Due to sharp increases in the overall number of law school applications, a strong LSAT score is more important than ever. According to data released by Reuters, the number of law school applicants increased nearly 13% in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, the largest year-over-year percentage increase since 2002.
This means that it’s getting increasingly harder to get into law school, and LSAT scores are more important than ever. In fact, 65% of law school admissions officers say that the LSAT is the "most important admissions factor" when choosing a new student. The reason why the LSAT plays such an important role in admissions decisions is because it has a strong impact on law schools’ ranking as well as an impact on law firm employability.
Even just a few-point increase on your LSAT can make a big difference. Here are some effective and simple tips for improving your LSAT score:
Create a study plan
One of the most important things to do when studying for the LSAT is creating a study plan so that you can set goals and monitor your progress.
One easy way to create a study plan is to use Khan Academy’s Free LSAT Prep. The Khan Academy Prep alone will likely not be enough to achieve your desired LSAT score, but it’s a great tool for creating a study plan. You begin by taking their practice LSAT, then you tell them your goal score and the date that you are taking the exam, and they create a study schedule for you. They tell you how long you should aim to study each day and how often to take a practice test.
You can tweak the study plan, but you should put it in your calendar and do your best to at least match their recommendation. If you fall behind and are studying less than you expected, then you can tweak your own study plan. Plus, if you take at least some of your practice tests on Kahn academy, then they will update your study plan based on how you are scoring.
Learn how to answer LSAT questions
The LSAT is not a memorization test, it is a strategy test. When starting out, you should focus less on if you know what the right answer is and focus more on if you know how to even answer the question in the first place.
The best way to learn how to approach LSAT questions is by going through the entire LSAT PowerScore bible for each category (logic games, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension). If you are tight on time or money, then you can buy the PowerScore bible for the category you are struggling with, but as someone who used these books to improve my own score by 7 points, I highly going through all three.
Practice, Practice, Practice
According to Psychology, the best way to do well on an exam is to self-test yourself; in other words, the best way to succeed is to do practice problems and practice exams.
The PowerScore Bibles include practice problems and I encourage completing them all. In addition, the free Kahn Academy prep mentioned above also provides practice problems. I recommend going through all of their practice problems, but fair warning, you might end up going through all of them (I did). If this is the case, change the difficulty level to something easier and you will get new practice problems. Finally, if you’re looking for even more practice problems, PowerScore offers a workbook trilogy. The workbooks may not be necessary, but if there’s a specific section you’re struggling with, the extra practice could be very helpful.
In addition to practice problems, you need to be taking practice LSATs. Use the study plan to determine how often you should be taking them. My recommendation is to do 1-2 practice tests a month, depending on how long you are studying for. You don’t want to burn out, so you don’t want to take practice tests too often, but they really are such a good way to get you used to the time pressure of the test. They also provide plenty of practice problems and help you gauge how close you are to your goal. I relied on Kahn Academy’s free practice tests, but there are many places online you can find them.
When you finish a practice problem or practice exam, go back and review your answers. What you got right, what you got wrong, and why. Pay special attention to answers you got wrong AND answers that you got right but were unsure about. Note any trends for types of questions that you have a pattern of struggling with. If you don’t review your answers, practicing will be way less effective.
Get help if you need it
It can be hard to self-identify patterns of question types / answers you are struggling with. It can also be difficult to figure out how to solve a type of problem – just because Kahn academy or PowerScore explain things one way, doesn’t mean that the one explanation they give you will make it click.
If this is the case, seek out a course or tutor. While courses and tutoring can be expensive, they can also be worth it. Even just a few extra points on the LSAT can make a big difference when it comes to getting scholarships to school, meaning that the money you spend to do well on the test can potentially pay for itself in the future. Additionally, tutors can identify the most effective and efficient strategies to keep costs down (be wary of tutors who want to endlessly tutor you without a game plan!).
Most of all, be kind to yourself and be confident in your abilities to improve.