I took the LSAT for fun

How curiosity killed my Saturday morning 

‘11:11’ by the Arkells was blasting on my phone. But it wasn’t 11:11 — it was 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I was less than pleased.

When I saw the Princeton Review’s event for a free practice LSAT, I decided this would be a great way to spend a Saturday morning, as I’ve always been curious about the contents of the test that determined who would get into law school and who wouldn’t.

A test that requires no legal-specific knowledge, but examines your ability to reason, use logic and figure out problems sounded like an opportune chance to match my brain against an objective judge.

Having made the rookie mistake of going out the night before, I hit snooze once, twice … and then it was 8 a.m. Finally forcing my eyes open, I decided this would be the perfect time to Google what you’re allowed to bring into the test: HB pencils, a non-disruptive snack, a plastic water bottle, an ID and nothing else.

I pocketed a banana and a single pencil and was on my way.

Arriving in Sir John A. MacDonald Hall 15 minutes before we were set to begin writing, I eavesdropped on a group of people talking about why they decided to give up their Saturday morning.

One said he wanted to see his score before beginning studying, while others said they were just capitalizing off the free practice alongside their studies.

For me, taking the LSAT solidified my hunch that I have no interest in being a lawyer, but also satisfied my curiosity for the “logic puzzles” I’ve heard praised. Although law isn’t for me, I decided to ask around to see what draws people to the profession.

“I've always had an interest in rules, why they’re formed and how they’re applied,” Mikey Lutsky, ArtSci ’17, told me.

When he was 12, Lutsky remembered, he briefly got a job as a hockey referee. “It didn’t satisfy my interest though. It wasn't intellectually stimulating in the slightest — someone gives you a rulebook and says, ‘apply these rules.’ I was more interested in figuring out if I agreed with the rules and if they were fair,” Lutsky said.

“I've never practiced law so I can’t even be certain that I'll like it,” he continued, “but I like to hear how other people think and to understand the logic and reasoning that underlies their beliefs and opinions.”

As we entered the test room, each person was handed a book compiled of five sections: analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, two logical reasoning sections and one experimental section.   

While a four-hour test seemed daunting in my exhausted state, the section breakdown of 35 minutes each flew by. After reading through the first logic puzzle and the subsequent seven questions based on it, I knew right away I was missing the required technique.

Being a visual learner, I found myself drawing chart after chart, which took a tad longer than my one-minute-per-question strategy allowed. There were two sections of this.

I have to admit, my brain actually hurt.

Analytical reasoning was where I really hit my stride. Being an English major, I felt as if I was just analyzing another plot, poem or prose. If I’m picking favourites, this would definitely be mine — having said that, I’ve yet to see my results.

The rest is a bit of a blur. I found myself reading the questions and penciling in the answer sheet so formulaically that looking back, I can hardly remember details of those four hours — there’s an interesting parallel there to how looking back at my four years of university feels.

As I head into my final months of university, I’ve started to see friends and classmates start to panic about what to do post-graduation. But while it’s clear that everyone wants to follow their passions, some find it harder to discover what they’re passionate about.

Rachel Zins, ArtSci ’16, is currently in her first year of law school and like Lutsky, is passionate about the subject she studies. 

“I want to be a lawyer because it’s important work. Justice is a public good and if I can provide access to that good, I have made a difference not only for an individual, but also for the legal system as a whole,” Zins said.

“What I love about the law is that it is nuanced and dynamic. There is nothing quite like successfully arguing what was once thought to be unarguable.”

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