Friday, March 17, 2006

Endurance Practice

Kaplan administers free practice tests for the LSAT. Obviously, they want you to buy their prep class; the idea is that you take a free test, they tell you the score, and then they promise to raise that score if you sign up for the class at a discounted rate.

By the end of the class you'll have taken five full-length tests, which is valuable enough. But they also mail you a box of books — literally, a box filled with six fat books totaling nearly 3,000 pages. They promise that if your score doesn't improve, you'll get a full refund; but if you don't complete the homework then you don't qualify for the refund, and I can't imagine anyone doing all this stuff and not improving.

I've taken two tests so far. My first score was 163, and my second dropped to 162. It's a scaled score, so actually I might have gotten more questions correct on the second test; but in any case, I wasn't disappointed. I'm a former archery champion, and I know that consistency is what differentiates skill from a lucky shot. The second score tells me that my first wasn't a fluke. That's good news.

That said, I'm swamped. I already had enough on my plate and now I've got another shelf of books to process — plus, by the way, a plethora of online workshops and quizzes that accompany the paperwork. But I've found the difference between "busy" and "stressed" is usually a matter of pace, and I know the work will pay off — a better score equals a better school equals a better career equals a better life. This is a high-stakes table, and I came to win.

Besides which, if I'm ever tempted to feel overwhelmed, I remember a word of advice given to me years ago by a mentor: "If you want something done, give it to a man who's busy."


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