Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Kate Chopin Got Me Into Law School

No wait, I'm serious. When I took the June 2011 LSAT (the single most important factor by far in getting into law school) Kate Chopin showed up on the reading comprehension section. Now, before I go on, I should briefly outline the way the LSAT works (though I'm sure at least some of us--who have taken it already--should already know). There are two logical reasoning sections, one 'logic games' section, and one more for reading comprehension. I hate logic games. Not surprisingly, since I'm an English major, I love reading comprehension. This test had a very easy logic games section. This by alone wasn't really enough to help me, however, because that would only mean the curve was harsher and my standardized score would be the same. But the reading comprehension was a different story. Talking to many people who took the test, this section was incredibly difficult. As a result, the curve was typical for an LSAT. As I said before, this section is my strong suit and I usually get perfect scores on it anyway. Therefore my standardized score was significantly better than it would have been otherwise, and my odds of getting into law school skyrocketed.

Why was that section so difficult? Kate Chopin. One of the four reading sections was on Kate Chopin's development as a feminist writer. It included details about specific feminist genres, but generally avoided complex terminology (I can't be any more specific than that--LSAC copyright stuff and all). However, a huge number of people struggled with it. When I was in the bathroom during break, most of the comments I heard from the others were in some way related to Chopin--"Did you understand that one about 'chop-in'"? Or "How about that feminist article?" I also talked with a few girls about the test (in general terms, LSAC people who have googled this blog, general terms only) and none of them talked about the Kate Chopin article. They talked about the geological, heavy-laden with scientific terminology article.

So is this an example of a lack of bi-textuality? Are men simply less receptive to feminist ideas simply because they're men? I must admit, even though I did really well on the section (English major after all) I missed more questions on the Chopin piece than on the other three combined. But is there a flipside? What about the women who struggled with the more objective geology piece? Does that kind of article express 'masculine' characteristics? Certainly, in schools besides Wabash anyway, men tend to take more science and math courses, and women are more represented in literature courses. So, may it be true that the reason the men struggled with the Chopin article was because of its specific topic of literature--not feminism? I'm honestly not sure. I'm just really glad that Chopin threw everybody else off. Thank you Kate Chopin!

Also, for the other people in the class that took the LSAT this June (I think there are at least 2, maybe more), what do you guys think? Was the article that hard? Of course everybody else can feel free to express answers to any of these questions.


  1. Now that you mention it, I do remember a section on an early feminist writer, but I hadn't read Chopin at that point, so I didn't think anything of it! I don't remember finding it particularly hard, however, but then again, that section is my strong suit as well. I don't know if the science-based reading questions are harder per se, but the literature passages definitely keep my attention better!

  2. I suppose that's to be expected from an English major. After all, we do literature analysis all the time. Interesting update on this post, however--the article on the LSAT was actually an abstract of the feminist piece by Showalter! Nothing on the LSAT explicitly states where the abstract came from, but it was manifestly evident (not only same structure and themes, but also exact same wording at times) that that's where it came from. Perhaps I should rename by blog post, "How Showalter Got Me Into Law School."