Have you ever wondered what it takes to study for the LSAT? Check out our latest series, A Day in the Life of a PowerScore LSAT Student, which chronicles the journey of an actual PowerScore student studying for the LSAT. Candace, a student in one of our Full-Length LSAT Courses, will share with you her experiences as she attends class and prepares for her future life as a law school student. Be sure to check it out!
Proctored Exam 1…Test Day, well kind of. The Powerscore full-length course begins on a Saturday morning with the first of four proctored LSATs. The morning of the first Powerscore proctored exam I went for a long run on the beach to clear my mind and to prepare myself to take the LSAT. Focus. Determination. Drive. These are my goals for the day. I grabbed a coffee and left early to ensure that I would be at the class with plenty of time for the 10AM start. I arrived at the class with my pencils and a packed lunch, ready to face the LSAT for the first time. I walked into the class and got a first glimpse of the students who would be preparing and studying with me over the summer. There were roughly fifteen students in the class, each student sitting at a long table of three chairs. Upon each table rested a notepad and pen for each student, waiting to be scribbled over with notes.
The instructor introduced himself and gave a bit of background information on the LSAT – the scores lie between the range of 120-180, most students falling somewhere between 145-160. Although 160 may be a low score, the instructor encouraged all of the Powerscore students when he stated that his first practice proctored exam was in the 150-160 range, but after completing the prep course, he ended up with a score between 170-180. These words of encouragement gave me a boost of confidence. I am no longer worried about a low score on this first proctored exam since I will work toward reaching my goal score throughout the summer. It is impossible to replicate the anxiety and nervousness students feel on the real test day. Since this exam is only a practice exam, none of the students in the class feel real anxiety. However, taking a practice exam can be the perfect time to prepare oneself for the nerves of the real test day. The instructor said that taking five minutes of silent time before each practice exam to reflect on your feelings and write down anything that is running through your mind will allow you to relax and focus on the task at hand. This is a good habit to pick up to calm your nerves on test day, and so each of us takes out some silent time before the proctored exam begins. Finally, after a long moment of silence, the instructor tells us to open the test booklet and begin.
We have 35 minutes for Section 1. Since my area of expertise is English and Philosophy, the first section, or the Reading Comprehension section, flies by. Read slowly, take it all in, think, be logical, don’t let your nerves get in the way of your thinking. Deep breaths, you have the skills to do this. The more questions that I answer and the more stories that I read, I begin to feel a calm set in. I am in my element, circling the standout words and phrases in each passage and answering the questions that follow.
I make sure to read the questions carefully: “which of the following WEAKENS the argument stated” is very different from “which answer STRENGTHENS the argument”, and if I am not careful I can pick the wrong answer when the instructions are clearly there right in front of me. The LSAT was not made to trick me, I just have to take enough time and allow myself to focus in order to discover which answer, A B C D or E, is the right one.
After section 1 is completed we move on to sections 2 and 3 and then take a short 7-minute break before finishing the LSAT with sections 4 and 5. So far, the LSAT has not been as difficult as I envisioned. As long as I stay calm and focused, the LSAT is more than manageable.
The fourth section is the section on logic games and this is the section that I find to be the most challenging. I have a hard time finishing this section and I discover that this section is the one that I will have to study for most out of all the sections on the LSAT. Finally…finished. I feel accomplished, not so anxious, and ready to see how I did. I want to learn from my mistakes so that I can feel even better next time I finish that last section and put down my pencil.
The instructor asks us to submit our scores on Powerscore’s student website so that we can see how we did and also see which areas on the test need the most improvement. The instructor will also be able to view our scores online so that he too will know where each student needs the most improvement and can prioritize as needed. I packed up my things, anxious to submit my score and return tomorrow night for the first lesson.
When I arrived at home I logged on to Powerscore’s student website and plugged in my answers to each question. I winced slightly as I hit the submit button, now that I had to face my score my confidence lowered a bit. But…not bad! For my first proctored exam I got a score of 160, which is an LSAT % Rank of 81%. As expected, my lowest score was on the section of logic games. Now that I know the areas that I need to work on I am ready to begin!
On to Lesson 1!