I’ll be writing quite a bit about the LSAT because obviously there’s a lot to say and I’m sure October and December exams are freaking y’all out about now. So here we go!
I want to first address the fear we as Black applicants have of the “10 point” score gap. Studies show that, on average, Black students score 10 points lower than their White counterparts on the exam. Many of us could write a dissertation as to why this happens but social commentary aside, this is significant in many ways. Test takers should be weary of the test and its challenges. Also, they should contextualize their score within the realm of what they have to offer.
For the majority of applicants, me included, something this drastic can have serious physiological impacts. Early on, and perhaps throughout the entire process, I felt as though I was light years away from getting into my top choice. I felt like the cards were stacked against me at every turn. I hated the weird passages they gave us for the Reading Comp. section. The logic games didn’t make sense until hella late in the game. It wasn’t until I started to talk to other Black applicants and law students that I realized how realistically likely my chances are at getting into a school like HLS.
Because of the stark score discrepancies, the LSAT could only help you as a Black applicant (unless you’re 20 points below the average). If you kill it, it can unilaterally save your application. It can be your saving grace if there are other parts of your application that may be lacking. If you don’t, that’s also fine. A decent (high 150s to low 160s) score, with a solid application, can get you into your top choices. Law schools know what’s good so don’t freak out.
Now that we got that out of the way, I want to share my study tips. Dre’s tips were cute in “Confessions,” but he just scratched the surface (No shade, but shade. But it’s a single-tree shade, not forest shade!):
- The LSAT is a marathon. It is the longest marathon you will ever run. Give yourself all the time and energy you can. Take it slow. Some of my friends quit their jobs and studied full-time for months. Others study for over two years while working. Think very early on about your time and your availability and block as much full-time studying off possible. This is especially true for the first leg of studying (first one to two months). Make it your full-time job if you can. And if not, devote at least three hours a day in the beginning. It’s a steady learning curve at first. But once you have the basic mechanics down.
- Unless you’re an extremely accountable person, I would recommend taking a course during this stage of studying (Testmasters or Powerscore).
- Plug: if you can, please apply to the Trials Alums swear by it.
- Once you put in the heavy-duty grind, you’re probably trying to polish your stride and posture. I would start by taking two timed sections every day.
- Just because you already finished an exam or section, doesn’t mean you can’t take it again. Re-doing exams over and over again helped me to pick up and remember patterns I missed the first time.
- Remember to TAKE A BREAK. The skill sets you’re learning while taking the LSAT don’t come naturally. After two or three weeks of grinding, give your brain an LSAT free weekend. Treat yo’ self.
These are my early pointers; I will definitely be sharing more specific study schedules and reviews on test prep materials. Most importantly, I want to calm you all down because I understand what it’s like to be hit with that first score back and looking up the earning potential of tier-three schools. I understand what it’s like to suddenly go down six points after months of studying. I understand feeling locked in a range and wanting to quit. I understand it all. Trust me, we all do.
I was not one of those people who killed the exam by any means: I scored over a 170 only once in a practice test, and always scored in the mid to late 160 range.
But the rest of my application was low-key flawless because I spent months editing my personal statement and had developed great relationships with Professors and mentors. This test will not define your application.
Rarely is the LSAT going to hold you back as a Black applicant because high scores are a dime a dozen. Think of it as a potential boost. If it happens, bet. If not, shrug and kill the rest of your application.