LSAT Diary: Studying with LSAT Blog and Steve

LSAT Blog Diary Studying LSAT Blog SteveThis installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Peter, a recent college graduate who prepared for the LSAT using my day-by-day LSAT study plan, as well as a bit of my tutoring. He ended up with a 170 (a 10-point improvement from his original LSAT score!)

In this LSAT Diary, he talks about using the blog and my help as he prepared.

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

Peter's LSAT Diary:

The LSAT has been an albatross around my neck since I was a freshman in college. After a poor academic showing in high school, I decided on law school and worked very hard to achieve an excellent undergraduate GPA. I faced a dilemma; with the test two-to-three years away, I knew from the beginning the amount of material available to study would be limited, and if I started too early, I would run out. I did have an advantage, however, because I could plan well and maximize my efforts. I took a diagnostic test (the preptest with the awful carwash game [Ed. PrepTest 30, Game 3]) and scored a cold 160. At this point I didn’t know anything about percentiles, curves, or the schools I wanted to attend – I just knew I needed to put forth the best effort I could.

At one point in my senior year I was planning on taking the October LSAT, after accompanying my fiancée on a study abroad trip over the summer. This, as it turns out, was a mistake. I got very little studying done, but fortunately, what I did get through was from a Kaplan book, instead of wasting actual LSAC material before I was ready. When I took another diagnostic and dropped to 158, I knew I had to put the test off and make a real plan.

Eventually, while browsing for study guides on the internet, I found Steve Schwartz and the LSAT Blog. Jubilant, I downloaded the guides, bought all the books Steve recommended, dumped the ones I’d been using, and planned on registering for June. When I did finalize a schedule, I bought the detailed seven-month daily study guide. After researching schools, my goal was to earn a 170. I was in graduate school at the time, with a part time job, but I had enough time to study seriously. I think slicing the first few preptests up by question type was a great idea. I cruised through logic games (worst section on diagnostics), doing pretty well untimed. I got through logical reasoning, decently. I breezed through reading comprehension, my strongest section by far. By the point that I took SuperPrep exams A, B and C, I was feeling confident, and scored 164, 165, and 166, respectively. Better, but no cigar.

I began taking full length practice tests and worked through them using Steve's guides and explanations. (I am not financially well-off, but if you are going to go to law school (which entails large debt loads), the best investment you can make to go to the best school you can is to purchase the best prep materials you can.) My scores began creeping up, until a sudden drop precipitated worry. After my first distance tutoring session with Steve over the phone, I felt better and began scoring in the 167 – 169 range.

Things were looking up, until about two weeks before the test I reached a second trough of low scores. I’d read you should plateau at your goal score two weeks before the test. I had one more session with Steve and buckled down, taking a preptest a day. My last four of five tests, taken at the test site, were 168, so I thought I finally settled. I felt incredibly nervous the night before; I went to sleep early, ate yogurt for breakfast (courtesy of my fiancée), and stressed out at the center, warming up on recent preptests.

I took the long walk, and felt my heart in my throat until we started filling out the basic test information forms. I had practiced so much; this was just like one more lap around a track. I felt completely confident through the test, nothing untoward happened throughout. A miserable few weeks later, I got my score back; 170. I was thrilled to have set a goal and reached it, and felt more secure for law school. I give much credit to Steve for his guidance and advice, and my fiancée for all sorts of support, but to do well also takes a willingness to work hard and stick to a rigorous schedule. Study your wrong questions, work hard, and good luck in October.

Photo by deerleap

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