Friday, August 6, 2010

Zen Journal - LSAT Speed and Timing

The following post is part of a series from one of our LSAT tutoring clients. You can read about their experiences by clicking on the "Zen Journal" label above.
Just over a month removed from the rigors of my full-time special education teaching job in the South Bronx and I’m comfortably home in the considerably quieter mountains of North Carolina.

However, I’m hardly settled in: I have yet to unload a single box from my parent’s car. Less than 45 minutes after rolling into town – through I blinding fog and 68° temperatures - I was on assignment for my next two jobs. This fall I’ll be the goalkeeper coach for my former high school soccer team.
Before even going home, as I drove into town I went straight to practice, laced up my cleats, and met the head coach for the first time. No sooner did I shake his hand and turn to check out the crop of young soccer talent than did I run into the Sports Editor at our local paper. I had previously spoken with him about covering sports for the paper; when he recognized me, I was immediately pinned to a gig, “How about writing your first piece about today’s first soccer practice?”

Without hesitating I responded, “Sure.” Only later did I remember that my number one priority back home was to study for the LSAT…oh well, I guess I’ll just have to fit it in.

The reality is that the LSAT must become, simply put, priority numero uno. And it will, just as soon as I unpack my underwear and find my rhythm with the coaching and paper writing. Rhythm seems key to me these days, as I feel that a lack of rhythm is what I’m missing in my LSAT preparation. Over the past six months I have taken only three full LSATs – one was back in February and two in the past three weeks as my training with Mr. Bennett has commenced. With three tutoring sessions under my belt, I do feel as if I’m becoming more comfortable with the format of the test. The numerous strategies that I have already begun to utilize from the Zen task standard system for the logical reasoning section are proving valuable as I chop my way through the dense verbal foliage that clouds my thinking. The diagrams that I’m being learning to employ for analytical reasoning help me to work through the detailed rules of each game.

However, I have yet to find my rhythm.

Despite a few question/game-type glitches, I’m fairly accurate when taking an LSAT. My biggest problem? Speed. I am, what feels to me to be, painfully slow at times when taking a practice test. For example, time restrictions notwithstanding, I answered 24 out of 26 questions correctly on my most recent reading comprehension section. Again, though, it took too long. I think that once I settle into the regularity of practice, tutor, practice, and free myself of the distractions of my recent move, I will find that rhythm I’m seeking.

Once I’m taking four tests a week, plus two tutoring sessions, and going through the motions of the law school application process, I’m sure that I won’t be able to help but find my rhythm. The LSAT will indeed, for better or worse, become the very cadence of my existence. Strangely, that’s exactly the kind of comforting continuity of focus and energy that I’m looking for.