Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three Months Until October 2011 LSAT

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.
There’s less than 3 months to the actual LSAT in October and the anxiety is starting to creep into my daily routine. My partner is in feverish dissertation finishing mode, so the atmosphere in our apartment, which is usually pretty relaxed, can all of the sudden become very tense. I had a minor freak out this morning when he suggested turning off the noisy air conditioning, but gave in when I reminded myself that he was probably under even greater stress. I’ve stopped having any desire to cook or bake, which are activities that usually help me de-stress – now it just seems like a waste of time (not that I don’t waste time procrastinating). While I’ve been pretty successful in cutting down on the amount of summer social events, I found that too little socializing is not ideal either (the feeling is one of getting sucked down an interminable rabbit hole). The goal is to have effective and efficient periods of study time with sufficient “rewards” to keep myself from going absolutely crazy.

October will be the last time that I’ll take the LSAT and recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would do if I don’t get the score that I want. I concluded that I would probably apply for a master degree in law (LLM), for which the LSAT is not a requirement. An LLM does not provide as rigorous of a training as would a JD and of course, I would not be able to practice law in the US. On the plus side, it’s a 1 year degree (meaning that I would get both my MPP and law degree in 3 years rather than 5), you get to forgo the supposedly horrifying 1L experience and the classes would be related to my field of interest because LLMs programs are more specialized than JD programs. All this is not to say that I won’t try my best this October, but – coming up with a backup plan as to how I would still work in the legal field without a JD takes some of that intense pressure off my already compressed mind. Just something to think about.

In Logic Games Land, Mr. Bennett and I have been working on games that combine elements of sequencing, assignment, grouping games. While I’ve gotten much better at combining rules together and making “high level” inferences, my weakness lies in the lack of awareness of details (which derives in part from my lack of patience in general). In some games, I would make the crucial first step in an inference and then move onto the questions without taking a few minutes to think about the implications of that first step. Mr. Bennett is great about pointing out these bad habits, but when I’m practicing on my own, I tend to regress.

At this point, Zenof180’s instructional videos on Viddler become helpful; Mr. Bennett is preparing them as part of the next phase of the LSAT score analyzer's development, which should hopefully be up and running in August. In the LG videos, Mr. Bennett take the viewer step by step through the diagramming of the games on Preptest 62, which I incidentally took last December. Going into the actual test, I had very little training and practice in how to diagram LG, so I remember the games to be exceptionally hard. In particular, game 2 (stained glass windows), made my crash-and--burn all the more epic. 

If it looks deceptively complicated, it probably is. Check out Barcelona Photoblog for more amazing pictures.
However, armed with my past month of lessons with Mr. Bennett, the two games, including the maniac stained glass game, that tried to do again didn’t seem so daunting. Doing the game before watching the explanatory video was really helpful in terms of seeing where Mr. Bennett’s and my diagrams differed and what inferences I had failed to make. Be sure to check them out once the full analyzer launches.

I hope you all took a barbecue or fireworks break during the long weekend and emerged refreshed for another week of INTENSE studying. Stay sane, stay on track but don’t fall down the rabbit hole.