Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Post-October 2011 LSAT (What now?!)

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.

Two days ago, I took the October LSAT for the last time ever. * Cue celebratory jig *

The week before the test, my body decided to throw a little coup d’├ętat on me. At the beginning of the week, I had many different and conflicting symptoms, which was confusing and upsetting, to say the least. I coughed, felt light-headed and congested. My stomach ached, I wanted to throw up all the time and I saw the world as if looking through a haze. I’ve had the hazy feeling before and recognized it as a sign of stress – the last time it happened, I had come back from a research trip in Africa and was probably suffering from PTSD. At the suggestion of friends, I rushed to buy orange juice and Airborne, which I proceeded to gulp in large quantities. All the symptoms, besides the nervous stomach, subsided by Thursday. Maybe the second grade teacher who created Airborne really did know what she/he was doing…

I spent the day before the LSAT reading books and watching silly movies. A quick word of advice – don’t read anything potentially depressing before the LSAT, even if it’s billed as humorous (i.e., Dave Sedaris’ more recent works). Then, on Friday night, a party started up in courtyard of my apartment complex. Around 10pm, when I went to bed, a bunch of raucous grad students started having conversations under my window. My boyfriend and I went out three times to explain to people (first nicely, then not so nicely) that I was taking a test tomorrow and I needed to sleep, but the talking didn’t stop until almost 2 in the morning, despite the downpour that started happening around midnight! This type of thing almost never happens in my courtyard, since the building is mostly PhD students and post-docs with small children, so it was sheer bad luck.

I woke up weary-eyed on Saturday, ate breakfast, and went on my way. Frankly, I don’t remember much of the test, except that one of the proctors had a Mohawk and looked like she might smack people down forgetting their social security number, which a couple of college students did. As expected, the logic games section was still challenging under timed conditions and the lack of sleep certainly didn’t help. Since LG was my second section, I had to force myself to focus for the remaining three sections. The strange thing was that the names my two student organization co-leaders (both unique, ethnic names) showed up in one of the games. 

I kept picturing them and thinking to myself, “Why are you doing this to me, guys?” 

Logical reasoning was no harder than usual, but I have a feeling that I second-guessed myself more since it was the real exam. At the fifth section, the passages in the reading comprehension came as a relief. Since I had done so many five-section practice tests, I didn’t have a problem with losing focus by the end. What I didn’t anticipate was how nervous I would be during the test, but I don’t know that I could’ve prepared any harder than I have already done.

After the LSAT, my body went through a detox and I quickly cleared every single item on my desk that has been touched by the LSAT. Over the past few months, I finished around forty full-length practice tests. I have so many LSAT prep books that I had to get an extra large box because they wouldn’t fit in a normal sized one (when I tried to move that box, it wouldn’t budge). On Sunday, I reveled in doing ordinary things, like having brunch with my sister and prancing around the supermarket.

The LSAT is done and I will never have to take it again. Whatever happens, I’m grateful to my friends and family who have gone above and beyond to support me during this period. I’m also happy to have been Mr. Bennett’s student, because without him, my preparation would have been directionless and misguided. He encouraged me and honed in on my LSAT weaknesses in a way that no test prep company could have done.

By the end of this month, I plan to turn in my applications to a wide range of schools. At this point, I’m still doing a balancing act – trying to make sure my law school letters of recommendations are in order and that my personal statement and resume are the absolute best they can be, while catching up on all the schoolwork that I’ve been neglecting for the past month.

Good luck to everyone who’s studying for the upcoming LSATs! My parting pieces of advice – make sure you know why you want to go to law school before you take on this beast of a test, carve out enough time to prepare for it, and don’t take it if you don’t feel absolutely ready.