Last minute LSAT tips—December 2016 edition

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This is it - the December LSAT, this coming Saturday! I’m sending out best wishes to all of you taking the test, as well as these tips for the last week.

  • First off, it’s time to taper off from studying —  there’s not much more that studying and/or practice can do for you now except make you more stressed out and tired. Rather, it’s time to get your mind and body in shape.
  • No more alcohol for the week! (yes, that includes “Thirsty Thursday”!)
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat well (but nothing you haven’t tried before that might upset your stomach). Have breakfast Saturday morning, and bring a snack for the break. Don’t forget to hydrate — this is a physical endurance event almost as much as a mental one, and your body needs fluids.
  • If you’re not a regular coffee drinker, Saturday is not the time to start! Shaky hands aren’t good during the exam. Also, skip the 5-hour energy drinks and any other stimulant you’re not used to.
  • Make sure you know in advance exactly where you need to be on Saturday and how you’re getting there (and where you’ll park, if applicable). These are not things you want to worry about on the morning of the test. Keep an eye on the weather this week, to make sure you’re allowing for plenty of travel time Saturday morning (so far, things are looking good in the Northeast).
  • Don’t forget to breathe. I mean this literally. During the exam, tension can make your breathing patterns irregular, and interrupt the normal oxygen flow to your brain. Every 15 minutes or so, take a quick break to breathe deeply a few times and get your body back on track.
  • Stretch. See above – this will get the oxygen and blood flowing again.
  • Relax. I know you’re rolling your eyes at this one.  But the truth is, this test does not determine the outcome of the rest of your life. At most, it helps determine which law schools you have a likelihood of getting admitted to (or receive scholarships from). All 200 of the ABA-accredited law schools are good schools that will give you the education necessary to go on to be successful attorneys. They take you down different routes to that ultimate goal, but not “better” or “worse” ones (or at least, “better” or “worse” isn’t a function of median LSAT scores).
  • No, I really mean it, relax. The other thing you need to relax about right now is the rest of your application materials. This week is about the LSAT; you can turn to everything else on December 5th (after an appropriate and well-earned day of rest on Sunday). Scores won’t be available to the schools until the first week of January, so you still have several weeks to finish your personal statements, resumes, and other application materials. I’ll be around through December and January to answer any questions and give feedback on personal statement drafts.
  • Be kind to yourself. Banish all the negative thoughts about yourself, and psych yourself up for a great test performance. There are proven correlations between a positive mindset and better performance on tests like this (and the opposite is true too). So when you find yourself talking internal trash about yourself, just stop. Turn it around, and pump yourself up instead.

Good luck to all of you!