Monday, December 6, 2010

Week before December 11, 2010 LSAT

In case you haven't already planned out the week before you take the LSAT, I wanted to repost my suggestions for what worked for me to stay calm and focused. Such a personal goal will obviously be subject to personal preference, so take these as a friendly checklist.

If you're prepping for the February or June 2011 LSATs, check out our posts for our suggested training schedule, and then see if you'd like to sign up for one of our last open spots for online tutoring.

I'll limit this post to things LSAT-related, but in general, I'd delay taking on any life decisions or drastically changing your life routine. The week before the LSAT is not a good time to bust out, "We need to talk."

In a nutshell:

  1. Test Day
    1. Visit the site before the test day
    2. Do not practice after Wednesday morning on the week before
    3. Do relaxing activities throughout the end of the week
    4. Sleep ~2 hours more than you usually do
    5. Eat breakfast, bring food and drink (caffeine) for break
    6. Bring your used pencils and highlighters… should be your friends by now
    7. Arrive EARLY
      1. Read something before, like the NY Times, to warm up
    8. Take one of each section type from the most recent LSAT, check at end of each section
      1. Compare your score from when you first took it, and I’ll guarantee that you did better

The weekend prior to my test date, I drove to the test center to make sure I knew exactly how I would get there, where I would park, and where the testing center was in relation to the parking. Trust me, these trivial things will seem monumental if any one of them might make you late to the LSAT. I worked backwards from what time I needed to be at the testing center, gave myself three hours to acclimate, eat breakfast, and warm-up my brain, and travelling time plus 15 minutes for "damage time".

I spent the first part of the week before the LSAT following my normal routine to a tee. I went to the gym in the mornings, I went to every class, and I read the New York Times. If you don't have healthy routines built up by the week before, try abstaining from the more cognitively detrimental ones: arguments with loved ones, drugs/alcohol, sleeping late or not enough, etc.

Since I was in the endurance part of my LSAT training, on Saturdays and Wednesdays I normally took two full LSAT PrepTests in a single sitting. I decided that preparing for a longer time than the actual LSAT was the best way to make sure that I was not going to wilt in the 5th section like I did the first time.

However, that last week I gave myself Wednesday morning off. In general, I don't suggest my clients spend any time with actual sections after Tuesday of the week prior, as your body and mind will be completely rejuvenated for the actual exam.

I spent those last few days thinking happy thoughts while swimming laps or lifting weights. Staying calm and positive, through yoga, meditation, spa getaway, prayer, exercise, etc, is definitely the way to be spending your time this last week before the LSAT.

Also in those days, I printed out a few pages of the June 2007 PrepTest to use as warm-up material the day before. As that was the first modern PrepTest I used in my practice, I felt it would provide a nice full-circle narrative to my LSAT prep. When choosing your own warm-up material, choose one of each section type from a modern LSAT you feel comfortable with, and print out or copy that to use on test day.
After making sure my warm-up materials were taken care of, I planned out my break menu, including healthy foods like apples and granola bars, as well as energy drinks. Obviously, this is personal preference, but if you can stand caffeine, I suggest a tiny bit during the break to bring you through the last two sections.

The night before, I packed up everything I was taking with me into a ziplock bag, including my trusty pencils and highlighters. By now, these objects should be your best friends, and make sure you feel comfortable with them.

I made sure to arrive at the testing site about three hours early. This gave me enough time to settle in a side hallway, eat my breakfast, read the newspaper, and do my LSAT warmup. Reminding myself of how much I had prepared while doing the warmup was incredibly calming; my mind was tuned up and ready for the LSAT, and I went in knowing I was going to do well.