If you are like me (and probably thousands of Type A would-be law students, you probably have no idea of how well (or poorly) you did on the test. Your bias, however, is probably that you don't feel that you did as well as you could have. This is because (a) most of us tend to focus on our weaknesses rather than our strengths; but more importantly, (b) with the hours upon hours of practice tests that you probably did, you received immediate feedback on your performance.
So, during those weeks or months of practice, you knew exactly how you did on those practice tests. And even if you did not do as well as you hoped, that little devil sitting on your shoulder never had a chance to try and psych you out. Unfortunately, until the test results are in, he has lots of opportunity to convince you that you didn't do well on the test.
Now, let me give you some good news. First of all, if you invested the time in preparation, chances are that you did as well as you are capable of doing. And its hard to imagine anyone unhappy with a result that represents their maximum capability. Some even better news: in my case, I scored about seven points higher than I did on any of the practice exams I did during my months of test preparation.
I don't know if my experience is common, however, I suspect that it could very well be. First of all, many of the prep materials are designed to toughen you up- the test prep folks throw everything at you that they can, in an effort to help you increase your aptitude for these types of questions. So arguably, you pratice with the most difficult of all questions.
Those cynics among you may challenge this assertion, especially if you practiced with old test questions. "How can you say that old test questions are the most difficult?" you scoff. After all, they were actual questions, used on actual exams. However, this assertion misses a point common to the LSAT, law school and the bar exam- they are graded on a curve. The curve adjusts for the relative difficulty of the exam.
Additionally, if you are like many Type A folks, you probably perform better under pressure (I understand that there are folks who simply don't do well on standardized tests). It's sort of like the difference between hitting golf balls on a practice range versus hitting a ball during an actual round of golf. The added factor of a scorecard motivates most people to focus, swing carefully and move the ball toward the target. In an exam setting, as compared with the comfort of your dorm room, your adrenaline flows, your neurons fire and you generally operate at in a heightened state.
The point of all of this is to say that you should not spend a great deal of time fretting about the test. If something unusual was going on in your life (e.g. you came down with the flu, or just broke up with your paramour, or something else that you know affected your performance, then consider cancelling your score (see my other post in this section). Otherwise, if you gave it your all, in terms of preparation, then forget about it.
Which brings me to my next point- what to do while you are waiting for your LSAT score. Similar to the bar exam (which, however, takes months, instead of weeks to receive your score), you are in sort of a limbo period right now. But you should take a bit of time to celebrate the fact that you gave it your all and are finished with it.
This is the first milestone in your journey through the Law School Labyrinth. The next milestone will be to begin your law school applications; after that the waiting begins again as the schools consider you as a potential student. And after you are accepted, there will be the waiting for school to begin, waiting for exams, waiting for exam grades and so on. All of this will help to build your character and maturity as you make your final approach to the practice of law as a career.
You may be feeling a bit letdown right now. Even worse, you may be questioning whether you did as well as you could have done. I recommend that you look at it another way- you worked hard, you made it through the test and you are on your way to law school and a law career.
Which brings me to my final point. Regardless of how you performed, if you want it badly enough, you will become a lawyer. John F. Kennedy, Jr. took the New York bar exam (allegedly one of the most difficult, along with California) several times before passing. But eventually he passed and became a lawyer.
If you aced the test and get accepted to Harvard, I offer my sincerest congratulations. If your LSAT score is closer to the median however, I Imagine there will still be law schools who will be thrilled to have you. When you take the bar exam, they don't really care whether you graduated from a top school or Local U. All they require of you, other than the character and fitness requirement (also discussed in another post in this blog), all that is required is that you have graduated from an accredited law school and pass the exam.
My advice to you now that you have completed this first step, use this time to begin to look closely at law schools. Do your due dilligence- look carefully at their professors, their course offerings, their clinics, their on-capus recruiting program and the like. Talk with students of your preferred schools; visit the campuses.
After I took my first bar exam (I am licensed in two states), rather than worrying about whether or not I passed, I simply acted as if I had and lost myself in my work. In the same way, you can lose yourself in the process of selecting the place where you will spend the next three years and thousands of dollars. This will be infinitely more productive than fretting over how you did on the LSAT.
And again, if you want it badly enough you will become a lawyer. I just know it. You will.