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How I Scored a 180 on the LSAT

When people read about my LSAT score (180), they often ask, “How the hell…?”

That’s a good question, and one I don’t even know if I can answer to anyone’s satisfaction. Gator meat, though, played a large role.

I decided to go to law school after graduation rather late in the game. Until the end of my junior year, I was planning to go into pharmaceutical research (hence the biochemistry degree). It sounded like a great plan.

Then, I spent a semester in a lab.

It’s hot, sweaty, and mostly boring. You sit around measuring out miniscule amounts of catalysts, and then wait around for your reaction to finish. For every second of pure awesome mad science-ry you see in a movie, I guarantee you the evil genius spent 20 years on failed experiments and waiting (and waiting…).

So by the time I set my sights on law school, it was September 9, and the LSAT I needed to take was about a month away.

Yes, I prepped for the LSAT in a month.

No, I really wouldn’t recommend it.

I took a diagnostic (completely cold – I had no idea what was on the exam) and scored (I believe) a 163. After that, I ordered a ton of books and practice tests. After 2-3 days with some books (which shall not be named), I gave up on that route, as they were almost universally terrible.

Instead, I took practice LSAT test after practice LSAT test.

Seriously, I was taking about two LSAT practice tests a day, with a full review afterwards.

Ten-hour days, sore neck from sitting hunched over, and my eyesight went downhill fast. Additionally, the only LSAT testing site available was in Westchester, PA, some 300 miles from where I was studying.

In all honesty, this was the most inefficient way I could have studied for the LSAT. Instead of getting methods from other people to avoid having to create them from scratch, I built my own method through blood, sweat, and tears (and definitely copious amounts of alcohol over the weekend – after all, it was my senior year at BC).

But it did work.

About a week before the LSAT, I was averaging a solid 173 LSAT score. Every LSAT was in that range, plus or minus a few points.

Then, I went down to stay at my aunt’s house (she lived in Westchester, a few blocks away). We went out for some Cajun food, and I had gator for the first time.

First off, gator’s delicious. Second, after that night, something clicked.

I went from my 173 LSAT score average to straight 178s. I took a few more LSAT practice tests between then and the actual LSAT, all 178. I was feeling pretty good.

So we went out for some more gator the night before the LSAT, and I woke up feeling ready.

On the LSAT, I felt solid on everything except one Logical Reasoning section. I honestly think I went -8 or so; luckily, it was the experimental. After switching a few Logic Games questions at the last second (the light switch game, for anyone who’s wondering), I went home and waited for the LSAT score.

Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was.

So that’s my tale. Would I recommend the one-month, brute force, Shinners method? No. At the very least, find some LSAT prep strategies online from a reputable source. Take an LSAT prep class. Do anything but spend more time than you need to studying for the LSAT. Because even working in a lab was more fun than the LSAT prep.

Also, gator meat.