We all know that I basically tripped my way into law school. Like, information was so inaccessible when I was applying. I kind of generally knew I had to take an exam, but didn’t really know the purpose or how important it was to the process. So I signed up to take it because a book I read said I should sign up for it in June before my senior year. Then I spent a semester before “studying” for it. Meaning, I had one practice book that I worked on sporadically and that’s it. If I could have done more I would have, but literally those two books were all my family could help me with at that time.
So obviously, I went into that test hella cold and am surprised I even got a score that was good enough to get me into a law school. But here I am. #kanyeshrug
I know a lot more now and if I could go back, I would approach things dramatically differently. So I want to help you do it differently by de-mystifying the LSAT a little bit so that you can think of your best options and ways to approach the exam.
Many people put a lot of weight on the LSAT exam. And in a way they should, because aside from your GPA, the LSAT is the most important number involved in your application. But what I hate about this process is that many act like an LSAT score measures your intelligence or your ability to be a lawyer. It doesn’t.
Let me repeat: AN LSAT SCORE DOES NOT MEASURE YOUR ABILITY TO BE A LAWYER.
This test does not measure your intellect or capacity. It is just a standardized test. So if you’ve taken it and didn’t do too hot, don’t assume that it means anything about you personally.
The LSAT’s aim is to test your reading comprehension, logic, and reasoning abilities. It is not a perfect test, and I believe studies have come out to show that it can only somewhat predict your success for your first semester in law school. Of course, your goal should be to get as high of a score as possible, not just because that increases the amount of “good” schools you can apply to, but because it makes you a bigger contender for larger financial aid packages. And minimizes your debt is the name of the game when you’re going to law school.
And how much money you spend on the LSAT is really the main question you have to answer. There is a straight fee for the exam and to sign up for LSAC, but you have to decide how much you’ll put into studying for this. You can study alone and keep the costs as minimal as possible (like I did, but like, better). The downside to this is that you may not ever have someone able to tell you why you’re not doing as well as you could. Meaning there will be multiple choice options and all the answers will seem correct—without a tutor a program you may not understand why one answer is better than the other. And that’s a lot of what this exam is; ruling out all the good choices by remember the tips and tricks.
That’s why a lot of people take an LSAT course. The program teaches you those tricks to select the right answer more often than not. But it’s really pricy—it was something I couldn’t afford and so I had no option but to study on my own. So may say what’s a couple of thousand in the long run when you’re going to spend even more to get you’re JD. That’s somewhat true. If you can afford it, take a class—especially if you don’t have access to a program that can give you real feedback.
But I also know that many of us don’t have the luxury of spending $1300+. So if you have to go it alone, know that it’s possible. You just have to really double-down and focus, but it’s possible.