LSAT Diary: LSAT Studying in Egypt (Part 2)

LSAT Blog Diary LSAT Studying in Egypt
After two years, LSAT Blog reader Amanda is finally motivated to study for the LSAT. She's taking it in October 2012, and she's currently living in Cairo. This is part 2 of her LSAT diary. (See part 1.)

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Amanda's LSAT Diary, Part 2:

Re-take day is in October. I spent the last ten months teaching English to pre-kindergartners and now have a month of vacation before starting a summer teaching position. Meaning, I have unlimited time to study and prepare for the LSAT—a chance I won’t get again and a chance that most never have. It took me a few weeks to acquire all the necessary study materials here in Cairo. First, by some miracle, I discovered LSAT Blog and downloaded the 5-month day by day LSAT study schedule. I downloaded prep-tests 29-38 and found a Xerox store to print them all out (a feat by itself, as I had to walk ½ a mile, take a cab and then the Metro to get to said Xerox and then figure out the translations in Arabic to explain that I wanted all test printed double sided and stapled.) I will have to go back in a few weeks after downloading the rest of the prep tests. Even with the Egyptian pound being so low, that was expensive to print. Maybe I’ll have to figure out an alternative way…

Now I have the study materials, sharpened #2 pencils, scrap paper and a notebook. I’m all set to really kick butt this time. To really study and get my act together. To defeat the LSAT. I have five months, my day-by-day study schedule and it starts NOW.

[Edit: Amanda wrote this back in June - it just took me a while to finally publish it!]

Day One: I can’t study. I have plenty of time. I’ll do it tomorrow. Why start studying on the first day of the week anyway? (In Egypt that means on a Sunday.) I deserve a day off.

Day Two: Instead of studying, I decide it’s important to download The West Wing and watch it load on my computer for three hours while simultaneously watching CSI: New York on TV.  Why rush into things? I’ll study tomorrow.

Day Three: Mubarak’s verdict is being announced today, so obviously I’ll be watching the live broadcasts from inside the courtroom (if I am watching lawyers, then it’s like I’m studying, right?) and then replays and analysis all day on the news.

Day Four: Well today is a huge protest day in Tahrir, so obviously it’s beneficial if I watch the news coverage and stay glued to Twitter all day. In addition to Pinterest, Facebook and more CSI. Staying abreast of current events in Egypt is vitally important right now, so that’s my priority. I’ll even send out an email to my family where I analyze each of the Egyptian presidential candidates and the pros/cons of their possible presidency. Morsi and The Muslim Brotherhood are too conservative and the military will never willingly give over power to them, while Shafiq is just another extension of Mubarak who was ousted. Then again, he would be best at actually fixing the economy and focusing on political rather than social agendas…

Day Five: This is getting ridiculous. I know I should be studying. I am wasting valuable time. I just…can’t go over to the table where all my study materials are laid out. I can’t look at logic games because I can’t do them. I don’t know how. I don’t want to look at any LSAT prep tests because I know I will fail them again. After battling an inner monologue on this issue for two hours, I drag myself over to the “LSAT Table” and do some light LSAT reading on LSAT Blog. Tomorrow I will start really studying.

Day Six: If I do more yoga, it will relax me more so I am not so stressed and can think clearly. My boyfriend keeps asking me how my studying is going, and I find myself lying to him…that I have actually done a logic game and did OK on it. I hate myself. I know I will fail if I attempt any portion of the prep tests, especially logic games. I was always so confused about them during my online class. OK, I’ll take today off and then start tomorrow.

Day Seven: I did a Logic Game and did OK on it! I figured out that I need someone at home with me while I’m studying. My boyfriend works from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., so I used that time to relax, drink lots of coffee, watch some TV and do yoga. When he came home, I suddenly felt motivated, like I had someone to keep me accountable. I know I can’t rely on others for motivation, but at least for right now in the beginning, I know I need someone checking in on my progress and there to talk through problems when they arise.

Even if my boyfriend has no idea why it’s important for H to follow G, but come before F, I find it’s helpful if I explain the game to him and my reasoning for my answers. I found the motivation to get off the couch and sit at the LSAT table, click on the links from my 5-month study schedule and do a practice logic game. It was challenging and I totally messed up diagramming it, but after doing the game and then reviewing the diagram explanation, I feel so much more confident! I could take on the world now!!!! I sat down and did something productive. My happiness level is through the roof. Maybe the LSAT isn’t so scary…

In conclusion: So, it took me a week (and two years) to finally get myself to truly study for the LSAT. To not be so afraid of failing and messing things up. I have let my insecurities and fear about failing dictate a lot of my life the last two years, and I am not going to make that mistake any longer. I have completed three full days of the study schedule and am on track to complete the 5-months of studying in time for the Oct. 2012 LSAT.

I know now how important it is to start studying WAY before you think you have to. Give yourself time, and lots of it. I have since done more logic games and gotten most if not all the answers right! I am astounded by my own success! Steve’s method of diagramming is so helpful, as I am a visual person. It just…makes sense now. I read an article recently that says women who are suffering anxiety or depression find even the most easy tasks twice as hard to do and focus on. I was stuck in this downward spiral of being so afraid of failing that I got sad, so I couldn’t find it in myself to study; I didn’t study so I was dumb and didn’t know anything on the LSAT, so obviously I was going to fail; etc. etc. etc.

I guess I just got tired of being so scared. Sure, I still have some issues to work out, non-LSAT related, but that part of my life seems to be going OK. I look forward to studying now, to challenging myself and sitting down to truly work out a portion of my prep-tests. I need to improve my original LSAT score by at least 20 points to get into the T14 school I dream of going to, but I think I can do it. I know I can do it.

Even if I can’t control the world around me (the protesting in Tahrir, the demonstrations in front of my apartment, the constant blackout waves that take out Internet and electricity, the sexual harassment every time I walk out on the sidewalk, the constant language barriers, etc.) I can control this. I can control my studying and I can control this logic game that’s in front of me now. There’s a solution to this aspect of my life at this moment. This feels good.

Photo by marwamorgan

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, I am currently Egypt studying for the December LSAT. Do you know of any other individuals studying for the exam? Might be a good idea to create a study group... could help motivate us