Ever wonder what it's like to get a near-perfect score on the LSAT after working for months to improve your score? Our student Trudel Pare, a University of Penn graduate eyeing Harvard Law School, did just that. After scoring a 177 and crushing her goals and expectations. I caught up with Trudel and asked her to answer some tough questions about her LSAT journey. Here's what she had to say:
Q: Tru, it must be pretty awesome being the highest-scoring Ginsburg Advanced Tutoring student of all time. Quite an accomplishment. Did you expect to get a 177 after that first phone consult you and I had together?
A: I really did not expect it- I was hoping for a 170 or 172. I was pretty disappointed with the score I'd gotten on my last official LSAT, and I knew I wanted to come back and really crush it. But, 177 was much higher than I thought was possible!
Q: I remember when we first spoke, you had a lot of skepticism about finding a tutoring service that would be equipped to help you reach your goals. Why did you decide to pull the trigger and work with us?
A: I was looking at a lot of different options to try to figure out what would help me improve my score the most. I knew that I needed help, but LSAT prep is such a crowded space- I wasn't sure who was actually equipped to deliver on the promise of improvement. I went with tutoring over a class because I already had the fundamentals from self-study, and I knew I needed a more tailored approach. I honestly went with Ginsburg because you seemed like the person I talked to with the most serious approach. From consult to intake you were very honest about options and seemed like you would have the experience to help me improve the most. And, I was right!
Q: Some weeks seemed harder than others, especially when your practice scores would fluctuate. How did you stay calm and focused, even when seeing those outliers on hard weeks?
A: It was hard, I won't lie. Even when I got my real score back, I was disappointed for about a half-second because I had done better practice tests. I think the key for me was that I had started doing so much better on practice tests than I had previously hoped I could do that even fluctuations weren't a big deal- when you're aiming for 170 and you're fluctuating above that, it makes you less worried because you've already exceeded expectations.
Q: I know you were also juggling work-- a pretty intensive healthcare job-- and a serious reading habit (I think you were trying to read eight books this past summer?!). How were you able to manage the job, satiate your inner bookworm, and also treat LSAT prep like a part-time job?
A: So, I actually get this question a lot from friends working on taking this test. I think at first I underestimated the LSAT- I'd do a section of studying after a 10 hour day or leave it until Sunday night. Once I realized that I needed to buckle down and study harder, I did a lot to make space for it in my life. The LSAT really became sort of like a very intense hobby or second job- I don't think there is a way to casually study for this test and do well. I had to give up on things I wanted to do if they weren't essential to test prep or self-care. I prioritized work, doing what I needed to take care of myself, and studying for the test in that order, and I often didn't have time for other things.
Q: A lot of people are not comfortable talking about disabilities, but anxiety is something we try to encourage people to be open about. How did you manage your test-day anxiety?
A: I came into tutoring with a very bad testing experience under my belt. My first LSAT was sheer panic and fear- I have not experienced many things like it and I hope to never experience it again. So I went into tutoring with that mindset- I wanted to show the LSAT what I could really do, and I wanted to overcome this fear. I think that the preparation that we did really helped, and it wasn't just doing question after question, but also working on prioritizing my physical and mental health that really put me in the right shape for the test. By the time test day arrived, I had done the test in exactly the way test day was going to happen, and so I was able to almost do it in autopilot. I was not stressed really at all!
Q: So, now that you're a GAT graduate, what would you say is the one pearl of wisdom we taught you that you'll never forget?
A: I think the most important thing is that working harder can't solve every problem. I always liked to think that working harder would inevitably give me the result I wanted, when actually I needed to take a break, or go for a run, or do something that would help me refresh and recharge. I'm sure that part of my bad experience my first time taking the LSAT was physical and mental neglect. Working with you, I really learned how to listen to myself and understand how to put myself physically and mentally in a space to succeed.
If you're interested in hearing more about Trudel's journey and testing strategy, you're in luck! Trudel is my guest cohost for Season 2 of the LSAT Boss podcast. Tune in to episode 1, where we talk about Assumptions and bust myths about Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension precision.
Looking for a score transformation like Tru's? Schedule a free phone consult with us today.