Law School Discussion

LSAT Preparation => Studying for the LSAT => Topic started by: rohan on December 01, 2007, 06:29:43 PM

Title: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 01, 2007, 06:29:43 PM
 :D

 >:(

I guess this ought to be posted in "Horror Stories" but it doesn't seem like there is much activity over there.

The fire alarm went off in the building during section 4. At first, the proctor suggested that we just do our best to work through it. Work through it?? It with annoying flashing lights and a deafening alarm that is supposed to be so distracting you can't work?! Ha! By the time they stopped the section, we had about two minutes left on the clock. Sigh. Everyone evacuated and we stood outside for about 15 minutes in 30ish degree weather. The fire department showed up, and then we rambled back in for the last two minutes of section 4, section 5 and the writing sample.

It's so laughable, I'm having a hard time crying.

Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: authority11 on December 01, 2007, 06:42:15 PM
What is standard protocol if a fire alarm goes off?  That's insane if it's "don't worry guys, just keep going!".
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: lalalagirl007 on December 01, 2007, 06:43:50 PM
omg, you are kidding!!!!! Work through it?!?! WTF?! Was she JOKING?!? Did you guys get extra time???????? PLEASE TELL ME YOU GOT EXTRA TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: MHLM on December 01, 2007, 06:45:26 PM
Wow, dude, that is a real LSAT nightmare. What are you going to do?
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: Solid_Rock on December 01, 2007, 06:46:02 PM
File a complaint to LSAC and they will take care of it
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: MHLM on December 01, 2007, 06:47:57 PM
File a complaint to LSAC and they will take care of it

Yea but still the best outcome is that s/he'll have to retake in Feb. That pretty much screws you for this cycle...I feel really badly for the OP.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 01, 2007, 08:36:31 PM
I wish that I were kidding.

I'm not sure what I am going to do about this cycle. This is my first LSAT; I am applying mostly to Tier 1 mid- and lower- end and have been scoring in the 160's. I probably scored in the mid 150's; I'm an older applicant/non-trad, so I'm also not in a huge rush, but would like to start in this fall and not next. There were a lot of folks retaking from Sept., or June and earlier exams and they were really banking on this one to be great. Can you imagine if this were the third time you were taking it? Oy!

Not too much time passed between the alarm going off and the proctor calling it quits. Maybe a minute at the most (know how a minute can feel v. v. loooong??) But, we were definitely worried that the rest of the test was going to be under these conditions and completely lost focus. I know that they are reporting it to LSAC, but I am going to file my complaint/issue/whatever it's called with them as well.

In the meantime, my plan is to drink wine. Lots of wine.  ;D

oh, and aside from the two minutes that were added back on so that we could complete section 4, no... we did not get extra time.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: ladivina on December 01, 2007, 10:43:04 PM
I was also there in that building today, perhaps in your same room because we also had a couple minutes left on section 4.  Frankly, I was appalled at the way it was handled.  As we were standing outside in the cold for what was actually more like 30 minutes everyone was talking about the test.  This maybe was not a big advantage for us who had only 2 minutes on that section when we came back in, but my friend in another room had 15 minutes left in the section, which is plenty of time to change you answers after discussing with other test takers.  Up until that point, I was feeling great about how I was doing, but I was so frazzled when we came back in that I lost focus, making an already hard RC section absolute hell.  This was a retake for me, I have some applications in, but wanted to improve on my score.  I intend on giving LSAC an earfull on Monday. 

My questions for you all are these: Is there any actual recourse in these types of situations?  Would LSAC EVER allow someone to see their score before deciding to cancel?  Will law schools even care if you write an addendum explaining why you canceled a score under these circumstances?

To the OP: If we were in the same room, the fire alarm was not the only problem.  That proctor kept making a racket and actually went up to people in the middle of the test and made them get out their ID (not me) even though she hadn't told us to keep it out in the first place (I knew because it wasn't my first time ;). Ridiculous.  I am so mad and afraid that nothing will be resolved properly. ???
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: authority11 on December 01, 2007, 10:59:09 PM
I'm shocked it doesn't happen more often to be honest.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 02, 2007, 11:19:13 AM
To the OP: If we were in the same room, the fire alarm was not the only problem.  That proctor kept making a racket and actually went up to people in the middle of the test and made them get out their ID (not me) even though she hadn't told us to keep it out in the first place (I knew because it wasn't my first time ;). Ridiculous.  I am so mad and afraid that nothing will be resolved properly. ???

Oh, I think we might have been in the same room. Brazil? Orange hat? She was the worst! But since I have nothing to compare this experience with, it didn't occur to me until now that these irregularities are all that egregious. I spoke with my DH about all of it this morning (I told him about the fire alarm yesterday, but not the proctor stuff) and he was pretty appalled. For all of the restrictions they place on us for the exam, it's amazing that a proctor thinks nothing of interrupting students to see ID's once the test has begun, ripping open writing sample packets (grab a few pieces of paper, crinkle them up and imagine you're doing this in the middle of a silent room of test takers), scooting mail bins across desks, and heaving them onto other desks with a loud thud -- all of which occured during timed sections.

I was too stunned yesterday to be po'd, but now, I'm getting there. Also, I spent $100 yesterday on a sitter for our son (DH was taking another exam), plus in addition to testing materials, I have spent close to $500 sitter costs just to study and take practice tests for the December exam. What a waste! And now, I might have to do it all over again.

I almost forgot -- Just to further drive the point that our proctors were pretty unaware. During the time it takes to bubble in all of your personal data, the guy infront of me was apparently not too strong in his active listening skills. He opened the booklet to section 1, and left it open for about 10 minutes, would occasionally read it, go back to bubbling his bio-data, flip ahead to section 2. One of the proctors finally closed the booklet when she came by his desk to help him with something.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: ladivina on December 03, 2007, 12:42:48 PM
So, has anyone spoken to LSAC yet?  I am going to call in a few minutes, and I'll let you know what happened.  Ugh.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 03, 2007, 04:34:40 PM
So, has anyone spoken to LSAC yet?  I am going to call in a few minutes, and I'll let you know what happened.  Ugh.


Yes, I spoke with them today. They are aware that a fire alarm disrupted our test and that a number of test takers discussed the exam during the disruption and that a number of these students had ample time to change answers after discussing the exam.

Although they are aware of the situation, WE have to write our letter and ask for an investigation which will almost definitely delay the release of our scores. There is no automatic notation in our file, no letter explaining the circumstances under which we gave the test. The investigation will take longer than 6 days, so we will have the option to cancel our scores at the end of the investigation. However, if we choose to cancel, it will count as 'one of the three' we can take. It is possible that a letter will end up in our file, placed there by LSAC, but we have to request the investigation and there is no guarantee that this will happen. Also, if I request an investigation and you do not, and LSAC determines that it is appropriate to place a letter in my file, then you will NOT also receive a letter because you did not request an investigation.

I'm faxing my letter tonite. I am requesting a letter in my file that all adcomms will see explaining the unusual circumstances. I want this in there regardless of whether or not I cancel -- also, the suggested that I not cancel until I request the investigation and hear the results. I want to avoid writing an addendum.

So, get your letter together and fax it off! Let me know if they tell you something different. I also mentioned to them the horrible proctor and they were quite appalled that the proctor interrupted students during the timed portion of the test. I'll mention this in my letter as well.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: ladivina on December 04, 2007, 09:30:39 AM
I also spoke with them yesterday and faxed my formal complaint this morning. Let me know what you hear, and I will do the same.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: jalex519 on December 04, 2007, 09:38:35 AM
To the two of you who were affected by this, if you still plan on applying this cycle, include an LSAT addendum that explains your special circumstances to every school. I am sure it will be given some consideration...
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: AkhilAmar on December 04, 2007, 01:32:39 PM
To the two of you who were affected by this, if you still plan on applying this cycle, include an LSAT addendum that explains your special circumstances to every school. I am sure it will be given some consideration...

Of course everything is in the eye of the beholder, but I am not so sure that is the wise path to follow.

Why dilute and distract from the positives in your brief moment with an adcomm with stupid whining about a moment that tripped you up?  Do you really think the people making the decisions have not faced $$hit that has created problems?  Do they tell everyone about that crap?  I would sell my strong points instead.

Whine and dine at will, but excuses by them selves carry very little weight.  "ohhh, poor me, it is so unfair..."

Welcome to it, get used to it or leave it.  It is your choice.   

(I do have envy for the guy at the mini mart I get chips from, all he has to do is punch in a few buttons and all is cool, I walk away with my bag of goddies and he stands for a few more hours at minimum wage.  Do the math.)


I completely disagree. I could understand your stance if the persons in question were merely inconvienced by the fire alarm (i.e. a brief disruption, nothing more nothing less). However, the fact that the proctors told them to work through it for some time, undoubtedly resulting in a score decrease, is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of in regards to standardized testing. Work through it? I can barely hold my concentration with ms. chatter-foot behind me, let alone the eardrum bursting db level of a fire alarm sounding. As long as they convey their position in a concise, mature and professional manner it can only help them. 
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on December 04, 2007, 03:28:07 PM
wow, awful.

I'm applying to a few PhD programs as well, and so I had to take the GRE...which really illustrated how terrible LSAC is compared to ETS.  Not only can you take the GRE any time of the week in one of several time slots and receive your score right away, but they also give you earmuffs and don't interrupt you during your exam :)
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: AkhilAmar on December 04, 2007, 03:33:48 PM
To the two of you who were affected by this, if you still plan on applying this cycle, include an LSAT addendum that explains your special circumstances to every school. I am sure it will be given some consideration...

Of course everything is in the eye of the beholder, but I am not so sure that is the wise path to follow.

Why dilute and distract from the positives in your brief moment with an adcomm with stupid whining about a moment that tripped you up?  Do you really think the people making the decisions have not faced $$hit that has created problems?  Do they tell everyone about that crap?  I would sell my strong points instead.

Whine and dine at will, but excuses by them selves carry very little weight.  "ohhh, poor me, it is so unfair..."

Welcome to it, get used to it or leave it.  It is your choice.   

(I do have envy for the guy at the mini mart I get chips from, all he has to do is punch in a few buttons and all is cool, I walk away with my bag of goddies and he stands for a few more hours at minimum wage.  Do the math.)


I completely disagree. I could understand your stance if the persons in question were merely inconvienced by the fire alarm (i.e. a brief disruption, nothing more nothing less). However, the fact that the proctors told them to work through it for some time, undoubtedly resulting in a score decrease, is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of in regards to standardized testing. Work through it? I can barely hold my concentration with ms. chatter-foot behind me, let alone the eardrum bursting db level of a fire alarm sounding. As long as they convey their position in a concise, mature and professional manner it can only help them. 

Don't you see?  You have available options to deal with this type of thing.  Follow the dictated procedure and wait to see what happens. 

Do you want un breakable promises in your life? Please don't be a fool fixed on idealizations of how it "should be"  That is a lost cause.

Work with what you have and move forward. (and keep true goals on top)

It is rather simple in those terms.

It's better than bitching about how the circumstances at each moment did not add up to the ideal scenario you wanted.  Get used to that part. 

It is called life.


It has nothing to do with pointing out less than ideal situations.

The time the alarm was sounding can basically be seen as those test takers having less time to finish their section.

Just as LSAC reports anomolies in test conditions (i.e. time extensions) to law schools, the affected persons should inform them of their's.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: MHLM on December 04, 2007, 03:37:01 PM
wow, awful.

I'm applying to a few PhD programs as well, and so I had to take the GRE...which really illustrated how terrible LSAC is compared to ETS.  Not only can you take the GRE any time of the week in one of several time slots and receive your score right away, but they also give you earmuffs and don't interrupt you during your exam :)

Dude, I know!!! LSAC is so behind the times. I heard they were planning to have the exam computerized by 2000...that went well. And only offering it 4 times a year is such a problem in my opinion. This fire alarm story is the perfect example: let's say you take the exam relatively early--the October administration--but don't score too well. Then you retake in December but you have the fire alarm snafu. Now what? You kinda have to wait until the next cycle to give yourself a decent shot. Isn't it the only graduate-level test that is offered so infrequently?
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on December 04, 2007, 03:44:18 PM
wow, awful.

I'm applying to a few PhD programs as well, and so I had to take the GRE...which really illustrated how terrible LSAC is compared to ETS.  Not only can you take the GRE any time of the week in one of several time slots and receive your score right away, but they also give you earmuffs and don't interrupt you during your exam :)

Dude, I know!!! LSAC is so behind the times. I heard they were planning to have the exam computerized by 2000...that went well. And only offering it 4 times a year is such a problem in my opinion. This fire alarm story is the perfect example: let's say you take the exam relatively early--the October administration--but don't score too well. Then you retake in December but you have the fire alarm snafu. Now what? You kinda have to wait until the next cycle to give yourself a decent shot. Isn't it the only graduate-level test that is offered so infrequently?

Yeah, I agree.  The computerized part was a bit intimidating because the difficulty of the questions changed depending on whether you were doing well or badly, but I'll take that any day over a panicked, three-week wait.

Not sure about the frequency question.  The MCAT isn't offered very often, is it?
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 05, 2007, 06:50:59 PM
While I really appreciate the indignation, I see this much the same way as Jeffort. While it's really an unfortunate circumstance, I most certainly do not want to include an addendum explaining that the fire alarm went off. What would I say? "Dear Sirs and Madames, Please know that my LSAT score most certainly would have been higher were it not for the fact the fire alarm went off during the exam." I think this (or anything basically communicating the same sentiment) sounds whiney and immature, IMO. And since I'm older, with A LOT of WE, it will really stand out as poorly planned.  If I were an adcomm, I'd think. "Hm.. well, why did you wait until December to take the admissions test for this cycle? That's not the best planning on your part. You should anticipate potential problems and mitigate them before the occur."  And then I could say, "Well, I had a baby at the end of June, and then I was diagnosed with a neuro disorder in August, I had another surgery in Nov. and well, dang. I just couldn't get my shite together to take Sept. in time." And while that's true, and would most certainly garner some sympathy for my situation of being a busy new mom who is always in and out of the Dr's office, it's not really relevant to my admissions cycle. Life gets in the way of your best plans. It happens all of the time, but everything has it's way of working out. I can't control everything.

What I do want is for LSAC to place a note in my file stating, "Applicant took the LSAT at a test site where fire alarms went off during the timed portion of the exam and all test takers were required to evacuate the building for at least 30 minutes."

In short, life happens. LSAC does not guarantee that any of us will get to take the LSAT under ideal or even best conditions. They can't guarantee it, even if they wanted to.  At most, if we follow the directions, show up at the appropriate time with the right pencils in hand, we are permitted to take the test. But really, while I'm sure they feel real badly about it, there isn't much they can do to guarantee that these things don't happen. They do seem to be pretty reasonable about looking into it, tho.

Ladivina - What about you? Are you doing an addendum?? I'm faxing my letter tonite. I didn't get a chance earlier this week.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: LSATstruggle on December 05, 2007, 07:08:23 PM
Do schools even care what is  noted in your record? It seems like they would only care about the score.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 05, 2007, 07:52:27 PM
Do schools even care what is  noted in your record? It seems like they would only care about the score.

Well, I think it depends.. on the programs you are applying to, on your other factors, etc. Again, unlike most of you, I am not applying to the T14 or even considering them. Where I go is dependent on my DH's job location and the best schools that area has to offer where I'd be competive. Why not the T14? (as I understand that's what most of you are shooting for due to job and $$ prospects after graduation. And besides, who wouldn't want to go there if the amount of debt you incur in law school is pretty much fixed regardless if it's T14 or TTT? So, I'm not knocking that choice). Also, unlike most of you guys and gals, I'm well into my 30's, with a spouse who has a well paying career. I am not facing the same kind of debt that you guys are, so I can pick a good regional school and incur modest debt.

Finally, some of the progams I am applying to are PT. They don't care about my score as much as the the FT programs do. But it still needs to be a good score!
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: ladivina on December 06, 2007, 11:32:51 AM

Ladivina - What about you? Are you doing an addendum?? I'm faxing my letter tonite. I didn't get a chance earlier this week.

I'm not sure about the addendum yet.  I guess I will see what LSAC decides. I agree with you that it would be fair for them to put a letter in my file themselves.  If they don't do this, I will probably cancel my score and won't write an addendum. Who knows.  Most of my apps are already in. At this point, I am ready to cut my losses and stick with the score I have.  My grades, Masters, and WE should be able to make up for my less than desirable score.  I am also not shooting for the T14, just wanting to stay in the top 100 and kick ass while I'm there.

I did get the letter faxed Tuesday morning and received confirmation of receipt yesterday.  I'll let you know what happens.  Rohan, are you applying to CU and DU?  You seem like someone I would like to have as a classmate.   ;D
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: rohan on December 06, 2007, 12:39:54 PM
Rohan, are you applying to CU and DU?  You seem like someone I would like to have as a classmate.   ;D

Aww.. thanks! And you, too!  ;) Yes, I am applying to both (as well as some schools in the Bay Area and Chicago. There's a small chance we may move to one of these markets over the summer. But hopefully, not). Initially, I planned on applying to DU FT, but might consider PT instead. But I want to see my score, first. Where were you sitting in the classroom? I was in the second circle, behind the desk area where we were thumbprinted. I had a direct view of the door. And that hat.  You can reply in a pm if you prefer.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: jmerlinj on February 12, 2011, 04:24:45 PM
So what ultimately happened? Did the LSAC cancel everyone's score or were you allowed to keep it? The same thing just happened to me, but I am happy with my performance and am hoping that the scores are not canceled. The February deadline is also the last test-date for applying this year, so that makes a score cancellation even worse. If you are aware of the procedure, please let me know.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: EarlCat on February 12, 2011, 04:39:02 PM
Ultimately I think they've all graduated from law school by now. 

For you, I would presume LSAC would allow you to keep your score.  Call them.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: jmerlinj on February 12, 2011, 04:42:42 PM
haha I did. They're closed and I don't want to wait until Sunday. I also didn't see that his post was 3 pages long so hopefully the answer is already posted and I've missed it.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: jmerlinj on February 12, 2011, 04:43:27 PM
assuming they're open on Sunday... which is probably a terrible assumption.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: EarlCat on February 12, 2011, 04:48:50 PM
I haven't read back through the thread, but I seem to remember this happening somewhere and LSAC gave everyone the option of keeping their score or retaking free of charge.
Title: Re: Fire alarm went off during LSAT
Post by: jmerlinj on February 12, 2011, 05:08:21 PM
Thank You.