When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, I was still just deciding when I would take my Law School Admission Test, or LSAT. With the pandemic at large, all LSATs switched over to the LSAT-Flex. In these unprecedented times came an LSAT that was an online, virtually proctored and a shorter version of the original. After countless hours of studying, two burnt-out desk lamps, some proctor horror stories and a completed law school admissions application cycle, I wanted to reflect on my experience with the dreaded LSATs.
Going into the test, the first thing I had to figure out was how I wanted to study. Since everything was virtual and I was taking a lot of asynchronous classes, I figured I would manage just fine with the self-study route. I joined a Facebook group to learn what the best tools and texts were and hit the “buy now” button on my Amazon cart full of study books. The self-study route was definitely isolating at times and required far more discipline than a guided study group or tutoring session. At the time, I thought I was saving myself from the extra Zoom fatigue. However, looking back now, I wish I had taken a route that gave me a bit more structure and left less room for procrastination. Nonetheless, I got through my LSAT trainer and books full of practice tests.
The actual exam was online, with a proctor watching through your screen. As hard I thought it would be, it was even harder on the day of the test. There was something unnatural about taking a high-stakes test while being in the comfort of my own bedroom. It also felt strenuous staring at a screen full of exam questions for more than two hours. Although the LSAT-Flex cut down the original by one section and created a writing section you could complete at a later time, my test-taking instincts were longing to be in a classroom setting, marking my answers with pen and paper. Moreover, there were technical difficulties and proctor miscommunications that are rarely found in the traditional test setting.
Needless to say, after being a student for 15 years, changing the entire way I learned material, not to mention testing strategies, was no easy task. Even though I got through it, I can admit that it was extremely hard, and the experience challenged me both academically and mentally. But as I got my results and started applying to schools, my acceptance letters told me that the hard and unprecedented journey to get there was worth it.
To anyone taking exams for graduate school in the midst of the pandemic, my advice would be to create a clear structure for your study plans. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not performing as well as you usually do, and remember to take care of yourself. What may feel impossible now may be the process of your dreams coming true.
Contact Marissa Boling at [email protected].