I'm about to register for the June 2018 LSAT, and I'm trying to figure out which Chicago area test center I should pick. I'd appreciate hearing about people's experiences at any of them. Right now, I'm leaning Northwestern since it's got the most feedback—mostly positive—and it's close to where I live. Below are the options, and any reviews I've found online:DePaul University
John Marshall Law School
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- I took the test in June 2016. (I initially signed up for Northwestern Evanston, but got an email from LSAC a few weeks before the test, reassigning me here, possibly because of all the construction at Northwestern right now.) We lined up initially from the main lobby all the way throughout their bookstore. I don't think I even checked in there; a proctor just wrangled a group of twenty people or so, and brought them up in the elevators to a classroom on another floor. We waited to be checked into the classroom, where they seated us starting with the first person in line seated in the back. (If you're paying attention, you'll realize by now that they did not care about alphabetical order at any point in my testing day.) They squeezed a few more students in there, then realized that we had a whole row of tables open, and reorganized us so that most of us had a chair between ourselves and the next test taker. I actually had two to three proctors in our room at any given time; I'm guessing one of them was like a mentor, floating between spaces. (He did at one point softly speak to the trainee proctor, WHILE I WAS TAKING THE TEST, but I don't assume that's usual.) The proctors seemed nice, although I think the one reading the instructions was more nervous than I was. Room was not too hot or too cold, and it was really nice to have the long tables, plenty of room to spread out. Not sure about other proctors, but mine were not very strict-- I'm not even sure they inspected my baggie. They were friendly when checking me in, and when I accidentally reached down to my bag in between sections while they were reading directions (which I know I'm not supposed to do, and quickly panicked), they didn't seem to notice or care. I took the train downtown, which I would recommend; I bet there were places to park nearby, but it would've been stressful for me to figure out (not to mention expensive). The reporting time was 12:30 and I think I got out before 5:30 (test in total should take 4 hours 45 minutes), so they didn't waste too much time on instructions or anything.
No reviewsKenwood Academy
Loyola University Chicago
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- The LSAT sucked, but the test center was GREAT. Highly, highly recommended. The proctors were great -- seemed very casual and took their super-official duties in stride -- even had what seemed like high school kids coming around to check IDs, etc. Everyone meets in the auditorium, then everyone is divided into groups based on last name and are led to classrooms, etc. I took my exam in the lunchroom on nice tables (two ppl to each table -- really expansive). Classrooms appeared to have large desks.
I tested here October 2010, and it was completely miserable. No air conditioning on a really hot day, although this wasn't the biggest problem. My issue was the proctors who talked to each other throughout the test, despite being asked 4 times by three different people in the classroom to be quiet. They even continued to give us instructions once the timer for the first section had been started. I would not take the test here unless it was a last resort, and even then, I would probably plan to take the test on a different date, or take a bus to a different city where there was an available testing center.
I took the October 2013 test here, and my experience was like the first poster's. Proctors were professional, friendly, and efficient. I was in a classroom, and there were two people to each pair of large tables, at either end. I didn't use close to as much room as was actually available to me. We finished before 1:30, which was earlier than I was expecting. (To be fair, the weather was in the low 70s, I don't know what it would have been like in the room if it had been hotter outside).
University of Illinois at Chicago
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- The test is administered in several classrooms in two buildings. Candidates are divided by name. When I took the test in Feb 2009, the names at the beginning of the alphabet took the test in the law school building, which houses larger classrooms and bright light. The overflow students are sent across the street to the college of arts and sciences building. In there, students are divided into several classrooms of 15-20 candidates. The desks in the classrooms of this building are terrible: half-desks. You cannot lay your test booklet two pages across on this desk, and you have to keep flipping from the booklet to your answer sheet. If you can avoid this scenario, do so.
No reviewsNorthwestern University
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- Baldwin Auditorium- Panorama seating, seat next to you is open, ergo dynamic chairs, no windows,bright lights. Not a perfect ten since there is no time piece on the wall.
I was in Rubloff room 180 -- it was fantastic. Incredibly comfy chairs and a digital clock on the wall that even had the seconds counting down. The only downside was the clock was in the back of the room, but the seats were curved in a half circle, so if you sat on a side, you could really just glance to your side.
Rubloff room 195 -- VERY spacious. Only twelve people in my room and we all got our own row of 6+ seats. Quiet. Chairs were comfortable, swivel-y. Proctor was helpful, an overall good experience.
My room had a fairly small group, probably 30-40 students, and there was enough room that we skipped seats. Other groups were probably bigger, as one of the testing rooms was a large lecture hall. The desks were long tables and there was plenty of room. Proctors got things going and we didn't have to wait too long to start the test. A few points are deducted for squeaky chairs and the parking situation: lots of people got tickets for parking in the lot across the street. I recommend taking public transportation (metra or purple line) and not driving if you are coming from Chicago.
I was at Northwestern. First, there is no parking in that city for non-students or residents. Had to park in a commercial lot that was a 15 minute walk from campus. So I trek north toward the building we are supposed to report to where I am told that because Northwestern is still in session, we are all taking the test at different buildings around campus. So another 15 minute walk to another building. Not a terrible location with sufficient space (though the table tops were sticky and it got annoying not being able to rest my arms on them). We finally get everyone checked in, time to hand out tests, OPPS we are one test short. So another thirty minutes is spent tracking down an extra copy of the test. I'd only complain because trying to stay alert, focused, and in the zone for that time was a pain in the ass. It threw me off such that when the test finally started, I needed a few questions to get going. So don't take it at Northwestern if you don't have to.
If people want to use this thread for test center recommendations outside of Chicago that's cool too.