Taking the LSAT
By Evan Hansinger
In June (2016) I took part in possibly the most feared part of preparing to go to Law school…the LSAT. Like medical school and other graduate programs, the admission test for law school can be a make or break. I am here to share my experiences with the LSAT to possibly provide some peace of mind or hope for others and some info on the exam.
As I stated earlier, I took the exam in last June. The exam is currently only offered 4 times a year once in February, June, September/October, and December. It’s worth noting there are rumors that in the coming years this will expand to 6 times a year. There used to be a limit on the number of times you could take the test in a 2 yr period but starting in September you can theoretically take it unlimited times, with colleges will weighing all the score. it has been my experience that most universities take the highest score in terms of admission and financial aid but they do receive all scores and will notice if a high score seems uncharacteristic.
The test itself is composed of reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and logic games. There are 2 logical reasoning sections of about 30 questions which ask the test taker to read a question or scenario and pick the best logical answer. There is one reading comprehension section which is 4-5 readings followed by 7-10 questions. And finally everyone’s favorite – logic games. This section is composed of “games” which are best described as scenario based story problems that ask the individual to determine things like order of race finishers or color combinations. Then every LSAT has a 5th section wit more difficult test question that is used to test new questions. This section can be made of either of the three section types and is randomly placed in the test so that the test taker must do their best on all parts. My experience is that you can detect the test section in hindsight because it is more difficult then the regular section.
The last part is the writing sample which is a 30 minute handwritten sample on a topic that asks you to pick a side and defend it. It is crucial to do this section seriously because it is read by and sent to every school you apply to.
I now want to talk about how I prepared, how the test was, and how I did.
To prepare for the test there are Kaplan courses, test masters courses and all sorts of classes that cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. I personally did not feel comfortable coughing up tons of money just to get a score on a test. I told myself if I can’t prepare on my own then I’m not cut out for law school. This is just my opinion. What I did do to prepare was purchase the logic games bible which helped greatly prepare for that section. As well I took three full practice exams in the week leading up to the real exam. For me this ended up being enough to accomplish the score I wanted.
I decided to take the June LSAT in April and registered days before the deadline. Since I waited Wayne State testing facility was full and the next closest open site was the University of Windsor. This made me little nervous and raised eyebrows from people that I told but the exam is administered around the globe and especially North America. In the end I think It was a good thing I took where I did because I wasn’t distracted and was more mentally alert. The exam experience was not as scary as I expected. As long as you are prepared for the exam and follow their detailed directions on what you are allowed you bring with you there is little surprises or things to throw you off. So I entered with a clear, focused mind. After 3.5 hrs of test taking, the real hard part begins – waiting for your score. It takes about one month to get your results.
Now I will get personal real quick to wrap up and share how I did on the exam.
In preparing for the exam I was hoping to get about a 155-157 which would get me into Wayne State and I could continue into career. M first practice exam I scored a 157, then second one a 160, and the last one a 157. This boosted my confidence and I began hoping for a much better score. After a month waiting on July 5th I received and email with my score actually a day earlier then they had stated. I was happy to see I scored a 159!
In response to my score from July 10th-15th I took a trip to visit 5 law school campuses I am considering. I visited Alabama, Georgia, Georgia State, Tennessee, and North Carolina. I highly recommend if others are planning on going out of state or even in state take a trip and visit the school. It is crucial to get the in person feel before deciding to attend a school. I will likely apply to about 8 schools and will weigh my options financially and academically as well.
To wrap up I want to assure any future LSAT takers that the test isn’t as scary as it seems and ultimately you are more then a test score and have more to offer.