frightenedbutinspired asked:

How did you learn to focus for the LSAT?

Learning to maintain focus for the LSAT is probably one of the most challenging aspects of your preparation efforts.

I think the key to staying focused is simply to stay motivated. Motivation drives success, and if you can remain truly motivated, you’ll keep your head down and push through the exhausting hours of studying.

My strategy to keep motivated was somewhat quirky, but it really worked for me. When I started getting serious about my LSAT prep, I ordered a UChicago Law School T-shirt. At the time, I wasn’t scoring anywhere close to where I where I needed to be to get accepted to UChicago, much less get a scholarship offer. But in my mind, I knew that I wanted to end up at that school, and I set that as my goal. No backing down. Failure was not an option.

Once the UChicago Law School t-shirt arrived at my house, I made a habit of putting it on before every LSAT prep session. I’d look at myself in the mirror with the UChicago Law t-shirt, and I would visualize myself as a UChicago Law student. I’d pump myself up and get my head in the “LSAT zone.” Then, I’d go sit down for a few hours of hard LSAT prep.

At first, it felt strange to wear a shirt from a school like UChicago Law. I felt like an impostor. After all, my LSAT score was nowhere close to the range required to get into such a great school.

As the weeks progressed, this routine became an increasingly effective way to get me in the right mind frame and state of focus required to make some truly significant improvements in my score.

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The more I wore that t-shirt, the more comfortable I became in it. Slowly, the impostor syndrome I felt faded away. When I looked into the mirror, I felt like I was staring at a future UChicago Law student.

In my mind, I was a UChicago Law student. Now all I had to do was convince the admissions department. At that point, nothing could stop me. I’d silenced the voices in my head telling me that I was somehow not good enough for UChicago, not from a prestigious enough college, not smart enough, not a hard enough worker, not worthy. Once these mental barriers were gone, I was determined to take that dream and turn it into my reality.

At that point, I was more driven, more focused & more motivated than I had ever been. I was more determined to succeed on the LSAT than I have ever been for anything else in my lifetime. With this new resolve, I stopped dreading long hours of LSAT prep.

I woke up each morning, put on my UChicago Law t-shirt and stood in front of the mirror, excited to start a new day working towards accomplishing my goal. Little by little, things began to “click” and my practice test scores slowly improved.

Hugging my wife in front of UChicago Law School on graduation day (2012)

On the morning of my exam, I followed the same routine, wore the same t-shirt, stood in front of the same mirror and pumped myself up to take the real exam.

In the end, I earned a 177 and was awarded a generous scholarship offer from UChicago. Three years later, I got a chance to wear that very same t-shirt under my gown as I graduated from the school that I’d spent so many hours in the mirror telling myself that I was going to get into.

You can make the same thing happen for yourself. The first step is to convince yourself that it really is possible. Once you’ve done that, you’ll do anything and everything required to get yourself there.