Last weekend I got to attend Columbia University’s mock trial tournament sponsored by Manhattan LSAT and had the privilege of watching some very talented students from colleges up and down the east coast flash their argumentation skills. At one point, I found myself talking to a senior who said that despite his love of mock trial, he didn’t want to go to law school.
“I’d much rather take the GMAT than the LSAT,” he said. “I opened an LSAT book and saw logic games and was like, ‘no thanks!’”
My immediate reactions:
“But you are missing out on something great for a bad reason!”
“If you knew the test, you’d feel differently.”
“You didn’t even give it a chance!”
In other words, I responded like the LSAT was my boyfriend, first novel, or mom.
What’s so lovable about the LSAT?
I’ve written on how it makes you smarter. But that was an appeal to research showing what I already believed to be true, because the LSAT had already made me smarter.
In high school and college, I got by on my strengths, which were not, though I didn’t realize it at the time, anything resembling logical thinking. I was an insightful thinker and could write in a way that flowed, and these were enough to push me over the threshold for most teachers and professors. I graduated with high GPAs.
When I first opened a book of practice LSATs, I was a college junior doing so out of curiosity. It wasn’t an intentional move to initiate a study plan–I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to law school. Much like the fellow I mentioned above, I just wanted to see what this LSAT thing was all about. I took a few questions–maybe a whole logical reasoning section, maybe just a few pages, I can’t remember. What I do remember is that I missed the vast majority of them. I answered 2-3 right and at least 10-12 wrong. I recall seeing X’s all over the dingy pages of the yellowing, used practice book I’d bought, and closing it, thinking, “From now on, I have to hide the fact that I’m just not good at logic.” I was convinced I wasn’t a logical thinker, and that any day, someone would discover it about me.
Two years later, I was sure I did want to apply to law school, and I went about approaching the LSAT yet again, intimidated tremendously by my earlier, brief encounter with it. I enrolled in a course, did all my homework, didn’t miss a class or a diagnostic test, and began the slow, arduous process of improving my study skills: I turned off the music. I put in ear plugs. I made myself focus for thirty-minute increments without getting up for a snack or to put some wacky clip in my hair. And over the weeks then months, I watched my score go up. As it did, I became aware that I was learning a certain mode of thinking, and so my confidence went up, as well. I started to believe in myself intellectually in a way I hadn’t before. By the time I actually took the text over six months after I’d begun studying, I had gone from answering only 13 questions (4-5 of which I got wrong) on a timed logic games section–that is, leaving the other 10-11 blank–to completing a perfect logic games section.