I’m consistently struggling with the same logical reasoning problem type, so I’ve decided to suck it up and go back over a few chapters in the Logical Reasoning Bible. I’m reading all the text and doing all the exercises so I can get this down pat. I’ve gotten to the point where I can do the Reading Comprehension timed and score over 90% and the Games are getting faster and more accurate as well. It’s just the LR holding be back now and I’m not going to let it. I will win this thing!
Yesterday evening the boys and I walked over to a neighbor’s house to check out their in-home daycare. I’m considering sending them there for the week immediately before the LSAT so I can study intensively without distraction.
This is big step for me because it’s the beginning of a real commitment to taking the LSAT this December instead of chickening out and waiting until next February or even June. I’m making a financial commitment to this neighbor (about $350 for two kids under three for five full weekdays) and letting more people in my immediate life know about my plans, thus upping the accountability.
The daycare seemed like a great fit, even if the kids are going to be there for just a week. They’ll have fun and the lady who runs it seems great. But I’m still scared. Committing to this means committing not only to this administration of the LSAT, but, because the sole reason I’m doing it is to spend a week studying intensely with no distractions, I need to make this additional (and technically not required) investment worth it. There’s pressure now to get as much out of this free time as possible, not waste a single second (or penny) being distracted or practicing inefficiently.
Yet more fear. Part of me wonders if I’m this freaked out about just the LSAT, how will I fare in actual law school, where every day will entail classwork or prepping for tests, all of which will seem as significant as this one? How will I do when I’m not just giving up my evenings with my children, but weekends and some weekdays (though they will be in school full-time when/if I do go to school) and the stakes, the need for success to prove that this isn’t some horrible selfish thing, are so much higher?
I have to keep reminding myself this over and over and over and over….
Just because I missed one I felt certain was correct does not mean I am stupid. It means I need to review that concept to figure out what I misunderstood and use the new information to do better next time.
Just because I missed several in a row does not mean I am stupid. It means I have a few concepts I need to work on yet, that I need to take more time, that I need to read more carefully, that I need to relax, that I need to focus…
I am not stupid.
I can do this.
There are about 123 days until the December LSAT and I’m suddenly doing worse. I’ve bombed two games in a row that should have been easy, when in the past few weeks I’ve had no trouble at all with those. I’m panicking.
I finished preptest 10 today and it was a disaster. High-150s disaster. By the time I finished the test and tallied my raw score, though, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I was missing way too many questions in a row in each section for it to be a good thing and I suspected the final result would be disappointing. I was right.
I’ve decided to celebrate the peaks (the high scores) and use the valleys (the low scores) to highlight what I need to work on. Nothing else. The valleys are not worth worrying about and so far are just anomalies. The peaks are very good and I am choosing to focus on the fact that those are even possible for me and use them as something to strive for. The important thing with my high scores is that I hold onto them as something that I am capable of, and compare me only to myself, not to others.
I’ve moved on. As soon as I finished that test I moved on to the next one. I know what I did wrong on the last one, which was keep too close of an eye on how well it was going, so that by the time I was about halfway through I knew that it was no longer possible for me to get a score anywhere near what I wanted. So I more or less stopped trying. I just could not force myself to dig into the questions and care the way I needed to. I did still approach them a few at a time and go over the ones I got wrong kinda carefully so I could attempt to learn from them, but I wasn’t doing enough. I still needed to finish it for the practice, even if it wasn’t good practice, though, so I finished even though the test’s value was diminished.
For this next one, I’m going more slowly. Even though I find it difficult to check my answers one at a time because I can always get a slight glance at the correct next answer down and have that affect how I process the next questions, I’m going to do that for these (except the logic games, because those should be graded as a whole, as far as I can tell).
I’ve done about a dozen logical reasoning questions of this test. I’m going through them more deliberately than I have any others before. I’m taking them one at a time, some of them one word at a time, and digging into the content and question type as well as I can. For each question I’m going back to my book and notes to review how to do it before I answer. Once I’ve answered, I check it, then even if I got it right, I go find the question HERE, and if I still need more, compare that back to the book again. The method is slow and tedious, but so far I like to think it’s working. What will ultimately show if it works is how well both this test and the next one turn out.
Happy 4th of July!
I haven’t gotten much studying done this week. I went to the library on Monday and that’s it. I usually go Wednesday too, but since my husband has a long weekend that started Thursday, we treated Wednesday night like a Friday night. Instead of going to the library I stayed home and we watched Orange is the New Black. Yesterday and today I just plain didn’t do anything because I didn’t. No reasons or excuses, it just didn’t happen. Tomorrow night I will study while he plays Xbox with friends, as we’ve done for the last few Saturdays. I’m hoping to get another couple sections of preptest 10 done then.
Studying is going well, so I’ve started thinking ahead to school and the immediate (post-LSAT) parts of getting there. Mostly I’ve been thinking about campus visits, real ones, not the fake “show up on campus, wander around alone, be intimidated, and run away” ones I’ve done already. And not only am I intimidated by the need to speak well and behave normally to impress the people I’d actually be engaging with, I need to appear to be the put-together non-traditional adult student I’m trying tell them I am.
This is where my “wardrobe” comes in. “Wardrobe.” I don’t really have one. I have a collection of pants, shirts, and skirts, most of which are around a decade old and are starting to show their age. Not just in worn spots, holes, fading, stretching, and outdated style, but because they’re from high school and actually have the year printed on them (and that year is 2004 or earlier, though I do have a few from the ten or so years after that that I go from siblings who were still in high school). Oh yes, I graduated high school eleven (11!) years ago and still wear many of the same shirts I wore during the Bush administration.
Honestly, most of the clothes I wear today are mass-printed high school quiz bowl and marching band t-shirts paired with jeans that are at least five years old. To be even more honest, since I’m a SAHM now most days I wear yoga pants, gym shorts, or pj bottoms with a worn out old t-shirt or sweatshirt, depending on the weather. My kids know we or I am leaving the house because I’ve put on jeans. As in, I change into real pants and my two -year-old immediately exclaims, “Mama go work!? We go car ride!?” (I freelance edit and study at the library, so we tell them I’m going to work when I leave the house for whatever reason.)
I have a few things I bought when I had a full-time job, but even then I couldn’t afford much because I knew was going to grad school right after that job ended so I needed to save my money. So I do have a few “dressier” things, but “dressy” feels like a stretch, inasmuch as the only thing that earns them that description is the fact that they’re not jeans or t-shirts. So they’re not necessarily very nice. Though I can’t really commit to that analysis since I’m not totally clear on what constitutes “nice.”
The point of this all is that I need new clothes, but I don’t know what to get or how to get it. I also have almost no money to spend on clothes. I love style blogs, but when they say things like, “This top was on super clearance! Only $50!” I just cannot begin to relate. I don’t have $50 for a top. I can’t really afford to spend over $30 on jeans, and even if I could, spending that much money on that kind of thing makes my stomach turn. Unless I’m absolutely in love with it, I can’t even handle full-price Target. (I fell in love with this. It just makes me happy, so I went for it. But normally, NO.) It’s just too much to spend on me looking and feeling better about myself when I have two kids, student debt, and a single-income household.
So I’m thinking of adding a feature to this site where I attempt to dress for the role I’m trying to get to intellectually. I’m not sure how to do it, but I know it needs to be done. I can’t walk onto a campus and say “let me in and give me lots of money!” when I look sloppy, lazy, and apathetic. Torn and worn-out jeans and an old t-shirt does not have the appearance of a good investment. I already need a high LSAT to compensate for my low GPA. I don’t know if I could get an LSAT high enough to compensate for low GPA and the appearance of lazy, slopping, apathetic thirty-plus year old. I care and I want to look like I care. But I have approximately $0 to spend.
Wish me luck and help me out? I need advice.
I’ll try to keep this post updated with the law/student blogs I follow. Let me know if I should add something!
The Pleated Poppy (mostly for the style, but her general attitude helps keep my sometimes-negative one in check)
Professionally Petite (out of law school and practicing, mostly about professional style/fashion)
Easy Petite Looks (anther med student, but good)
I tend to be careful and thorough. I’m nervous by nature, so before I launch into anything I try to make sure I know exactly, or as close to exactly as possible, what I’m getting into. To that end, I’ve read a lot about law school and spoken personally with several people who are in the profession. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned.
- Applications are down and this could be a good thing for me. The fewer applicants there are, the fewer people I’m competing with, both for admission and scholarships. Since law schools are getting fewer applicants but still need to pay for things, they’re admitting candidates today that they may not necessarily have admitted a few years ago when they could afford to be pickier. This is both a good thing (I could get in and get money!) and a bad thing (I may get in and be set up for failure or be surrounded by people who arguably should not be there).
- 1L is hard. Very, very hard. All of law school will be hard, but 1L will by a long shot be one of the most difficult things I’ll do, at least for my career. It’s so infamous there is a small library of books about it, a few of which I’ve read (just in case).
- Law can be snobby and elitist. The ranking of the law school you attend matters, more so depending on your career goals. If you just want to be a lawyer and practice, it’s not quite as important as if you want to be a federal judicial clerk, judge, law professor, or other impressive thing.
I know I’ve come across more in the reading and talking I’ve done in the last few months, but I can’t think of it now. Hopefully I’ll remember this post and update it as I learn more or find links to the things I already know just to prove that I actually know them and am not just making them up or assuming them.
I’m getting closer!
I figure I need to get to at least a 175 to make things happen, so I’m definitely on my way. And while I am feeling pretty great about myself for getting to this point, I have to temper the excitement because this is still an untimed score. I can’t really say that it reflects what my actual performance would be if I were to take the test today. In fact, I can say with certainty that there’s no way I’d come close to finishing any of the sections in 35 minutes today.
The current plan is to take as many practice tests as it takes to get to a consistent untimed 175ish, and then start speeding it up. I hope to start the speeding up process by September or so, so that I can take at least a half dozen timed full tests before the real thing.