LSAT Hits and Myths

February 6, 2013
Adele Shapiro

There is a commercial running in the NY area for a major insurance company (I am not sure if it’s available in other states but it makes very frequent appearances here in NY) that is pretty funny but with an element of truth. The spot shows a man trying to file an insurance claim with his app, and a young woman begins to tell him of all the things she learned from the internet, including the fact that everything you read on the internet is true; the spot ends as she walks off with a young man she met on the internet who she believes to be a French model and is clearly anything but.

I was reminded of this the other day while teaching an LSAT prep class. I had a few students share with me the things they knew about the LSAT because it was posted online. Prepping for the upcoming February exam, two students were certain that it was the easiest test of the 4 tests administered in the testing year; three others knew it was the hardest.  The reality: the experts at Kaplan have looked at test trends over 18 years, and the average number of points needed for a particular score has remained fairly consistent. The curve has not been getting harder.

The LSAT essay is the subject of internet truths – it is scored, it doesn’t count, it is optional; the misinformation is staggering.  The truth is that the LSAT essay comes at the end of the LSAT, after the multiple choice exam is completed. While the essay is not scored, it cannot be dismissed as unimportant. Admissions officers at various law schools report that they do in fact look at the essays. The essay itself is not the determining factor in admissions, a good LSAT score is of course, critical, but it is often used as a tie-breaker when looking at students with similar qualifications. In addition those same admissions people report that a blank essay, a poorly written essay or an essay that is dismissive of the process will pretty much lead to automatic rejection. Essays are also used as comparisons for writing styles as a comparison to the personal essay. Certainly the essay is worth some prep time.  

Last day prep is also up for grabs with respect to the truth. Different internet sites will advise those taking the LSAT to prep right up to the end, counseling those taking the LSAT to spend all day Friday taking practice tests and doing new practice questions. Bad and wrong advice! The day before test day should be one spent relaxing and not looking at any new material. go. With 24 hours to go to test day, you are as prepped as you can be and looking at new material will only increase anxiety and hurt test day performance.

The internet is a great source of good information but always be sure you are getting it from reliable sources. Remember, just because it has been posted doesn’t mean it’s true.

Adele Shapiro

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