Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Zen Student Journal - Retaking the LSAT October to December

The following is the last post for the 2010-2011 LSAT application cycle from our Zen Student. You can read about his entire LSAT journey here.
This past Saturday, almost exactly two months to the day after taking the LSAT for the first time, I took it again.

I’m convinced that I did better this time around. Why?

Geez, where should I start? Suffice it to say that it felt better – all of it: the night before, the morning of, afterwards, and throughout its taking. My second bout with the LSAT was, without at doubt, different – an altered experience for the better.

For starters, my seat was better. In the second row, with no one in front or to the right of me, I didn’t feel like I was taking my test on the subway with someone watching over my shoulder. I was able to ignore the roaming test administrator, who insisted on circulating the room every two minutes. I didn’t become distracted trying to figure out how much time was remaining. Instead, I worked steadily throughout each section and wasn’t bogged down by any logic games, reading passages, or reasoning stimuli.

I was focused, worked with an efficient clarity of thought, and paced myself with the internal clock I had developed after countless practice sections with the timer in front of my face.

Did I get an all-time great score? I’m not counting on it. What I am counting on, though, is a better score; a more comfortable range that will hopefully land me at the school of my choice.

There are two major lessons I learned from this retake. First, as Mr. Bennett and the Zen staff recommend, the 4.5 month training schedule is best. I didn’t follow it exactly as outlined – partly because we initially thought that October (after two months) would be my one-and-done test – but the extended time nonetheless proved valuable. I don’t really enjoy the LSAT. Going into preparation for it, if you know you’ve got four months as opposed to two, you can ease into it a bit and not allow it to consume your whole life. I personally resisted that during my first two month stint.

The second thing I learned is that, if time and funding allow, take the test twice. Honestly, the biggest difference, for me personally, between October and December was that there had even been an October. I wasn’t distracted by the newness of the whole thing. I was all business going in the second time.

Above all, Mr. Bennett was there for me all along. Now, I don’t mean that to be sappy. Also, that’s not to say Mr. Bennett held my hand throughout the process. He didn’t tell me what to do; rather, he guided me.

Mr. Bennett was ever the patient LSAT Zen master. When I didn’t turn in my data on time or hadn’t finished as many practice tests as I planned or failed to report on what I wanted to focus our session on, he was always willing to regroup and adapt. Mr. Bennett proved more than capable and willing to adjust his program to fit my needs and habits.

I’m happy that my LSAT test-taking days are behind me. Although I would have liked to say those words back in early October, I’m ultimately even happier that I decided to retake the test in December and reshape my LSAT story.