No surprises: Take time before the test date and travel to your test site. Find the parking lot, restrooms and testing room and take out the guesswork on the day of.
Relax: Use the night before to relax by watching a funny movie or TV show that will help take your mind off the test.
Sleep: Don’t forget to do some physical activity the day before so you’ll get a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast: Cut out the caffeine and sugar that morning so you don’t crash midway through the test.
Source: CU pre-law advisor Douglas Costain
A strict schedule and unwavering dedication have taken over the once-normal life of University of Colorado junior Rick Bohm. But after six grueling months, he can almost smell his freedom.
Bohm and 83 others from CU and the Boulder community are preparing to face one of the defining moments of their lives on Monday, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
The exam will be held in Hale 270 and participant check-in begins at 12:30 p.m. The next LSAT exam will be in October.
In preparing for the exam, Bohm has altered not only his study habits, but his lifestyle to achieve his dreams of law school success.
“I’m changing up my whole routine,” Bohm said. “I’m working my way into earlier bed times, exercising more, taking multivitamins and eating better. I feel like these changes will help me function better during the test and I need to be at my best.”
For students taking the LSAT, there is no other way to get into their school of choice than to ace the test. So being on your game is the understatement of the year.
“The LSAT is the single most important determinant of whether you go to law school, where you go to law school and how much you have to pay for law school,” CU pre-law advisor Douglas Costain said.
Due to the impressive accuracy of the LSAT, most law schools put a significant emphasis on the LSAT score, even above grade point averages and extracurricular experiences, Costain said.
“The LSAT, is the best standardized test predictor in the history of testing,” Costain said.
Most law school admissions programs have a minimum LSAT score that must be met by all students and many financial aids and scholarship opportunities are preferable to the highest test scores. CU’s law school requires students’ scores to rank in the top 15 percent of LSAT results, while students must be in the top 25 percent for the University of Denver and the top 40 percent for the University of Wyoming.
That basically means that for students like Bohm the competition is stiff and there is very little room for error.
The test is comprised of three sections — reading comprehension, logical reasoning and logic games — and an ungraded written statement. Each question is weighed differently, so missing the wrong questions can ruin your chances of success, Bohm said.
“I’m putting about three to four hours per day right now on top of nine hours of a prep class every week,” Bohm said. “I’m mainly going through previous test questions and timing myself to make sure I’m getting through each section in the allotted time.”
Getting through each section in the 35 minutes allocated is often the biggest challenge students face during the exam, Costain said. He recommends that students spend the majority of their time preparing by working through previous test sections and practicing time management.
For some students, like CU senior Katie Boraz, studying for the LSAT is more like a religion than homework.
Boraz began studying for Monday’s test in October and has been practicing 50 hours a week since summer began.
“Recently I factored in actual test-day simulations, practicing in loud areas like the public library, only using the allowed type of pencil, starting practice tests at 1 p.m., so when I get to the actual test, it’s going to seem like just another part of my routine, except slightly easier,” Boraz said.
Boraz said she doesn’t recommend her intense study methods to others, because as she is finding out, the extreme measures will cause a quicker burn out.
Heavy breathing exercises have helped Boraz relieve some of the stress of the upcoming exam. But knowing that it will all be over soon seems to be the best thing going for her at this point.
When asked if the work will be worth it, she said: “I’ll let you know when I get my score back. Fingers crossed, it will be totally worth it.”