Tag Archives | LSAT

Image by Aberdeen Proving Ground, Flickr

Image by Aberdeen Proving Ground, Flickr

“I must have been crazy to consider going back to school at 41 with two young children at home.”

“Even if I had gotten into law school, it would have been an insane amount of work, a lot of time away from my family, and a long haul ahead.”

“I should have spent more time studying for the LSAT.”

“I could have done a better job prepping for that law school interview.”

Relax the shoulders; relax the back. Let go of any tension you are holding in your body. And if there are any thoughts that aren’t serving you here today – let them go.

Karen’s words intrude on my negative train of thought, and I feel mildly annoyed because I’m in a funk, and while I know these thoughts “don’t serve me well”, today, I am determined to be angry. I crank up the tension on my bike a full turn, settle into my saddle, and through gritted teeth, push hard against the weight of the pedals.


You chose to come here today. What was your intention? Ask yourself: why am I here?

Ok, I am here, because I’m ticked. Four weeks ago, after being wait-listed for ten weeks, I found out I will not be attending law school this September. After I got the news, oddly, I wasn’t as disappointed, upset, or as depressed as I thought I would be. Maybe it’s because I assumed acceptance was a long shot to begin with, or perhaps after being in limbo for so long, rejection was a welcome relief. But today, I woke up mad. And this morning I came to spin class because I am angry with myself. But being ticked wasn’t my intention; it’s just how I’m feeling now. So, why am I really here this morning? I’m here to work it out – my frustration, my disappointment, my emotions – all this through gnashed jaws with the intention of feeling better by the end of my sixty minute spin class.

The decision to go back to school at my age is not an easy one, but I can say going through the process of applying to law school, studying and writing my LSAT, and seriously contemplating the possibility of attending school full-time for three years with a young family, was at once both daunting and exciting. I’ve certainly learned a few things on this ride, and no matter what age you are, or where your academic pursuits take you, I hope I can impart a few words of sage advice that might help make your journey a much smoother ride than mine.


This is the beginning of your ride. How are you going to set it up? Think about what you need to do this. Decide: How you are going to take this ride?

Lesson One: Develop a realistic action plan.

Assuming you have gone through the process of what your academic goals are and why you are choosing the path you have chosen, you now need a solid action plan. Develop a plan with tactics and deadlines to help you achieve your end goal. Map it out, use technology, block off time in your calendar, organize your time, and use it well. Oh, and I can’t impress upon you how important it is to be realistic about your time. In my case, having to sit down and study again after being out of school for fifteen years was an unexpected shock. Working toward corporate deadlines, doing laundry, making lunches, and doing homework with my nine year old had in no way prepared me for sitting down at the library for hours and training my mind to think a certain way so I could ace the LSAT. If you think it will take you 8 weeks to study for your LSAT, MCAT or GMAT – double that time. Of course there are exceptions, and this may not be the case for you, but life is busy. You may be completing your undergrad while studying, working part-time or even full-time, depending on your situation, but in life, unexpected things arise, so mitigate your stress levels by assuming you need the extra time up front, and pace yourself appropriately.


Dig down into your core, take a deep breath, and find what you are looking for. It’s somewhere between ease and effort. Don’t think about what’s coming next. Find your breath, find a spot in front of your bike, and focus on this ride.

Lesson Two: Think about one goal, one objective; stay focused, stay on task.

We’ve all got distractions and weaknesses, and for many of us it’s easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to doing hard work. In my case, the challenge was related to my familial demands, but I have to be honest here – at times it wasn’t just because my kids were demanding my time; rather they became my inadvertent excuse to procrastinate. Sure, my kids would love to have me 24/7, but did I have to volunteer for all those pizza lunches? Speaking of pizza, I could have ordered in a few of those for dinner, instead of spending 90 minutes making that Dijon rosemary rack of lamb with grilled veggies. And did I really need to be home to tuck them in and read them a story every night of the week instead of heading to the library with my LSAT books, when my hubby could have managed just as well without me? I can tell myself that I’m doing all this for my kids, but there were times when I used them as an excuse to avoid studying as much as I should have. Why? Because studying for the LSAT is much harder than trying out a new recipe, or reading my 5 year old ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. Be honest with yourself about what your distractions are and don’t lose focus. This may mean putting tools in place to keep you on track. Get a study buddy, remove distractions (or remove yourself from distractions), and stay on track with your action plan.


Focus on your pedal stroke. There’s always a weaker side. Now focus on that weaker side, make it better, make it stronger, and even it out. Ask yourself: What can I change today? What do you need to do on this ride, to go for better? What are you going to do differently? Change something.

Lesson Three: Assess your weaknesses honestly; and then act on them!

Be honest with yourself about what you suck at. If that sounds critical – it’s meant to. Let’s be honest, we all naturally like to focus on what we do well, and keep doing more of that, because it’s easier. But we all have things we need to improve on. In my case, and with regard to the LSAT, it was logic games. I was honest with myself about my weakness, but what I didn’t do was act on it. Instead, I avoided it. I decided to cut my losses and improve on the areas of the test I already excelled at – because let’s face it, it was easier, and frankly it made me feel better about myself. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Find your weakness, figure out what you need to change, and tackle it until you get better.


Remind yourself of your intention, and why you chose to come here today. This is going to get heavy – push through! You’ve got some momentum here, stay with it, and keep this pace. You’re building this. Your endurance, your strength, every stride makes you stronger – this is how you build it. You can do this!

Lesson Four: Don’t slack off, and stay positive!

If it feels hard, that’s probably because it is. Obtaining a higher education isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were, the end result wouldn’t be so rewarding. Remember: it’s competitive, it’s demanding, and if you can’t get through the entrance exams and the application process, then you won’t have the mettle for law school, med school or any other comparable academic pursuit. Yes, it will feel tough at times; in fact, in my case there were many times when I felt like giving up. Remind yourself what motivated you to pursue this path in the first place, bring your focus back to your goal, stay on task, and stay positive!


This is the end of your ride. You’ve got something here. How are you going to go for better?! Let’s take this home!

Karen’s words jolt me back to the present. I look down and see a pool of sweat under my bike. Ok. So, I didn’t get into law school this year, but it was quite possible that I could have. I also could have studied harder for my LSAT, done a better job prepping for my law school interview, and put more thought into volunteering for a cause — that would have provided a more relevant and tangible perspective for my future career pursuits. Next time, I will go for better.

So, this is your ride, how are you going to take it?

Image by TMAB2003, Flickr

Image by TMAB2003, Flickr

The LSAT has been one of the major hurdles to all law school applicants since its inception in 1948. Each year over one hundred thousand students test their skills against the latest exam the Law School Admission Council has created. So what exactly is the LSAT?

The Basics

To begin with, the Law School Admission Test is a standardized and now computerized exam that is administered strictly in English. The LSAT tests an applicant’s reasoning, analytical and critical thinking skills. Therefore, the exam does not require any specialized knowledge in the field of law or any other field for that matter. All questions are accessible to the level of the general public. The LSAT is administered four times per year in the months of February, June, September, and December. Note that a student may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two year period. Compared to other graduate program entrance exams, LSAT registration costs a reasonable $165 in Canada and $170 in the United States. There can be other fees, such as those associated with changing the date or location of your exam once it has been booked. Lastly, the LSAT runs around four hours in length, which includes one ten to fifteen minute break.

The Test

The format of the LSAT is broken into six sections that take thirty-five minutes each. Presented in no particular order, the LSAT’s first five sections use the format of multiple choice questions and these sections can be one of three types: Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Analytical Reasoning (or Logic Games). There are always two Logical Reasoning sections, one Reading Comprehension section, and one Analytical Reasoning section. The leftover section can be any one of the three types.

It is important to note that one of these five sections is not scored. This is because it is an experimental section that the developers of the test use to try out new questions. Unfortunately, students are not told which section will go unscored.

Both Logical Reasoning sections consist of approximately 25 questions, each of which has been based on a very short argumentative text, such as a letter to the editor. Common topics for these questions include economics, business, health, and the environment.

In the Reading Comprehension section, students will face approximately 25-28 questions based on four different prompts. Three of these prompts will be single short passages (~450 words) and one will be a Comparative Reading prompt which presents two short passages (~450 words combined) that are related. Topics for this section are often drawn from the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities.

In the last type of section, Analytical Reasoning, students are faced with four sets of five to seven questions. These questions are based on four brief texts (~120 words) that describe a scenario and certain rules that apply to it.

The sixth and final section of the LSAT is a Writing Exercise. Students are presented with a prompt in which someone is making a decision between two choices of action. Each choice is governed by two criteria and students must write a concise essay arguing in favour of one choice or the other. This section of the LSAT is also not scored, but it is still evaluated by law schools as a sample of a student’s writing ability.


LSAT scores are equalized onto a scale that ranges from 120 to 180 and uses single-digit intervals. The average LSAT score is 150, with 58 questions being answered correctly. It should be mentioned that all questions are weighted equally and that there are no deductions for incorrect answers.

So what score should you be aiming for? In Canada, average LSAT scores for applicants range from the low 160s to the high 160s, while in the United States average scores for the country’s best law programs are in the high 160s to the low 170s.

Ultimately, the LSAT is just another way for law schools to judge the academic merit of applicants and predict their success in the first year of law school.

Other Sources

Video – About the LSAT

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