Because many Blueprint classes started last weekend — which means that many Blueprint students just took Practice Exam 1 — we’re running an old post about what you should take away from that potentially demoralizing experience. If you just took that exam, and need a little pick me up, take this advice from former Blueprint instructor and Columbia Law alum Philip Mayer …
For the following introduction, I’m going to assume everyone out there has a working knowledge of the original Star Wars movies. If you don’t, go watch them. It is more important than studying for the LSAT. Go on, get out of here.
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker, a scrappy upstart, manages blow up the Death Star. He has essentially no training, but he manages to get by. To make a not-forced-at-all analogy to the LSAT, this is probably where a lot of people expect to be when they take the first practice test. Many have just graduated from undergrad, they’re ready to take on the world, and they expect to conquer the exam the first time around. Cue the John Williams’ music and get the medals ready.
In the greatest sequel of all time, The Empire Strikes Back (yeah, you heard me Godfather II), our hero’s journey hits some rough patches. After all, the rebels are on the run, Luke’s new mentor is hardly receptive and his training doesn’t progress as he’s expected, and he loses his battle with Darth Vader. He is physically and psychologically battered. In another totally natural analogy, this is probably where you’re actually at right now, in the wake of the first practice examination. Think of this post as the Millenium Falcon swooping in to save you from falling off that weird little antennae at Cloud City.
If you’re reeling from your results on the first practice test, don’t worry! One of the main functions of the first practice test is to light a fire under you so that you’ll be motivated to learn. The LSAT is different from a lot of other standardized tests out there. You can’t just waltz into it without a good study regimen and expect to do well. We want you to understand that right away so you’ll implement good study habits.
The second reason for the initial practice test is to familiarize you with the format of the LSAT. The LSAT has at least one unique aspect—the logic games—and it is helpful to get a sense of your obstacles before you try to overcome them.
The final reason, one which I ended up appreciating, was to set a benchmark for your progress. The first practice examination should allow you to see how far you’ve come along the way. As a head’s up, just know this progress won’t happen overnight (and it might not even happen, from a score perspective, by the time you take the second practice exam). But, as you take more practice tests, you can be motivated by the progress you’ve made.
Ultimately, you’ll emerge from this experience better and stronger. Going back to my smooth-as-silk Star Wars analogies, it took Luke a little while to get used to his new hand and build his new lightsaber before The Return of the Jedi. Nevertheless, he persisted. When you get to the later practice tests, you’ll be like young Master Skywalker when he walks into Jabba’s Palace and takes names. Eventually, you’ll defeat the Empire and prevail in your quest to achieve a high score on the LSAT.
In a few years, you’ll realize the Death Star and the Empire (the LSAT here) weren’t even your biggest enemies, they were actually the Starkiller Base and Supreme Leader Snoke (the bar exam). And that whole thing will definitely feel like a remake at times … (hey, that one actually kind of worked).