December 5, 2008

10 Ways to Get Ready for the Morning of the LSAT

(I've also written several more LSAT Test Day Tips posts - check them out!)

For those of you taking the LSAT this Saturday, chances are you'll be free of it forever - congratulations! For the rest of you, file this away until your turn comes, whether it's in February or June of 2009 and beyond.


1. Check out your test center.

If you haven't done so already, take an hour or two to drive out to the test center. It'll familiarize you with the location and neighborhood, reducing anxiety. Printing out the directions is one thing, but seeing the road itself is another.

2. Plan what to wear.

I'm not saying the LSAT is a fashion show. I'm talking strictly about functionality here. Wear multiple layers of clothing that makes you feel comfortable - your favorite t-shirt/sweatshirt are good choices. You don't know if the test center will be hot or cold. Don't bring a hoodie, though. I had to stash mine in a park outside the test site when I took the LSAT because the security wouldn't let me bring it inside, and there's nowhere in the building to leave banned items.

3. Plan what to bring.

Prepare your clear plastic bag with new sharpened No. 2 pencils, some energy bars, a banana, water, valid photo ID, printed admission ticket, one logic game (see #9), and an analog wristwatch, which you will be able to keep on your desk throughout the exam. It's important to bring a watch because there might not even be a clock in the room. You might also want to bring a newspaper to read on the way there. Check LSAC's test day rules for what's allowed, as the rules seem to change each year. Note that the official rules do not permit you to bring a cell phone, so think about how you can deal with this.

4. Don't study.

If you've spent a reasonable amount of time preparing, you either know or it you don't at this point. So take the day off. Go for a run, watch a movie, have dinner with family or friends. Try to think about the world after the LSAT (yes, it exists!).

5. Go to bed early and set two alarm clocks.

Make sure to get enough sleep so you'll have plenty of energy on test day. Avoid consuming anything with caffeine after 3PM.


6. Wake up early.

You should already be on an early schedule and getting enough sleep - especially if you've been taking practice exams at the time of day when your test will be.

7. Eat healthy, and eat a lot.

Some people advocate eating a light breakfast. However, I believe eating a full meal is important because you'll be sitting at one of those desks for several hours. Test center mishaps are more common than they should be, and some students report spending up to 7 or 8 hours in the test room. While this isn't likely to happen to you, it is possible. You'll probably be there for at least 4.5 - 5 hours. You don't want to be hungry when you already have enough to worry about. Eat foods with protein, and avoid coffee unless you absolutely need it.

8. Allow extra time to get to the test center.

Traffic delays can happen at the most random of times. Arrive early to make sure you get all the time you're permitted, and make sure your mode of transportation is reliable. If you're driving, have the phone number of a taxi handy in case you have car trouble (especially for December/February test-takers).

9. Do one logic game.

Immediately before walking inside the test center, re-do your "favorite" logic game, one you've done before and fully understand. Doing these logic games questions will increase your morale and get your brain in LSAT-mode so the first question you're doing that day isn't the first question of the actual exam.

10. Relax.

The LSAT is just a test. Sure, it matters, but if something goes wrong, you can always retake it or cancel your score.

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