Crunch Time

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So … the big day is almost here. In a matter of a few hours, I hopefully will be in bed, attempting to recharge my brain before I have to get up at some time before 6 am, take a quick shower, and hop into the car with my parents, who will be taking me to Seattle for my LSAT exam. I’ve put in months of studying, yet I feel somewhat anxious about tomorrow.

I’ll be the first to admit that excelling in academics doesn’t come easily for me. I have to struggle to achieve basic benchmarks. Take the LSAT for example – the average score on the LSAT is around 150. The absolute highest score one can get is a 180 – if you can get that, you can pretty much get into the law school of your choice with a full-ride scholarship. I sat down one afternoon this spring, excited to see how I would do – Manhattan LSAT, the LSAT-prep company I would be teaming up with, suggested that students take a practice LSAT cold, just to see where they fit in. If they can already achieve a 180, maybe they don’t need the course.

As I struggled through logic games and reading comprehension passages, I was inwardly hoping for a high score, but was slowly beginning to realize that maybe I wasn’t as good as this test as I originally thought. It sure was a grueling exam. Three hours might not seem like a lot of time, but when you’re scrambling to fill in blank bubbles ’till the very last second, you certainly don’t have any time to take a breather. After I graded the exam, I saw that I got a 143. “Oh great,” I sighed. It would be an uphill battle for sure.

It was never my goal to attend Harvard or Yale, but I didn’t want to not give my all on this exam. I like to set my goals high – yeah, maybe they would prove to be impossible goals, but why settle for second best? My goal was to hit at least 160 – a solid score that somewhat exceeded the average LSAT scores of a few law schools I was considering.  The very first online LSAT class I sat in on, I learned new ways to tackle logic games and logical reasoning questions, courtesy of Mike Kim and Noah Teitelbaum, our instructors. I originally planned on taking the June 2011 LSAT – I hoped I could achieve the 160 mark by the time June rolled around, but my highest score came out to be a 150. Worse yet, my last two practice exams before the LSAT were noticeably lower scores than what I previously scored – 149 … 147. Yikes. It was no fault of my teachers – I learned so much in just a few short weeks, but it was clear that I needed more time to practice drilling questions and understanding how to utilize certain strategies to crack the secrets of the LSAT open.

A few days before the June exam, my parents and I decided to cancel and reschedule to October. This would allow me to study through the summer, possibly re-take the course over again, and complete my communications degree before the LSAT. I originally was planning to take a few days off from LSAT studying, but those few days quickly turned into a few weeks. It hit me that I really needed to get back into a rhythm … soon.  I was able to re-take the LSAT prep course again (for free!) thanks to the awesome folks at Manhattan LSAT. I work best when I have someone set goals for me, and enforces them – not surprisingly, Manhattan LSAT’s syllabus, though simple in nature, worked wonders for getting me back into the rhythm of studying.

Finally – after countless practice tests, class meetings, emails exchanged with teachers, and the consumption of a variety of chips and chocolate, I’m ready for the exam. Yes … my scores have fluctuated over the past few weeks, but I’m averaging somewhere around a 154, (topped out at 157,) which still isn’t a 160, but it’s still a solid score in my book. I might take it again – who knows, I’m only 18, and I don’t have to attend law school next fall. My parents and family have been amazing. Simply amazing. My sister Stefanie makes me a whole batch of sugar cookies, straight from the oven, and sets them down next to my computer while I’m studying. YES. My other sibs have left encouraging cards and notes all over my desk … and on my Facebook wall. My parents have done a whole lot of work to help me register for the LSAT, get directions, drive me there, and so much more. They have encouraged me and prayed for me since early this year. No matter what happens, God’s going to work it all out for good.

There’s no reason to be nervous tomorrow. With your family and friends all pulling and praying for you, it definitely helps relieve some of the pressure – sure, I’m hoping to at least hit a 155 on the exam, but I know that it’s not the end of the world if I get a score lower than that. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try hard though – I’m going to give it my best – my absolute best.

Mmmkay, it’s dinner time.

I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow evening. 🙂

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