LSAT Diaries: A Letter to My Past LSAT-Prepping Self
- Oct 24, 2023
- LSAT Diaries
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
Madelyn Whalen, a former Blueprint LSAT student turned LSAT instructor, shared with us what she would say if she got the chance to speak to the LSAT-student version of herself before she got her 172 LSAT score.
Once upon a time, before I was an instructor, I was a Blueprint student myself. I took the LSAT three times, enrolled in two live LSAT courses, and spent one-on-one time with an LSAT tutor. For the better part of two years, this test consumed me. I remember the highs, the lows, and everything in between as if I were still in the thick of my studies. For most of that time, I never thought I could be one of those people who conquers this test.
I bring these memories – the feelings of self-doubt, lack of control, and emotional dependency on a three-digit score – to every class or tutoring session I teach. A lot of my teaching points come from reflection on what I would’ve needed to hear as a student. As much as I felt stuck in a cloud of insecurity, studying for the LSAT taught me so much about life beyond the content. And I firmly believe it was embracing these life lessons that got me to my 172 LSAT score.
I often wish I could tell the LSAT-student version of myself how important these lessons would be in reaching my goal score. Thankfully, through the power of self-reflection and our LSAT Diaries series, I can!
Dear LSAT-Student Me
Hey there. I don’t know what you’re up to right now—maybe you’re on cloud nine after getting 100% on a Logical Reasoning section for the first time, or maybe you’re having a good shower cry after getting all the questions on a “Low” difficulty Reading Comprehension section passage wrong. Either is equally likely.
As I’m sure you’ve already realized, this journey is going to come with its fair share of challenges. You’ll get the sickest you’ve ever been when you test positive for COVID the day before your first real LSAT. And then it’ll happen again two months later when you come down with the flu the week of your second test.
You’ll put off going to law school for a year because of it, and it won’t be the end of the world (even if it feels like it at the moment). But, I know it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the thick of it. So, I want to remind you that there’s more to this test beyond learning how to evaluate arguments.
The best reward for your studying won’t be the final score. It’ll be the person who emerges at the end, the person who has learned the importance of big life lessons.
Life Lessons Courtesy of the LSAT
You’ll have to change course and learn to be okay with it. Sometimes it’ll be for things out of your control, like sickness. But, sometimes it’ll be because you don’t put in as much work as you set out to initially.
Both are okay. Life happens.
You’ll learn you aren’t defined by your failures to stick to a study plan, but rather by how you accept such failures and adapt because of them.
So, it’s okay to take that Blueprint account extension. Signing up for a second live course that fits your new schedule is okay. These changes don’t mean you failed. In fact, your score will be better because of them.
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You will need a consistent, intense work ethic. As much as you think you can treat this test like those from high school or college, you can’t.
Please listen to your Blueprint instructors when they tell you there’s no such thing as successful “cramming” for this test. I know it may not get through your head the first time, but it will when you learn the hard way. Small, consistent chunks of intense studying over a long period of time are so much better than trying to put in eight-hour days for two months.
There are going to be times when things don’t go your way. Everyone, and I truly mean everyone, has those times. It’s not because you can’t ever be good at this test.
But the sooner you realize you need to give yourself a couple-hour time limit on your pity party before getting back to work, the sooner you’ll start seeing progress. Let yourself fully feel, but then learn from your mistakes rather than just sulking about them. Allow your emotions to motivate you to sign up for that extra office hours or write another “Lessons Learned Journal” entry. Transform your feelings into something productive.
You can’t take this test alone. You need others. Follow up on your instructor’s offer to meet quickly over Zoom when you feel like there’s nothing else you can possibly try to break out of your plateau in Reading Comprehension.
Respond with gratitude when that same instructor scours Reddit after the test to help you figure out which Logic Games section was experimental. Go sit at a coffee shop with your friends who are also taking Blueprint classes.
Maintaining your sanity is crucial to performing well on the LSAT. Reminding yourself you are not alone is a great way to do so.
At the end of the day, everything is going to be okay. You’re not just going to go to any law school, but you’ll get into your dream school. And the 172 LSAT score you’ll get while studying with Blueprint? It’ll get you a scholarship. You’ll also get the chance to be the instructor you had to other students just like you.
You’ll actually wind up being thankful for this test. You’ll value hard work, know you can adapt through any obstacle life throws at you, be able to bounce back so much faster from setbacks and take the time to nurture your community so much more than you would have had you never studied for the LSAT.
If you’re also ready to put in the work and see some real results, enroll in a Blueprint LSAT prep course. Whether you have the discipline to study on your own with a Self-Paced Course, want to navigate the LSAT with instructors (like me!) in a Live Course, or prefer one-on-one attention through tutoring, we have the study method that fits your learning style.
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