The LSAT: Training & Testing

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The LSAT Is The Main Event!

Training for the LSAT is like training for an athletic event. Stamina is important. A plan of attack is important. The confidence that you can execute that plan of attack is important. The "internalization" of that plan of attack is important. On the day of the event (LSAT) you will have to wake up relatively early and perform at a high level for a major part of the day. You will want a minimum of stresses, strains and surprises. YOU want to be in a position to perform at the top of your abilities for a long period of time. In order to achieve this you should consider how to prepare yourself in terms of the content of the test and in terms of the content of your life.

The Content Of The Test

Ideally you should start your preparation a minimum of several weeks before the actual test. Remember that your preparation objective is to "internalize" a set of principles of approach. The process of internalization is best accomplished by doing small amounts most days for a longer period of time than by doing a larger amount on each of fewer days!

You may be able to pull an "all nighter" on an essay.  This is not the best way to prepare for the LSAT.  Work a little bit every day!

Remember that practice without a clear approach can be hazardous.

When you practice you should be practicing the specific application of a specific plan of attack!

1 . Work with the techniques described in Mastering the LSAT.

2. Work with actual past exams.

3. Work in the context of a quality LSAT training program.

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The Content Of Your Life

Here are some suggestions for how to organize your life the week before the test, the night before the test, the morning of the test, and during the test. All of these things will be easier if you register for the test early.

Registration For The Test

Don't be one of those people who never does today what he or she can put off until tomorrow! Register for the LSAT early. This will ensure that you get your choice of test center. If you get your choice of test center (maybe a familiar room), you will be able to sleep at home in familiar surroundings (and of course save money).

Register for the test before the official registration deadline!  This will ensure that you get your choice of test center!

The Week Before The Test

Many students have made the following comment about their LSAT experience.

"I was doing quite well. Then after the break I started to get tired and fell apart!"

Test takers get tired. Those who get the most tired are those who feel that rising at 7:00 a.m. is the equivalent of rising in the middle of the night.

If you are a nocturnal creature who habitually rises at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 a.m. - reorganize your schedule.  Get into the habit of going to bed at a reasonable hour and rising at a reasonable hour.

Your goal is to be rested when you wake up on LSAT day!

Food Science and nutrition are the trends of the 90s. The quality of your diet will in part influence the quality of your life. Eat a balanced diet. It will keep your energy level high and your mind sharp.

The Day Before The Test

You want LSAT day to be like staying in a Holiday Inn. No surprises! Check out the room that you will be taking the LSAT in. You should know:

Get organized. You should have the following things laid out.

Learning

The day before the test is too late to consider learning anything new. It will cause you anxiety which will be counterproductive. For example, you should not try to learn brand new categories of logic games.

Don't try to learn anything new the day before the test!

Practice

Practice by doing "full length" exercises. Some people like to practice questions the day before the test and some don't. If practice causes you additional anxiety then don't! The most that you should do is one "full length" exercise of each of the three main question types. If you do more you will tire yourself out. In addition, the mare you do the more likely you are to hit a set of questions that you cannot do. Again, this will result in unnecessary anxiety.

The most you should practice the day before the test is one full length section of each of logic games, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension!

The Evening Before The Test

The purpose of this evening is to relax, enjoy yourself, have a good dinner, and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Under no circumstances should you look at LSAT questions!

Do what you enjoy doing. Go to a movie (not just anything but something you like). Go swimming (or if you don't swim try some other activity). Read a novel (but not one about people taking the LSAT). Have a good dinner. Go to bed neither too early nor too late. Spend the evening with friends (if you don't have any friends spend the evening with your mother or your dog).

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The Morning Of The Test

Dress in layers. You may find the test room either too hot or too cold. For example, it would be nice to have a sweater to put on or to take off.

Have a decent breakfast. The test will neither start nor end on time. But, don't eat too much or too little. Don't drink too much coffee.

Leave early enough so that you don't have to rush.

Follow the directions of the test administrators. Assume that the process will take some time. Assume also that the environment will be tense and that there will he some angry people. The test administrators are not out to get you. In fact, they are probably frightened of you!

Don't feel that you have to try any LSAT questions. However, if you feel that you must then follow this suggestion:

Don't try more than one set of conditions of games (6 questions), one reading passage (7 questions) and 6 logical reasoning questions.

Avoid listening to or conversing with the other test takers. You will be feeling anxiety. Have you ever been soothed by a person who is stressed out?

At some test centers you have a choice of where to sit. Try to sit in a place where you will he least likely to be distracted by other test takers.

If you are required to sit in a specific seat and you find that it is unsatisfactory, find a proctor and insist that you he moved.

If the test administrators are using a clock on the wall then you should
synchronize your watch with that clock. This will make life easier.

During The Test

Stick to your game plan. You developed it during your training period.  For example, if you are accustomed to doing only three of four reading passages, don't change the day of the test.

Although everybody gets the same sections that count, not everybody gets them in the same order. For example, while you are working on games, your neighbor may he working on reading passages. His or her answers to reading will be of no use to you while doing games.

The test administrators are required to post the time remaining for each section. However, they are inconsistent in how they do this. There have been instances (few and far between) where they have made mistakes. It is imperative that you time yourself. Don't rely on the test administrators.

Remember that there is one experimental section. It will not be announced and it will be a repeat of something you have already done. For example you might get an extra set of reading passages.

You will get a break half way through the test. Simply relax. Resist the temptation of talking to other test takers. It is more likely to upset you than to comfort you.

If you start coming unglued during the test, simply ask permission to leave the room. You are free to leave at any time to use the restroom. Take a walk, take some slow deep breaths. Calm down. Return to the test room and start again.

Don't lose sight of your goal. You will not get everything right. You can get many wrong answers and still perform well on the test. Your goal was never to get everything right. Stay focused on the answer choices eliminating those that are clearly wrong. Don't be a perfectionist! Be a realist! Stay in control emotionally.

The worst thing that can possibly happen is that you will have to do the test again. Remember that you don't have to have your test scored. If you are having a bad day, simply get the practice effect of doing the test, cancel your score and try again another day.

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