My LSAT Story
How I went from a struggling student to a seasoned LSAT instructor
My LSAT prep journey was, to be frank, long and arduous. What you will read next is an honest account of someone who thought of giving up many times along the way but endured to the very end.
Pride had always been my weakness. I had lofty ambitions growing up, aspiring to be a famous lawyer one day. I excelled in undergrad at the University of Toronto with a near-perfect GPA. I founded the U of T Public Speaking Club in my third year and was co-president of another student club. I had the ideal profile for getting into the law school of my dreams.
My dream school was U of T Law School. Prior to taking a diagnostic, I thought my acceptance was all but a foregone conclusion.
In the summer prior to my fourth year of undergrad, I took my first full-length diagnostic LSAT prep test. The world came crashing down around me as I slogged my way through the Logic Games section. I was befuddled, to say the least.
I remember being able to solve only one or two questions and having to guess my favourite letter D) for the rest of the section. I ended up with a 4/23 on the LG and scored a 151.
Eventually, I locked myself in my bedroom and sulked under the blanket. My fragile ego couldn't take it. I had shattered the image I had of myself as a bright young man to pieces. I was devastated by the diagnostic score, knowing that I would have to improve by at least 15 points, or 45 percentile points, to achieve the U of T Law admissions median. (Read How to Deal with a Low Diagnostic Score)
After sleeping away my sorrow, I began to work out a game plan. I knew I had a steep hill to climb, but I was determined to improve. I wanted to work on my worst section, the LG first, so I spent some time reading the PowerScore "Bible" diagrams and explanations.
They were helpful at first, but I eventually found reading multiple pages of explanations just for one game slow and inefficient.
After getting a rough sense of how to draw rules and set up diagrams, I took the route of self-study. Aided by the now obsolete Cambridge packets which subdivided the game types by varying degrees of difficulty, I began drilling the Logic Games, one by one.
Through this process, I constantly sought ways to refine my game set-ups diagrams to make them as visually clear and efficient as possible. It was a long and meticulous process, with hundreds of hours devoted to developing better diagrams and efficient problem-solving strategies. Little did I know back then that this would catapult me to become the go-to Logic Games tutor that I am today.
I devoted myself to this process and LSAT studying in general for the next three months, full-time. Every day, I would bike or drive my way to my nearby Markham public library in the morning and return by night, eating homemade meals for lunch.
By the end of summer, I saw a slow but steady improvement in my LG score. I then studied the LR for a few weeks before school hit. I could not study as extensively during the school year as I did over the summer, but I still managed to squeeze a few hours in each week drilling LG.
By the time the school year had ended, I was consistently hitting the high 150s. Knowing that I was still not ready, I decided to take a gap year just to continue studying for my LSAT.
And in the summer of that year, I hit my first major score plateau. I just couldn't quite break the 160 mark, the minimum admissions score for most Canadian law schools at the time. After a string of 158's and 159's, I remember sitting alone in my car's driver seat in the library parking lot before going home one night, sobbing with my head rested on my steering wheel.
I felt embarrassed to come home and to face my mother, who would wake up early in the morning to make and pack my lunch. I waited close to half an hour in the parking lot for my tears to dry up so that I wouldn't worry my parents when I got home.
But I kept on going. I kept slogging on, no matter how many times I fell down. One day, I finally crossed the elusive 160 and then came tears of joy. "What changed?" you might ask. "What did you do differently?" I wish I could tell you something magical.
Here's the plain, honest truth: Nothing changed. It was all practice. Before then, my LSAT fundamentals just weren't solid for me to break the 160 mark. But now they were - through endless hours of practice, refinement, and constant repetition.
After 2 months, I hit another plateau - the longest plateau in the entirety of my LSAT prep journey - the low 160s. I remember scoring 162 on three consecutive prep tests. And for 3 full months, my score did not budge. This was the period where I had to confront a major weakness of mine - making too many careless errors.
It was also a period of immense frustration, but this time I did not shed tears. I had an unwavering conviction that I will eventually break through. The LSAT taught me not only humility and hard work, but resilience and grit. I was no longer the easily-discouraged boy I once was.
The day finally came when I broke through the low 160's ceiling. This followed having cultivated better habits to reduce my careless mistakes, especially on the LG section.
After that came a smooth ride, like gliding through clean ice. I eventually reached a point where I almost always went -0 on the Logic Games in prep tests with a couple of minutes to spare.
During the few weeks before my actual writing, I reached a point where I would consistently practice in the high 160's and low 170's on prep tests. Knowing that I might lose focus or run out of stamina on my actual writing, I took extreme measures to equip myself to improve my LSAT-taking endurance and deal with all kinds of horror test day scenarios.
I took the entire day off before my actual sitting. Then D-day came. Sitting beside my father who gave me a car ride to my LSAT, I felt a sense of calm. I knew I was ready after one year of prep.
I got to the test centre and then wrote the test just as if I'm taking another prep test. About two months later, I received my score of 166 (-0 on the LG) and with it, I applied to U of T Law School and received admissions in the first round.
I want to cap off this long story with this note: If I knew back then what I know now about the LSAT and about the prep process, I would not have walked so many rocky roads. But I eventually realized that my 1-year LSAT prep journey was actually a blessing in disguise.
Personally going through this odyssey helped me gain an uncanny ability to diagnose and very effectively address various challenges students face at every stage of their LSAT prep journey. My long and tumultuous prep journey have made me a highly unique and effective LSAT tutor, and a gifted Logic Games teacher.
And that is my LSAT story: the prideful boy who shed many tears, now the LSAT instructor who has seen it all.