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What's the point of the LSAT?

chrijani7chrijani7 Alum Member
in General 827 karma
Hey everyone,

If you're anything like I was, when you're studying and you get frustrated, you might ask yourself... What's the point of this stupid test anyways?

Well.. being in my second week of 1L right now, I feel compelled to come back to these forums and tell you. Please keep in mind as you read this, these are just my opinions, I am sure there are others.

1. Reading Comprehension:
There are two key reasons why RC is so important. First, I am only in my second week and I have probably read about 500+ pages of mandatory readings, and much more supplementary readings to try and get a better understanding of some concepts. So, the point is if you want any chance of keeping up with the work load, you must be able to read AND retain at least somewhat quickly. Second, most of my readings have been cases that involve reading what some judge (or more) had to say about a case. This includes:
What they see the issue as (legal issue)
What they think should be the resolution
Why and how they came to this resolution

You are essentially reading a judges thoughts splattered on a page. It is up to you to sift through it to find the important stuff. Sometimes judges write clear and its not so difficult to follow. However, they are experts in a complex industry, which means their vocabulary can be intense at times (especially when you don't have a good grasp on this new language or what the lingo is)

2. Logical Reasoning
I want to move to LR now because it overlaps with what I was going to say with the rest of RC. Like I was saying you are reading these dense complex passages. Why do you need LR?... because the entire point of you reading these cases and judgments is to figure out what the main point is (ratio decidendi). But, it doesn't stop there... you also need the premises the judge made to get to that conclusion! And the rest is just filler or side notes or some random babbling that might interesting to read but doesn't really matter to what you need for class.

So now you've read (quickly)... got the main point.. got the judges reasoning... you're all set right? --- NO!
Now you are going to go to class and have a professor ask you a ton of questions. Sometimes they might ask you to just simply state something that has happened or was said. But, other times they might ask your opinion. Well how can you give that if you aren't ARMED with LSAT skills? By identifying what flaws may have been made or why an argument was strong or weak, you are now capable of telling the prof what your opinion is.

See.. it all kind of starts to make sense? Sort of?...

3. Logic Games.
Unfortunately I have nothing for these. I guess they are just some section they included to add an element of "fun" to the test. I don't know.

Key point is, YES there is absolutely some overarching goal of the LSAT! I don't know if I believe that a higher score necessarily means better student (obviously higher score might correlate to more work which might mean stronger student). But, I can definitely say that there is a reason the LSAT is important beyond being a measure of determining who should be accepted at a school. It prepares you for the workload (at least in some sense) that you will be faced with if you are accepted! You will need to put in the hours, just like the LSAT... from Day 1! You will need to read long boring passages and see what a judge is thinking, why they are thinking, and what the heck the point is of even reading what they think!

Look at the LSAT as preliminary training for what you about to embark on! Because as a "fresh" 1L student, I can say it definitely doesn't get easier! It's all part of the plan! So train hard, worry less, and good luck all!

Comments

  • profile427profile427 Alum Member
    213 karma
    This is helpful. Thank you!
  • lsatblitzlsatblitz Alum Member
    521 karma
    Good read. Thanks for sharing.
  • nye8870nye8870 Alum
    edited September 2015 1749 karma
    Yeah. Really does help make sense of all this. Thank you!
  • jyang72jyang72 Alum Member
    844 karma
    It seems I am really spoiled by my current reading workload which is roughly 50 pages a day. lol
  • Derek Kunhee KimDerek Kunhee Kim Legacy Member
    131 karma
    This provides some great motivation and perspective. Thank you. All the best in your first year of law school!
  • ChrissyChrissy Member
    edited September 2015 47 karma
    Unfortunately I still believe that LSAT is not a real indicator of how well you will do in law school. I have been a paralegal for over four years and pretty much have been doing the work of an attorney during this time. I am just a poor test taker - always have been. I have a 3.7 GPA and am lucky if I get over 150 on LSAT even though I BR at above 160. I know I will make a good lawyer and I don't need a high LSAT score to prove that.
  • harrismeganharrismegan Legacy Member
    2074 karma
    @jyang72 said:
    It seems I am really spoiled by my current reading workload which is roughly 50 pages a day. lol
    haha my thoughts exactly... maybe I need to look for a new career!

    Kidding baha
  • Matt1234567Matt1234567 Legacy Inactive ⭐
    1294 karma
    @christina.davidesko said:
    Unfortunately I still believe that LSAT is not a real indicator of how well you will do in law school.
    I second this.
  • smmallahsmmallah Alum Member
    edited September 2015 32 karma
    @christina.davidesko I am with you on this....I have also been a paralegal 4 years and don't do so well when it comes to these exams. Some of us just need more time than others. But if it's any help, a strong application and reaching out and meeting wtih some of the admissions officers/schools will definitely help in your application. My husband went to a top 25 law school with a 151. So just keep pushing and focus on everything else you have to offer. That's what I am thinking now for my applications :)
  • justrandomjustrandom Alum Member
    edited September 2015 343 karma
    @christina.davidesko I agree with you.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    I think, more than anything, performance in undergrad is a poor predictor of performance in law school.
  • jyang72jyang72 Alum Member
    844 karma
    @nicole.hopkins, I second what you said. I am maintaining 3.9 GPA now as a senior. But LSAT is incredibly hard to me and I don't think law school is like undergrad.
  • jyang72jyang72 Alum Member
    844 karma
    @harrismegan, just went NYU law school last sunday. I was amazed by my friend after she told me her work-load and law school final exams. 3 hours and you have to type 5000+words..... This sounds incredibly crazy to me. She told me someone can do 10000 words. then I am dead...lol
  • Matt1234567Matt1234567 Legacy Inactive ⭐
    1294 karma
    @nicole.hopkins said:
    I think, more than anything, performance in undergrad is a poor predictor of performance in law school.
    Hmm, I don't know. I feel as if the LSAT should be weighed equally against GPA. Maintaining a high GPA is very difficult, especially keeping it consistent over 4 years of undergrad. Surely 4 years of undergrad would show a students determination and ability rather than a one shot test.
  • psbrathwaitepsbrathwaite Legacy Member
    207 karma
    @Matt1234567 Except I'm an English major and a biochemical Engineer may have a harder time getting an A than me -- whereas we both have an equal (somewhat) metric if taking the same assessment.
  • Matt1234567Matt1234567 Legacy Inactive ⭐
    edited September 2015 1294 karma
    @psbrathwaite said:
    Except I'm an English major and a biochemical Engineer may have a harder time getting an A than me -- whereas we both have an equal (somewhat) metric if taking the same assessment.
    Sure, assuming a lot of biochemical engineers want to be lawyers. Regardless, I believe it should be weighed equally, not that GPA should be weighed more.

    Even if some programs may be easier/more difficult than others, this can always be a factor taken into consideration by the admission committee.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @Matt1234567 said:
    Surely 4 years of undergrad would show a students determination and ability rather than a one shot test.
    Hugely varies, undergrad to undergrad. And, as others have noted, discipline to discipline. The adcoms know that (which is why certain—very, very few—UG get a bump). Thus the heavy weight on the LSAT.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    And that "one shot test" represents more than a year of work for a good number of us.
  • Matt1234567Matt1234567 Legacy Inactive ⭐
    1294 karma
    @nicole.hopkins said:
    And that "one shot test" represents more than a year of work for a good number of us.
    Precisely, just as undergrad is 4 years of work.
  • nordeendnordeend Alum Member
    349 karma
    I enjoyed following the evolution of this post.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    My 4.0 GPA in Theatre really shouldn’t put me ahead of the Philosophy major with a 3.5. The LSAT is a pretty good equalizer, in my opinion.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor said:
    The LSAT is a pretty good equalizer, in my opinion.
    to be fair you are VERY entertaining
  • chrijani7chrijani7 Alum Member
    edited September 2015 827 karma
    Okay, so the topic has seemed to seemed to shifted from what I had intended. Let me clarify that I was simply trying to create a post to "give back" in a sense to a community that I found helped me so much. By giving back I was trying to show two things. First, that there is at least some form of a relationship between the LSAT and law school (whether or not that's performance was irrelevant to what I was saying). Two that you can, in at least some sense, think of the LSAT to be more of a training for what you attempting to embark on for the next 3 years, rather than studying for some test. My logic was if I could display there is a connection, and you shift your mindset towards training for LAW SCHOOL rather than training for the LSAT you might be able to motivate yourself or see the test differently.

    Not quite sure how it got out of hand, but to address @christina.davidesko's point about LSAT as an indicator of performance.. I have to say you are missing a fundamental point. First, you are talking about connection between paralegals, the LSAT, and being a lawyer as a profession! Law school =/= Lawyer. That's almost like saying hey look I got an A in entrepreneurship class, I would definitely be great at running a startup. I mean in a sense law school prepares you for law as a profession, but good grades in law school don't guarantee you will be a good lawyer.

    Now that we have made the distinction between law school and law as a profession, its important to recognize that I said LSAT has some connection to LAW SCHOOL. I have no clue if it has a connection being a lawyer, I am not a lawyer, and have never worked in the legal field.

    Finally, to the point that everyone keeps talking about... LSAT as an indicator of success and whether or not it should be weighted more or less equally than GPA, let me say this. Look, law schools do look FAR beyond your LSAT score, it really is a subjective approach. They look at your LSAT as a starting point, but then dig deeper into your GPA, EC's, personal statement, work history, and everything else. If you are a single mother who only got a 160, but you were working full time and taking care of a child, they are not going to say you didn't hit 165 so your out.

    But why is the LSAT the starting point? Well some have already stated the reason.. its fair ACROSS the board. It's not that there isn't a better way to evaluate applications, because there could be. It's the fact that it is a tool that works economically and administratively for assessing applications. When you are a law school admission advisor and you have THOUSANDS of applications coming from HUNDREDS of schools, and SEVERAL disciplines... how on earth can you say anything is EQUAL across the boards besides the LSAT score? Everyone has a different applications, different EC's, different family situations, different professors (some may mark harder than others- this is no secret!), different times they took courses (ex: summer courses shorter than reg. courses-> means less time to prepare). So, overall I would say using the LSAT makes sense since it is the same test across the nation that everyone has the right to take and study for to prove themselves.

    Look the real point here is why are you all arguing over whether the LSAT is a good indicator or a fair measure to get accepted. Like I said law schools look beyond your LSAT score and take MANY things into considerations. And lastly, it is what they do! So accept it! Study hard! Arguing with 7sagers over whether its fair is not going to make it anymore likely for them to accept that you aren't good at test taking, they simply do not care. They do not have time to sift through all the applications and get a full detail on who you are as a person, theres not enough time or money to do this properly.

    The good news is that you know how they evaluate! So just kick the LSAT's A** and you will be fine :)

    Edit: I should also state that I also struggled with the LSAT (look at my comments/discussions when I was studying if you don't believe me). I understand it is difficult for some (incl. myself), but that is an obstacle, NOT a barrier!
  • mcmlaw36mcmlaw36 Alum Member
    631 karma
    @chrijani7 This was incredibly helpful and motivational to me. Thank you for taking the time to post - I know there are many out there who wouldn't :)
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