October 2, 2006

C.U. Seniors Take Law School Exam

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Senior year just became a bit less stressful for the several hundred Cornellians who took the dreaded Law School Admission Test on Saturday morning.

The LSAT, described by the Law School Admissions Council as “a half-day standardized test required for admission to all American Bar Association-approved law schools,” is the law schools equivalent of the SAT.

Students’ pursuit of a perfect 180 score leads to months of studying with books and preparatory courses.

Nina Terrero ’07, who took the test, explained her approach to studying.

“I spent months studying,” she said. “I actually did the LSAT for Dummies book, the Kaplan 180, and I went through three textbooks on my own,” she said.

Other students like Jared Kagan ’07 took preparatory classes to prepare for the LSAT.

“I took the Kaplan course last spring,” he said. “It was pretty good, but kind of tough to do that while also taking [Cornell] classes.”

But when test time came, all students faced the same trepidation, no matter what type of preparation they had done.

“All of us had the same feeling — that we’re not ready,” Terrero said.
To relieve exam day nerves, test-takers looked for an extra boost of energy to boost their scores.

Steve Grossman ’07 turned to “a cup of coffee, lots of water and a banana.”

Other students used superstition.

Terrero relied on a favorite color.

“A pink bra, pink sweater, pink shoes, pink everything. It’s my good luck charm,” she said.

After Saturday’s exam, some students remained wary about their performance on the five sections focusing on Logic Games, Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension skills. Kagan thought the Reading Comprehension was the toughest and had the easiest time answering Logical Reasoning questions.

Grossman thought, “It went pretty well, but you can’t really know how you did.”

But LSAT pressures were worthwhile to students dedicated to launching law careers from their choice of schools.

Terrero said he knows that she wants to practice intellectual property law.

“I’m very interested in scientific progress and protecting developments as they occur,” she said.

She will be applying to “every law school in New York City and a few in D.C.”

Law school geography is an important factor for Kagan as well, who is currently considering schools in New York City exclusively.

Grossman wishes to attend the best law school to which he can gain admission.

“The LSAT is important to applications because it probably determines about 75 percent of admissions; that and GPA. Law schools place a high value on [the test], and it supposedly predicts about 25 percent of the variation in first year grades,” he said.

Applications aside, by 2 p.m. on Saturday, these students had completed a major step on the path to law school. Grossman went home and took a long nap.

Both Terrero and Kagan turned to partying to release post-test tension.

Terrero began her celebration in the afternoon, and didn’t stop until Sunday morning.

Kagan said, “My post-LSAT plans have involved some alcohol, and more later. I’ll have more free time,” he said.