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From the Archives: 5 Things to Repeat on LSAT Test Day

The February LSAT is next weekend. You probably want to panic, but don’t. This is exciting. You’ve prepared for weeks and weeks, and all that hard work is going to pay off. Keep reminding yourself of that, all the way until the test. And when you’re taking the test itself next Saturday, keep telling yourself these things to stay calm:

It’s Just Another Practice Exam – People tend to think that their LSAT will somehow be different. They think that since it’s the real LSAT exam, it will somehow be harder. But it won’t be. Sure, things change here and there, but for the most part it’s not going to be new or different. Remember: Everyone around you on LSAT test day studied for the same thing.

The LSAT is Incredibly Interesting – This applies mostly to LSAT Reading Comp. We all know that Reading Comp can really suck. Who wants to learn about 20th century literature? You do. That’s right. Get excited, because you’re reading about the most interesting thing you’ve ever heard of. If you can convince yourself of this, you’ll become much more engaged, and do much better.

You’re Surrounded By Idiots – You will see many other people taking the LSAT with you. People will seem very confident. People will talk about how they got straight 180 LSAT scores on their last five practice tests. People will talk about how the LSAT isn’t that hard. They’re lying. They’ve never taken a practice exam and are going to get a 121. People will say many things, but none of it matters, and most of it is wrong. Remind yourself that it’s just you versus the LSAT, and what other people say or think is irrelevant.

This Can Be Done – When you’re looking at a problem that you just can’t crack, it’s easy to think that it’s just unsolvable. But don’t let yourself go down that road. Remind yourself that this, like all LSAT problems, is totally doable. When you get your LSAT score in four weeks, it’ll make total sense. One answer choice will be fantastic, and four will be garbage. And if you’ll be able to see that when you’re reviewing the test, you’ll be able to see it when you’re doing the test. Reminding yourself that every problem has an answer is often all you need to get back into the swing of things.

It’s Not a Test. It’s Just 125 Questions – Another thing that’s easy to get bogged down by is fixating on what the LSAT determines – your law school future. That may be true, but focusing on that won’t help you at all. Rather than viewing the LSAT as one test, you should view it as just 125 questions that you’re going to try to get right. If you can forget why you’re trying to get them right, and the fact that you’ll be getting a score, you’ll be a lot less stressed and a whole lot more focused.

An original version of this post ran on Most Strongly Supported in 2011.