LSAT Prep: How to Get Ready for the Test
June 19, 2019
LSAT Prep: How to Get Ready for the Test
As you embark on your law school application journey, the LSAT is a looming, important obstacle standing in your way. While taking the LSAT only lasts a bit over two hours on a single day, LSAT prep takes much longer. Since the LSAT is one of the few quantitative components of your law school application, your score matters—a lot—because the scores are so easily comparable between applicants. This is one test you do not want to take lightly. So if you have your sights set on a top-tier law school, you need to make sure you spend enough time preparing to be on track for a solid score.
The LSAT may be a difficult test, but it’s also standardized; that means it’s the same, over and over again. You can use this knowledge to your advantage! Getting the best possible LSAT prep is similar to learning a new language. You’ll have to understand what the test writers are looking for when they ask questions, and you’ll need to know what correct answer choices look like. Increasing your speed at the LSAT is crucial. With that in mind, here are some ideas to help you plan out your attack and make sure you have the perfect LSAT prep.
Understand the LSAT
No matter what else you do, remember that your job—more than anything else—is to understand the LSAT. It really doesn’t matter how many questions you answer. It doesn’t matter how many practice tests you take. It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend hunched over a desk somewhere. The only thing that matters is how well you understand the LSAT once test day comes. Don’t try to memorize any of the answers, but make sure you have a good sense of the methodology required to ace the LSAT.
Prepare a Long Term Study Plan
Alongside being difficult, the LSAT is also expensive. You don’t want to retake it unless you absolutely have to. Plan for at least 3 months of studying before you’re ready to test. As with all general rules, you may find that your needs dictate a slightly different plan. Many people would benefit from twice that much time. And there are even some talented test takers—you know who you are! —who can get LSAT-ready more quickly. Use your favorite calendar app to track your progress and which topics you need to cover each week. Making a routine and keeping yourself on schedule can go a long way to help your LSAT prep.
Create a Daily - and Weekly Schedule
Set aside 2-3 hours per day, 6 days per week to dedicate towards your LSAT prep books and notes. Again, your mileage may vary depending on your personal study and test taking habits, but for most people, this is the right allotment; it’s enough time to do meaningful work, but not so much as to make you hate the LSAT, answer bubble sheets, number two pencils, and logic itself, causing an existential crisis where you question why you wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.
Your schedule could look something like this:
Saturday: Practice test. At first, you may want to answer the questions without timing yourself In the last 6 weeks or so before test day, you’ll probably want to challenge yourself further in your LSAT prep process and begin timing yourself, so you can see how much you’ve learned—which is another way of saying that you’ll see how fast you’ve become.
Sunday: 1-2 LR sections, with full deconstructions for every question, plus review LR Section 1 from your Saturday test. Vary the workload depending on how well you can make your way through any amount of material. If you ever have to choose between quantity and quality, choose quality. Every time. Apply this thinking to each of your study sessions.
Monday: 1-2 Games sections, with full deconstructions for every question, plus review the Games from your Saturday test.
Tuesday: 1-2 RC sections, with full deconstructions for every question, plus review RC from Saturday test.
Wednesday: 1-2 LR sections, with full deconstructions for every question, plus review LR Section 2 from your Saturday test.
Thursday: Use your best judgement. Do what makes you feel right. No; that’s not getting us anywhere. Let me put it this way instead: Do 1 or 2 sections from any of the test’s subject areas. I know you’re going to want to do Games; every once in a while, make sure you do some Reading Comp, too.
Friday: Day off. You’re a human being. You deserve to rest once in a while. Spending 24/7 on LSAT prep isn’t actually the best strategy. You need to eat, sleep, and see family and friends once in a while too.
Every three weeks, schedule one or two study sessions for pure review. Those days, you’re not looking at any new material; you’re just going back over material that you’ve already covered. Remember, your goal is to understand the LSAT. Going over what you already know is great practice and ensures that the material really sticks in your mind. Just like you practiced all the time to get selected for the soccer team or to ace that algebra final, practicing and reviewing what you know is key in LSAT prep.
Choose the Test Date that Works Best for You
LSAT prep is no cakewalk and it will take you time: Pick your test date accordingly! With the introduction of the digital LSAT this July, there are more LSAT sessions in the upcoming year. Look through the schedule and figure out when it would be easiest for you to commit to a schedule like the one outlined here. Going with a 3 month schedule, these are your options 2019-20:
March, April + May = ready for the June LSAT
April, May + June = ready for the July LSAT
June, July + August = ready for the September LSAT
July, August + September = ready for October LSAT
August, September + October = ready for November LSAT
September, October + November = ready for the December LSAT
October, November + December = ready for January LSAT
November, December + January = ready for the February LSAT
December, January + February = ready for March LSAT
January, February + March = ready for April LSAT
So while LSAT prep starts with understanding the test and how it works, you won’t get very far unless you sit down to actually study and go over each section in detail. Next comes practice. Once you’re confident of your knowledge of the material, don’t forget to take timed mock tests and create as much of a test-taking environment as possible. And finally, take the official test when you know you’re ready. You have to report all LSAT scores, so don’t show up unprepared. If you can get it out of the way at your first try, you’ll have more time to dedicate to the rest of your application and prepare a competitive and standout law school application.