What It's Like Taking the LSAT During a Pandemic

Being quarantined for the last six months has been stressful. Studying for the LSAT for six months is also stressful, so you can imagine just how not-amazing it is to experience these events simultaneously. But, I had already decided a long time ago that I did not want to take a gap year between undergrad and law school, so if I wanted to apply in January, I was going to have to take the exam some time before then. My initial plan was to take the exam in late August, so I decided to start studying in March, which was the exact same time that my school went virtual, I moved out of my apartment to live at home, and I was no longer able to work at my on-campus job. My life turned upside down in a matter of days, and I had to get started studying for an exam that would determine where my future for the next 3 years was going to be.

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With everything going remote, I decided I would save myself hundreds of dollars on a course and instead buy myself a prep book and some practice tests and self study. I went through the practice book, did all of the practice questions, took a couple tests, and was feeling pretty okay. The deadline for the August exam registration came around, and it just so happened that on that day I was planning to take a practice test. I absolutely bombed it, scored several points below my average, and was feeling pretty hopeless. I suddenly felt wildly unprepared, even though I had been studying for months. After a lot of crying and a lot of contemplation, I decided to postpone my test until October. It felt like I was letting myself down, but I knew I would be doing myself a disservice by taking it any sooner. 

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This is when grind time really began. I printed out an 8 week study schedule that coincided with my book, and I got to work. I studied almost every day for at least 2 hours. I went through the book again, this time filling up 3 notebooks with information about every section of the test. I did dozens of drills of problems from old practice tests. I took 6 practice exams over the course of 2 months. Two days before my exam, I scored the highest I ever had on a practice test. In stark contrast to August, I felt incredibly prepared and sure of myself. I had done everything I possibly could, and I did it to the best of my ability.

I had finally made it to the day of my exam. I let myself relax all morning before logging on to the proctoring program. This is when everything went downhill. My exam started a half hour late because my proctor was having trouble getting me started. I was being bombarded with messages during the first section of my exam from my proctor as well. My test would glitch out in the last few seconds of each section and wouldn’t let me fill in answers for the last question or two that I had left. It then took 45 minutes to connect with my proctor to check me out of my exam. To say it was a disaster would be the understatement of my life. 

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This time I didn’t feel like I let myself down, I felt defeated. The chances of me getting into law school hinged on an exam filled with technical malfunctions and unnecessary added stress to an already stressful test. It’s been a few days since the exam and it has not been easy. I am trying to understand that no standardized test is a measure of my intelligence, and doing all of this during a global pandemic is something I should be extremely proud of. Whatever the score is, I know that I am capable, I worked hard, and I can figure out my future whether or not my dream law school is a part of it.