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February 2020 LSAT Instant Reaction

  • by Ross Rinehart
  • Feb 22, 2020
  • LSAT

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Congratulations, February test takers. You did it. You entered your test center at one point in your journey to law school, and a few hours later you emerged at another point entirely. It’s a significant accomplishment. Not that it always feels that way, we know. Most people exit their test centers like …

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But, at the very least, you can rest assured that you weren’t the least prepared person to take the exam today.

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So you should celebrate your accomplishments — go to your local watering hole, and spend hours in the restroom trying to remember whether it’s more sanitary to use the paper towels or the hand dryer. Go to your local bookstore, buy a copy and quickly set fire to The Street. Wake up tomorrow morning and pose for a family picture. Live your post-LSAT life.

But if you’re not yet ready to live life on the other side of the LSAT, if you’d like to spend a little more time luxuriating in this test, we got you. Let’s talk about this exam. Now, we can really only talk about the topics covered in the three sections. We can’t discuss which kinds of games were featured, or the answers to any of the questions, for obvious reasons. If you must reflect on this LSAT — to, for example, try to determine which section of your test was the experimental — here’s what we’ve been hearing …

A rough consensus seems to be that Reading Comp was the hardest section, and that the section progressed in an usual way. The comparative passage about gold mining in San Francisco and Mali was first, which is rare — these passages are usually the third or fourth passage. The consensus pick for the hardest passage, and maybe hardest thing period, on this test was the second passage, literary criticism and Ann Petry’s aforementioned 1946 novel The Street. Usually the hardest passage is the third or fourth one. But test takers experience less trouble with the last two passages than with the first two. (This is where the LSAT instructor in me can’t help but give advice — there’s no rule that you have to do the passages in order. For many, it makes sense to use practice exams as an opportunity to experiment with different ways to complete this section.) However, we heard few complaints about passages three, which was about tax plans, or four, which was about ice cores.

Over in the Logic Games section, most test takers mentioned that the third game, about stores in two cities, was the most difficult. We haven’t heard a ton about the other games, which included games about a family portrait and library readings. There was a potentially circular game about table assignments was in the experimental section, and people predictably lost their marbles about it, as people always do with these types of games (real heads know to just set up most “circle games” the same way they would for a basic ordering game, though).

People didn’t seem to think Logical Reasoning was especially difficult, which has been par for the course on recent exams. We mostly just heard about the random collection of unrelated topics that were discussed in these LR sections. So here is non-exhaustive list of the unrelated topics that we heard were discussed in the two real LR sections: cancer in lab mice and tea, a comparison between drying your hands with paper towels and a hand dryer, life on other planets, finding solutions to street traffic, watching the news, mammoths, rhinos, and antioxidants. Fun stuff.

On balance, it sounds like February was about as difficult as the January exam (which was generally considered to be an easier test than the September or the November 2019 exams). Our rough guess for the curve on the January test was a -10 (so you could miss 10 questions and earn a 170), so we’ll go with that here. Not that we’ll ever know what the curve actually was — the curves aren’t released for nondisclosed exams. Let’s leave any worrying about the curves to those LSAC employees who now have to release these scores to you by March 17.

If you’re thinking about canceling your score, you can read up on LSAC’s official cancellation policy here. Or you can hear it from us: you have until Friday, February 28, 11:59 pm Eastern to cancel. So you have some time. Sleep on it. Take a look at this video, featuring expert guidance from Blueprint co-founder Matt Riley.

Before canceling, you should also be aware that nearly every law school will simply use your highest LSAT when constructing your academic index, or whatever calculation it uses to assess you as an applicant. Although law schools will see every score you got on the LSAT in the last five years, the vast majority of them won’t hold having multiple LSAT scores against you to a significant degree. For most test takers, our recommendation is … don’t cancel. Choose to receive your score, just on the chance that you’ll be happy enough with the score that you don’t have to study for the next exam. For a more thorough discussion of this issue, check out this blog post.

No matter the decision, you did it. You’re on the other side now. Now, please, close this post, leave your computer for a little bit, and celebrate your accomplishment.

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