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How to Prepare for the LSAT

By Josh Lamel

This past semester has been crazy for me. All of you out there who have said, "I haven't seen you in a while," passing me on the Hill every day, I hear you loud and clear. You see, I want to go to law school, a good one too.

I began my investigation into law schools last spring and got material from over thirty schools. To get into law school, one has to take the LSATs, which is by far the most stressful experience I have ever been through.

The LSATs contain five sections: two logic, one analytical, one reading comprehension and an essay. They last almost four hours, but require weeks of preparation. You see, LSAT scores are worth 50-75 percent of your total evaluation. One test composed of 101 multiple choice questions and an essay counts up to three times as much as every test, every final, every paper, every goddamn thing that one does at Colgate. Think about how stressed you were for that midterm last week, and imagine that stress combined with the rest of your Colgate career, and you have only gotten to half of what I felt leading to that fateful day on October 5.

The amazing thing about the test is that if you get below 75 percentile of all the people taking the test, you can kiss any hopes of getting into even a middle-of-the-road law school good-bye. Below 60 percentile, and you've wasted all the time and money spent preparing. It is amazing to think that 60 percent of all those who have done well enough to consider going to law school watch their dreams fade away because of 101 questions.

How tough is the process? Well, scoring in the 95th percentile on the test is a score of 164 out of a possible 180. A 164 is considered a good score. At the 17th ranked law school according to U.S. News and World Report, it is only the average score of those accepted.

Let's say that you got only three more questions wrong on the test. That would give you a 161 and drop you down to a school ranked in the mid thirties. In terms of average starting salaries from the graduates of those schools, this is a difference of $20,000! Three questions worth $20,000. The real world is really a game show.

Through the stress of the LSATs, I still have been doing my school work. The first semester senior year grades are often used as a deciding factor between candidates whose portfolios are otherwise equal. They show where a candidate currently is academically, which a cumulative G.P.A. does not do.

So the process continues for me, as I now have to do my applications. Thirteen days from now, I will get my LSAT scores back and begin to get an idea of where I am going next year. To all those going through this hell of a process like I am, good luck. Just think, it only gets worse from here. Next year is nicknamed "mental boot camp." To those of you who are thinking of doing it in the future, as bad as it is, I will probably look back on the past couple months as a rewarding experience that has helped me grow as a person.

And for all of those who have been asking me where I've been, you now know where. I just can't wait for next spring, where I can sit back, put my name on a bar stool instead of a green chair in the library, and smile.

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