Taking the LSAT: Skills, Not Facts

Brian King–Every semester, the Junior Fellows partner with a test-prep company to offer a mock LSAT.  The mock LSAT is an actual LSAT previously used by the Law School Admissions Council. By testing themselves on real tests, students can get a fairly accurate indicator of their readiness at a specific time.  Given that most of the Junior Fellows want to be lawyers, the partnership makes sense, and provides a great service to SHSU students who are considering law school.

The session began with a Kyle Farmer, a representative from Kaplan Testing, giving a brief overview of the test.

Kaplan Test Instructor Kyle Farmer

The test is offered only four times a year: February, June, October, and December.  He encourages a June test date, which gives students the opportunity to retake it in October or December if we perform poorly.  (Our professor, on the other hand, encourages an October test date, which gives us the summer to study.)  Farmer also stressed the importance of being to execute logical reasoning under timed conditions.

Just after the Mock LSAT, Kaplan provided scores for the participants, allowing test takers to get a first-hand look at how well they did and what they may need to work on in the future.

Most of the participants were taking the Mock LSAT for the first time, and I was one of those first-time testers. After the test evaluations, Kaplan re-visited some of the “harder” questions on the Mock LSAT in order to provide test-taking strategies and tips.

The mean score at SHSU on these Mock LSATs is 140, which means the students have a lot of work to do before they can expect to get into the law school of their choice.  Many students are worried about taking a prep test prior to studying.  Actually, that’s the best time to take the test.  It gives you a baseline from which to work, it allows you to determine subsequently whether your studying is improving your score, and it gives you information about what you most need to work on so that you can target your studying to some extent.

The key, I think, is to (1) get your baseline score.  Then, (2) to create a study schedule that fits your time frame–from the time of the Mock Test to the real thing.  (3) Develop backup plans.  (4) Develop the other skills and attributes necessary to succeed–high GPA, letters of recommendation, a good resume, interesting stories.

Doing well means studying hard over time, listening to advice from others who have been there, and working closely with your pre-law adviser and professors to position yourself for success.

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