Description: In this solo episode, I discuss my experience with my first SAT test (preparations, test day, how I think it went).
Hey college kids. Welcome back to my podcast who cares about college today is a solo episode. I’m going into my junior year of high school and I just took the August 28 LSAT, and I wanted to quickly share my experience and preparations for that. So number one, why did I choose the August 28? LSAT? And by the way, this is the year 2021. So why did I choose it? Mainly, I chose it. First of all right before junior year, because I wanted to have just in case I didn’t get the score I had, I wanted to have, I wanted it enough time to take a test again and again till I got the score I wanted. Whereas if I took it as a senior right now and didn’t get the score I wanted, I would really have to like I would have less time and less opportunities to improve my score. And I just chose August 28, because it’s right before my school starts. And I thought I would have the entire summer to prepare, take the LSAT, if I got a good score, then I would just not have to worry about it ever again. So that aside those credit symbol I chose August 28. Number two is cost. So I paid for the actual test without a fee waiver, which I think the total cost came to about $77. So I paid for the actual test. And I paid an extra fee to get the questions and the explanations once my score is released. So I paid that extra amount of money, just in case I don’t get the score I want then I can look at the explanations and find out why I made mistakes. So then I could that could help me improve my LSAT score in the future. The total cost for me came to, I believe about 70 some dollars $71 I think. But if you are worried about the cost of the test, there is a fee waiver you can fill out if you go on College Board site, and I’ll try to link it in the description box in the details below. But you can go on to college board site and they will write down the requirements you need to be eligible for a $55 fee waiver. Now on to the preparations I took for the LSAT. So we can just backtrack a little bit. The first ever exposure I had to any sort of LSAT test was the beginning of freshman year for me in high school. And that was the PSAT I think it was the PSAT eight slash nine, the one out of 1440. So I took that without any sort of preparation. And on that I got a 1260 out of 1440. So that was I guess the beginning of my LSAT journey. Through freshman year, I didn’t do anything. sophomore year, I basically didn’t do anything. So the real preparation started the summer, right before you know the summer leading up to August 28. So the things that I did was number one Han Academy, Han Academy partnered with college board to create this free course, for the LSAT. And when you you know creating your account and starting the course, Hanukkah, you can customize on Han Academy saying, I have this many days to prepare. And I want to try to get to this many questions. So every day you have to do a set number of questions. For me it was 20 questions a day about, you know, 10 or 11 for reading, writing. And then 10 for math. Another thing I did was my dad purchased this black book, LSAT black book by Here we go. It’s the LSAT prep black book, Second Edition, the most effective essay tea strategies ever published by Mike Barrett and Patrick Barrett. So these, this is the book that I use, mainly the main book I used. And then the third resource I used was College Board practice tests. College Board has eight released practice tests, it’s 12356789 10, they took out two and four because I believe those two were outdated, but they have a practice test for you that are supposed to simulate the actual LSAT test. And I would say that is probably the most valuable resource you have. They’re free. And it’s as close as you will get to having the actual test. As great as Han Academy is something college board makes is probably going to be the best preparation you have. So I took those practice tests as well. And other way I, I guess prepared or set myself like manage my time and my work leading up to August 28 was every week I would take one practice test from College Board. So five weeks before August 28. I would take one a week. And actually no, it was sort of preparation five weeks before but somehow I only ended up doing four practice tests. The reason I only did four instead of eight is in case I didn’t get the score because after a few practices, your score is not going to improve by that that much. So I thought if I took four and then took the LSAT and maybe didn’t get the score I wanted, then I would have those other few to practice because if I took all of them didn’t get the score I wanted, that I would have nothing left to practice with, I would have to use like other sites and such. So I took four practice tests in my Han Academy every day. And the thing about the black book is, I believe, practice tests one through four. What they do is they walk through each and every single question on both the reading on the reading the writing and the math sections. And they explain why the right answers are right, and the wrong answers are wrong. And what I like about this book is it wasn’t just, you know, oh, this is wrong. This is right, like college board. For example, don’t just say, oh, a choice A is not right. Because frustrated means this and not this and stuff. So it’s not very clear. But this black book really went in depth and kind of explained what college board was expecting. And they give some really good tips before in the front of the book before they deep dive into the explanation behind the question. So I would definitely recommend getting the LSAT prep block book, a law to help you when you’re taking your practices. And they are, they do answer like the College Board practice tests online. So I would take a practice test, and then I would go back into the block book, look at the ones I got wrong and see why I got them wrong. So I did that. And this is what happened when I took my practice test. The first as I said, when I took the PSAT I got a 1260 out of 1440. And I believe when you convert it to its LSAT equivalent the 116 100, it goes to like a 1440, something like that. So I would say that was about my baseline. On my first practice test, I got a 1460. On my second practice test, I got a 1490. On my third practice test, I got a 1520. And then something happened with my fourth practice test, I went down by 10 points to a 1510. So as you can see, I was mainly improving my score except for the last one. And one thing I didn’t realize, first, I knew this happened by completely forgot that a college board will curve the LSAT exams. And what that means if for those of you who don’t know what curving is. So when you have a test and you I guess, look at the average of the test, the teacher, the administrator can choose to add a certain amount of points to everybody’s test, regardless of their score. For example, my Algebra Two teacher did this a lot. Let’s say there was a test out of 50 points, if I scored 45 on the test. But the average was I don’t know, somewhere lower. And she decided to do a two point curve. Everybody including me, even though I got a 45 out of 50 will get two extra points. So my actual test score would be 47 out of 50 instead of 45 out of 50 because of that curve. So the College Board does curve exams. So bear that in mind when you are taking your practices, because when you’re scoring your own practice as you’re not adding any curve, it’s just the raw score that you have. So be so 1510 I got one week before I took the actual August 28 LSAT and now come test day. So call, I don’t know what happened. But I was calling collegeboard. Because I was confused about when the test started. I call the center. I was like when does the test start? And they’re like, oh, doors closed by 745 or eight, something like that. I was like, okay, and they said the test starts at 9am. And then just to make sure I called again, a few days later, I was like when does the test start? And they’re like, oh, doors closed by eight. And the test starts somewhere between 830 and nine. So I was really confused as to what was going on. But then finally College Board the day before the test or a couple days before the test. Send me an email saying, Okay, please be there by 730 the test should start at 9am. And I didn’t ask for this. This is I think this is standard, everybody gets this message. So the test does start at 9am the LSAT does start at 9am. So I got to school around 730. And the reason it’s seven, you know starts at nine but you get there 730 Is because there’s a like you need to fill out forms, I need to situate you into your classrooms. And you know, you need to fill out your test ID number your book ID number you need to fill out your own information, your address and such. So that’s why it does take quite a long time. Now on to like my own experience and experience. So I arrived there 730 And I was sitting in the cafeteria of my school and there were like a few people there. I guess I was a little bit early, but then people started filing in and and I think in the end there were a few, not a few 100 but about it was a lot of lot of people that were taking sa t and I was looking around so confused. I’m like, my school is big, but I don’t think everybody would be taking, you know, in that one day. And then I started looking around and I think looked at the chart that showed what are name in the room, we were taking sa tn. And I saw one of my friends from a completely different school on there. And I was like, Whoa, what’s going on here. So what happened with me, I don’t know if this is the same for other schools, schools from all over like my county came to my school to take the test. So there were people from all different schools, coming to take the LSAT at my school. And there were a lot a lot of people and we were all situated into classrooms. So I was in a classroom, I believe, there were in total, including me 30 other students. Now what you need to bring to the LSAT, you need to bring number two pencils, make sure they’re not mechanical, one girl brought mechanical pencils. And they said, No, you’re not allowed to use mechanical pencils. So make sure you bring your number two pencils, definitely an eraser. And then you there is a calculator section for the math section on the LSAT, you’re going to have to bring one of your own calculators, I believe you can request one from your school if you do not have one. And you have to look on the College Board’s site as well, because they have a list of approved calculators. The calculator I used, I believe was like a ti 84 Just one of those typical math calculators need to bring that you need to bring your ID some sort of photo verification of yourself. And also your testing ticket, which College Board does show you right after you pay for your LSAT test. They will email you your admissions ticket, your test ticket, and you just have to print that out. And it just says your registration number, your name, your birthday standard stuff like that. Now on to another really important thing that I actually was wondering about how does the real test compare to the practice tests that I took the so both of them were made by College Board, my practice tests were College Board practice tests. And the real test is obviously made by College Board. And I would say that I was quite pleased because the practice when I was taking actual LSAT, it felt just like the other practice test. I didn’t notice it being any harder, or any easier than the practices I took it was just another practice does for me. So that was a relief. Well, one thing that caught me by surprise, and I should have known this but coming by complete surprise is usually there. I mean, not usually there are always four sections on LSAT, there is a reading section, there is a writing section, there is a math section, which you are not allowed to use a calculator and there is a math section which you are allowed to use a calculator. And that’s the order section one is reading section two is writing. Section three is calculator not permitted. Section four is calculator permitted. So that’s how I expected the test to be. And then out of nowhere, I see a section five and I start freaking out like what is the section five? So Section Five is college board just puts that in and it’s not long at all, I only had, I believe 15 questions. So that has it’s not it doesn’t count towards anything College Board puts it in. So they can just test out new questions that they made. And they can just put it in and have students take it and just figure out what questions are good, what questions are not good. So that is a reason they have it doesn’t count towards your score anything is just for college board to do. I guess a survey of their questions right. Now, how am I feeling about my performance. So as I said, the real test and the practice test for me, were quite literally the same. And I was improving my score on my practice test. And I did the highest score I got on a practice test was a 1520 of the four I did take. So if it is similar, then I’m hoping that my real LSAT score is somewhere around that range is like a 1500 upright. So that is what I’m hoping for my SCT I will update when it is released because it is August 29 only. And College Board releases your score September 10, I believe so I will update and perhaps added like an end to the segment once my score is released. And one thing I think did help I mentioned this earlier in the episode, I wasn’t too I wasn’t stressed octinoxate I wasn’t stressed out at all really for the LSAT test because I knew I was taking it right before entering my junior year of high school. I knew that if I didn’t do all this time, and thankfully my family has the financial capability to pay for more tests. I knew that I would have the time and the money to improve my score. I wasn’t worrying too much. Whereas like a senior who would were college apps or you know, do in a few months, you don’t really have the time you don’t have the luxury of just waiting around practicing some more taking more tests. So I would say what really helped me with my performance I think is I was not stressed at all because I knew I would have the chance to take it again and again and again if I didn’t get the score I wanted. So a few more bits of like practical advice. Here were layers to the LSAT test. My school is cold in some rooms and hot in some rooms I wore This like, is like a nice fuzzy pants I guess you could say or like yeah wide leg pants I wore just a simple jacket in a yeah a simple shirt and then a jeans jacket and I was still super cold. So I’d recommend just bring some layers so you’re not getting really cool during the LSAT I get distracted when I’m cold and I’m sure some other people do as well. And this should be pretty obvious but have everything ready the night before. Make sure your calculators there, your pencils are there your admissions tickets there you have photo verification out and just all put in one bag or something because most people don’t want to be awake at 786 am 7am in the morning, you just want it to be done over with so you can just get ready your breakfast and leave and go take this at and as for preparation College Board practice has are the best resource that you do have to prepare for the LSAT and I will update on my score once I get it but other than that, I think that is the end of this episode. I hope you enjoyed and I will update you on my whole LSAT journey. If I didn’t get the score if I don’t get the score I want on September 10 That I will take it again. I will run through the preparations I did for that and what I eventually got on the practice test. Thank you for listening