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How the LSAT is Like a Night at the Oscars

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How the LSAT is like a night at the Oscars.

The Oscars were on Sunday, and if you’re like me then you were forced to sit through oohs and ahhhs over Mila Kunis’s lilac dress.  Yes, I used the word lilac.  So as my girlfriend was rating Anne Hathaway’s twelfth dress of the night, I cast about for anything else to think about.  So here it is, borne out of my job as an LSAT instructor and my inability to get out of boyfriend Oscar duty:  10 ways the LSAT is like the academy awards.

I know, I know, there are ways that they differ.  No testing center is going to roll out the red carpet, and you won’t be wearing Vera or Gucci (unless they have a line of sweatpants of which I’m not aware). Also, cameras aren’t allowed. However, there are similarities, and not just because Alec Baldwin should clearly be the host/proctor.

9. There will be an old person there, and he will kick all of the young people’s asses.

Kirk Douglas is ancient. He’s so old that people make fun of his son for being too old to marry Catherine Zeta Jones. And yet, he kicked James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s collective ass while presenting Best Supporting Actress. Not only that, but if you added up the ages of all the women who offered to go home with him that night (and they were legion), it still wouldn’t reach his years.

Similarly, there’s going to be someone in their 40s or 50s sitting in the room beside you. You’re going to wonder why the hell they’re throwing a career away to head back to law school. And while you’re doing that, they’re going to be racking up points on the exam. As someone returning to school, they’re probably more focused and determined than you, and it’s going to show up in their score.

8. Smoking pot before a performance is a terrible idea.

While James Franco may be a beloved stoner in many films, he wasn’t a beloved stoner while hosting the awards. Almost everything he said seemed to be an inside joke that only he understood. He rambled, he stumbled, and he barely made it through the night; I don’t imagine he’ll be invited back next year.

If you show up to the LSAT high, you’re going to start laughing at those damned extinct dinosaurs and spend fifteen minutes trying to figure out why Thurgood Marshall is in yet another passage. And you won’t be invited to a law school.

7. If you show up unprepared, you’re in big trouble.

The LSAT is a test for which you can prepare quite a bit; hell, that’s the entire philosophy behind our company. But if you don’t prepare, you’ll end up like Melissa Leo, the winner of the Best Supporting Actress award. Not only did it appear as if she didn’t know she’d win, it seemed she didn’t even think she was the best supporting actress in her own film. Rambling, cursing, and flirting with Kirk Douglas (which was the theme of the evening), her lack of preparation made the first big award speech one that ended with a look of horror on her face. Watch that scene, and if you don’t want to look like her after the LSAT, start hitting the books.

6. Five choices, only one correct answer.

For the most part, five nominees is par for the course at the Oscars. It’s also what you’ll be facing on the LSAT. And, every time, there’s only one right answer. Sure, occasionally you’ll get a Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie on the LSAT, but generally the universe will correct itself and the right answer will win out.

5. It’s political, and it’s liberal.

Winner of the Best Documentary this year was Inside Job, a look at the traders and CEOs that brought down the economy (at least, that’s what I’m told; does anyone actually watch these things?). The acceptance speech was one that would make a Republican cringe. That’s the same philosophy that you’ll see on the LSAT. When reading a RC passage, remember that the flaming liberals at the LSAC won’t pick a passage that doesn’t have a progressive message. That’s sure to gain you at least a point or two on main point questions.

4. Unless you’re British, dressing in drag never works.

I don’t think I need an explanation for this one.

3. This is the time to make a comeback.

Drinking and fighting. These are the reasons that your GPA is so low. Too much time in bars, not enough time in class.

These were also Christian Bale’s problems. But he taught us that a humble and emotional speech at the Oscars can recast you in the public’s eye.

The LSAT can do the same for you and law schools. Make up for that low GPA by rocking out an awesome LSAT score.

2. What happens before the event is more important that what goes on during it.

Honestly, when was the last time that the Oscars was worth watching? It seems that every year, the internet laments the terrible show. Most of the time, you’re better off just reading who won the next day and watching YouTube clips of the memorable moments.

However, the red carpet is talked about for weeks. The dresses and hairstyles are analyzed and over-analyzed (ScarJo was looking a little rough…). What goes on before the Oscars is arguably of more import than the show itself, at least to the average viewer.

The same can be said for the LSAT. The exam is tough, and it requires focus, but the preparation is what’s going to make or break your score. And while you’ll probably look like ScarJo during much of the studying process (and probably during the exam itself), you can still pull off a good score even if you can’t pull off a Rodarte.

1. There are very few surprises.

Thanks to the internet, statistics, and Vegas, the science of predicting Oscar winners is pretty exact. There were few, if any, surprises when winners were announced.

The LSAT is also a fairly static test. You know what sections will be on the exam. You know the question types. You know that logic has been the same since Aristotle. The only difference here is that the Oscars are worse for it, and the LSAT is better! So start studying, be prepared, and go home with that golden statue perfect score!

Article by Blueprint Philadelphia instructor and lilac dress aficionado Matt Shinners.

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