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Countdown to the LSAT: Five Tips for Test Day

BPPmatt-lsat-blog-clockThe clock is ticking… 10 days, 9 days, 8 days, 7 days, 6 days, 5 days…

Yep, the LSAT is less than a week away. But no need to stress. Not much more than the rest of your life (higher education, career, attractiveness of your future spouse) is riding on your performance next Monday.

My last day through the ringer was last September. If you want to get a feeling for what the experience will be like, check out my pre-game post, written in the stressful moments before the big day.

These last few days can be vital to your performance. You should know by now that the LSAT is not a test for which you should cram. This is not introductory Biology. If you pull an all-nighter before the LSAT, you are in trouble. Your mental acuity is crucial.

The June examination has some unique obstacles. Namely, you don’t have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to get to your test center. The June exam is given at noon, as opposed to the customary 8 am.

So here are some tips for test day. Follow them and success is sure to follow.

(Disclaimer: nothing in life is actually sure to follow, so the above statement is in no way intended to be construed as a guarantee of your performance.)

1. Don’t study

No matter how much you are tempted to do so, or how natural it might feel to pick up your LSAT books one last time, do not study on the morning of the test. It will not help. You will have plenty on your mind (like the actual test that you have to take in a few hours), and you are guaranteed to get everything wrong. That is not the confidence boost that you need on the big morning.

2. Eat

Many students don’t eat, either voluntarily (because they think it will cause an untimely bathroom break) or involuntarily (nerves). This is a bad idea. You will likely end the exam around 4:30 in the afternoon. Assuming you are a human being with a semi-normal digestive system, you have to eat something before then.

Now, I am not advocating a meal that tests your intestinal fortitude. That test you will fail. So stay away from the grits or biscuits and gravy. But a nice little bowl of oatmeal or some bacon and eggs does a body good.

3. Exercise

Over the last few weeks, you have probably gotten into a routine that goes something like this: LSAT, sleep, LSAT, stress out, LSAT, sleep, caffeine, LSAT, text message, LSAT, Facebook, LSAT, sleep. I would urge you to break out of that pattern on the morning of the test. I already told you not to do any studying. You should also try to avoid sleeping until 10 and waking up in the nick of time to make it to your test center.

Set your alarm and get a quick workout in before heading to the test. It will clear your head and get those smart juices flowing. After reading thousands of LSAT questions over the last decade, I probably should be able to recite the physiological benefits of exercise on your brain’s functioning, but I am drawing a blank. Now don’t go running 12 miles or setting a personal best on the bench, but a leisurely jog should help.

4. Leave your phone at home

I know, that advice is damn near sacrilegious these days. But here is what is on your iPhone or Blackberry these days: distractions that make you slightly dumber every time that you turn your phone on. Not the vibe we are looking for on game day.

Do you really need to be texting before the test? Are there any Facebook updates that can’t wait until the test is over? Also, cell phones are not allowed at test centers, so you have to leave your precious little phone in the car anyway. It will be lonely, but it will survive.

5. Warm up the brain

Tip #1 was not to study. And I stand by those words. However, if you are like me, it takes your brain a few moments to click into LSAT mode. You want to get those few moments out of the way before you start the actual test. Have you ever had to read question #1 like six times before you get it? Those are the cobwebs that we would like to get out of the way.

Grab an LSAT book and bring it with you to the testing center. Before you check-in, read through a couple problems. Or tear out a page and check them out while you are waiting. You cannot bring questions into your testing room, but doing a couple questions before you enter the temple of doom can help you start quickly.

If you are going to warm up, please don’t take one last stab at that game you could never conquer. Not a good way to set the mood. Grab a couple easy questions that you have done before and just get the wheels turning.

There you have it. Five easy steps to LSAT success. I will be back tomorrow with some predictions for the test.