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What to do if your LSAT study plans have been disrupted due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

what to do if your LSAT study plans have been disrupted due to coronavirus

Updated 4/7/20: The April 2020 LSAT has been cancelled as well and April registered test-takers will be scheduled for online, remote proctored LSAT-Flex exams instead. See the section below on “How is the coronavirus pandemic impacting LSAT exams? and what is LSAT Flex?”

At Magoosh, we are all still processing how much the world has changed due to the current pandemic, and we’re guessing you are as well. For most people, it’s altered how we are thinking and feeling about a lot of very important things: our families, our friends, our studies, our jobs, our financial status, our well-being, and our futures.

If you were planning on taking the LSAT and applying to law school in the near future, you may be feeling really worried about what’s going to happen next.

Keep reading for the latest updates and advice from our experts on what to do if your LSAT studying and law school plans suddenly look very different, and let us know in the comments how you are feeling and how else we at Magoosh can help.

In this post:


 

How is the coronavirus pandemic impacting LSAT exams?

We’re tracking updates on how a wide range of standardized tests are being impacted here.

Update 4/7/20: Currently, both the March and April LSAT have been cancelled worldwide and all individuals who were registered for April tests have now been scheduled for online, remotely proctored LSAT-Flex tests in late May. LSAT-Flex is a brand new initiative from LSAC. Here are all the details straight from LSAC:

In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we will be offering an online, remotely proctored version of the LSAT – called the LSAT-Flex – in the second half of May for test takers who were registered for the April test. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely and will make other LSAT-Flex test dates available this spring and summer if the situation warrants. We plan to resume the in-person LSAT once conditions allow, in strict accordance with public health authorities and using all necessary health and safety measures. In the meantime, the remotely proctored LSAT-Flex will provide candidates with the opportunity to earn an LSAT score even if the COVID-19 crisis makes it impossible to deliver the test in-person.

Candidates currently registered for the April 2020 LSAT will be automatically registered to take the LSAT-Flex in the second half of May unless they choose another option. We are committed to broad access and will work with all test takers with disabilities to see that their accommodation needs are met under the circumstances. We will also work with any candidates who may need our assistance with access to computer equipment or other necessary hardware. If you are aware of any April registrants who might need assistance, please urge them to contact us so that we can help.

April registrants who do not wish to take the LSAT-Flex in May can choose any one of the other published LSAT test dates without having to pay a test date change fee.

We will announce the exact date and instructions for the May LSAT-Flex no later than Friday, April 17. We are working hard in real-time amid this crisis to create new ways for candidates to take the LSAT and get scores in a timely manner because we know how important it is to their future, and also to fairness and integrity in law school admission, which advances access and equity in legal education. We appreciate your continued support and guidance to your students as we all work through this extraordinary public health crisis together.

Our team has worked hard to ensure that the LSAT-Flex test will provide the high levels of security, validity, reliability, accessibility, and fairness that candidates and schools rely upon from the LSAT

  • LSAT-Flex will be composed of genuine LSAT questions that have been developed and tested in accordance with our rigorous standards and processes.
  • LSAT-Flex will be delivered in the same format as the free Official LSAT Prep practice tests available on LSAC’s LawHub, so your students can familiarize themselves with the format now.
  • To ensure the highest levels of security and validity, all LSAT-Flex test takers will be monitored by live remote proctors via the camera and microphone in the test takers’ computer. The video and audio feed will be recorded, and further reviewed by human reviewers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques.
  • LSAT-Flex can be accessed by test takers with a laptop or desktop computer with a Windows or Mac operating system to provide wide access for test takers. Your students can learn more about the computer and testing environment requirements here.
  • To meet the anticipated demand and the needs of the remote testing solution, LSAT-Flex will be composed of three 35-minute scored sections (compared to the four 35-minute scored sections plus an unscored section in the traditional test).
  • LSAT-Flex will include one section each of Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. Test takers will continue to take LSAT Writing separate from the multiple-choice portion of the test.
  • Test takers will receive a score on the standard 120-180 LSAT range, as well as a percentile ranking. Because all LSAT-Flex questions are actual LSAT questions that have gone through a multi-year process of development and pre-testing, LSAT-Flex results enable LSAC to accurately predict standard LSAT scores. Scores for the LSAT-Flex will have an annotation that the test was administered in the online, remotely proctored format.
  • Given the shortness of time remaining in the current admission cycle, we will be accelerating score release for LSAT-Flex test takers. We anticipate LSAT-Flex scores will be released approximately two weeks after testing.
  • LSAC is committed to working with LSAT-Flex test takers with disabilities to see that their accommodation needs are met under the circumstances. All test takers who have already been approved to receive accommodations for the April 2020 LSAT test date will receive the same or equivalent accommodations for the LSAT-Flex administration.

Even as we offer the LSAT-Flex during this unique COVID-19 period, LSAC will continue to explore additional options for candidates, including possible additional testing dates this spring and summer, and alternative locations and formats for in-person testing that would meet health and safety guidelines as this public health emergency evolves.

In addition, we continue to work with our member law schools and are pleased to see the steps that so many schools are taking to provide flexibility, extend deadlines, and support candidates.

The impact of this COVID-19 crisis on so many segments of our society underscore how important it is to build a strong legal profession devoted to advancing justice, equity and prosperity.


International students have been rescheduled for June 8. If you want to change the location of your test or prefer a different date, you can contact LSAC’s Candidate Services team at LSACinfo@LSAC.org or 215.968.1001. Expect a potential wait for a response.

You can also check in on LSAC’s official coronavirus update page to see the latest developments.


 

How is the coronavirus pandemic impacting law school admissions?

Since the earliest deadlines for law school admissions are not until November, right now there is not much of an impact (other than potentially giving you fewer options to take or retake the LSAT if needed).

There are still five available LSAT test dates before early admissions deadlines (April, June, July, August, and October) as well as November if you are applying later. So you still have time. We expect that if the April and June tests are cancelled then there will be more discussion around impact on admissions.


 

What should I do if my test date has been cancelled or rescheduled?

First of all don’t panic! Everyone is going through this together, and that actually may be something to take solace in. It’s much more likely that solutions will be found for the masses than if a small number of people were impacted.

Also, we are not the experts on predicting what’s going to happen, but make sure you consider the possibility that additional tests dates could be cancelled.

We hope that these exams will go on, but to avoid any shock or disappointment, we also think that given the uncertainty of the crisis, you should be mentally prepared that that plan might change as well. However, at this point we recommend that you keep your study plans intact for April/June. In our experience, studying for the LSAT is not a skill that is quickly forgotten. The work you put in now will still pay off in the event your exam is deferred.

Keep studying and hoping for the best case scenario, but also be prepared for other possibilities.

Update 3/27/20: LSAC announced that March and April registrants will have the option to restore a previously canceled score if desired. Scores will be provided by confidential email and students who elect this option will be able to restore their score. This messaging also increases the likelihood that the April test will also be cancelled or postponed, although that has not been officially announced yet.


 

What should I do if I’ve gotten off track on my study plan?

WIth our study plans, we aim to make them as helpful as possible. We don’t intend them to be effective only if you follow each point to a “t”.

In fact, even doing 50-60% of what is recommended for a given week can go a long way to helping. Ultimately, we want to make sure with whatever time you have available that you are using it most effectively–and study plans provide just that.

So, if you’ve “gotten off track”, don’t feel that you either have to catch up to a specific date or do all of the required assignment. Instead, figure out how much time you have and identify the areas where you struggle most. That way, you can take a targeted approach to the plan. Feel free to start with whatever day makes sense to you, even though it might not technically align with how many days you’ve been using the study plan.


 

What should I do if I need to cut back on my LSAT studying?

Even if you have to cut back significantly, our advice is to sprinkle as much studying throughout the week as possible. This can be watching lessons, doing drills, or even doing official practice sessions. These skills are a lot easier to develop if you practice them several times a week versus studying in one big chunk. But ultimately, do keep doing a little whenever possible–not only will the rust not settle in, but you’ll likely become stronger over time in whatever you are focusing on.


 

What should I do if I have MORE time for my LSAT studying?

This is definitely a possible scenario, given how many of us are on lockdown or have classes cancelled or work disrupted. There are a couple of ways to approach this extra time. You can do multiple days of your study plan, you can double up the amount of official prep you do, you can spend more time reviewing your wrong answers and really understanding how the test writers think, or some mix of all of these.

That said, the key is to make sure that you continue to take full-length practice tests so that you can see how much you are improving. It is easy to fall into the routine of preparing, thinking that you are inevitably improving, but it’s only when you take a practice test that you get a sense of whether this is true or not. Also, taking frequent practice tests will help you fine tune your strategy/approach and, where necessary, change up how you use your study time.


 

Where can I find free (or more affordable) resources to help with my LSAT studying?

You may be particularly worried about your budget right now; or you may have more time to supplement your current LSAT study plan and are looking for more resources. Here are a few of our favorites:


 

What can I do if I’m having a hard time studying for the LSAT because I’m feeling stressed or distracted?

First of all, take care of yourself and your well-being.

It’s ok if you are feeling anxious, distressed, disappointed, distracted, or lost right now. Be kind to yourself about this, and take some time off of studying if you need to.

There are lots of great resources out there to help you cope with the current situation. We particularly like Ten Percent Happier Coronavirus Sanity Guide. The CDC has specific resources for mental health during the outbreak as well. And Talkspace has some good resources, including a free support group. If you are a current student, your school also likely has a resource guide on its website.

We also like this simple breathing technique to help calm your sympathetic nervous system. Try it for 5 minutes any time of day, but it could be particularly helpful when you sit down to study, work, or right before your MCAT exam:

    Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Release for a count of 8. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

This simple tip goes a long way.

How you can stay focused in stressful times.

If you’re like many of us right now, you may be having trouble staying focused on your tasks when you sit down to study. Your ability to concentrate and retain knowledge falters under stress. Acknowledge this is a reality and approach your work differently. Instead of setting a goal of, say, studying for a 3-4 hour stretch and covering a ton of material, set smaller goals:

For example, tell yourself, “right now, I am just going to do one logic game” or “right now, I am just going to quiz myself on my list of logical fallacies.”

Focus on making your goals manageable and achievable until you are feeling more settled: you will still be progressing your studies and will build confidence that you can still do this.


 

What options do I have to adjust my study plans if I am a Magoosh LSAT student?

If you’re a Magoosh LSAT Premium student, or thinking about signing up, you should know that we are pausing and extending student accounts for free as needed.

We also want you to know that our Student Help Team is here not only to help with questions about logic games or logical fallacies, but also test anxiety and other concerns. Feel free to reach out through the purple Help button on your dashboard or send an email to help@magoosh.com.

We’re following the situation closely and we’ll keep doing our very best to respond to what’s going on and help support LSAT students.

We know this is tough. We’re here for you.

What else is on your mind? Let us know in the comments.

Featured Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

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