Five dos and don'ts of LSAT test day

By Caitlin

So LSAT test day is finally here. You’ve studied hard, you’ve taken practice tests, and now you are at the mercy of the test itself. Here are some dos and don’ts (several of which I made myself!) to consider for test day:

1. DO get enough sleep!

I’m sure everyone gives you this advice when it comes to, well, just about everything. It is just as true for test day. However, most people don’t know that sleep two days before the test can be even more important than the night before. If you’re taking a Saturday test, put down the books (and the drinks) on Thursday and get to bed early. That way, even if your anxiety kicks in Friday night and you have trouble sleeping, your adrenaline will still carry you through the test.

2. DO bring the appropriate tools (DON’T bring the banished cell phone!) 

The LSAT test day proctors are VERY serious about their rules. It’s just the nature of the test. Accordingly, they are completely serious about not allowing any cell phones in the testing center. If you are taking public transit to the test and are afraid to be without your phone, try navigating to the testing center at least once before test day. If you have a ride dropping you off and meeting you after, give them a time range for when to pick you up. Different rooms in the same test center can end anywhere from one to two hours apart depending on how long instructions take and how many questions other students have.

3. DON’T be the first to sign in 

I admit, this was a mistake I made myself. I thought that if I signed in first, my room would fill up first and we would start first, finish first, etc. Not the case. Apparently, all of the rooms will start at the same time and not until everyone is signed in. Most importantly, after you sign in, you cannot leave the testing room until everyone has completed the first three test sections. This means that, if you’re like me and drink plenty of water and have to use the facilities fairly regularly, you first have to wait for the room to fill, then for the instructions to be delivered, and then you have to take a full half of one of the most important tests of your life before you can use the bathroom. That means I had already been sitting in the room for about an hour and a half before I even started answering questions, and it was three hours before I was allowed to leave. Trust me, you do not want to be in this situation. Hang around, use the restroom, try to calm your nerves, and then sign in once the crowd is thinning. Your bladder and your nerves will thank you.

4. DO bring snacks and eat a healthy breakfast

You are allowed to bring snacks into the testing center, and the people who forget to do so sorely regret it come break time. Even if you cruise through practice tests, the real test is different. You will have to wait for everyone to finish each section before any communal breaks, so you might be surprised how hungry you are. Not to mention, your brain is working! Give it what it needs to get through the rest of the test.

I know it’s tempting to skip breakfast and you’re worried about how your stomach and anxiety will interact, but LSAT test day is a marathon, not a sprint. You will be in that room (working all of your brain muscles) for most of the day. Try to eat something reasonably filling with protein and complex carbs (oatmeal with peanut butter, for example). Of course, try out any breakfast options on a practice test beforehand just to make sure it works for you. It’s just like running a race!  

5. DO make friends and take deep breaths

When you finally do sit down in your testing room and you’re waiting for the instructions and the test booklets to be handed out, it’s okay to chat with your neighbors, make jokes about the horrors of LSAT studying, and generally attempt a positive mood.  LSAT test day hard, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. You’re all in this together. Once they are ready to begin the test, take some deep breaths. Remind yourself that you have prepared, that you are ready, and that you’ve got this.