“If you experienced severe emotional distress as a result of technical difficulties during the online version of the law school admission test, you may be entitled to financial compensation!”
I wish. Instead, I’m stuck with a mediocre LSAT score and the joy of looking forward to dropping $200 more on yet another standardized test that will allegedly dictate my success, or lack thereof, in law school. I’m not entirely convinced.
After four months of mind-numbing logic puzzles, a deteriorating posture in addition to my already scoliosis-ridden spine and a blow to my bank account, I hunkered down in my 12th Avenue apartment complex Aug. 29 where, to my demise, the online LSAT-Flex patiently awaited.
It was 7:30 a.m. I went for a quick walk around the block to get the brain juices flowing, guzzled a cup of coffee from Starbucks and cooked myself breakfast.
A few yoga poses and deep-breathing exercises later, I was in the zone, prepared to conquer what I hoped would be the last standardized test of my life.
I was naive to think the online COVID-19 version of the LSAT — complete with three sections of logical reasoning, logic games and reading comprehension designed to make you fail — would be foolproof.
Although the pandemic allowed me to dodge a bullet that is the in-person 3 1/2-hour, five-section-long LSAT exam, I missed out on the sensation of power that comes with aggressively crossing out answer choices with a No. 2 pencil.
I finally garnered the courage to select the “Start Exam” icon on my laptop when a debilitating wave of panic overtook me.
“Google Chrome is unable to download the extension” flashed across my screen, just two minutes prior to my 9:10 a.m. exam start time.
Never have I been more compelled to punch a gaping hole through my drywall than on the morning of Aug. 29. Nor have I cursed Google Chrome more in my life.
My liberal arts brain can hardly handle technical difficulties on any given day of the week, let alone minutes before the start of arguably one of the most important tests of my life.
I frantically dialed the number of the IT support desk at ProctorU, the online proctoring platform for the LSAT-Flex, and over a stream of tears and muffled cries for help, I tried to calmly explain the situation to the poor man on the receiving end of my anxiety attack.
After a painstakingly long hour of troubleshooting, I finally got in touch with someone at ProctorU who knew how to handle the situation. He gained access to my computer, did some fancy computer science maneuvers, and at last, I was connected with a proctor to begin the exam — more than an hour after my original start time.
So much for my calming morning routine.
With puffy red eyes and tissues scattered around my room, I finally acquired some semblance of calm to begin the two-hour exam. I popped in my blue foam ear plugs from Target and prayed that the three 35-minute randomized sections ahead of me would be kind.
First up: logic games. A cruel series of puzzles designed to confuse you. Extensive diagramming and process of elimination required.
I breezed through the first three games, but the familiar sense of panic I experienced just 30 minutes before began to creep in. No doubt about it — I bombed the last game. Moving on.
A quick side note: My upstairs neighbors decided to start vacuuming their living room at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. My $2 foam ear plugs could only get me so far. I was thrown out of focus for a few minutes, mentally cursing COVID-19 and my noisy neighbors.
Next up: logical reasoning. The absolute death of me and my worst section by far. There are 25 multiple-choice questions, with about 90 seconds per question. First, you have to read a short passage — also known as the stimulus, if you prefer the elitist LSAT writer terminology. Included in the stimulus is either a set of facts or an argument.
Then you’ll answer a question about the stimulus, which includes identifying anything from a flawed method of reasoning to the main point of the argument, each of which has a specific strategy in terms of approaching the correct answer.
To my surprise, I felt fairly confident on what is typically my weakest section. In hindsight, now that I have my LSAT score, I’m going to take a guess that the confidence I felt was likely me selecting all the sucker choices.
And lastly, the third and final section: reading comprehension.
Regardless of how quickly I breezed through the “Harry Potter” series as a kid, the LSAT writers are quite talented when it comes to making you question your literacy.
Nevertheless, I felt fairly confident with the first three passages, and similar to logic games, I bombed the last passage — an extremely scientific article about bees and their flight patterns. Are you joking?
And just like that, time was up, and the exam was over. Good riddance. Reeling from the emotional and mental labor I just endured, I admittedly grabbed a beer from my fridge and went back to bed. It was noon.
Let’s just say, I’m definitely not getting into Harvard Law School unless my mother miraculously transforms into Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman overnight.
To make matters worse, I received my mediocre LSAT score Sept. 18, the same day that my beloved inspiration and Columbia Law graduate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Are the LSAT gods trying to tell me something?
Is it too much to ask for a 5-point score boost given the trauma I endured prior to starting my test?
Anyway, I’m sticking with the clichéd reassurance that “a number doesn’t define me” and am thankful that I have the financial means to retake the exam at a later date.
I can’t forget to mention the outlandish costs of even online LSAT prep courses, let alone the $200 just to register for the exam. This presents severe financial barriers for low-income students and puts those who cannot afford to pay for prep classes at a serious disadvantage.
I guess the ridiculous fees are the Law School Admission Council’s sweet reminder of the crippling vortex that is the cost of tuition for law school, sinking me deeper into the abyss of student debt.
In the meantime, I will be returning to the LSAT prep drawing board — this time with Khan Academy’s free LSAT prep course — and enjoying my final semester at Ohio State before entering the world of adulthood!