How to do well on the LSAT with dyslexia
The LSAT is a standardized test administered by the Law School Admission Council in order to assess how well students can read, analyze, and interpret texts. It consists of five 35-minute sections with about 75 questions each, which are then scored on a scale from 120 to 180. It’s a notoriously difficult test and can pose a unique challenge for test-takers with dyslexia.
While not everyone experiences dyslexia alike, for many people it’s difficult to read words quickly or accurately enough during the timed reading portions of this exam. This article discusses how individuals with dyslexia can study effectively and do well on this examination so they don’t have to worry about their condition holding them back.
What is dyslexia and how does it affect you on the LSAT?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that specifically relates to how individuals read and write. It often manifests itself in an individual having difficulty with sounding out words, reading quickly and fluently, or accurately enough during timed tests like the LSAT.
An estimated 5-10% of the population experiences dyslexia; however, it’s important to note that it is not related to intelligence. People with dyslexia are often very bright and capable of comprehending material that they read; however, their disability can make it difficult for them to do well on timed tests like the LSAT where how quickly you answer questions correctly matters as much (if not more) than how many correct answers you provide overall.
How to study for the LSAT with dyslexia
People with dyslexia often have trouble with reading comprehension and can experience difficulty when they read through passages for the LSAT. Because how well you comprehend what you are reading is an important part of how well you do in this section, it’s essential to practice your speed in taking in information while also knowing how to work around your disability when studying.
There are a number of things you can do to help improve your performance in the reading comprehension section of the LSAT. Once you know how to answer the types of questions that are asked, it will become easier for you to identify what is being asked and how your answers should be structured.
One study technique is using what is called a Margin Note. In this process, you read through the passage and then immediately write down your thoughts about how to answer questions that you think will be asked in each paragraph before going back and reading them again more carefully. This helps immensely because it allows for increased comprehension of information while still allowing extra time to go over any individual questions.
Another study technique is using a color highlighter while reading the passage and marking important text with certain colors, such as green for major terms or red for contrast words (words that mean their opposite). When you go over your highlighted text again on test day, it will help to keep you from getting confused between two different ideas because they will be highlighted in different colors.
To study, find what works best for you by reading materials that help with understanding how arguments are structured. This could be various study guides or other people’s advice on how to best approach the LSAT studying process which can vary based on how someone learns and what works for them personally.
The importance of knowing how you learn best and tailoring your study plan accordingly
It’s important to zero in on what works best for you. This could be how you learn, what helps your comprehension most or how to study for the LSAT.
Reviewing your practice tests is important, but don’t become obsessed with them as they are not always an accurate representation of how well you will do on the test day.
Practice exams can help point out problem areas and give a preview of how the LSAT will be presented. Don’t spend all of your time looking over how well you did, but pay attention to how questions were asked and how topics were tested instead.
What to do during the test
Remember that how you perform on the LSAT is how well you go over what has been taught. Therefore, reviewing before test day should be done to make sure everything has sunk. The last thing anyone with dyslexia wants to do is spend more time worrying about comprehension rather than focusing on their test.
A good strategy to use during the LSAT is breaking up sections. The best way for a person with dyslexia would be to read each question thoroughly and then answer it at once rather than focusing on individual parts of the passage before going back over them again together. This will save time in the long run. It is also a great idea to time how long it takes for you to complete each section so that the only focus during the test is comprehension rather than how fast people can get through individual parts of the passages and questions.
What not to do on the test
Now that you know how to do well on the LSAT with dyslexia, it is time to talk about what not to do. The biggest mistake people make when taking this test is focusing too much on individual parts of a passage rather than all at once. This means spending more time reading each question and then going back to re-read the passage as opposed to reading the entire thing and then going back.
Don’t go too fast or be careless about your answer choices because you likely will not get them right if there is any doubt in your mind about what they meant. This also means that it’s important to read sentence by sentence rather than try and skim through the passage.
Don’t make careless mistakes because it’s important to be as accurate as possible when taking the LSAT, especially if you have dyslexia and need a high score. Practice is crucial, so do your best every single time by avoiding these common pitfalls.
How to improve your score on the LSAT if you have a learning disability
Do more practice tests. This way you can get used to how the test works and how it is structured, which will help reduce your anxiety throughout the day of the LSAT. You want to be as prepared as possible on test day so that there are no surprises or concerns about how well you know what’s coming up next.
Be kind to yourself. This is a really difficult test, and you may find it stressful to try to keep up with how your peers are doing. It’s important that you don’t beat yourself up or become discouraged if things aren’t going as well on some of the sections as they do for others.
Get more sleep before taking the LSAT. Being able to focus on the LSAT is key, and how well you are able to focus will depend on how rested you are. Being sleep-deprived can affect your ability to process information quickly as well as make it difficult for you to be attentive throughout the test.
Resources available to those who have a learning disability or other disabilities that may impact their performance on standardized testing
There are a number of accommodations that are available for LSAT test-takers.
You are allowed the following personal items without an additional request:
Soft foam earplugs
- Any type of writing instrument (pens, pencils/mechanical pencils, bold or thick markers, highlighters, etc.)
- Up to 5 blank sheets of scratch paper (lined, unlined, or graph)
- Medication/medical supplies
The following LSAT accommodations can be available with a request:
Extended testing time
- Additional breaks between multiple-choice test sections
- Stop/start breaks
- Permission to sit/stand during testing
- Permission to read/speak aloud
- Excel spreadsheets
An extremely helpful resource is the LSAC Policy on Accommodations, which we recommend you review in order to be comfortable and prepared for the test. Be sure to review the process behind requesting adequate accommodation ahead of time.
The LSAT is a difficult test that requires extensive preparation. However, having dyslexia shouldn’t hold you back from acing the test and getting into your dream law schools. Hopefully, you’ve come away with some helpful and actionable tips to feel ready for the test day.