The test in one word: DAMN.
Motherfucking pants were rocked. Unfortunately, those pants were mine.
More after the jump…
For those who don’t know, the structure of the LSAT is as follows: 5 sections, plus a writing sample. The sections are comprised of 20-30 questions each (I had anywhere from 22-27) in the following areas: Logical Reasoning (2 sections), Logic Games, Reading Comprehension. The 5th section is called the “Experimental” where the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) duplicates one of the sections and tries out some new questions that they hope to include on future tests. This section is not counted in your final grade. Of course they don’t tell you which is the experimental, and which section counts for marks – so you must treat both as equally crucial to your overall score.
Test takers are given 35 minutes to complete each section. You are not permitted to skip forward or backward in the test. Should you finish a section early you may not advance to the next section or correct previous sections. Should you run out of time on any section, too damn bad.
The Kaplan prep I did was helpful for understanding the gist of the material that would be on the test, but I still feel it left me woefully unprepared for at least one of the sections (I’ll get to that).
I have a very strong suspicion that the first section I wrote (Logical Reasoning) was the experimental. Many of the question structures were totally unfamiliar and I had a tough time slogging through. I was definitely shaken once it was over, but I did finish all the questions just in time, and took a deep breath before the next section started; another logical reasong section that went slightly – but not much – better.
Section three was the doozie. Logic games. In these questions you’re given a scenario (Say, there is a 6 day film festival, and there are 12 films that are being shown in 6 languages – 1 film per day), then a set of conditions (Norwegian films are not shown on days 2 or 4, Italian films are not shown unless a Norwegian film is shown the next day, etc.). You’re then given 4 or 5 questions that ask things like “If a German film is shown on day 1, which films could be shown on day 5” with a list of multiple choice answers following.
Normally I rock the socks off of these particular questions. Not this time.
In the Kaplan prep, they briefly mention “try to save time by combining conditions to make one condition. If A = B and B != C then A != C.” Simple enough. Few of their test questions contained logic even this tough. Since I had much more issue with the Logical Reasoning questions (I have a terrible habit of not reading questions carefully enough), I spent most of my study time focused on those and decided to leave well-enough (read: the Logic Games and Reading Comprehension) alone. BE YE WARNED!
I was pretty overwhelmed to find that the actual questions on the test contained far more levels of logic that needed to be deciphered, in both the conditions and the questions, and I just plain ran out of time.
Thankfully, after that section was our 10 minute break. I used the time to lay in the sun and contemplate the satisfaction in a future of barista-ing instead of lawyering.
The Vitamin D did me some good, and I did rock the Motherfucking Pants off of Sections 3 through 6 (another Logical Reasoning, the Reading Comprehension, and the Writing Sample).
Unfortunately the writing sample isn’t graded – just submitted with your law school applications so they can gauge your ability to write, spell, and construct a coherent argument.
Can you tell I’m not terribly optimistic about my potential outcome? I really wish I’d have had exposure to more realistic representations of the test questions. The Kaplan practice tests, while allegedly taken from past exams, were very oversimplified compared to the actual test questions. Or perhaps I just cracked under the pressure – who knows. After all, I haven’t actually written an exam since University (2002-ish).
My only potential for some consolation is that the test is scaled, and perhaps everyone had as rough a time on some section or another as I did. I kindof doubt it, but I can hope. In the meantime, grades aren’t released until July 3rd, and I’m just ignoring it until then.