If you are writing the LSAT on Oct 9th, 2010, I suspect that is the only thing on your mind for the rest of the week. A recent article I read discussed how a student posted on Craigslist an advertisement, asking a student to write the LSAT for him. Whoops. Not such a hot way to start your legal career by attempting to commit fraud.
We understand that panic can set in during the last few days, and we’d like to offer a few tips, a bit of insight, and some words of advice from us at Surviving Studenthood. We’ve got some great tips from students who wrote the LSAT in previous sittings – including the June 2010 sitting, a notably difficult test.
What are some things you need to know for this Saturday?
1. Know the Rules: Did you know you are not allowed to wear hoodies, but you can wear a long-sleeved sweater (that doesn’t have a hood)? How about the fact that ear plugs are not allowed? Did you know you can’t bring anything but a specific-sized clear ziplock bags with your wallet, keys, tissues, an analogue watch, highlighter, HB pencils, ID/LSAT ticket, drink (size limit – check the mL requirement!) and snack? Did you know that you can’t bring your cell-phone or even a purse/bag to the test center at all, let alone the testing room?
There are many regulations that students don’t realize – for example, you need to bring an analogue wrist-watch, and not an analogue timepiece (forget about digital completely!) – and they show up to the testing site a little unprepared, and at a disadvantage. Long before the LSAT test day, go on the LSAC website – that’s http://www.lsac.org – and read all the information – especially the Day Of The Test page. There are too many things that can go wrong, so don’t leave it to Friday night to read the rules.
2. Check all the ID requirements: Building upon the rules tip – please, check all the ID requirements. Depending on where you write your LSAT, you may be finger-printed, or need to present ID. Canadian locations require students to print out an updated LSAT ticket (that contains your name and other info – see your LSAC account for details) and then to attach a picture that is between 3×3 and 5×5 in size (with glue or tape, not staples) – a picture that clearly shows your face the way it is on test day (e.g. beard in your picture means beard on test-day – you’ve got three days to grow it :)). The photo cannot be laminated, and needs to have specific information on the back before you glue it on. You also need to bring another form of ID, which cannot be a student card or a health card or photocopied ID. Check the requirements BEFORE test day!
3. Don’t Study the Night Before: If you are like me, you won’t ditch studying even the day before the LSAT. But the night before – take some time off. Don’t do something crazy to relax (like club hopping!), just spend the evening at home, relax, unwind, and sleep early. Friday is a good day to exercise, to sit and watch some TV or a movie, and to make sure everything is set up for the next day, including your ID information and zip-lock-bag contents.
4. Understand how test day works: The October test starts at 8:30AM, meaning you probably want to be at the testing location around 7:30AM. That’s right – 7:30 AM, you want to be lining up. When you sit down to write the test you will have to re-copy out an agreement (rather than just signing an agreement) which states you won’t discuss the test – not only during break time, but even after the test is over. Note that rules will be read to you by the proctor, that three sections of the LSAT will be completed before there is a break (and you either hold your bladder need until the break, or you go at your own sacrifice of valuable question time) and that scrap paper is not provided: whatever little room is in the booklet is what you can use for scratch paper. Be prepared for the proctor to scare the living daylights out of you when they call out “5 minutes left” in each section, and remember that you need to bubble your answers it, (which takes well over 1 minute) because answers in the booklet don’t count towards your score. You won’t be able to leave the room (whether at break or otherwise) until all the tests are collected, and the test is, in total, 6, not 5 sections of 35 min each. See the next point for details.
5. The Writing Sample is Important: The LSAT contains 6 sections: 4 are scored — one logic games (or analytical reading), one reading comprehension, 2 logical reasoning, and one experimental section that can be any of the four sections repeated. The last section – the one people always forget about – is the writing sample. I went to a law school presentation today, and representatives from all the Ontario Law schools as well as from British Columbia made one thing clear: the writing sample is important. They recognize that your personal statement and applications will be polished and edited by others, but your writing sample is a demonstration of your true writing ability. An admissions officer mentioned one student wrote something along the lines of “I am pretending to write something because I know no one will read this.” Guess what? He didn’t get in. Recognize the writing sample as something important to your file *yes, in contrast to what all the LSAT prep courses say, as the UBC admissions officer stressed*.
Veteran LSAT writers – any other thoughts or ideas to add about the LSAT?