What You Should Do the Night before and Morning of the LSAT

All your preparation will be in vain if you don’t get to take the LSAT. And if you don’t feel calm and collected, you may blow questions that you should get right. So keep in mind the following checklist to help you before and during test day:

  • Prepare your 1-gallon zip-lock bag the night before. Make sure you have your identification, passport-sized picture, and several sharpened No. 2 wooden pencils (mechanical pencils aren’t allowed). You may also have a pencil sharpener, a highlighter, an eraser without a sleeve, a 20-ounce beverage, some tissues, and your silent analog watch on the desk with you during the test. Digital watches and all other electronics aren’t allowed.

  • Don’t stress yourself out that evening. The night before the LSAT, if you feel compelled to study, don’t do a new test. Instead, review a section you’ve already done and know the answers to, which can reinforce strategies and boost your confidence.

  • Get enough sleep the night before the test and several nights before that. Don’t stay up partying. Definitely don’t stay up studying; you’re not going to discover anything extra at that point.

  • Wake up on time. If you live far away from the test center, set your alarm extra early — or even consider spending the night at a hotel nearby. Staying alert through the test is hard enough without combating a lack of sleep, too.

  • Eat breakfast. Your brain functions better if you feed it. Drink coffee if you like to drink coffee (though not too much — it’s a diuretic, which makes you have to use the restroom more often). Try to eat something sustaining — protein and whole grains last longer than a sugary donut. For suggestions, see the nearby sidebar, “The test-day diet.”

  • Make sure you know how to get to the testing site. Don’t wait until the morning of your test to find directions. Take a test drive a day or two before. If you don’t know exactly where the site is or where to park, call the test site earlier in the week for complete directions. If you have trouble parking, leave extra early.

  • Get to the center early. Doing so gives you time to get settled in, handle any last-minute emergencies, and make a last preemptive bathroom stop.

After you finish these steps, you’re ready to take the test!

If your test starts at 8:30 a.m., you must be at the testing center by 8 a.m. If it starts at 12:30 p.m., you must be there by noon.

What to bring

Don’t sabotage your LSAT score by forgetting the essentials. The following items are imperative for a smooth test experience:

  • Your admission ticket, a passport-sized photo of yourself, and a photo ID: You can’t get into the test without them.

  • Many sharpened No. 2 pencils, functional erasers, and maybe even a small sharpener: The erasers can be attached to the pencils or separate; just make sure they fully erase, don’t leave smudges, and aren’t enclosed in a sleeve.

  • A clock of some kind: The test center should have a clock, but don’t count on it. You need to be able to time your tests yourself. Your watch must be analog and can’t make noise. Oh, and it ought to be fairly small; a grandfather clock isn’t a good idea.

  • A sweatshirt or jacket: Wear something with short sleeves underneath. An overenthusiastic climate control system can cool classrooms to about 50 degrees in fall and spring and warm them up to 85 degrees in the winter. Like an explorer in the wild, you need to be prepared for any eventuality.

  • A snack: Don’t eat it during the test, but if you’re hungry, definitely shove it into your mouth at break time. Try to make it something sustaining — an energy bar, nuts, or a candy bar packed with peanuts. Protein helps alertness; carbohydrates make some people sleepy.

What to leave behind

When taking the LSAT, you and your fellow test-takers should be focused on the test. You want to avoid anything that could bother you or others. The following list includes items you can’t (or shouldn’t) bring into your test site:

  • A calculator, a dictionary, an LSAT strategy book, or any other reading material: These items are all taboo in LSAT Land.

  • A cellphone or pager: No electronics are allowed at the testing site, and their use is banned even during the break.

  • Heavy perfume: Other test-takers may be sensitive to it, and you really don’t want to sabotage their efforts.

  • Worries, anxieties, and angst: Worrying doesn’t help now. Breathe deeply.

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