Unplugged Prep

Chrissie’s LSAT Success Story

Chrissie used the 3-month study plan, got into 5 out of 5 law schools and received up to 80% scholarship. 

The idea of law school popped into my head one night as I sat in an employment law class while pursuing my MBA. Being an HR (human resources) professional, this particular class naturally piqued my interest as I use many of the basic tenets of labor law in my daily work tasks. However, as this class unfolded, I truly discovered a hidden passion for legal writing and research. After several conversations with my husband about my future career options, I decided to begin the path towards law school. Needless to say, this journey was unexpected especially since just two years prior I had assumed that my final academic stop would be my master’s degree.

After my husband and I decided that our new family path included me being a full-time law student, I now had the responsibility of making this goal a reality. As silly as it may sound, one of the first things I did to help myself realize the reality of this goal was to simply begin articulating my new plans to my friends, co-workers and family. By stating this new goal out loud I felt it now truly made me accountable for my actions.

I was fortunate to have prepared for the GMAT just one and half years prior therefore I was somewhat familiar with the dedication and focus that would be needed to prepare for the LSAT. Based on some feedback I received from previous LSAT takers I knew that I could be successful on the LSAT without having to make a big investment in a formal preparation course. I therefore decided that I would prepare on my own. I began scouring the internet for a study guide and that is when I discovered the LSAT Unplugged.

I decided to follow the 3-month plan after taking a short diagnostic test and realizing that Logic Games appeared to be as difficult as rumored and therefore knowing that I would need a large amount of time to properly prepare. Prior to jumping into the schedule, I went to my local library and reviewed various guides, simply to get a foundation of what the LSAT was about and to ease my way into more difficult material.

It took me about one and half weeks to go through these various books and what I discovered is that none of them had good tips or even formulated a solid structure to build upon. Also, in my personal opinion, I felt that Kaplan’s formulated LSAT questions were particularly horrendous. After this short break-in period, I moved on to the books recommended by the LSAT Unplugged and in an attempt to save some money, I purchased used books or simply borrowed them from my local library. The investment in the books is still rather large but nothing compared to a formal course.

During the 3-month prep period, I was also working full-time and completing my MBA in the evenings. Needless to say, my available hours for LSAT study were limited. After two weeks of struggling to stay on target I had to take a hard look at what I could realistically do in a week. I realized that what I needed to do was formulate a daily, weekly and monthly schedule which would help me set aside a certain amount of hours per week.

This was not an easy task considering my other commitments and what I discovered is that my only true available hours were between 4am and 6am, which was less than ideal but if I wanted to get in study time during the workweek I had to get used to waking up “with the crickets”. I also had to sit down with my family and friends and explain the intensity of this 90-day journey and communicate that I may not be available for social functions during this period. Fortunately I have a very supportive family and an amazing husband that understood how serious this venture was and all of them respected my temporary boundaries.

I did not necessarily follow the LSAT Unplugged’s schedule chronologically, rather I adjusted it to fit my individual learning weaknesses. I also printed out all the extra review material posted on this blog, such as the list of vocabulary, the “must-review” questions, and the list of “most difficult” questions. I worked through absolutely everything suggested. I also purchased all recent PrepTests, which I found to be a tremendous help. I did not purchase older tests simply because I did not have time to review any additional material.

The more LSAC-published tests I covered, the more I realized that there are distinct patterns to the LSAT. Do not get me wrong – there are no repeated questions, but there are definitely certain topics, wording, and formatting that the LSAC likes to repeat, which is good news for us test-takers! In addition to what was outlined on the blog, I also made my own flashcards with any tips I deemed worthy, which I reviewed while at the gym or while on my lunch break. I also had great success with voice recording material. I would listen to my recorded review notes while running errands and before going to sleep to help maximize my study and review time.

Do not be fooled – I had little to no social life during this 90-day period and I studied every free moment I could put aside. Also going against some published advice, some weekends I would study ten hours straight with just a few meal breaks in-between. It was not an easy schedule, but I knew I needed to be extremely focused and disciplined if I wanted a shot at law school in the fall. Since I was taking the last test of the application season I truly felt the pressure to do it “right” the first time.

In hindsight, the one thing I wish I had started sooner was stringently timing myself. I did not start this until the last five weeks of preparation, simply because I just didn’t want to face this particular constraint but what I realized is that as I worked through the nerves of forcing myself to pre-test under actual test day constraints, the more at ease I became with the timing. The sooner you begin timing yourself, the sooner you will realize how to work more efficiently which will only help you on test day!

Another suggestion I have, is to not lose sight of the overall application process. It takes time to gather letters of recommendation, attend information sessions, scout scholarships, and to write standout personal statements so be sure to schedule time for all of these tasks so you can apply once the LSAT scores are published without further delay!

Lastly, other books I reviewed and found extremely helpful were Perfect Personal Statements and How to Get into the Top Law Schools, both of which have great information on writing essays, application “watch-outs” and interview tips. Achieving a solid LSAT score is possible as long as you train for the test like an athlete would train for a competition, consider it a marathon for the mind so put those running shoes on ASAP! In the end I was able to achieve an LSAT score that met the requirements to get into the schools I desired in my area (Tier 2 and Tier 3 schools) and I am confident you can do the same.

General Information:

Undergraduate GPA: 3.31

Graduate GPA: 4.00

LSAT Score: 165

P.S. I have been accepted into all the schools I applied to, totaling five. I have also received scholarship offers from four out of the five schools ranging from 50% to 80% of the annual tuition. Be confident and be prepared and you can do the same!