The December LSAT is over and done! You know what that means. One: Binge holiday shopping. Or just holiday binging. Or both. Two: December test refugees and other February test-takers are gearing up to prepare for the Valentine’s month exam. As we enter the beginning of this study season, I want to share a tool that might be useful to those of you facing a particular breed of LSAT challenge.
I once worked with a student who came in every week reciting the same outcome of her practice. Whenever she did sections untimed, she rocked them. She scored in the 160s, her goal range, and did so consistently. But as soon as she set the clock, her score plummeted fifteen points–consistently. The kicker? She wasn’t even taking that much more time when she wasn’t on the clock.
This student–we’ll call her Charmayne–needed to trim about eight minutes off her logic games section and ten minutes off each logical reasoning section. So pacing was something to work on, sure. But it was clear that the extra time wasn’t the only source of her higher scores (and that lack of it wasn’t the only source of her lower scores). When she felt herself on the clock, she’d snap into panic mode, abandon or forget strategies, and fly through the test wildly. Picture a woman in a blindfold, swinging her arms to try to hit cartoon As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Es swarming around. Like that.
It occurred to us that one reason she was having a hard time improving her pacing was the paralyzing anxiety she felt as soon as the virtual LSAT proctor entered the scene.