There was a period in my life where I didn’t know what career path I wanted to go into. You may call it confusion, but I called it a junior university year crisis. I remember sitting in my room, typing away on my laptop, trying to find the best possible options for me to pursue after completing my degree. That’s when it hit me, “what about law school?! All I need to do is the LSAT!? How hard could it be!??”.
Boy oh boy, I was in for an awakening!
For those who may be unaware, the LSAT stands for the Law School Admissions Test. In order to be eligible for a majority of North American law schools, the LSAT must be completed and passed based on that particular’s school standard. Before jumping in to what I wish I knew before writing the LSAT, let me quickly state the following:
- Yes, I did write the LSAT (September 2017)
- No, I did not end up applying/pursuing law school
- Sorry, but I won’t be sharing my score (I find it really tacky when people share what they got, and it doesn’t relate to the post at all!)
Although I ended up not going down this field of study, I did want to share my experience and shed some light on what I wish I knew before writing the LSAT! So, let’s dive in!
Understanding the LSAT
Elle Woods made it look so easy, but let me be the one to break the bad news by saying that the LSAT is NOT easy! The test is compromised of three different sections; Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. In addition, there is also an Experimental section which could be any one of these sections, but is ungraded. But since you complete each section at each timed period, you are not sure which section is this Experimental section, so you must complete each section to be safe! There is also a Writing Sample at the end of the test that is submitted with your LSAT score when you apply to a school. On the actual test day, the LSAT takes about 3 hours to write (not including registering or the snack break). To sum it up, the LSAT is a beast!
The LSAT is costly, in time and in money
The LSAT is such a difficult test and it takes a long time to prepare. Since each section is timed, you must prepare your mind to quickly read a question, process the information, and determine an answer within a short time frame. Different websites and course material will suggest how long they think it will take for you to prepare for the test, but in the end it depends on how long you feel comfortable with. On average though, most suggest about 3 to 4 months. Registering for the LSAT is also VERY expensive!! It’s almost about $250 CAD to register to write the test (The fees may change, so check out the LSAC website here). Course material to prepare for the test also adds up. If you want to self study, books can range up to almost $300 CAD depending on the publisher. If you’re looking more into a prep course, classes can charge almost $1000 CAD. The LSAT is expensive in both time and in money, before registering make sure this is something you truly want to do!
Evaluate what kind of learner you on based on understanding, not on price
As discussed in the section above, the LSAT is pricey. Different methods of preparing for the LSAT can vary in price. When I was studying for the test, I didn’t take the time to assess what kind of learner I was. I’m someone who likes to absorb information through listening and having the ability to ask questions to clarify any concepts.
While a prep course may have been the best option for me, I did not want to spend that amount of money. So, I decided instead to opt for self studying in order to save a couple of dollars. This left me feeling frustrated and flustered while studying as it took me longer to process the information compared to a method which I would be more comfortable learning. Take the time to research what kind of learner you are. There are free tests online that ask you a series of questions of different learning styles which can help you determine yours if you are a bit lost. If you are serious about law school and concurring the LSAT, you have to be serious in your method of approach as preparing can make or break your chances of achieving a high score.
Write the LSAT because law school is what YOU want to do
I’m very thankful that my parents are extremely supportive of me, no matter what I do. I never felt pressure to write the LSAT from them or even pursue a career in law. On the morning of when I wrote my LSAT, all of us were lined outside of the classroom waiting to register. One individual turned to me in a panic, and began to talk about how badly he needed to score well because of the immense amount of pressure from his family to go to law school.
While preparing for the LSAT is a commitment, the three years of law school that follow is a MAJOR commitment. Truly make sure that your motives to write the LSAT is genuine with your own goals and ambitions. Do not feel like you need to fit a specific mold and pursue law school because you feel like you need to prove something. Do it because you find the field of law interesting, you truly want to be a lawyer, and you are prepared for the commitment. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to do the work, not your mom or your dad or your siblings. Therefore, it is important to make sure that this is something you want to do.
Burn out is a real thing!!
Use an agenda, or a calendar, to plan out what material to cover on each day leading up to the LSAT test date. I recommend covering only one topic every two days to make sure that the information is processed and clearly understood. While we may be in the study mindset, it is also important to plan days dedicated to just relaxing to prevent burn out. Book a day out of the week to get a mani-pedi, spend time with friends, or just sleep. Having that one day of relaxation makes you work even harder throughout the week too because you know you are working towards a day off!
It is OK if you don’t get your ideal score
When I was preparing for the LSAT, I read up on a lot of forums and blogs that didn’t seem to address this topic. It is absolutely, 100%, OK if you do not end up achieving your ideal LSAT score. It may feel like it is the end of the world, but I promise you the sun will rise again. If you score lower in which you were anticipating, you are still able to write the test again! According to the Princeton Review, The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) changed its policy on how many times you can take the LSAT. As of September 2017, there are no limitations on the number of times you can take the LSAT test. The old policy limited you to three LSAT tests in a two-year period, including cancellations and absences.
Have you ever written the LSAT before? If so,what are somethings you wish you knew before writing the test? Let me know in the comments below!
Best of luck to those readers that are planning on writing the LSAT, hopefully these tips help!!