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A Post--Halloween Test Day Horror Story (aka why you should always be early on test day)

juanmapmjuanmapm Alum Member
edited November 2018 in Off-topic 379 karma

Hi everyone,

I've been meaning to post about my September administration for some time but I've been too busy studying/traumatized. With November's test coming up, however, I figured I would share my story a) as a distraction from stress studying and b) to make sure no one else does what I did in September.

I took my September test at USF in San Francisco. My roommate, the protagonist in this story, agreed to drive me to the test center in the early morning. I lived in the Mission District of San Francisco, which is a solid 15-17 minute drive away from the test center, and so I decided to get to the test center about forty-five minutes early. I solidly packed my ziplock bag, printed my admissions ticket, and got to USF about forty minutes before the test started. My roommate Bryan drove off with my iPhone (I wrote down his number on a piece of paper and planned to call him on a friendly stranger's phone after I got out of the test), and I decided to calm my nerves across the law school at the cathedral that loomed over the campus on an enormous hill. As my Catholic concentration began to break during my third Hail Mary, I glanced at my ziplock bag and mentally went down the checklist of the things I wanted to have with me in the test center. Beef jerky - check. Water bottle - check. Apple - check. NYT article to read before the test - check. Admission ticket - ...fuck.

I had forgotten my admission ticket in my roommate's car. By the time I realized, there was only twenty minutes left before the test center closed its doors. I began to panic. I ran out of the cathedral and hysterically began asking undergraduates around campus for their phones to call my roommate. In my crazed paranoia, I didn't even think about asking someone to use a printer at USF's library. I needed that admission ticket - it was the only way in. Finally, a Good Samaritan (who I must have terrified by my hysteria) lent me her phone, and I was able to reach my friend. He was home, in the Mission, fifteen minutes away from campus. It was 8:17. I asked him to do whatever he could to get to me, but at that point I was resigned to sit for November.

My friend drove a silver Acura and the law school was situated at an intersection at the top of a massive hill, where one could clearly see each car driving up from its base. Every silver car I saw for those excruciating minutes made my heart rise to my throat only to feel crushing disappointment when it turned out to be yet another San Francisco Prius/Tesla. 8:27. 8:28. 8:29. Those last sixty seconds between 8:29 and 8:30 were the most draining sixty seconds I ever felt between eight months of studying. 8:30. 8:31. It was over. Then, suddenly, I saw a silver car gunning up the hill. I sprinted in its direction, and like a quarterback handing off the football to a running back in the end zone, I grabbed my admission ticket and ran back up the hill to the front of the law school. 8:32. I was the last person in line, and by some miracle, was let into my test room. I had forgotten all my meditation techniques, my negation techniques, my focus on looking for the word "any," etc. All I cared about was that I had gotten into the test center, and although I bombed my first section (my heart rate was through the roof), I was glad I had the opportunity to sit for September.

My September test was about six points below my average and therefore I plan on retaking for November. I attribute the lower score to some personal relationship problems that arose a week before the test and also my self-inflicted meltdown before September. What would I do differently? Probably focus less on making sure my jerky is packed and make sure I secured my admissions ticket.

TLDR: 1) Show up early to your test center. 2) Print more than one admission ticket and staple one on your body.

Comments

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    A couple quick thoughts: 1) It, in theory, could've happened to any of us, 2) Have compassion for yourself--and you got the ticket in time, 3) You learned from this test and will likely be stronger for the retake, 4) If you haven't already done this, maybe buy your friend a small gift, 5) If you want, maybe switch testing centers for a fresh start next time, and 6) Compliments to you for sharing your story--you've likely helped people by doing this.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Omg, what a nightmare!! Hoo boy. I would say, given the circumstances, a 6 point drop from average is pretty damn good. I would've been more of a mess than that. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • m.kim2022m.kim2022 Monthly Member
    76 karma

    I also have a similar experience... For my first test, I didn't realize that my testing facility (university campus) had only coin-operated parking meters for the public. Of course I did not have any cash, so I had to hunt down an ATM machine hidden inside one of the campus buildings, withdraw $20, and run back to a coin exchange machine to get $20 worth of quarters. Not as dramatic as your story, but my heart was pounding from all the cardio work I had gotten in prior to the exam. My lesson learned that day - always have cash on hand.

  • juanmapmjuanmapm Alum Member
    379 karma

    Thank everyone!! I hope this helps at least one person out there to make sure they have everything with them before getting to the test center/make sure to get there early in case the unexpected happens.

    @lsatplaylist I don't think I could ever repay my roommate for being such a rockstar that morning, but I made sure to get him a ticket to a concert for our favorite band. Also, I moved back home to Pennsylvania so I won't have to retake the test at USF (although my test center is now and hour away because the local colleges were all filled up beforehand...I'm stuffing my car and pants with admission tickets this time around).

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9361 karma

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! This could have happened to any one of us. I agree with @"Leah M B"; a 6 point drop seems good in this case. I probably would have had a 15-20 point drop.

    You’re gonna do great in November! :wink:

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    Makes for a great story at a reunion or someone's wedding or a similar event. :) How much cash to have on hand on test day?

  • m.kim2022m.kim2022 Monthly Member
    76 karma

    For the November exam, I have prepared $5 worth of quarters in my car and 5 singles in the sweats I plan to wear that day. I am ready!

  • Logic GainzLogic Gainz Alum Member
    700 karma

    This story made me audibly laugh! I feel your pain, but I know you're going to crush it this month!

  • GreatDay8GreatDay8 Alum Member
    edited January 2019 130 karma

    Soooooo funny.
    I have a totally similar experience. I took this past November LSAT in Toronto. I made sure I was super prepared. Like super, super, super prepared. To the point of re-checking my zip lock baggy an absurd amount of times. Morning rolls round and you're girl is UP AND ADAM. After a 35 minute train ride and a 10 minute subway ride, my last leg of the journey was a 10 minute walk to the testing centre. A couple minutes into my walk, from the corner of my eye, I see a Starbucks. My knees fall weak for that Signature Blonde Roast. I check my phone and see that I have about 30 minutes until 8:30am. I like to say that this is the point in my story where things unravel. Perhaps the start of the end.
    With coffee in hand, it is 8:10 and I have 20 minutes to get to the testing centre. No problem. Finally, I arrive at the specified George Street location all with 13 minutes to spare. But, to my horror, I am face to face with a small tattoo parlour. Heart rate picks up. Where's my fellow LSAT brethren? Empty street. Weird vibes. Something is not right. With a shanking hand I pull out my ticket, only to read that I am to arrive at a testing centre on St. George Street. I am at George Street. The saints have cursed me. I Google Maps my proximity to St.George Street. A 10 minute drive. My heart rate is blasting through the roof at this point and I engage in squirrel-like thinking. No cabs around. No time to wait for an uber. Look, there is a man with a van! I approach said man in full sprint. I can tell he senses the crazy in my eye but I do not care. Sir, I don't know you but please drive me across town to a testing centre on St. George Street... (eyes fill with tears)...the doors will close in ten minutes and I have been studying for months. He is reluctant; he says that he works for a company that picks-up and drops-off wheelchair users and is on a tight schedule. My eye begins to twitch. For reasons unknown, he agrees and lets me into his unmarked van. It has no seats and no seat belts. With eyes glued to the clock, I stand straight as a pencil. Two minutes into the drive he politely asks me if I could..like...sit down or something. My rigidness is probably creeping him out. I nod empathetically. Our eyes lock in the rear view mirror as I assume a crouched frog-like position on his van floor. I begin to pray to father time. Like the boss I knew he would be, this man drives in street-style race mode. I arrive at the testing centre with legitimately one minute to spare. I thank this stranger, my saving grace. Also, like you, I scored 5 points below my average scoring range and just took the January LSAT.

    Tip 1: don't give into Starbucks if time is of the essence.
    Tip 2: Read the address of your testing centre with the same criticality as you would a reading comprehension passage.
    Tip 3: I highly would not recommend it but, perhaps, there are situations that warrant getting into a stranger's unmarked van.

  • LSAT Warrior PrincessLSAT Warrior Princess Legacy Member
    702 karma

    @GreatDay8 said:
    Soooooo funny.
    I have a totally similar experience. I took this past November LSAT in Toronto. I made sure I was super prepared. Like super, super, super prepared. To the point of re-checking my zip lock baggy an absurd amount of times. Morning rolls round and you're girl is UP AND ADAM. After a 35 minute train ride and a 10 minute subway ride, my last leg of the journey was a 10 minute walk to the testing centre. A couple minutes into my walk, from the corner of my eye, I see a Starbucks. My knees fall weak for that Signature Blonde Roast. I check my phone and see that I have about 30 minutes until 8:30am. I like to say that this is the point in my story where things unravel. Perhaps the start of the end.
    With coffee in hand, it is 8:10 and I have 20 minutes to get to the testing centre. No problem. Finally, I arrive at the specified George Street location all with 13 minutes to spare. But, to my horror, I am face to face with a small tattoo parlour. Heart rate picks up. Where's my fellow LSAT brethren? Empty street. Weird vibes. Something is not right. With a shanking hand I pull out my ticket, only to read that I am to arrive at a testing centre on St. George Street. I am at George Street. The saints have cursed me. I Google Maps my proximity to St.George Street. A 10 minute drive. My heart rate is blasting through the roof at this point and I engage in squirrel-like thinking. No cabs around. No time to wait for an uber. Look, there is a man with a van! I approach said man in full sprint. I can tell he senses the crazy in my eye but I do not care. Sir, I don't know you but please drive me across town to a testing centre on St. George Street... (eyes fill with tears)...the doors will close in ten minutes and I have been studying for months. He is reluctant; he says that he works for a company that picks-up and drops-off wheelchair users and is on a tight schedule. My eye begins to twitch. For reasons unknown, he agrees and lets me into his unmarked van. It has no seats and no seat belts. With eyes glued to the clock, I stand straight as a pencil. Two minutes into the drive he politely asks me if I could..like...sit down or something. Our eyes lock in the rear view mirror. Makes sense. My rigidness is probably creeping him out. Assuming a crouched frog-like position on his van floor, I begin to pray to father time. This man drives in street-style race mode like the boss I knew he would be. I arrive at the testing centre with legitimately one minute to spare. I thank this stranger, my saving grace. Also, like you, I scored 5 points below my average scoring range and just took the January LSAT.

    Tip 1: don't give into Starbucks if time is of the essence.
    Tip 2: Read the address of your testing centre with the same criticality as you would a reading comprehension passage.
    Tip 3: I highly would not recommend it but, perhaps, there are situations that warrant getting into a stranger's unmarked van.

    OMG- this was the best story. Haha! Thank you so much for making me laugh :). I needed it! That damn Starbucks!!

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @GreatDay8 said:
    No cabs around. No time to wait for an uber. Look, there is a man with a van! I approach said man in full sprint. I can tell he senses the crazy in my eye but I do not care. Sir, I don't know you but please drive me across town to a testing centre on St. George Street... (eyes fill with tears)...the doors will close in ten minutes and I have been studying for months. He is reluctant; he says that he works for a company that picks-up and drops-off wheelchair users and is on a tight schedule. My eye begins to twitch. For reasons unknown, he agrees and lets me into his unmarked van. It has no seats and no seat belts. With eyes glued to the clock, I stand straight as a pencil. Two minutes into the drive he politely asks me if I could..like...sit down or something. My rigidness is probably creeping him out. I nod empathetically. Our eyes lock in the rear view mirror as I assume a crouched frog-like position on his van floor. I begin to pray to father time. Like the boss I knew he would be, this man drives in street-style race mode. I arrive at the testing centre with legitimately one minute to spare. I thank this stranger, my saving grace. Also, like you, I scored 5 points below my average scoring range and just took the January LSAT.

    What a hero. An actual legend.

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