If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at LSATUnplugged@gmail.com. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)
Anthony's LSAT Diary:
I've been struggling for the past few years to figure out if an observation of mine is purely subjective, or if it is based upon some objective grounding: Things have always seemed to require twice the effort for me than they do for everyone else.
This much is the story of my undergraduate career, and even my upbringing as one of three children raised by a single mother.
For me, the LSAT would be one of the toughest psychological battles that I'd have to encounter on my journey to being accepted to law school. I wrote the LSAT for the first time in October 2010 during a race to complete a myriad of other responsibilities. I was preparing to study abroad, completing term papers and battling with Canada Student Loans over some bureaucratic issue that kept me from being issued the money I needed to buy groceries.
It was a tough first go. I bought a Princeton Review LSAT prep book. With about two months to go, I picked up the book for the first time and started reading. I found endless commentary and semantics regarding silly things like breathing techniques and mantras that one should mumble beneath their breath before beginning each section of the test. While I would later learn that filtering through this sort of nonsense is probably exactly what you need to do well on the LSAT, finding the irony in this was presented to me far too early in the preparation process for it to be helpful. In short, I had really no idea where to begin on my journey of LSAT studying, and these prep books that seemed to have been written by Reader's Digest were not making it any easier.
I quickly became frustrated by all of the semantics, and I craved the opportunity to just look at an actual test and see how it works. I bought a book of real LSATs and took a crack at them. I spent the last few weeks of my study period trying to increase my score from the terrible depths of the 140s, and it wasn't happening. I had heard stories of people writing the LSAT hungover for the first time on test day and scoring in the 170s. I figured if this was possible, anything could be possible for me.
I ended up writing the October 2010 LSAT and walking out with a 148. I felt frustrated and ashamed, because I had always been able to figure something out with enough determination. I'd later learn that this was no where near enough preparation.
I went away for my last term of undergrad and left my LSAT books at home. It was always my intention to write it again.
Starting in September 2011, I started reading up on Steve's LSAT blog, and looking into seeing how I could improve my score. By this time, so much time had passed that my LSAC account wouldn't let me access the information that shows how I did on each section of the LSAT. I knew that logic games needed the most work, so I started there.
I bought the 3-month day-by-day study schedule and started plugging away. I balanced the studying the best I could with my full time job. I was eyeing the February 2012 LSAT, which is the last one that my target Law School would accept for September 2012 admission. I quickly learned that, in my case, the biggest prerequisite for improving my scoring ability with logic games (and the LSAT as a whole for that matter) was improving my ability to be patient and persistent. Countless times I would find myself feeling frustrated and just wanting to throw all of the books and photocopies in the garbage. Pencil erasings and sharpenings were littered around my desk and on the floor of my room. I could feel my whole world quickly becoming an LSAT sweatshop.
Completely bombing a logic game and reading the solution put together by Steve was a common scenario for me. As frustrating it was at the time, it was really the only way I was able to improve. I would come back to studying the next day and start to get the gist of some of the basic linear and advanced linear logic games. Some of the games were logically almost identical, but for some reason I was able to understand one intuitively and the other not at all.
By the beginning of January, I was scoring in the mid 150s repeatedly. I was feeling great about the improvement, but I knew I had a long way to go. I started graphing the results of my studying and test results. My target LSAT score was a 160, which for many people is relatively easy to achieve, but for me it felt like one of the most difficult tasks I'd ever have to complete.
(Here's the second half of Anthony's LSAT Diary.)
Photo by offshore