LSAT Countdown: What to Focus on the Week of the October LSAT

As we close in on the October LSAT, I thought I would share our usual tips to keep you on track as game day draws near. What’s that you say – you’re not sure if you are ready, willing, or able to take the October LSAT? Before you go pushing the panic button, make sure you are making all of the proper considerations about which test administration you should take.

If you’re full steam ahead for the October exam, here is some advice for the final hours from Manhattan LSAT’s Managing Director, Noah Teitelbaum.

1. Focus on the main event. Right about now we see on our LSAT forumslots of questions about unimportant topics and students freaking out about the hardest LSAT questions in written history. Rare question and game types are rare! If you find them tough, that’s not a big deal. What is important is that you are able to get the easy and common ones correct without wasting too much time, leaving you enough time for the rare question or game. And, games are generally more consistent today than in days of yore, so don’t freak out if you think CD game or the Zephyr airlines game is hard – they were! Focus on capitalizing on your strengths, not trying to do an emergency patch-up of a minor weakness.

2. Clean up your act. Time to switch to O’Doul’s for the next 10 days, and start exercising (exercise has been linked to neural growth). And, create a schedule for yourself. Most people should be doing just 2-3 more practice LSATs in the last 10 days, though there are some strange people who do better doing an LSAT every day until test day. Think about what generally makes you stay on the top of your mental game, write out a schedule, and execute. For most people, this means a steady diet of 2 section practice sets, deep review, replay of tough questions, and a full, 5-section practice LSAT sprinkled in here or there.

3. Go mental. Before an Olympic diver takes a dive, she imagines the whole process, from start to finish. That way, the dive is simply an execution of a plan, not something that’s being invented at that moment. Same thing for you. Consider how you’ll take this test – what you’ll do when you face a tough question, what you’ll do if the proctor screws up. Practice envisioning this before each practice test. Then, do the same thing on test day morning.

On test day:

4. Keep it real. There’s something magically disastrous that happens on test day for many people. Let’s say two people are both getting 160-164 on their practice LSATs. When Mr. Proctor says begin, Mr. 164 now is possessed with the idea that he might be able to get a 180. This is a problem. The truth is that Mr. and Ms. 164 will NOT GET A 180. Ms. 164 does a better job of controlling her passions: she aims for a 164, knowing she can get about 18 questions wrong. When she comes across a ridiculously tough question, she makes an educated guess and moves on, saving time for other questions that are tough, but doable with a bit more time. Mr. 164 instead spends 2.5 minutes on the first impossible question he faces, still gets it wrong, and is now trying to catch up. In short, go in there and know how many you want to get wrong, and get them wrong.

5. Admit it, it is hard. Unless you’re scoring well-below the national median, chances are that if you think a question is hard, most everyone else in the nation does too. There are always some geeks out there who won’t, but if we stick to thinking about the mortal population, let’s keep a cool head. It’s a tough question, lots of people will get it wrong, the question is whether you’ll get it wrong and waste a lot of time on it. Notice that this is the same advice as #1?

6. Warm-up with a warm-up, not section 1. Your brain is a muscle, and it probably isn’t used to working on Saturday morning, so bring a tough game that you’ve mastered, maybe an LR question or RC passage, read it outside the LSAT center as you sip your usual morning beverage (don’t over caffeinate!) and then crumble it up as you walk in and toss it triumphantly. Better that than using the first section as your warm-up…

7. Even if you’re going to cancel, take the test like you won’t. Keep on trucking through that LSAT. It’s always good to get the practice, and perhaps that section you bombed was an experimental one. . . And what if everyone in the nation thought that the third RC passage was completely baffling – maybe your feeble performance was better than most people’s. Give yourself the time to think things through after the LSAT – you have several days to cancel.
After test day:

8. Remember your application. Is everything else ready to roll? Better to focus on that then hitting refresh on Gmail, waiting for your score report.

9. Geek out. We’ll review this LSAT on Wed. October 26th – so if you’d like to use the LSAT as an opportunity to learn something for the December LSAT, join us.

This post is provided by Manhattan LSAT, a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider