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Things To Do/Avoid Leading Up To the June Test

Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
edited June 2015 in Sage Advice 6736 karma
One week before test day! Here are three things to do and three things to avoid in the lead-up.

DO:

Scout out your test site – Even if you don’t know exactly what room you’re going to take your test in, don’t throw up your hands and skip this! There are a lot of different things you can scout out on test day, assuming you know at least the general location they’re going to put you in. Your mileage may vary, but if at all possible you want to get in there and poke around a bit. A (non-exhaustive) list of things you can do:
• Look into the classrooms. Are they full of student desks with those fold-up half-tables, or are you getting long desks? Classroom layouts within the same building generally follow a similar pattern, so look and see if there are clocks inside the rooms and, assuming you’ll be oriented toward the front of the room, whether you can see them easily. Are the seats bolted down? How closely packed are they? Decent lighting?
• Check for bathrooms. Does each floor have both a men’s and a women’s bathroom, or perhaps they alternate between floors? I suggest looking for two bathrooms so that you don’t have to wait in case there’s a line. You can maybe even get away from everyone and clear your head a bit while heading over to your backup.
• Find multiple parking lots, if applicable. Recognize that there will be a lot of people there on test day, and if you can’t find a parking spot it’ll throw a wrench into the whole works. For large university campuses and other such spaces this shouldn’t be a problem, but better safe than sorry.
• Get a sense of the traffic at that time of day. The last thing you need is to have entirely-predictable traffic gumming up the works on your big day. This might be difficult for folks who have full-time jobs, but you students out there have no excuses.

Get all of your logistics ready – Do you have your pencils? Passport photo? Plastic baggie? Lucky jeans? Adult diapers, if you’re going that path? (Just kidding – please don’t go that path). Don’t wait until Sunday; get it all done ahead of time. Especially true for things that you can’t just drop into a drug store on Sunday evening to pick up (i.e. get your passport photos taken right this instant). Think about how you’re going to keep yourself occupied while the test proctor deals with the people who didn’t realize they had to bring their own pencils or know their own social security numbers (there’s always at least one). Also, pick the questions you’re going to do for your Monday morning warmup ahead of time – no scrambling day-of allowed.

Fix your sleep schedule and set your routine – June takers obviously get a bit more leeway on this, as the test doesn’t start until afternoon. Still, the last thing you want to be doing on the day of the test is deciding what to have for breakfast, whether to go for a jog, where you should be doing your warmup questions, and so forth. If you haven’t already, nail down a routine that will allow you to be ready to go at 1pm. In particular, it’s important to avoid the ~2pm food coma – figure out how much food you can have at lunch such that you have enough energy to get through the test without putting you on the brink of mid-afternoon naptime. On test day, it should be pure robotic execution.

DON’T:

Attempt to Cram – Cramming for the LSAT makes about as much sense as cramming for the Tour de France. At this point, if your skills aren’t up to par, they’re not going to be by the time next Monday rolls around. There really aren’t that many things you have to memorize, and all of those things should be completely burned into your brain by this point anyway. Even if you learn an extra thing, it’s just as likely to hurt you as help you – it won’t be integrated into your thought process so it’s not likely to be principled or well thought-out when applied to a question, and it might even introduce confusion. If your skills aren’t there, the solution is not to cram – the solution is to take in October. I typically tell people to shut the books between 48 and 72 hours before test day (in other words, if you’re taking on Monday, stop studying on Friday, or Saturday at the latest). Spend the last few days relaxing, scouting out your test site, and getting into a good mindset.

Take a PT in the last few days – What’s the point? This is all downside and zero upside. If you do about as well as normal, then nothing changes – I accept that maybe it’ll be a minor morale boost in the best case, but it’s certainly not going to be a significant one. If you do better than normal, you’ll wonder if it’s a fluke, and you certainly should know by now not to put too much stock in fluctuations that you can’t replicate. You have no time to even attempt to replicate it, so it’s functionally worthless. Meanwhile, if you do poorly, you risk completely ruining your confidence and mind frame. I’ve seen the doom spiral too many times to count – people get one subpar mark, freak out because it’s so close to the test, take more tests in a desperate attempt to validate themselves again (usually failing because, well, if you’re in that mindset you’re way too tilted to do your best), and wind up scoring way worse on test day for no real reason other than that they took a meaningless practice test way too late in the game. Remember that full-length practice tests are taken for the purpose of giving you a benchmark for how you performed at a particular point in time. Does that benchmark really matter anymore 7 days before the test? You should know what you’re capable of at that point. If you don’t know, then you haven’t practiced enough.

If you insist on studying until the bitter end, then don’t take a practice test – review things you’ve already done instead (it’s much more helpful). If you’re going to take one last practice test, take it early in the week and score it by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, and then DON’T DO ANOTHER ONE. And if you absolutely positively insist on risking your state of mind for no good reason at all, then for the love of the flying spaghetti monster do not score that last test. In my opinion, if you’re looking at an answer key at any point in the last 72 or so hours before your test, you’re doing it wrong.

Freak Out – Take a deep breath. Look over your previous practice test results, and understand that you are perfectly capable of scoring just as well on the real deal as you did on those. To you, this is the June 2015 LSAT, and it’s understandable that you’re stressing it and putting a ton of mystique around it. But at about 4pm on June 8, 2015, the test will be nothing more than PrepTest 75 - just a number like all of its brothers before it, a tool for September 2015 takers to use as practice. Heck, for those of us who work with the test for a living, it’s already just PrepTest 75, and we eagerly await its release. There is nothing special about this test. It’s exactly the same as all the PrepTests you took before it. Don’t let it psyche you out.

I don’t wish any of my students good luck on the LSAT, because luck has nothing to do with it. Stay calm and focused, apply what you’ve learned, and you’ll be just fine.

Comments

  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    @"Jonathan Wang" said:
    Especially true for things that you can’t just drop into a drug store on Sunday evening to pick up
    It took my like 5 minutes to get my photo taken and printed at a CVS :P not saying you should wait (ended up having to go to like 3 diff ones till I found one that had working equipment) but is possiblee :) lol

    Great tips, especially about not going crazy this last week trying to cram
  • mackenzie_fitzgeraldmackenzie_fitzgerald Alum Member
    74 karma
    Hopefully this isn't a stupid question... On getting a photo printed, I'm assuming y'all are talking about the additional identification photo? If so, does it have to be professionally printed? If so, how is that done? I thought we could just take a picture of ourselves and then print it out of a regular printer. Is that not okay?
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited June 2015 2654 karma
    @mackenzie_fitzgerald I think you technically can print it yourself as long as it is the proper size and clear (not fuzzy or anything) but most people like to play it safe and spend the $10 or so (cost me like $11 for 2 pics at CVS) for an actual passport photo to ensure no problems...

    *dont take my thought about being able to print it yourself as fact as it's been awhile since I looked into it
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @jdawg113 said:
    I think you technically can print it yourself as long as it is the proper size and clear (not fuzzy or anything)
    Why throw a wrench into anything by trying to DIY last minute?

    Please see this page for a LOT of warnings about what they will not accept. This would get you into a *very* bad situation in which you could neither cancel your sitting nor sit for the test and cancel your score. Bad time to get crafty.

    http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/day-of-test/photo-requirements

    LSAC policy requires that all LSAT test takers glue or tape to their admission ticket a passport-type photograph that must
      be recent (taken within the last six months)
      show only your face and shoulders
      be clear enough that there is no doubt about your identity
      be no larger than 2 x 2 inches (5 x 5 cm) and no smaller than 1 x 1 inch (3 x 3 cm)
      show you as you look on the day of the test (e.g., with or without a beard)
      be different than the photo displayed on your government-issued ID
      The photograph will be retained by LSAC only as long as needed to assure the authenticity of test scores and to protect the integrity of the testing process.
  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    edited June 2015 3112 karma
    Dumb question: where it says "as you look on test day" does that mean you have to wear a collared shirt if you have a collared shirt in your 2x2 photo??
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    6736 karma
    @JustDoIt Nah, basically just so they can verify it's you. So unless your face looks drastically different when you're wearing a collared shirt, you should be OK.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    if you have a big beard/stache, don't shave it after the picture, if you have crazy hair, don't cut it really short afterwards...
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    6736 karma
    A user PMed me and asked for my thoughts about taking tests late in the week if they've been on a consistent schedule, about whether it's hugely detrimental if they don't take one of 71-74, and whether they're hugely disadvantaged if their last test didn't come in 'optimal' conditions (he wanted to go to the test site and take in the actual room, but had to settle for a nearby library when the folks at the front desk said no). I decided the answer would probably benefit more people than just him, so here it is:

    I love schedules. I'm all about schedules. Schedules don't make bad ideas good, and they don't give pointless exercises a point. Always understand why you're doing what you're doing and how you expect it to benefit you. So it's worth asking - what, exactly, are you hoping to gain from cramming in extra practice tests at the 11th hour?

    You're not going to learn anything new well enough for it to matter. You're definitely not going to improve your stamina or your pacing 72 hours before test day. If you've been practicing consistently, you already have a good idea of what you're capable of, what you struggle with, and how to pace yourself (and if you haven't/don't, you shouldn't be taking the test at all). So what's left? Having taken what, 2 tests a week for 5 weeks at least, this last one is going to be the one that makes or breaks you?

    If you disagree, that's perfectly fine - I don't take it personally or anything. I'm sure plenty of people cram until 12:59 on Monday afternoon and do just fine. I'm just saying that I don't think it's helpful enough to justify the added stress and risk it creates. Your skills are, at this very moment, what they're going to be on Monday, and your mindset is the single most precious thing thing that needs to be preserved from here on out.

    Preptests 71-74 are just tests like any others. Yes, they're probably the "most representative" (whatever that means) because they're the latest four, but it's not like they test different things from the previous 70. It's not the perfect scenario, but it's not really worth worrying about. And, optimal conditions are never something you should rely on, and I don't see why a library would be "suboptimal" anyway - if anything, it's probably quieter and more private than you can reasonably expect a room full of nervous LSAT takers to be.

    tl;dr: Go ahead and take one if you're going to fret and worry endlessly if you don't. That said, don't expect it to hone any of your skills, stamina, or pacing, and it shouldn't change your outlook on your capabilities. And if it doesn't do any of those things, then why are we doing this again?
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    edited June 2015 7965 karma
    @"Jonathan Wang" said:
    Your skills are, at this very moment, what they're going to be on Monday, and your mindset is the single most precious thing thing that needs to be preserved from here on out.
    So good! Love that long-term game you're teaching us to play with these short-term applications in view. Worth it.
  • sdiaz2030sdiaz2030 Alum Member
    28 karma
    I was planning on taking PT 74 on Friday, but I changed my mind after reading your post. Thank you for taking the time. I think you're absolutely right that my skill level is pretty much set for Monday and I am currently in maintenance mode. However, would you advise against chopping PT 74 up for some drilling this week in order to stay fresh? Also, would it be advisable to use PT 74 for the warm up on Monday?
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    6736 karma
    It's not the worst idea to chop up 74 for practice, but it's going to kill you to not be able to grade it and see how you did. Chopping up a PT into 4 sections and then grading each one is functionally equivalent to doing the full PT, so I'm not sure what that accomplishes.

    Definitely do not use it as warmup material. Warmup material should be easy, and you should not grade it. If doing new material on Friday is a bad idea, doing new material on Monday morning borders on insanity.
  • runLSATrepeatrunLSATrepeat Member
    20 karma
    I scouted out out my test center and the room that was listed on my registration ticket is a small lecture hall/auditorium where the seats have tiny flip up "desks". Any tips on how to deal with those "desks" that can't even fit the closed test booklet on them? I have no idea how I'm going to fit my test book, answer sheet, pencils, and watch on the desk without things falling.
  • hrjones44hrjones44 Alum Member
    323 karma
    I intended on my taking my last PT today? but i could probably benefit from focusing on games too , i'm done studying tomorrow and i'm gonna review some old tests just reading through on saturday, sunday relaxing. I read this and now i question should i take this test today, i'm off today so i just planned on this being my last PT at around noon central time....what do y'all think?

  • logicfiendlogicfiend Alum Member
    118 karma
    @sdiaz2030 I would definitely recommend going through PT74, if not taking the full test. I used it as a way of getting any dumb mistakes out of the way with the most recent test available. It's definitely comparable to the other 70s tests I find, so I suspect Monday's test will be similar in difficulty.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    at this point I would just keep 74 and hold it "just in case" and as stated, focus on material that isnt new, drill from other 70's or 60s and review. 74 isnt anything unseen to where it is necessary to get it in b4 Monday. It wont do anything new so IMO you should stick with retake drilling stuff
  • sdiaz2030sdiaz2030 Alum Member
    28 karma
    Thanks all for responding! I agree in principal but in practice it will be hard to stay away from new material. However, I think I will. Also, kind of mirrors the discipline it takes to stay on process during the test -- do what you know is right and trust that it will work.
  • bjphillips5bjphillips5 Alum Member
    1137 karma
    BUMP :) Thanks for this @"Jonathan Wang"
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    27377 karma
    @"Jonathan Wang" said:
    But at about 4pm on June 8, 2015, the test will be nothing more than PrepTest 75 - just a number like all of its brothers before it, a tool for September 2015 takers to use as practice. Heck, for those of us who work with the test for a living, it’s already just PrepTest 75, and we eagerly await its release. There is nothing special about this test. It’s exactly the same as all the PrepTests you took before it.
    I love seeing this after the fact. That really provides a context for this comment that adds a lot of perspective.

    @"Jonathan Wang" said:
    I don’t wish any of my students good luck on the LSAT, because luck has nothing to do with it.
    Good. Only suckers, thieves, and fools rely on luck.
  • AlejandroAlejandro Legacy Member Inactive ⭐
    2424 karma
    Great advise! You guys don't need good luck. You got this ;)
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