Does LSAT Study Make you a Functional Law Student?
- Jun 15, 2010
- Law School Life
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
First off, congratulations to everyone who just recently took that pesky little LSAT. Don’t worry, with a few minor exceptions, the worst is behind you… now it’s time to sit back and- wait.
As you settle into one of the longest waits of your life, you may be wondering if you will ever again use all that information you spent the last few months learning, practicing and living. Well this is where I swoop in to assure you, it is not completely irrelevant to your future!
I mean, probably about 99.97% will never again matter (except for the part where you get an awesome LSAT score and TONS OF BJs). Maybe even 99.98%. But there will be that at least 0.02% of the rest of your life where you find yourself thinking, “Golly, I’m glad I learned that on the LSAT.”
What will that 0.02% look like? Well read on, and enjoy.
I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the vast majority of the information on the LSAT, true or not, will have absolutely no bearing on the rest of your legal career. Ditrama is not a real place, the only demographic that gives a crap about sharks is under the age of five and unless you need to hide a body, peat bogs are pretty inconsequential. [BONUS: since mommies can’t be lawyers you’ll never have to worry about fighting lunch detentions that are based on raisin throwing offenses.]
However, there are some subjects that you’ll see again. Thurgood Marshall? Yeah, turns out he was a pretty big deal in real life, as well as on the LSAT. Alternative Dispute Resolution? We spent a whole class on that in Civ Pro! The Native Americans?
You are going to get the court opinion where John Marshall royally screws them! Just think, without that decision, LSAC probably would have run out of reading comp passages half a decade ago.
Admittedly, these are also subjects that you probably learned about before you started studying, and none of the little factoids that LSAC has so gloriously bestowed upon you will actually help you in law school. But they will come up, and if you want to be like me, you can turn to the person next to you and hiss Hey! That was on the LSAT! You will also, like me, lose friends.
I do have one warning, though. Be sure you don’t fall into the “vague recognition” trap. Sure, you may recognize the name Ronald Dworkin, but do you actually recall anything about him? (Except that his last name morphs so nicely into Dworkinator.) Remember, bringing up something you learned on the LSAT is probably the second lamest thing you could do in law school.
But saying you learned about something on the LSAT, but not actually knowing anything about the subject? That is number one.
[Note: Topics on the LSAT are also not useful for picking up members of the opposite sex. Unless, of course, your target is also studying for the LSAT. In that case, it might be helpful. But it wouldn’t matter anyhow because smelly, irrational couples that are constantly planning how they will fit all their friends into two boats don’t last very long.]
Prior to ever taking a final, I wrote a post discussing how each section relates to the law school experience in general. Overall, I stick to what I said. However, in my innocence, I overlooked one skill that is super important for both the LSAT and your law school finals.
Part of the beauty (horror) of the LSAT is that you are expected to perform under really tightly timed conditions. You probably spent ten weeks forcing yourself, question by question, to finish as much of the test as you could in 35-minute slices. By the time the test came around, you would close your eyes at night and visions of analog watches, which never went past 12:35, danced in your dreams.
I regret to be the one to inform you, but you will take finals that are equally time crunched. Except, in some ways, it will be even worse because most law school finals are not numbered and/or multiple choice. So, when studying, you aren’t just trying to squeeze a relatively predictable number of questions into a set period of time. Instead, you will get a fact pattern that you could probably write about for five days; instead you will be limited to three hours. While studying you will make elaborate flow charts and cheat-sheets in hopes that you can recall all of the content you need as quickly as possible, and then when the day comes you’ll literally vomit thousands of words out in those three hours.
And with both the LSAT and your finals one rule remains true: you freeze, and you’re in trouble. Which means, now that you’ve gotten through one high-pressure, tightly timed test you can get through another. Hell, you could do four a semester. You are that much of a badass. Bring it on world.
Enjoy the wait. And the sunshine. And the freedom.
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