Saturday, September 30, 2006

Back in Session

I stopped posting last month when it occurred to me that if I found myself sitting at my desk at home with enough free time to write a column, then I ought to be spending that time studying for the LSAT. So I did — and today, I took the test.

When I took the Kaplan course in the spring, I couldn't raise my score above 170. That pissed me off. Maybe it's childish, but I felt like the test was 'beating' me; so I postponed my test date from June until September and I drew up a new preparation plan using Kaplan's extra materials (which included 12 full-length tests and every LSAT section that's ever been released). The good news is, I succeeded. In every practice test I took in recent weeks, I scored above 170.

Then on Friday, something broke. I froze in the middle of a logic game section. It was probably a mistake to drill myself on the day before the test; I should have just let my confidence ride and taken the day off. But I calmed myself, I finished the test, and I reminded myself that I had been working hard and achieved solid progress. I reassured myself with my sincere belief that chance favors the prepared mind.

LSAC rules prohibit disclosure of specific details about the test before its official release, and I'm not dumb enough to publicly disregard that warning on the World Wide Web — but there's a good story here, and if I remember, I'll tell it after the test's release. The bottom line is, Pasteur was right: Chance does favor the prepared mind, and sometimes it's damned uncanny to see that principle in action.

I've often said that you can't rehearse for a studio recording by playing live gigs. That little red light changes the dynamics of the entire system — and the same was true here. I don't feel like I did as well on this test as I have at home, although the conditions were otherwise identical, because there's something about Test Day™ that you just can't replicate. But that's OK. My preparation paid off; I'm certain that I scored better than I would have otherwise, and what's more, I felt prepared.

As I left the building afterward, I remarked to another student, "That's something we'll never have to do again, for the rest of our lives." That's a satisfying feeling. I'm not sure I broke 170, but I'm confident that I did well. The scores will be released in 3–4 weeks, which gives me time to arrange my letters of recommendation and polish my personal statement. In the meantime, study break is over. I'm back.