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Friday, 2 July 2010

An Enormous Week, Part II: The Intangibles

Warning: May contain mild tooting of my own horn. I don't think I do this frequently, so indulge me this once?

So after the hectic weekend, I took Monday and Tuesday to a) relax, and b) clean. During that time, though, I received some important and much anticipated mail.

The first item of mail was of the e- variety, and contained my LSAT score. I didn't actually write very much in detail about the LSAT here beforehand, so maybe a little bit of that first.

A general explanation: The LSAT consists of six 35-minute sections. The first five sections are multiple choice. There are two sections of Logical Reasoning, where each question presents a paragraph containing some sort of argument, and you're asked about the main point or the flaw or something like that. There is one section of Analytical Reasoning, which is the type of question that goes something like "six people are going to a dinner party at a circular table. A can't sit by B, C has to sit by D, blah blah blah." There's one section of Reading Comprehension, which contains four passages with five to eight questions about each one. Then there's an "experimental" section, which will have the same type of question as one of the other sections, but is testing the difficulty of future questions, and therefore is not scored. These five sections are given in random order so you don't know which one is experimental. The final section is the writing sample, which gives a prompt to make a decision between two options based on certain criteria. The writing sample is not scored, but is sent to any law school you apply to.

So, my LSAT experience went something like this: I started studying about a month beforehand, and did a lot of it. Analytical Reasoning came pretty naturally for me. Logical Reasoning was straightforward, it was mostly a matter of getting faster. Reading Comprehension I found brutally hard at first, and got them to be manageable by the end. I wrote four practice exams, and scored 164, 165, 172, and 166. Those were consistent enough that I was pretty much expecting mid-160s. Marks range from 120 to 180, and are based on a curve, not number of questions right or wrong. The practice exams which are released do not contain an experimental section, so the actual exam took 35 minutes longer, making it difficult to be entirely prepared for the length.

I felt mostly pretty good about the exam immediately afterwards. This sitting of the LSAT had Reading Comprehension as the experimental, meaning I had to do my hardest section an extra time, and the one that counted was the fifth section, so my concentration was flagging by that point. I was worried that might lower my score a bit. I ended up with a 168, though, which is better than I was expecting based on practice tests/my exam experience, so I was pretty happy with that. It does still seem a long way off from the coveted 180, but it actually puts me in the 96th percentile, so it's just because their scale is absurd.

Sorry that ended up being so long-winded. Anyway. The other exciting item of mail I received was the much-anticipated scholarship letter. A short history of why this is so exciting: I came in to first year with the largest entrance scholarship King's gives out. My marks at the end of first year weren't quite good enough for renewal, which was pretty disappointing. I worked really hard in second year to get them back up to where they needed to be, only to receive a letter informing me that due to financial difficulties, they'd had to raise the required GPA for scholarship renewal up to just slightly higher than what mine was. Brutal. So actually receiving a scholarship this year was more exciting than maybe it should have been, but I'm very pleased about it.

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