It’s 8:30 on a just-turned-Spring morning and a former colleague is about to take part in one of the most stressful experiences of his life. He’s sitting in a spacious vanilla-colored classroom in downtown Chicago, armed with four pencils, a bottle of water, a small pencil sharpener, and no other electronic devices. He’s nervous but excited. The moment has arrived.
My colleague is taking the Law School Admissions Test or LSAT. This half-day intensive exam assesses reading comprehension and logical reasoning, and it is an integral part of law school admission in the United States. These LSAT scores will determine the caliber of law school he will attend — and by extension, will also influence future professional and life opportunities. The stakes are high, but he’s ready. He’s been preparing for more than half a year.
Learning How to Learn
An entire industry has grown up around test preparation. There are scores of books, consultants, and online test prep courses. My colleague has used these as a foundation, but his aim is high and he knew it would take more. So over the past six months, during the grey and dreary Chicago winter, he’s been getting stronger — in mind, body, and spirit. Yes, he took practice tests, in fact, more than 40 of the full three-hour exams and another 20 of timed section drills. He explains that it’s not only about getting familiar with the
Beyond Mental Preparation
The mental preparation was only part of his rigorous training, however. He also started getting more fit by working out at the gym more regularly, paying closer attention to his diet, and getting more sleep. Each day, staying focused on the goal.
While the physical preparation was key, another element was the mindset. “I wanted to be prepared to handle the nerves, and really deliver what the exam asks — to make reasoned, logical decisions under extremely tight time constraints,” he says. Now, with the testing complete, the waiting begins. In a few
Chances are you’re not taking an LSAT anytime soon. But you likely are facing some major project deadline or important decision in the next six months. Let my colleague’s discipline inspire you. How are you preparing for that moment in mind, body, and spirit?
Your challenge this week: Review the major decisions or events that you will undertake in the next six months. How can you best prepare to face them?