Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Over at NeoTokyoTimes, there's a well-intentioned post about preparing for the LSAT that I don't really agree with much at all. I'll skip the paragraph I could write about why I think test prep classes are useless for people who want to score at the end of the scale that's going to get them into top schools, because they're simply not designed for people getting those scores; and I'll skip the paragraph I could write about how they're a waste of $1000 anyway, because if you don't have the motivation to just sit down and take some practice tests, what are you doing signing up for more years of school? And I'll skip mentioning that although I didn't take a prep class as a student, I trained to be a Kaplan teacher (I was bored... thought it could be fun... ended up not teaching a class, but I do have a whole box of useless materials... should I put them on E-Bay?) and found most of the advice they were trying to distribute to be not just unhelpful, but probably hurtful, like "skip a logic game." Uh, not if you want to score well....

But I do want to take issue with this section from the post: "But limiting my non-work activities to the LSAT kept me focused. I kept away from local politics, clubs, and social entanglements.... Don’t expend limited mental resources on non-LSAT activities." (emphasis added, by me, just for fun) This seems to be taking it to a bit of an extreme. Take some practice tests, feel comfortable with it, and then just go take the dumb test. Taking the LSAT is not a life-altering experience, it's not something you need to spend days and weeks and months preparing for, it's not something to take over your life. It's a test. If you're going to law school, you've seen tests like this before. They all correlate pretty well with one another. You'll do as well as you can do. If just preparing to take the LSAT makes your life lonely and miserable, you're not going to be very happy once you get to law school. (Incidentally, "limited mental resources" ??? Are they really all that limited? We all waste an awful lot of time. I'm not sure that's a resource anyone's running out of all that quickly. "Limited focus on doing practice LSATs," perhaps. But I don't think it goes too far beyond that.)

(Also, I was going to use this as a nice opportunity to paste in the LSAT advice I sent to a couple of friends a few years ago, but I can't find those e-mails. I'll look again when I get home tonight. This is here to remind me to do that. I thought I may have posted it before, but on quick glance I maybe didn't.)