I did start out with the best of intentions: I would get a jump on my (inevitable) New Year’s resolutions by practicing some serious dietary restraint and committing to a grueling workout regimen. No secretly raiding the bags- and bags and bags- of candy laying around at Halloween, and no excuses for lying around watching cheesy… I mean classic TV specials every December weekend.
Well, those of you who have read my posts before can probably guess that my incorrigible weakness for candy corn made my Halloween diet a bust. In fact, I was so shamed by my sugar indulgence that I simply gave up on refraining saintly during Thanksgiving: in fact, I’ve gone ahead and made plans to wrap everything in bacon. And my holiday shopping list is so long that I don’t know how I’ll squeeze in any exercise… unless I can count trudging through the mall… hmmmmm…
As a Kaplan LSAT instructor, I know a lot of LSAT test-takers who can relate: the "ups" experienced in preparing for the test are thrilling, but the "downs" can be really discouraging. Just one bad practice test score can make a test-taker reluctant to jump back in, allowing procrastination to take over. Of course, putting studying off is made a lot easier by the hectic schedules so many of us maintain year-round.
Funny enough, the key to emerging from such a slowdown successfully is to realize that "downs" are "ups" on their way! LSAT test-takers must take a proactive approach to working through setbacks by recognizing their ultimate value. Mistakes are learning opportunities, but only if we choose to understand them (all of them) fully now and attack them ferociously in the future. To this end, Kaplan students have a great tool in the Smart Reports component of their courses- the program continually analyzes students’ performance and draws a roadmap of Next Steps to maximizing points. Plus, staying focused on their successes empowers test-takers, making them feel stronger all of the way to LSAT Test Day.
Of course, none of this personal training will make a difference if it never even makes it onto the test-taker’s agenda. It’s critical to set-up a realistic but ambitious LSAT preparation calendar- make a daily, weekly, or any time study date with yourself, and keep it! But don’t sweat, the Kaplan method encourages us to reward our own hard work: taking regular study breaks to relax helps to keep energy up and the mind focused.
A great bonus to staying positive and committed in preparation for the LSAT is the endurance test-takers build for Test Day- if you can keep going strong after falling off track, you’ll be much better prepared for the marathon of the LSAT. Now, got to run- I’m off to take my own advice and power walk-off my (latest) pumpkin pie indiscretion.