LSAT Diary: Prep Success Story

LSAT Prep Success Story DiaryThis installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Jay, who followed one of my LSAT study schedules and scored a 177!

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Thanks to Jay for sharing his experience and advice, and please leave your questions for him below in the comments!

Jay's LSAT Diary:

When I first started studying for the LSAT, I didn’t know anything about it. I heard from a friend that the LSAT Blog told you exactly which books to buy and gave you a plan, so I decided to check it out. Sure enough, I found Steve’s posts about all the bad books out there that you shouldn’t buy, and I felt like I was in on a secret. I know if I had just gone to the bookstore I probably would have bought Kaplan or Barron’s because that's what the bookstores have on the shelves.

Anyway, I ordered all of the books and PrepTests the blog recommended and I started the 3 month study schedule. I actually enjoyed LSAT studying much more than doing my homework, and on the weekends I would regularly stay up until 3 am with my LSAT books rather than going to fun parties (I know, I’m a nerd).

After that I started taking timed practice tests. Finishing in time was something I needed to work on, especially with the logic games section. At first I was only finishing three of the four games in time. But I worked on doing things faster; I practiced making the initial diagram for a linear game in a much shorter amount of time so I'd have more time to think. Eventually I was able to consistently finish all of the logic games in 35 minutes, many times not missing any logic games questions.

There are a few things that I think helped me with the LSAT. One was that I had taken a math class which involved lots of logic, so I was already pretty familiar with conditional statements and their contra-positives. In addition I had a strategy which I felt helped me on the test; I didn’t always read the answer choices in the order that the test makers expected me to.

Sometimes I read them backwards: E, D, C, B, and A. Sometimes I read them in a different order, like E, C, A, B, and D. I felt like randomizing the order that I read the answer choices allowed me to sidestep some traps and be able to eliminate answer choices more quickly. Finally, when it got down to the last few days before the test, I was nervous but I also felt ready. I got in the zone and felt like I was off to battle, with all the tools that I needed to succeed.

The last thing that helped me on the LSAT was reading a post about someone else’s experience with an earlier administration of the test. He said that when he got out of the test he thought that it was much harder than any of the practice tests he had taken. But later, when he got his score, he looked at the test again and realized that it was no different than any of the other PrepTests he had taken.

Indeed, all of those tests had been administered in the past and the only difference between taking those PrepTests and taking the real thing was the testing environment. The last few days before the test, I kept in my mind an image of the December 2010 LSAT being republished as a preptest in the future. I kept thinking to myself that the test I would be taking was no different than the 13 preptests I had taken before it. I knew that if I panicked during the test it was probably my mind tricking itself and not due to the difficulty of the test. In the end, I scored a 177, 7 points higher than my average for the PrepTests I had taken. At first I was surprised that I had made such a high score, but in hindsight I realize that I had done a huge amount of preparation. I feel lucky to have gotten a score so much higher than my average, but as many people have said: “Luck comes to those who are prepared”.

Photo by sully_aka__wstera2


  1. Nice work, Jay!

    Good test strategy, too. Wish I would have tried it!

    Glad to hear you out-did your average; that outcome seems to be the exception!

  2. Jay,
    I especially liked how you read the answer choices out of order...I am definitely going to try that one myself.

    I am ready to embark on a 4 month journey to the June 2011 LSAT...wish me luck :)

    P.S. Congrats again on the 177! Where do you plan on going?

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