Unplugged Prep

JT’s LSAT Success Story

JT used the 5-month study plan, scored a 172, and got accepted to UVA Law

After my first practice test, I thought that Logic Games were impossible; they were unlike anything I had seen before. I couldn’t keep track of any of the variables or rules and felt so frustrated. I stumbled across Steve’s blog and attended one of his free LSAT Logic Games workshops in NYC. I was amazed at how quickly he solved them – there was hope! I began working through logic games, and although some games would take me 20 minutes, I was starting to figure them out. I started Steve’s 5-month study schedule and within a matter of weeks I was feeling comfortable with linear games.

By the end of the 5-month schedule, I felt ready to take the June 2010 LSAT. I was averaging a 173 on my 10 most recent timed practice tests and felt confident about meeting my 170 goal. I took a week off from work in the days leading up to the test to maximize study time.

I was restless the night before the test; I kept dreaming about impossible Logic Games and convoluted Reading Comprehension passages. Arriving at the test center I had butterflies in my stomach. I anxiously waited for the test to begin and almost immediately began second guessing my answers. My adrenaline was flowing and my heart rate was high. I ended up running out of time on the second LR section and guessed every answer on the last logic game. This had not happened to me in months of taking practice tests. I couldn’t believe it – I was devastated and felt that after 5 months of studying, I had blown the chance of reaching a 170. I simply was not ready for the pressure of the real test and ended up canceling my score.

During the practice tests I felt calm, sure of my answers and confident with Logic Games. After reading the question, I could frequently predict what the answer would look like. The real LSAT felt like a totally different test. I thought I was seeing different question types and logic games that never existed on other tests. When the June test was released, I realized that it was just like all the other tests; the truth was that I simply was not prepared for the pressure of taking the real thing.

I started following Steve’s 3-month retake schedule. I knew that the most important area for me to improve on was overcoming test day pressure. Steve recommended taking practice tests in a simulated setting, with a proctor and other test takers. This truly helped. I felt nervous at the beginning of my first simulated test but quickly got into a rhythm. Success on one section of the test led to success on the next section. After a couple simulated tests, I felt much more confident about taking the real thing and started to relate to Steve’s article “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LSAT”.

Taking the October 2010 LSAT felt good. In the days prior to the test, I did not take off any time from work and treated the whole thing like it was no big deal. I slept well the night before. I finished each section with time to spare and felt confident in my answers. I had 2 LG sections (1 was experimental) and felt like I crushed both of them. Logic Games turned out to be my best section and I only missed 1 question on it.

I learned that doing well on practice tests is necessary but not sufficient to doing well on the real thing. It is just as important to learn the skills necessary to conquer test day nerves. I scored a 158 on my first timed practice test and scored a 172 (99th percentile) on the October 2010 LSAT. Putting time and effort into the LSAT will pay off; I was just accepted to my dream school, University of Virginia School of Law.