A Three-Digit Number: Prepping for the LSAT

Four letters. L-S-A-T.

Admissions representatives from several law schools stressed that an applicant’s LSAT score, along with their undergraduate GPA, were the two most important factors when identifying strong candidates for their incoming class. The other considerations include work/volunteer experience, extra-curricular activities, honors/awards, and extenuating circumstances. However, out of all these law school application components, the mere mention of the LSAT sends a shiver down the spine of every pre-law student.

Image via INSIGHT Into Diversity 

The LSAT consists of five 35-minute sections that test students on the skills necessary to succeed in law school: logical reasoning, critical reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning. Students must read a stimulus and make deductions based on the information presented in the stimulus, put people in order based on a few simple rules, and recognize the main point of long and dense passages. The LSAT separates itself from other standardized tests with its emphasis on logic and material learnability. While the GRE tests skills that you’ve learned your whole life, unless you have some exposure to logic through introductory philosophy courses or mathematics, the LSAT poses a challenge to those (including myself!) whose brains are not wired to think in these ways.

While others decided to seek out test preparation companies for help on the LSAT, I made the decision to self-study by buying lots of books and disciplining myself to review the material every day. For two hours before going to bed, I read the material and then answered several practice questions in my corresponding workbook. At times, the work can be draining and frustrating. One week, my score would increase by a whopping ten points and then would drop down by five points next week. During those tough moments, I remember to take a step back, sit in my room, and remind myself to not give up.

Image via Kaplan Test Prep 

For the past two months, I would imagine the score on my last practice test written in permanent marker on my forehead for everyone to see. I would sometimes sit in class and often notice an endless stream of negative thoughts appearing that tell me it’s no use to work so hard. Nonetheless, I keep motivating myself to carry on despite the pervasive thoughts. I remember to look at the picture of my dream school and remind myself why I want to become a lawyer. I frequently take breaks after studying for hours and engaged in mindfulness and self-care.

What really has kept me motivated though was this message that I now whisper to myself every morning: I am more than just a three-digit number.

In a few months, I know in my heart that no matter what score flashes on the screen after my test, I will still be able to attend a great law school. With time, I was able to slowly alter my attitude from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. After incorrectly answering a question, I try again. Over and over, I try until it becomes second-nature. I remind myself that with more practice comes the faster my response to the exam questions.

I also try to remind myself that the law schools view their students holistically and take everything into account. In addition to studying for the LSAT, I have made efforts to engage within my community by partaking in extracurriculars and research. My score does not define who I am, but rather the choices I’ve made. I have chosen to be a part of organizations that cater to my passions and interests. I have chosen to persist in my academics in spite of the hardships. These choices have made me the person I am today. 

I am more than just a three-digit number.