The LSAT Will Kill You If You Let It

Cynthia Bord

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Incollege, I took the LSAT or the Law School Admissions Test. The LSAT is an entry requirement for applying to law schools in the United States. I only took the LSAT once and I can say with absolute certainty that it is singly the most difficult exam I have ever taken, which includes Organic Chemistry exams. The exam itself is based mainly on logic problems like the one below:

A Sample Question From the Law School Admission’s Council website:
Laird: Pure research provides us with new technologies that contribute to saving lives. Even more worthwhile than this, however, is its role in expanding our knowledge and providing new, unexplored ideas.
Kim: Your priorities are mistaken. Saving lives is what counts most of all. Without pure research, medicine would not be as advanced as it is.
Laird and Kim disagree on whether pure research
a. derives its significance in part from its providing new technologies
b. expands the boundaries of our knowledge of medicine
c. should have the saving of human lives as an important goal
d. has its most valuable achievements in medical applications
e. has any value apart from its role in providing new technologies to save lives

The answer is d).

To complete all questions, a test taker should not be averaging more than 45 seconds on each question. The test, therefore, doesn’t just assess your ability to answer the question correctly but your ability to move through them quickly under immense time pressure.

Now imagine having 100 of them in a row over 115 minutes, with one 15 minute break in between where you choke down 2 granola bars and a sip of water. You don’t want to drink too much water or risk precious minutes during the exam.

It’s difficult to understand the questions and test structure at first but with lots of practice and dedication, mastery is possible.

But after 2 hours of grueling logic problems comes the writing session.

This section requires the law school applicant to pace themselves in writing 1 full essay with an introduction, three supporting arguments, and a conclusion.

In the margins of the prompts, you can write out your thesis, supporting arguments, and conclusion. But you’re not allowed sources from a physical textbook as the only materials allowed on your desk are pencils, erasers, and the test materials the proctors provide you with. All of your supporting essay information must be from memory.

During one of my practice exams, I didn’t finish the essay because I ran out of time. The law school applicant is given 35 minutes to plan and write out the essay but must self-pace. At several points throughout the writing portion, my hand cramped up so badly that I had to pinch the tips of my fingers. to continue to maneuver the pen tip onto the testing page. But I kept writing because I knew that if I stopped to allow my hand to relax, I would very likely not finish the writing portion.

In the end, I got a 165, an average score for law school entrants. But I used an online admittance possibility calculator and only received a 4% chance of receiving an offer from Boston College of Law, one of the top 15 law schools in the country. Needless to say, I decided not to go forward with applying to law school. Not just because of the statistics, but of my own experience fighting through a cramping hand and having my brain mushed during the exam.

Many who have attended law school say that the LSAT is just the prequel to law classes and a subsequent career if you’re able to land a job in law. And most people have trouble with the LSAT, but to have already experienced a possible future of stress and self-imposed difficulty was not a life I saw for myself.

Most law graduates do not end up in a career related to law. At an average cost of $260,000 over 3 years of immense stress, the potential profit simply did not outweigh the cost.

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