LSAT tips for the Last Week

Four months ago, I fully expected The Last Week to be nerve-wracking. I also planned on working hard enough to have some peace of mind because there’s nothing worse than doubting yourself right before the test (Don’t Do it. Trust.). I recall thinking, “LR, you know better than to try and cram the week of the test. So make sure you’re done with everything the week before. Capiche?”

I nodded in agreement; yes, scary voice in my head, that sounds like a very wise plan indeed.

…And this week, I did my best to follow my own advice. Instead of worrying about whether I had peaked too soon (I swear, hitting a 180 is a blessing and a curse) and whether I should follow the conventional wisdom of relaxing the week of the test, I decided to stick to my guns. I adopted the mindset that I would work on tweaking my timing/guessing strategy and personal routine a little bit each day. I borrowed a tip from Socal Moslem who suggested that a way to relax and focus better is to develop a mantra/motto. His LSAT mantra glides off the tongue rather nicely, and it goes like this: First the Test, then all the Rest! It almost makes me want to bust out my conditional diagramming skills. Almost. 

Mine is going to sound like a cheap imitation, but whatever, it got me through tough moments during my LSAT prep: I will conquer the LSAT one point at a time! Every time I found myself thinking, “EFF THIS, I AM DONE FOREVAR WITH THIS SHIZ! NO MOAR LSAT IN A FEW DAYZ. WEEEE!” I stopped, breathed slowly, and reminded myself that if I can improve my testing strategy by even one point, that could be the difference between a 169 and a 170.

There are lots of good tips floating around the Interweb, but I thought I’d throw in mine for good measure. I decided to skip the important mumbo jumbo about food, sleep, and exercise because… I’d be a hypocrite since goodness knows I don’t always eat small portions of brain-healthy foods, get proper amount of sleep, or spend 30 mins exercising daily. So I figured I’d write about stuff that I actually am doing.

General LSAT Tips for the Last Week aka Things LR Does to Make Herself Feel Better about Test Day

  • Haters gonna hate, but if you need to keep your skills sharp by drilling and taking full PTs, then do it. The whole “don’t you dare cram or you shall suffer terrible consequences” advice doesn’t apply to some folks (like myself, for example). Whatever last-minute prep you’re doing, think of it as tying up loose knots.
  • Make a LSAT packet that includes some tricky games, LR problems, and RC passages that you can quickly skim each night before you go to bed and before every PT. In mine, I also included lists of conditional diagramming rules and indicator words.
  • I made a one-sheet that summarized in very general terms what to do for each section. It wasn’t hard to make, I just went through the respective Powerscore bibles and Ping’s website to collect the main points. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but per Eugenie Danglar’s smart TLS post, I will not post it on my blog since the value comes from making one yourself.
  • Articulate a clear guessing strategy for RC, LR, and LG. Will you pick A, B, C, D, or E as your default answer choice? No matter how prepared you are, those WTF moments will crop up on the real test, so don’t get caught off guard. Make a plan, and stick to it.
  • Set up a PT warmup routine if that is your cup of tea. I tried that a few times and found that it didn’t really work for me. When I was taking a practice test, I kept thinking about the earlier problems. I prefer going over general rules of thumb before PTing, like “check for floaters during games!”
  • Make a writing sample template. I liked the one from Manhattan LSAT’s blog. Dogs are very cuddly. Very true. But kitties are so naughty-cute…
  • Check your account to make sure they didn’t pull a fast one on you and made last minute changes to your test center.
  • Have a loved one remind you that YOU are a Special Snowflake that is capable of annihilating the LSAT (at least once a day).
Good Night, and Good Luck!