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On the LSAT Test Center Wait List

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I took the LSAT way back in September 2005, a tumultuous month that saw the opening of Disneyland Hong Kong and the swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts. We were all very excited. Also eventful was the 172 I got on the test (after taking a Blueprint course – ENROLL NOW ENROLL NOW), a score which allowed me to eventually decide that going to law school was a bad idea (a decision I hope you, too, will one day make). My score also got me a bottle of Blue Label, so financially the test paid for itself.

The following four years have been a haze of blood, sweat, tears, and nights at The Acme where, depending on the night you can smoke inside. The last two years have been especially trying, as I’ve been working as an LSAT instructor, a job that entails a rigorous 14-hour workweek, along with the requirement of having to pull myself out of bed every day at 2:30 PM. Sometimes I even work two days in a row. It’s rough, I know, but I do it for the children.

So about a month ago I decided I’d test myself and take the thing again. My 2005 score will expire in a year, and I thought it would be a good idea to keep an LSAT score in case I want to apply to law schools. In the past four years, I’ve become something of an LSAT expert. I can do logic games drunk (tried and, indeed, true). I could probably do LSAT problems in Mandarin and/or Braille. (I’m jinxing myself, I know.) I’ve taken all the tests that have come out since, but never in an actual testing center. Who knows, maybe it’ll help me relate to my dear students. Or kill a Saturday morning.

As has been discussed on this site, however, everyone and their mom is taking the LSAT this year, so I was put on a waiting list. But I was just taken off the waiting list and assigned a testing center. It’s somewhere near the Russian River. This is far. This means I would have to drive for over an hour to get there. This means my alarm might not go off, because I would never have turned it on. I haven’t fully decided yet, but what I’m planning on doing is just showing up to a closer center and seeing if I can get in. I have no immediate plans to apply to law school, so I don’t care too much if they turn me away. If that happens, I’ll just drive home and go back to sleep. For me, screw it, there’s always December. Or never. For you, this is a terrible idea.

In the past, your chances of getting in as a stand-by were pretty good, as lots of people pulled out within the last couple of days before the test. Due to the new three-week deadline, in addition to the fact that tons of people are taking the test, and there are still many people on waiting lists, the chances of getting in as a stand-by are probably a lot worse. I’d say your best bet is to go to your assigned center where you know you have a guaranteed spot. For many of you this will mean driving long distances. Which sucks, since you have to get there at the god-awful time of 8:30 AM. You have to be awake and alert, and waking up at five in the morning doesn’t exactly facilitate sharp thinking.

My modest proposal is that you should consider getting a hotel. I’ve had students do this and they were glad they did. If you can wake up later, get breakfast, and only have to drive a mile or two, you’re going to be a lot more calm and awake for this most-important day. Also, consider splurging on the Courtyard or something, because you don’t want to spend the night before the test sleeping on cardboard sheets that smell like some sort of residue from the previous tenant. Being able to order in-room adult channels is also a big plus.

If you do decide to go as a stand-by, as I will, get there early, and notify the officials of who you are and what you want. This way, if there are open spots, you’ll make sure to have saved your place in line. If not, come and join me for a beer at The Acme. I’ll be the guy taking the LSAT in braille at the bar.

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