LSAT Diary: 20-Something College Student

LSAT Blog Diary College Student
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Please leave Kerrianne some encouragement and advice below in the comments!


Kerrianne's LSAT Diary:

Hello from a dorm room in Champaign, Illinois where LSAT prep books cover the floor.

I am a 21 year-old senior at the University of Illinois in the College of Business. I go to school full time where I am majoring in Business Administration: Marketing and I also have two jobs. One of my jobs is a simple 10 hours/week desk job but my other job is a little more demanding. I am a Resident Advisor in a building of ~500 working with a multitude of issues 24/7 in arguably the most social residence hall on campus. I've lived here all four years on this campus and am basically "at work" if I come "home."

My grades aren't bad by any means but for law school admission my grades aren't stellar. I never thought those wretched required Econ classes would bring me down as much as they did but that's something I'll have to live with. I have no "dream" school all I know is that I do not want to go to law school in Chicago and I want to be within a 6 hour drive of my hometown. What am I hoping for on the LSAT? Well it's wrong to say anything other than a 180. Is this realistic? There's no telling- I'm not quite there yet on LSAT practice tests but I got the recommended LSAT books that are teaching me a lot.

I will start off by saying though that I did intend on taking the LSAT earlier to have an edge on all other law school applicants. Unfortunately the stress/lack of study time at the end of the school year in addition to a sister's college graduation, another sister's medical school graduation, a sister's wedding, and a sister's move to New Mexico forced me to reconsider. So I guess that's my first tip: If you plan to take the early test you must factor in any and every major life event that's happening at that time and start studying weeks earlier. Even so I am not sure I would recommend taking the the LSAT during a series of events as chaotic and emotional as were my conditions. Days after I registered for the LSAT I was forced to change my test date which was unfortunate due to two main reasons: it costs money and I felt like I was already behind the "edge."

Fun fact: For Halloween in fourth grade I went as an attorney- complete with a pant/vest suit and a briefcase for candy. I'm not sure what possessed me to do that but since then I've always known that something about that just felt right and in the past 11 years my dreams have only become more desirable. For the past year I've been thinking on and off about how to study, what to study, who to study with, what courses to take, and if any law school will ever accept me. My conclusions are these: Study the structure, the format, and the tricks the LSAT authors try and utilize; study with someone who can keep you on track but allow you to learn; courses are not necessary if you have the self discipline and appropriate materials.

My first LSAT prep book was a gift from my sister recommended to her by a young attorney. This book was designed for LSAT and GRE takers so while I started it and got 1/4 of the way through it I decided if it wasn't specifically for the LSAT then I could probably find a more useful book. My next book was purchased after reading LSAT Blog - 10 practice tests that are actually previously-administered tests. This is a great tool because I can see where I'm at and practice with time constraints which is crucial. To summarize: I feel that if it's not directed solely towards the LSAT, you can find better materials; Old PrepTests are one of the best things you can get your hands on (and affordable).

So I am a full time student with 17 credit hours at a Big Ten University in a nationally ranked business school. On top of that I have two jobs with time commitments never under ~30 hours a week. So when do I have time to study? Well I will tell you one thing- when you need time you make time. I have not been out to the bars or out with my friends in over six weeks since my return to campus. This is a crazy thought to all of my friends but it makes sense to me. Now is the time to crack down and finalize my game plan.

I started looking over LSAT prep books in the summer but began crucially studying for the LSAT with ~2.5 months to study. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't work well under pressure. I however only work well under pressure (so maybe the time constraints on the LSAT will help!) I also did the unthinkable to any college student- I deactivated my Facebook a week ago to solidify my focus on the LSAT. I admit that I overuse Facebook in a normal time setting but knowing how much of my future is to be decided by this test trumps any social networking, gossip, and whatever else is on there. I've gone eight days without even thinking about Facebook because my free time is spent sleeping or studying. Main point here: Find your distractions and eliminate them when/if possible. I do allow myself a few minutes to peruse the internet for some type of distraction when I need a break but I have limits and I stick to them.

My LSAT strengths and weaknesses? Well I feel most comfortable with Logic Games because I used to beg my mom for Logic Games books when I was younger (yup I'm the nerd who plays school in the summer.) My Reading Comprehension was a 31 on the ACT five years ago and tested at a graduate school level last year. So basically between Logic Games and Reading Comp I have been missing a total of ~8 on both sections combined.

The other half of the test is a completely different story. Every time I take a practice test my weakest area is Logical Reasoning. I tend to miss ~23 of every 50. Those statistics kill me. If Logical Reasoning skills matched my Reading Comp skills and Logic Game skills, I'd be getting 170's on my practice tests. That would place me a mere 2 points away from the 99th percentile. So you see my frustration. I have been consistently getting 156-157 on my practice test and I need to raise my score. I will let you know when I take more practice tests to show you how/where I can improve.


My study plan for the few weeks before the LSAT:

Finish reading the LSAT books and take a practice test every other day to keep me on my toes. While I know you are supposed to space out your practice tests, I want to get some last ones in before the real thing. Also I plan on taking my practice tests around me with so I may do another 1-2 practice tests but only just looking at the questions when I have free time. This may seem odd but I have been doing well with the time restraints and finishing before time is up. So now I want to go through my weak sections and test them randomly throughout the day to make sure that I stay on my toes.

The week before my LSAT will involve some review of material but probably not more than 1 practice test. I do not want to be burnt out by practice and do poorly on the real thing. And the night before the test includes seeing a movie and getting pizza-- no more LSAT prepping as I relax my mind.

One last thing to consider before your test-- mechanical pencils aren't allowed. I know, I know- this is the worst news in the world to those of us who have been using mechanical pencils since 2nd grade-- so I recommend studying and practicing with old pencils just to get in the habit.

Off to bed for me. I have a day of LSAT studying and office work to power through. Until next time, my law school hopefuls :)

One last thing-- I don't know who said this quote but it is ever so true for LSAT prep --- "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Focus your time and energy over a period where you have time to learn and regroup and focus. Don't "sprint"/"cram" when you have the ability to discipline yourself and study in a more relaxed manner.



5 comments:

  1. You should eat a granola bar in the morning, maybe on the break too its a great brain food. Prepare for the possibility the proctor won't announce what time the section ends, all they have to do is give a five minute warning. So mark it down yourself at the beginning of the section if your used to knowing what pace your at. On the break make sure you take time to clear your head and just sit quietly for awhile, if there are other people there you know dont get caught up in conversation rest your brain. And no matter what happened before the break good or bad, just hit delete on that memory and treat the last two sections like its own test. My final advice is if you know you got the goods (and by test day we all do) trust your ability. Don't kill yourself and waste time triple checking and eliminating all possibilities cause having to guess on do-able questions at the end of sections is basically giving up points...good luck!

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  2. One thing I've been doing to improve on the logical reasoning section (which in my opinion are harder than logic games to realize a significant score change) is to write short reasons why each answer choice is wrong for the more difficult questions. It is helpful to remember during logical reasoning that four of the answers have to be WRONG in some way. Another tip that has been helpful is writing why a wrong answer is wrong for each one you get wrong. I've been doing this in an excel spreadsheet. Good luck!

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  3. I was pretty intimidated by the LSAT when I first checked it out and I almost gave up. I wish I'd known that within a few months it would become almost second nature and a lot less scary. I would have freaked out less at the beginning. Also, the first time I took the test I had a mini panic attack in the middle of it. The second time I learned how to relax and it went smoothly. I wish I had learned how to relax before the first test!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your LSAT journey, it reminds me that I am not the only one out there that is completely and utterly stressed about this test! I commend you for taking on so much at once.
    I really think that one of the hardest parts about preparing for the test is telling your friends that you cant go out because you need to study. Don't give in to the peer pressure! Remember, it will only be a few more months and then you too will be able to participate in the weekend celebrations!
    Good luck with everything! I really hope that you are able to overcome all of the obstacles that that lie ahead!

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  5. In all of my LSAT madness I never even stopped by this blog. Thanks for all of the kind words! I just wrote my latest installment on the LSAT and my application process! Feels good to be closing doors on this Pre-Law stuff :) The future is near and I could not be more excited!

    -Kerri

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