Monday, December 07, 2009


I took the LSAT again on Saturday morning, this time at Duquesne University, after having previously taken it in June at Pitt. For whatever reason, the June LSATs are administered in the afternoon, rather than the morning, as are the other tests. I was quite glad to have the afternoon testing option then but had to settle for an early morning appointment this time.

I arrived a little before our 8:30 a.m. deadline, and it would have been OK even if I'd been a bit late. The proctors had to read lots of boilerplate, and we had to bubble in our names and various ID numbers and survey question responses. The guy next to me called over a proctor to ask if he had to give his Social Security number and/or sex, since he declined to do that when he registered to take the test.

They ultimately told him to leave it as it was when he registered (this was, to me, the obvious answer) but he's going to have to give that out sooner or later in law school applications, so why didn't he do it when he registered? (I only spoke to him briefly, but given that he omitted both of those, and his general attitude I'm fairly certain this was a political thing, and not a matter of questioning his gender identity.) Seriously, who does that? His name was William or something--pretty obvious giveaway at least on the gender question. Does he really think that being male or female will, in applying for law schools' classes of 2013, be an issue either way?

The test went well for me--and depending on which logic games section is the experimental section (and which counts towards my score), I'd say it may have gone very well indeed. One of the things I got from doing around ten practice tests in the 2 weeks leading up to the real LSAT was getting a sense of how well (or not) any given sitting is going, so based on that I'd say I was above the average of what I'd been getting--but let me make that announcement more clearly when actual scores come out in a few weeks.

One semi-interesting fact about the whole process is that each test is scored and scaled against everyone else taking that test. So, in fact, if I think I did decently well on Saturday, but it was a pretty easy test, I may fall right in the middle of the pack. If it was a hard enough test that many people did poorly, I would benefit, as I would if many people who were not very well prepared showed up to take the exam. Since I'm competing with my neighbor William the Paranoid, everyone else in the room, and applicants across the country, this leaves me with a dilemma:

Do I wish them good luck or not?

I mean, I want to be a nice guy and friendly and all that, but honestly, if any of them does better, that may mean that I score worse. Selfish, I guess, but nobody else was falling over himself or herself to give me good wishes. Actually, people were not in an especially talkative mood at all, but I'm not surprised.

At the "halftime" break between sections three and four, I came into the lobby and it was snowing lightly outside. I could only see that as a good omen. (I had the most random snack with me for that: a single piece of three-day old pita bread--the only thing handy to grab when I was on the way out the door that morning. No wonder people weren't talking to me.)

Finally, I was so pleased with myself about the mandatory LSAT writing sample, which, regrettably, does not contribute to one's score. (I began in a good mood since the proctors' script included the direction that we "write an essay, in English, on the topic listed" for us.

LSAT essay prompts are all of a form asking for a recommendation between two courses of action, many that I've seen relating to a business decision (a business should expand in a certain direction, or a client should hire one of two firms, etc.). In this case, a theatre group was deciding between staging a well-known play or commissioning a new play, and balancing its interests to serve the audience as well as local writers and actors. I ultimately told them that they should commission a new play, in part since that course alone allowed for the support of local writers. Though this option turned down the large audiences and corporate support likely with the selection of the existing play, I closed by quoting Julius Caesar, writing "Audaces Fortuna iuvat--Fortune favors the bold. The company should commission a new play."

And now, I get to stress and procrastinate about a completely different set of things.

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