Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
When you take the LSAT, you might be in a hotel, you might be in a lecture hall, you might be in a dance hall (seriously). And, despite what your parents may have told you, not all LSAT centers are created equally. Things that can make a testing center better or worse are seating arrangements (tables are generally better than desks, sparse rooms provide less opportunity for distractions than cramped sardine can-like rooms) and noise (being in the middle of a forest sounds pretty good; being under a highway, not so much). This might sound sort of silly, but a couple of years ago an LSAT was administered in a hotel near LAX that was having a Harley convention the same day.
If you’re in a Blueprint class, then we’ve already sent you an email telling you about the historically best centers near you. Make sure you sign up for these early, as the good ones go quick. If you haven’t yet signed up for the LSAT, though, it’s probably the case that the great centers are gone. So are the good ones. So are the close ones. In fact, LSAC can make you drive up to 100 miles to a testing center. Fun way to start the morning when you’re taking the LSAT.
If you’re in one of these less-than-desirable locales, then we’re here for you. Read on.
So what can I do about it, Jodi Triplett?
Glad you asked. If your center of choice is all filled up, then you have to pick a different center, as long as something is open within a hundred miles of you. They’ll only consider opening closed centers once everything within that radius is booked.
So one choice is to bite the bullet, register at a distant center, and wake up early to drive there the morning of the test. You could also consider getting a hotel the night before, as long as you think you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep in an unfamiliar bed.
But if you’ve got your heart set on a specific location, you’ve got some work to do. First of all, you need to be regularly checking the LSAC website to look out for opening spots. This has been very successful for many individuals. Perhaps you can have a window open on your desktop that you toggle to a few times per hour to refresh. As students cancel their registrations, spots open.
If it’s been too long, and seats still aren’t opening (the last day to register, with late fee, is 9/4), then you can go ahead and take a seat in a center you don’t really want. But you then go back to checking the LSAC website multiple times per day for openings in your center of choice. The only problem now is that you’ll incur a $34 switching fee. But considering the benefits of a good center, that seems to be worth every cent.
If everything within your 100 mile radius is totally full, the rules start to change. You can sign up, but you get on a waiting list. LSAC says that they’ll do their best to put you in your desired locale, but they generally just throw you in the first spot that has an opening within the blast zone. And, just because they love you, LSAC doesn’t let you be registered at one center and on a waiting list for another; you’ve got to choose.
A dirty little secret is that you can actually take the test wherever you want. If you’re registered at one location, you can show up at any disclosed location and hope that there are open seats. If some people don’t show up the day of the test, you can take their spot. This almost always works, but is still extremely risky, because if it doesn’t work, you’re really, really screwed. As such, this method does not come highly recommended.
So what’s an LSAT student to do?
In our opinion, your best bet is to just take the closest center that you can, and then try to forget about it. The absolute most important factor is how much you study, and your seat size or driving distance isn’t going to mean a damn thing if you don’t know a circular argument from a sufficient assumption.
However, if you can’t keep yourself from freaking the hell out about taking the test anywhere but your desired center, then Jodi Triplett’s advice is to hold out a couple more days and try to sign up on the 3rd or 4th of September. Why? Well, that’s the deadline to change dates or pull out of the test all together. During these days a swarm of registrants will be canceling for various and unimportant reasons, so there will be spaces opening up. Spend these days refreshing LSAC’s website to get a center (bear in mind that other people are doing the same thing, though, so be patient and diligent).
But while you wait, may we suggest that you go get yourself some Rum Raisin ice cream. It’s the most underappreciated ice cream there is.