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LSAT Diary: Becoming Obsessed With The LSAT

LSAT Blog Diary Becoming Obsessed LSATThis installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Rebecca, who studied for the LSAT while dieting to fit into a size 2 dress for her sister's wedding. She took the October 2011 LSAT.

In this LSAT Diary, she talks about becoming obsessed with the LSAT while using one of my LSAT study schedules.

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.)

Thanks to Rebeccara for sharing her experience and advice, and please leave your questions for her below in the comments!


Rebecca's LSAT Diary:

Studying for the LSAT changed me. It was life-consuming, perhaps to a slightly unhealthy degree. But instead of trying in vain to fight it and bring balance to my life, I decided to fully embrace my LSAT obsession by integrating it into my daily life as much as possible. These revelations did not come immediately. At first, I started studying casually. Then, when my score wasn’t breaking 170 as soon as I had originally thought, I began to panic. I pushed back my LSAT date from June to October and decided to dedicate my entire summer to the LSAT.

It was important to me to do this by myself, without a class. This was a personal choice and one that is really difficult to tangibly justify. I wanted to prove that I could do well without help; kind of like how some smokers want to quit smoking cold turkey. There is an obvious risk to this and one that should not be considered lightly. I’m not knocking LSAT tutors or the classes. I think they are great resources. I guess my parents’ Midwestern-pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps ideology somehow rubbed off on me. I used Steve’s LSAT study schedules, which gave me the structure and guidance I needed, and I also bought an overwhelming yet necessary amount of LSAT books and PrepTest PDFs from this site.

I treated studying like a job. I would get up about 6 am every morning and be at the library by 8:30 (the time of the actual LSAT… thanks Steve for the article about how long it takes to actually get awake…). Then, at the beginning of July, I had to play bridesmaid in my sister’s southern belle wedding. In order to fit into an insane size 2 dress, I was dieting pretty hard near the end there. Apparently, logic games are much harder when you are about to pass out from hunger. Who knew?

My advice for studying for the LSAT is to be fat, healthy, and happy. Hungry people don’t meet their LSAT goals. Before the wedding, I struggled through and broke 170 (on the LSAT, not the scale…) and was pretty pumped. After the wedding, I spent 2 weeks, 3 including the wedding festivities, doing NOTHING. And low and behold, my score was back down to the low 160s. 160 is still a good score, but a 10 point drop is pretty disheartening and I started freaking out.

Then came the logic dreams…

If you have seen the movie The Labyrinth, you might remember, aside from Bowie in spandex, Jennifer Connelly standing in front of two twin guys blocking the way through the maze. They explain that one of them always lies and one of them always tells the truth (if you pay attention they mess this up but that’s not important). I haven’t seen this movie since childhood but doing Logic Games all day prompted a dream of this riddle. I had never understood the riddle, but then, in a dream, I figured it out. I woke up, diagrammed the solution and felt like I was crazy. LSAT logic was consuming my life, but I began to realize that this might not be such a bad thing after all.

I started looking for real (or fantasy) examples of conditional and formal logic. One day while taking practice tests in the library, I realized that my study carrel was next to the aisle on formal logic. While lightly perusing the books, I struck gold: Formal Logic in Alice in Wonderland. While this is way more in depth than anything that the LSAT was going to throw at me, it sent me on an extremely beneficial tangent. I re-read all of Lewis Carroll and some Oscar Wilde. When I wasn’t studying for the LSAT, I was finding a way to enjoy logic. I felt a little burst of nerdy excitement every time I recognized conditional reasoning or some form of complex logic in books that I loved.

I let the LSAT take over my life. Acceptance is the first step. However, I think my obsession, helped me in several ways. First, when I went into the LSAT (even after the stress of the proctor trying to turn me away because he thought my photo was too dark, and then getting the pleasure of successfully arguing my way back in) I saw it as a game. I told myself that I wasn’t going to beat the LSAT. I said that I was going to rock the LSAT. I know that’s corny, but seeing the LSAT as a tool instead of an obstacle really helped me. Also, my obsession helped me keep studying, even when I wasn’t actually looking at LSAT books. Everything was unconsciously LSAT. It’s pretty easy to study when you don’t realize that you are. I was putting almost all of my thoughts into conditional statements.

Most importantly, I am smarter and better at studying because of the way I studied for the LSAT. Professors have told me that my work has greatly improved, even while I was studying for the LSAT for 3-5 hours a day instead of reading for my classes. Even if I don’t go to law school (I’m still on the fence), I am better able to understand things and pick apart ideas because of the LSAT. Even if I don’t get the score that I want, I know that there is no possible way that I could have studied harder (or at least this is what I told myself during the 3 weeks of waiting for LSAC to run scantrons… seriously??? 3 weeks???).

In addition to developing a strange love for Alice in Wonderland, wooden Ticonderoga pencils, logic games, and the dance patterns of bees, I am actually smarter because I studied for the LSAT.

Photo by Paul Watson



3 comments:

  1. Hi Rebecca, thanks for sharing. How long had you been studying when you took the test and scored 170 for the first time? Also, what had you been scoring prior to studying?

    Good luck with your decision. I am also unsure if I'm going to law school, but I am 100% certain I am taking the LSAT. I have sat down to study for the LSAT at least four times over the past 11 years, and I just wasn't getting it. I lost hope. Now, it's coming to me so easily. If anything, I just want to take this test and do well just to prove I did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can someone link that blog post on how long it takes to fully wake up in the morning?

    thanks, or let me know the timing

    ReplyDelete