Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thinking About Cancelling Your LSAT? Words from a Veteran.

I've been getting alot of hits over the last week or so regarding LSAT cancellations, so, in that light:

Little children: STOP IT. Go home, make yourself a big cup of tea, and let the feelings of self-doubt and loathing wash over you. It will be better in the morning.

The LSAT is your bitchy high school friend- you need her validation, but she will make you cry into your pillow at night, alone. You need her to get invited to the cool parties (Hellooooooo Harvard), but you're going to have to make yourself miserable to get there.

No, really.

In a purely practical sense, it is a waste of time and money to take the LSAT, only to cancel later. You walked in the door knowing how prepared you were: and, like it or not, your LSAT is not any harder than the ones you've been practicing on (Mine was, of course, but I digress). Feel awful? Good. You're supposed to. Just wait till you get to school.

Like law school, the LSAT is not designed to make you feel good. At my test time, several people left the room in tears, mid test. We call those people 'quitters,' and someday they will grow up to be paralegals, or miserable.

As overachievers, we are all trained to seek perfection.
If you get a perfect 180, you will get into the Best. School. Ever. If you get into BSE,** there will be puppies and candy. Everyone will love you, and you will get the Best. Job. Ever. Here, you will meet the love of your life, and have the Best. Life. Ever. Everyone will love you, and it will never rain, because you got 180 on the LSAT.

Two points really does make a difference: that's why you've been studying so hard, right?
But, at this point in the game, as you quiver in your closet and dread the day that scores are announced, you've already lost those two points. You've had the last several years to put in your time: two points might be the leadership position you held in a club, the second language you're fluent in, or the extra draft you put in on your personal statement.

We're all hoping for perfection. However, backing down after the test for a 'do-over' is not really an effective way to obtain it. Everyone (everyone) leaves the LSAT and considers cancelling. The LSAC's cancellation policy is designed with the perfect amount of time between when you leave the test room (broken, beaten, thinking about everything that went wrong) and when you finally resume enough brain function to reflect on how wrecked you actually were, and how terribly you surely must have done.

None of this is reasonable, no matter how sane you think you are right now. The LSAT makes you crazy (See: me, this blog, 2006 onward).

Be strong, and don't make excuses. You've prepared all you could, and now you've got to bite the bullet and own your work. In part, it is about learning when to say "I've done all I can": in part, it is about playing to win. If you walk away scared from a test like this, your second time around is not going to be easierThe Law School Admissions Council smells fear. They are coming for you, and it is going to to be just as ugly the second time around. Unfortunately, the second time around, you've already backed down.
True Story, by way of consolation: In the aftermath, the true gunners here are not sporting the best LSAT scores, if they talk about them at all. They are the sneaky little bastards who got the memo on working their asses off with commitment & humility, and they are quietly taking over the world.
Then, the fake gunning, and excessively annoying, types, LSAT or no LSAT, get their egos blown from time to time, and that's rewarding, too.
It is all going to be ok: you've committed to the fight, so don't back down now. Instead, buy yourself a carton of ice cream, turn on the radio, and find someone to tell you you're clever, even if its your mother. Its going to be a long application season.

Best of luck to the 2007-2008 cycle applicants: the veterans are pulling for you!

**BSE: Best School Ever. Also, notably, Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis ("Mad Cow" disease). Coincidence? I think not.


virginia said...

Thank you for this. I just got my scores today what I had hoped. I was wrecked, but really, so what? I did what I did, it's over, let's go to law school.

Movin' on...

goodynyc said...

I start law school in August and that is, by far, the single best post regarding the LSAT that I have ever read (and I have read a lot of them). It should be mandatory reading for every pre-1L in the nation. Every word of it is dead-on truth. Simply fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I took the LSAT once, kept my first score, retook it canceled the second. My logic is, the first score was okay and if I'm keeping another one, it better be perfect.

All rights reserved to my snotty and generally self-deprecating writing. And if your comments bother me, I'll delete them. That's right, pumpkin.
...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson