Upon my decision to go to law school, I knew I’d have to take the dreaded LSAT: The Law School Admission Test.
Put simply, the LSAT is to law school what the SAT is to undergraduate school. Basically, it’s very important, it’s weighed highly in the eyes of the admissions council, and unless you’re a genius, you need to prepare in order to do well.
The LSAT is normally five sections, with a testing time of about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
However, when I signed up for the October exam, I realized that this was no regular LSAT — this was the LSAT-flex.
What is the LSAT-flex, you ask? Well, because of coronavirus, the Law School Admissions Council realized that they needed to redesign the exam in order to make it safer for those taking it. The LSAT-flex is designed to be taken from your computer with a virtual proctor instead of at a testing center.
I learned as much as I could about the redesigned LSAT-flex and realized something — hey, there’s only three sections and it only takes about 2 hours! I figured this would be a cakewalk compared to the normally tedious 5-section exam.
However, I should have been more prepared to deal with what ensued on test day.
I had studied my butt off for months and months, and as the day neared closer, my anxiety grew higher. However, when the day came, I felt a quiet confidence. I knew I studied, suffered and ultimately did everything I could to prepare.
There were a couple of issues I was worried about — like running out of time on the Logic Games section — but I felt like I could handle it. On the day of the exam, I texted just about everyone I knew that I was so ready.
So, the day rolled around, and while the normal LSAT is typically bright and early at 8 a.m., the LSAT-flex could be scheduled for any time during the day. Naturally, I chose 1:10 p.m. as my exam start time.
What I didn’t know going into test day, however, was that I wouldn’t be taking the exam until about 4 p.m.
The morning of, I was ready with my cup of iced coffee, banana, and raisin-bran cereal sitting pretty in my tummy. I was at the high of my caffeine boost, I was full but not too full, my bladder was empty — no bathroom breaks during the exam — and I had mentally stepped up to the plate.
All of that fell apart, however, as I began my exam and before even getting to question two, disconnecting from the screen-sharing process and getting booted off the test.
You see, the LSAT-flex is taken on your computer while your screen is being shared and you’re being watched from a camera. All of this I knew — I tested my computer, updated it, checked out my WiFi — I thought there would be no issue.
As I began having a panic attack, the proctor tried reconnecting, but to no avail. Again and again, they could not establish a proper connection. I tried switching my WiFi about three different times. Nothing.
After about an hour of me panicking and sitting nervously in my chair, they decided to connect me to tech support. Another hour or so went by sitting rigidly in my chair, watching the technician try to make it work.
By the time it finally did, I was mentally drained.
I wiped away my tear-stained eyes, ignored my rumbling belly, and tried to ignore the caffeine come-down. I no longer felt ready. What was supposed to be a quick and easy process that I had been fully prepared for, turned into my worst nightmare.
I took the exam, got disconnected again and lost about two minutes of testing time, barely finished, and can only hope that maybe I’ll do better the second time around. While that wasn’t the plan initially, I can’t say that after all that, I performed at my best.
While it does truly give me a headache anytime I think about that experience, everything happens for a reason and everything will be OK. A piece of advice for any future LSAT-flex test-takers out there — be ready for anything, and bring some extra food.