Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The results are in

The moment you (mostly me) have all been waiting for finally arrived yesterday.

LSAC officially said I would receive my score on Oct. 26, but I heard from a lot of people that said it would come early. A former sports reporter of mine who took the LSAT, Chuck Krebs, was on top of it. He was retweeting every bit of information that gave a clue to when the scores would come. And every tweet of his added one more butterfly to my stomach, haha.

By Monday afternoon, it was getting to be now or nothing (or the next day). Erin got really anxious, and started following the news on Twitter and got even more antsy than me. After I was done with The Daily Universe's front page meeting, an email from LSAC was waiting for me. I snuck away outside the newsroom with my laptop and called Erin.

I got a 161 (83rd percentile).

Now, all along my prediction was 162. Which I think is why I wasn't very excited at first to read "161." I spent the last three weeks wondering "What if it turns out I did really awesome?" and hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I wasn't devastatingly disappointed, thank goodness. But it was hard at first to get excited.

But the more people I told, the better I felt each time. My friend Bert had some good advice: "... feel good. Check out the long list of good schools you should be able to get into and you'll feel better." Which was true. Earlier on this blog I shared a list of schools that had 160 as a median LSAT in their freshmen class last year. And some of those schools aren't half bad! Haha. And I called my mom and dad, and they were pretty impressed. Of course, they're my mom and dad. But my dad especially was excited for me.

So what happens now? The list of schools I want to apply to, as well as the schools I've recently added to it, isn't going to change. A 162 was already questionable for Notre Dame, Texas and Virginia, so a 161 is even more so. But, maybe if I write a really good personal statement, I'll be accepted there anyway, haha. (Speaking of which ... my advice to any aspiring law students: start your personal statements way earlier in the process than I am!)

One thing that's great is that LSAC also sends you your answers and the correct answers and the test booklet, so you can go over the whole test and see where you went right and wrong. And I found out something interesting.

In calculating all the practice LSATs I've ever taken, I average

62% correct in the logic games
75% in the logical reasoning
78% in the reading comprehension and
158.5 total.

Of course, I've improved a lot since my first test in July. If I count only practices since the week before the real test (Sept. 26), then it's

67.7% in logic games
73.5% in logical reasoning (weird, I actually got worse in that)
79.6% in reading comprehension
160.4 total.

For the real LSAT, here's how I did:

87% in logic games
76% in logical reasoning and
59% in reading comprehension.

Isn't that weird? I did way better than usual in logic games, a bit better in logical reasoning, and way worse in reading comprehension.

I calculated that if I had done my usual average on the reading comprehension section, I would have had a 164 or 165.

So I'm definitely going to try the LSAT again. It will help that we've now covered reading comprehension in my LSAT prep class (I guess that's the risk that comes with taking an LSAT prep class that doesn't finish before I take the test).

Of course, all these numbers mean only one thing: charts!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


(All you cross country runners and track stars know what that means.)

For today's LSAT practice, I wasn't feeling too good. I stayed up really late, first to write on my Shakespeare blog and then to write on this blog. (I know I didn't have to blog here last night, so I brought it on myself.) And after last week's practice LSAT, I wasn't expecting much.

But I actually didn't do that bad. In fact, depending on how you score it, I got either a 164, my best ever, or 162.

The reason I say "depending on how you score it" is because for the first time today, our practice test was five sections. It was our normal four-section test, plus a section from another test. So I'm not really sure how to measure it all together. But, what happens in the real test is that you have only four sections that are actually part of the score, two logical reasoning, one analytical reasoning (logic games) and one reading comprehension. Then you have an extra "experimental section."

In today's practice, I had three logical reasoning sections, meaning one of them is the "experimental section." Depending on which of the three sections you throw out, I either got 164 or 162.

For purposes of the charts, let's just say I got 164 :)

If you noticed, these charts are a little different. I started tracking how my average has changed (now that I've taken 13 tests). One thing I thought was interesting was that my average for reading comprehension and logical reasoning, despite all the practice and my LSAT prep classes, hasn't changed very much. In fact, my logical reasoning has gone down. So it's my logical games score that really seems to be the biggest factor. Hmm.


Speaking of which ... word on the street is I'll get my LSAT score on Monday! At the latest, LSAC says I'll get it on Wednesday. But I can't wait 'til Monday.

The law school fairest of them all

Hey, law school fans,

On Wednesday, there was a law school fair in the ballroom of the Wilkinson Center. The BYU Pre-Law office doesn't do a great job of getting the word out...the way I found out about it was a junk email from Michigan State. Then, all my law school junk emails started telling me about this law school fair, some of them from schools I was actually interested in and a few that said I could get an application fee waiver if I stopped by their table at the fair. Awesome.

So I was pretty excited to go. I had all kinds of things I wanted to find out, but at the same time I didn't really know what to ask. But I got some advice from my law school pals Bert van Uitert, Erin Kulesus and Aimee Brown (thanks, guys!). Erin and Allisyn were really excited to go with me too.

Even though I didn't really do that much, for some reason it was really fun. I guess it really is like a fair, or like a carnival. But instead of cotton candy and huge teddy bears, you get to dream about the next phase of your life. Erin and I both became even more thrilled by the idea of a new adventure. And there were so many options!

The ballroom at the Wilkinson Center was full of schools, and there was a pretty good representation. Harvard, Yale and Princeton weren't there. But Cornell and Columbia were. And, it ranged all the way down to the bottom tier schools that send me junk email all the time. It was just cool to see all these great schools from all over the country all at one place.

All of the schools in my narrowed-down list were there, which was a nice bonus. In addition, there were a few more schools that for one reason or another convinced us enough that we'll maybe apply to them too (the fee waivers helped):

Iowa - Because we're pretty much open to moving anywhere in the country, I didn't really know how to choose among all the state schools in the country. I know some state schools stand out, like Michigan and Texas. But I didn't really know the differences among Iowa and Wisconsin and Georgia and New Mexico or most anywhere else. But the guys at the Iowa booth made us feel pretty good about it, especially Erin. Erin, of course, was really big on finding out what family life would be like at each school, and what life would be like for the "law school widows." And she felt really good about Iowa, which means I do too.

Virginia - This school is one of the best state schools, and ranked ninth overall. I've always known it was a great school, and I think it would be cool to live in Virginia. But I wasn't planning on applying because I didn't think I could get in. But, this was one of the schools that had a fee waiver. So, hey, I might not get in, but it's worth $16 for the CAS and $0 for the application. (Plus, Allisyn got some swag from them - a little teddy bear.)

Minnesota - The lady at the Minnesota table was really nice. Kind of a grandmotherly type, and talked about the great family environment there.

We picked up a whole backpackfull of brochures, pamphlets, business cards - plus a pen from Washington and a pen from Notre Dame. And in addition to that Virginia bear, Oregon was handing out rubber duckies holding a gavel and a law book. Pretty clever.

Allisyn at home with her Oregon Law rubber duckie.

(Skip to 9:11) (If the video isn't loading for you, click here)
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We got stuff from all these schools:

Already on my list
Notre Dame
UC Davis
North Carolina
Arizona State

Will probably go on my list

Ones I would maybe apply to only if my LSAT is surprisingly higher than I expected
UC Berkeley

Ones I got fee waivers for
Texas Tech
Akron (this one I didn't pick up, it was given to me by a desperate University of Akron representative)
(and Baylor and Willamette are already free)

Ones I would maybe apply to only if my LSAT is surprisingly lower than I expected
Ohio State

Others I just picked up for fun (either because they make me think of good college sports, or "The Office")

The guy representing Stanford was none other than Tony Montague, one of my MTC teachers! It was really cool to see him. I've run into him on campus a couple times since being home from my mission, but that's all. I had no idea he was even at Stanford. So that was cool. (Too bad that he can't pull some strings, haha. Even if I could get into Stanford, though, it is super expensive to live there. Tony said the apartment he and his family live in is $1,700 a month. And that's student housing. Yikes.)

Probably the best sales pitch came from Baylor. The girl was super nice, told us her apartment that has three bedrooms and two bathrooms was only $600 a month (that's less than we're paying in Provo for two bedrooms and one bathroom), and that Baylor has a spring term and a summer term, which might be better than finding a job for the nine months between graduating from BYU and moving to law school. Baylor also got me thinking about the benefits of being "a big fish in a little pond." Even if I could get into Virginia or Notre Dame, it might be worth going to a school like Baylor. It would be easier to be in the top of my class (which, one person told me, is noticed by employers no matter what school you went to) or on the law review. So, something to think about.

Anyway, I've got a big stack of brochures to read!

I can't wait for law school.

P.S.: If you want to read Erin's blog post about the law school fair, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birthday LSAT

I turned 25 on Saturday. It was a great day, thanks to Erin. She was even able to slip in a few surprises. (You can read more about it here.)

Unfortunately, I also had a bummer on the morning of my birthday. I went to take another practice LSAT for my prep class, and I scored lower than I had been the past three weeks. I got a 159, which I know isn't terrible but still disappointing to me.

What really made it disappointing was not so much that I got a 159, but that as I went over my wrong answers, I found so many dumb mistakes. There were so many questions I missed simply because I wasn't paying attention. In fact, I tried to count the questions I would have answered correctly if only I had focused more, and I estimated that I would have had a 166.

I blame the lack of focus on lack of sleep. And I blame the lack of sleep on school. Even in my long 25 years of life, I've rarely felt mad because of school. I've felt stressed or overwhelmed, but not mad. But I was mad on Saturday morning.

I guess I should be reassured, though, that a good night's sleep was the only thing I needed, and not that the test was incomprehensible or over my head.

Here's the latest charts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A coupla podcasts

Hey sports fans,

I've neglected to post links to the lastest CougarCasts. I guess with all the LSAT stuff I've been pretty busy. Hard to imagine, I know.

Anyway, here's what you've missed:

CougarCast: BYU vs. Utah State

This one was fun, because I did it with a sports editor from USU's student newspaper, The Utah Statesman. Tavin Stucki was really nice...especially when there were some technical difficulties and I had to redo the whole podcast.

CougarCast: BYU vs. San Jose State

I was out of town for my grandma's funeral, so I didn't do a podcast to recap the Utah State game. But we combined that with the San Jose State preview. For this podcast, I got Briana Carr, broadcast journalism student extraordinaire and fellow New York City intern, to join me. We talked about a lot of stuff - including Jimmer's wedding.

CougarCast: BYU 29, San Jose State 16

For this one, I finally got together with Aaron Sorenson, one of the DU's football beat writers.

Later this week, when we preview the Oregon State game, we're going to have a surprise special guest. Stay tuned.

That Sly Smirk of His

It's been a long, long time since I had a cartoon in the newspaper. But I did one for today.

In case you haven't heard the story, an evangelical pastor who is a big Rick Perry supporter told evangelicals not to vote for a Mormon, because it would be bad to have a Mormon as president and that Mormonism is a cult. And Rick Perry initially did nothing to restrain this supporter, and eventually did start distancing himself.

I had a problem with this pastor before I even heard him talk. He just had this dumb looking smirk on his face, like a cat who swallowed the canary. I was just thinking how smug he looked as he said things that were just plain wrong. It's fine for him to not want to vote for Mitt Romney, and it's fine for him to not vote for him because he's a Mormon. But to say Mormons are not Christians is nothing more than a gross misunderstanding.

Way to go Anderson Cooper for confronting this guy:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 8 LSAT Practice

Another practice LSAT this morning. It's sort of strange to take a practice one after I've already taken a real one. But, until my score comes back and it's something amazing, I'm planning on continuing to practice and prepare for the LSAT in December.

Today, I got 162. So I tied my all-time best for the third time. Here's what's interesting though: I was a little late to the practice session this morning, which meant I had less time to do the first section, which was logic games. I had to leave blank six questions. Even then, I still got almost 70% on that section, which is higher than my average. Just for fun, later I did those six questions, and got five out of six right. So, if I had only had a little more time on that section, I probably would have got 91% on that section, and would have had a 164 overall. So close!

Also after the test, I tried to remember some specifics about the real test last Saturday. I have a feeling that I probably got five or six wrong on each section. If that's the case, then I got somewhere between 74 and 80 correct, which would be right at 162 or higher. In other words, I'm predicting that my score is 162 or higher. I've got my fingers crossed!

Once again, here are my charts:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

LSAT Attack

So, for any of you who have been on J.J. LSAT Watch, you've been disappointed this week. Not to worry, I'm here a few days late to catch you up on all the news.

Last week was crunch time before taking the real LSAT on Saturday. So I decided to take a break from blogging about the LSAT and just practice it. And, Practice Week was a bit of a roller coaster, but overall I got better and better as the week progressed.

It didn't help that I had a nasty sore throat and runny nose at the beginning of the week. One test, I was forced to leave blank 16 out of 23 logic games questions. Not good.

But I still managed to score a 156 that day. And, twice I got 162, my personal best. And one of those times, I got 24 out of 26 right on the reading comprehension section! So that was awesome.

Here's charting the practice week's results:

So, Saturday was the big day. I didn't get quite as much sleep as I wanted the day before, but I still felt pretty well. I rode my bike to campus instead of driving or being driven, to get my blood pumping. There I was at the Wilkinson Center, surrounded by other twentysomethings, mostly men, all carrying Ziplock bags with lunch. We filed in and checked in at about 8:20. The test didn't get started until about 8:50.

I've heard some people talk about how intimidating the BYU Testing Center is. They feel pressure from the huge, silent room full of test-takers arranged in rows and columns. Well, I've never felt that at the testing center, but I did feel that at the beginning of the LSAT. And for some reason, the proctor reading the instructions - even though I already knew the instructions and didn't need to be scared by them - added to the atmosphere.

I usually have plenty of leftover time in the logical reasoning and reading comprehension sections, and therefore have the luxury of checking my answers. But I didn't get as much time to do that on the first section. Then, on the analytical reasoning/logic games question, there were a couple I had to guess before running out of time and a few more that I was rushed through.

But, every section after that I felt pretty good about. I think my Practice Week really paid off. I felt about the same as I did while I was taking the practice tests that got me a 162. So, I'm feeling like I got a 162 or above. Of course, people feel great about the LSAT and end up bombing it, and others feel horrible and end up doing amazing. I'll find out my score on October 26 (but I hope earlier).

In the meantime, I can focus on other aspects of applying to law school. The letters of recommendation and evaluations are coming in, and I need to start writing my personal statements and putting the finishing touches on the forms.

Oh, and, here's maybe the part you're the most curious about: with this rough idea of what my LSAT score will be, I've narrowed down my list of schools I'm interested in applying to.

So, if I get around a 162, here's where I'll apply:

Notre Dame
These two are the schools I'm "reaching" for. If I get a 162, I could maybe get into these schools, maybe not.
(For any of you who are thinking, "Why would a Mormon want to go to Notre Dame?" read this: "Two faiths - LDS Church News")

UC Davis
I hadn't thought a lot about this school, but after looking at both law school rankings and the probability of getting into a law school with my GPA and my LSAT score guess, this one seems be where those two lines intersect. (And, it's close to Sacramento, so I can stay close to Jimmer, haha.)

North Carolina
A really good state school, and we've heard a lot of great things about the state of North Carolina. And, except for BYU and Utah, it's the cheapest.

I hadn't really thought of Washington either, until I made this list and realized that Gonzaga and Willamette were the only Pacific Northwest schools on the list, and that I could definitely get into those two schools with even a lower LSAT score. So I thought I should balance that out by finding the highest ranked Pacific Northwest school and including it. (I wanted to include the Pacific Northwest since I'm from Oregon.)

 Arizona State
This is mostly Erin's idea, but I could probably enjoy Arizona if we lived there. See, it's all about compromise! Haha. Erin got the idea from her cousin Cara, whose husband is trying to get into Arizona State. It would be great to live nearby them and go through the law school adventure together. And, I wouldn't mind going to a school named after Sandra Day O'Connor.

To be honest, I feel like I'd rather move out of the state of Utah. Not because I can't stand it here, just because I think I'd be more excited to move somewhere new and have an adventure. (That was part of what made our two months in New York City so amazing. Not just that it was New York, but because it was new for us.) But, you can't argue against the cheap tuition.

Similar to the reasoning behind choosing BYU, although at least moving out of Provo would be something new. It would be more exciting to live outside of Utah, but the in-state tuition is tempting. And, my friend Bert is going to law school there, and it would be fun to hang out with him and his family.

Basically, this is a back-up Texas school in case University of Texas doesn't work out. (Erin's family lives in Houston, in case you didn't know.)

Good schools, but not ranked nearly as high as the rest. Even if I don't get the LSAT score I'm expecting, I have a good chance of getting into either one of these. These are sort of my back-up schools.

I also have other schools to try in case my score is higher or lower than I'm expecting.

Harvard: If I get 170 or higher (And, 'cause, hey, why not?)
Stanford: If I get 168 or higher
Michigan: If I get 168 or higher
Georgetown: If I get 168 or higher
Duke: If I get 166 or higher

What do you guys think?
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