Little did I know when writing my blog shortly after taking the LSAT that there’d be people looking for LSAT reactions amongst the blogosphere. Turns out a bunch of people like to see the test-taker’s reactions to gain advice if possible. With this in mind, I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk about the parts I felt most challenging.
My first mistake wasn’t so much showing up early as it was having nothing to stir my mind a little with. There were several people who had brought along a book to read while waiting for the test to begin. I didn’t think we were allowed to take books with us, but no one asked the book-readers to get rid of them, so I’m assuming they’re allowed. I just wouldn’t take my word as the final word, though. Even if they aren’t allowed, you’ll still have time to bring it back to your car before you register and give your thumb print. Once you give your thumb print, though, you aren’t allowed to leave the test center unless you’re being led around by a proctor. So if you bring anything that isn’t allowed during the test, keep this in mind and plan accordingly. The worst thing you could probably do is add any more stress to what you’re already feeling.
Secondly, if you’re still weeks away from your scheduled test, be sure to practice at least one full test several days in advance. My mistake was I only practiced one small section of the test instead of the whole thing. This may not make a difference in the early part of the exam, but it definitely takes a toll on your mind towards the fourth and fifth sections of the test. The LSAT is kind of a mental-marathon where you’re not only faced with questions that make you think, but you’re faced with numerous questions that make you think. Pacing yourself through these questions takes a little bit of practice and training and if you manage to take at least one full exam beforehand, you’ll be much more prepared than I was.
Finally, I think it all comes down to being in a relaxed, but receptive state of mind. I golfed a lot throughout high school and the worst thing you could do in a tournament was fill your mind with questions like; “I wonder how the guy next to me is doing,” “I wonder where I’m at compared to everyone,” or “I wonder what kind of score I’ll come out with?” These questions do nothing but distract you from the matter at hand: each individual question. Just like golfers must take each round on a hole-to-hole, shot-to-shot basis, LSAT takers must move from section to section, question to question.
Ultimately it comes down to a matter of confidence. Believing in your ability to read into the question and focus on the keywords that matter to the specific questions will get you a good score. As I’m sure nearly every LSAT study guide advises, this test isn’t about answering as many questions as you can as fast as you can, but rather it tests your ability to answer accurately and efficiently. The skills necessary to do well on this exam take some time and practice to truly develop. I’ve spent the last two or three years working towards an English degree wherein I learned all sorts of literary skills and tools to analyze texts. But yet I still felt relatively under-prepared for the LSAT. It’s a different ball game altogether. If you’ve got a good strategy that you think will prepare you well for this exam, go for it. I’ve only taken this test once; there are some who’ve taken it multiple times and can come up with much better advice. Even still, practice, practice, practice. It will help you so much when the proctor tells you to open your packet and begin section one.