The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a test the majority of prospective law school students must take in order to apply for law school. As a prospective law student myself, it has overtaken my life since September of 2022. One full year of obsessive studying, practice tests and close following of the pre-law subreddit has broken my brain and left me with many feelings about the process.
I like the LSAT when I do well on it. Getting a high score will substantially increase my chances of getting into the law schools I aspire to. The LSAT is well known to count towards admission, especially at top schools, substantially more than anything else in a student’s application. I like the LSAT because, hypothetically, if I study really hard and have a good test day I can make up for any and all low points in my application. It also greatly increases my chances of getting scholarships to schools that would otherwise cost two times Brandeis’ tuition.
But most of the time I hate the LSAT. It is a ridiculously hard test that can influence the course of my life more than I like to think about. If you are not aware of the reprehensible law school elitism present in the legal system, I recommend you watch the first episode of “Suits,” it will give you a pretty accurate idea. On the test, you can score between 120 and 180 points. My year of studying improved my average score by about 11 points. One year, hundreds of hours of studying, for, give or take, 11 points. And I am not the exception. I chose to go the cheap route. I spent $100 on a bunch of practice tests and that’s it. If I had gone a more expensive route, taken classes or gotten a tutor—options that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars—if the experiences of countless Reddit users are anything to go by, I still doubt my score would have increased five more points. Every point you earn is worth its weight in gold, particularly if those points land you in the 170s, but it cannot be expressed properly to people who have not taken the test, how hard you have to work for every single one.
And with all that, sometimes you just take a bad test. The reading comprehension passages are all boring, slowing you down. You misunderstand a rule while playing the logic games and you have to start the section over. Maybe you just can’t concentrate like usual. If that happens on test day, your minimum of $250 investment, the cost it takes to sign up for the test, is wasted and that score gets seen by every law school you apply to, even if you retake.
So, I return to my conclusion that I like this test when I do well on it, but I will never do as well as I want and there is very little I can do to change that.
Something that could have been done to make my testing experience a little better was a morsel of effort from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) this last August when I was scheduled to finally take my test. LSAC runs the test. I pay them $250 and on the agreed-upon day, they supply me with a proctor and a test. But they fucked that up. They fucked that up for thousands of people on the days of the August LSAT. Because no one showed up.
I chose to take the LSAT remotely. The test has been run with a remote option for four years, but on the weekend of Aug. 12, 2023, nearly all remote LSAT test takers never got to complete or even begin their tests. Some test takers had proctors show up, allowing them to start the test, but this was no assurance they could complete the test they started, and some never saw a proctor. Mine never showed up. I dedicated a year of my life to this ridiculous, boring, test that I refuse to believe reveals anything about a student’s aptitude for law school, and never even saw my test. I waited an hour, no one showed up, I closed the testing software.
All I can do now is hope someone shows up on Sept. 9.
If you’re interested in reading more about the August LSAT, while it was extremely underreported, I recommend this article from Reuters or that you read through one of the dozens of Reddit threads full of first-hand accounts of the test.