicking or becoming fatalistic about the difficulties that lie ahead, students should focus on the individual questions as they encounter them. Worrying too much about a stretch of difficult questions or about performing poorly on a particular section will only slow you down and stress you out. Keep calm and LSAT on.
Tip #3 on Becoming an LSAT Master: Practice, Practice, Practice
Given that he is a professional athlete, there is no doubt that Watson spends countless hours honing his skills and maintaining peak performance. The most telling part of Watson’s game that displays his hours of practice is his putting. Coming into the Masters, Watson had a streak of almost 300 holes without three-putting (three-putting is the golf equivalent of double-faulting in tennis or striking out in baseball — it is something that no golfer ever wants to do). Although he did break this streak, Watson’s putting was incredibly strong throughout the week. It is impossible to maintain such a streak for as long as Watson did or putt as well as he did without practicing over and over again. Thus, while every aspect of Watson’s game displays his hard work and commitment, his putting in particular is a testament to his dedication and was a major part of his success.
The importance of practicing for the LSAT cannot be overstated. Students should become so familiar with the methods for answering every type of LSAT question that they can do them in their sleep (LSAT stress dreams are a real thing). Practicing the methods will make them become second nature. Not only will this help students get questions right, but it will also increase time-efficiency and allow students to build confidence in their skills.
If you follow in Watson’s footsteps, you will get closer to scoring a hole-in-one…eighty…on the LSAT. Just don’t take up golf as a hobby if you want a break from stressing about the LSAT; it will be equally frustrating and a lot more expensive.