Self-Improvement and the LSAT

I always considered myself to be of at least average intelligence. At times, I have been accused of being a know-it-all. My mother would say I can come off as arrogant and seem to believe that my intelligence is superior to those around me. I mean, if I didn’t think what I thought was correct, why would I think it? Long story short, I thought I was a smart person. That is until I was slapped in the face with the LSAT.

The LSAT exam is the standardized test that makes or breaks your law school admission chances. The exam is broken into several sections that test a person’s logic and reading comprehension skills. It is designed for you to not have enough time to properly solve each problem. For more on the test and it’s many qualms, I would highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History episodes on it (thanks to Dad for the recommendation). 

When I first took the 3 hour (without writing section) Khan Academy version of the test, it took me an hour and a half to finish. No, no, hold your applause. It took me that short amount of time because I gave up halfway through and clicked through each problem to get to the end. My score was less than stellar. I had a bit of a breakdown. How could I fail the LSAT? I was smart! That’s my thing! I don’t have a movie star smile, a model’s body, a rock star personality or an ounce of athleticism. I read books, make annoying comments about random facts no one cares about and do well on tests. How could I fail this one? Who was I?

Did I mention I’m also dramatic as hell? I took the pretest totally unprepared. Not only academically unprepared, but I was in the middle of summer and on a whim decided to take the test. My mind and body were not ready to take the jump into the LSAT unknown. So, I took a deep breath, picked up my shattered black rimmed glasses off the floor, rammed them back on and started to study. 

I still felt a little shell shocked but set off with a more positive attitude than previously. I looked at the types of problems on the exam with a clearer head and thought more rationally about the entire process. Then I set out a day about a week from when I first took the practice exam and planned on taking the second exam. I went to bed at a reasonable time, ate a good breakfast and set out to take the test for a second time. It kicked my butt again, but not in the flying-helplessly-away-from-law-school way. It was more of a flying-away-from-law-school-with-a plan-to-parachute-down-eventually-to-land way. I did better--not great, but I improved. I didn’t study an outrageous amount of hours, I didn’t examine past tests or meet with a tutor. I merely changed my attitude about the whole process. 

I am of at least average intelligence. I need to remember, however, that I am by no means the smartest in the room. I do not know everything that is to come in life and I do not know everyone else’s story. More importantly, my intelligence is not always the most important factor in succeeding academically. To improve yourself, you need to challenge yourself. The LSAT allowed me to examine my entire arrogant attitude towards learning and testing. It humbled me, still humbles me, and allows me to improve and grow as a reborn student, as well as taught me to become a better person in general.