With less than a month to go before the October LSAT administration (and little to do other than read course summaries and hunt for a year’s worth of gainful employment), I’ve decided to offer up an honest recounting of my own test experience. I wrote the LSAT in December of 2009, and while I won’t disclose my exact score, I will give you a range and mention that I am a one-time writer. I am often asked to describe my own LSAT experience, so I have compiled some answers to the questions most frequently posed to me.
What was your worst test section?
I won’t say “worst,” but I will say most challenging. Analytical reasoning (logic games) was the toughest section for me. It requires adjusting to a new way of thinking, coming up with an analysis process that works for you and honing your technique to the point where you can quickly identify and attack various game structures. It was also the most psychologically daunting section, as it was the one that I faced with the least amount of confidence.
What was your best test section?
In practice tests, reading comprehension was my best section. I also found the relatively new section on comparative reading to be very straightforward. I’m a pretty fast reader, and it served me well here. On my actual LSAT, my reading comprehension and logical reasoning sections were pretty equal. Reading comprehension was the section that I enjoyed studying for the LEAST. Some of the passages are dense, dull and abstruse. Logic games – when not timed – can actually be (dare I say) fun.
How long/hard did you study?
It’s hard to say, as I had been studying on and off for the LSAT for the past five or so years. I really got serious about it in the summer of 2009, when I purchased an LSAC book of official tests as well as the Powerscore Logic Games Bible. I studied over the summer and in the fall months leading up to the December test date. I tried to do one test section per day while doing recommended exercises to sharpen my logic game skills.
What books/study methods did you use?
The Powerscore Logic Games Bible, an LSAC book of practice tests (10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests), and some random tips & tricks & sample questions found online. I also purchased some Kaplan LSAT prep books a couple of years ago; I referred to these periodically as well.
Where did you write the test?
I wrote the LSAT at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, which wouldn’t be odd except for the fact that I live in Toronto. To make a long story short, I registered too late (October?) and while I might have been able to get a seat closer to home, my mother offered me some Aeroplan points & I booked a plane ticket to Thunder Bay.
How long did you have to wait for your score?
I wrote the test on December 5th 2009, and my score was posted online sometime over the Christmas holidays (after Christmas but before the end of the year).
How long between the score reporting and your first offer?
My score report was not immediately sent to OLSAS (the centralized Ontario application service). I remember checking my LSAC account several times per day throughout late December and early January, waiting for confirmation that they had been reported. There was probably a delay over the holidays, and I believe the score reports were sent in early January. I received my first offer on January 22, and the second offer came in March. U of T sent me a rejection sometime in late February or early March.
What was your score?
>80th percentile and >160. So, while I was above the (unofficial) cut-off for most schools, I was <170 and <90th percentile. I knew pretty much immediately that I wouldn’t be getting an offer from U of T unless I re-wrote. With intensive studying, I feel that I could have improved on my first score significantly. However, with offers under my belt and a less-than-ideal undergrad experience at U of T, it was easy to kiss it (and its $20K+ tuition fees) goodbye.
Did you consider re-writing?
Until I received the first offer, I was prepared to re-write the test in February.
What would you do differently?
Register early (or earlier than I did). Flying up to Thunder Bay worked out fine in the end, but it also heaped some unnecessary stress on me. I had no idea where Lakehead University was in relation to my hotel (and no idea what hotel I would be staying in until I arrived). I had to sacrifice precious final studying hours for packing/commuting/flying time. Plus, Thunder Bay is awfully cold and a bit scary if you don’t know where you’re going. The test room was freezing BUT that could have happened anywhere. Advantage? We probably got underway faster since there were only about twelve people writing at Lakehead.
A final word of advice? Bring an extra sweater/scarf or wear layers. Trust me, you won’t need the additional chill to stay alert! You’ll be wide awake the second you pick up your pencil.
Keep in mind that you will probably never feel 100% prepared for the LSAT – give it a go anyway. Many, many successful applicants have more than one test score. If you have to re-write, most schools won’t hold it against you.
And one more thing? I did a lot better on the test than I thought I had after writing. Think positive & have faith in your brain.
Happy studying, and best of luck on test day!