Everyone seems to have a story about how long they studied for the LSAT. The test has a reputation for being tough, and for the most part, that reputation holds true; it is definitely one of the hardest standardized tests ever created. But preparing for the LSAT doesn’t have to be as daunting as it’s made out to be. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to make the most of your study time, while also helping you avoid compromising your practice by having a less-than-perfect test day.
I’ve heard the LSAT described as a “triathlon for the mind,” and I wholeheartedly agree with this metaphor. Professional athletes spend countless hours training for the big day by building up their endurance, and you can use the same techniques to help you crush the LSAT.
- Once you’ve gotten the hang of the test, practice full-length exams as much as possible. The LSAT is long and draining. Imagine you had to run a marathon; how do you think you’d do if you only spent time training with five mile races? Part of doing well is getting used to the length of the test. At the same time, you’ll have a better sense of your actual score when you take full-length tests, since you’ll likely be tired by that 3rd or 4th section on the real test.
- Visualize yourself doing well on the test. This might seem silly, but athletes do it all the time. The LSAT is very stressful, and keeping your composure during it can help you overcome any roadblocks the test throws at you.
Timing is extremely important on the LSAT. Every second counts! Most people who take the test don’t finish every section, but if you want a really high score, you have to figure out a timing plan.
- Benchmark where you want to be at what time on each section. Each LSAT section is 35 minutes long. If you’re aiming to finish a section with 25 questions, for example, figure out where you should be after 10 minutes, after 20 minutes, after 30 minutes, etc.
Building a Routine
Making a routine out of your studying is an easy way to help you mimic the test day conditions as much as possible. That way, the test will seem familiar when it finally comes around.
- Study with the same analog watch you plan to use on test day. LSAC rules and regulations allow for only an analog watch, so use that one when you practice.
- Try not to take breaks between sections when taking practice tests, except after the 3rd section. On the real test, you get a fifteen-minute break between sections three and four, but that’s it.
- During the week before the test, try waking up early. I’m not a morning person. I have a really hard time getting my brain in gear before 11 am. But unless you’re taking the LSAT in June, your test starts at 9:00 a.m. Try getting into the habit of waking up early before the test.
No matter how you slice it, studying for the LSAT takes a lot of time. But there are a few things you can do to maximize the time you have to study, especially if you have other commitments like school or work.Focus on your weaknesses. If you’re pretty good at easy logical reasoning problems, don’t spend your time doing easy questions. Similarly, if you’re good at certain types of logic games, don’t spend too much of your time practicing those. Spend time on where you’re struggling or where you see a clear need for improvement.
The LSAT is a difficult hurdle to overcome before applying to law school, but it’s not impossible! Following these tips can help you get the score you need.