How You Should Study For the LSAT
The LSAT is a standardized test that is used to determine what law school you will be accepted into. It consists of five sections, including an unscored experimental section.
The sections are as follows:
• Reading comprehension questions (one section)
• Analytical reasoning questions (one section)
• Logical reasoning questions (two sections)
The unscored, experimental section is one of these three types, but it isn’t scored since it’s an experimental test question section (used by LSAC to test out new questions). While you’ll certainly remember which type of section the experimental one was (because there will be one extra section of that sort), you won’t be able to determine which one is the unscored one.
The LSAT-Flex (which was developed in response to the COVID epidemic and will continue until June 2022) comprises of four sections of each kind, as well as an experimental section. The three graded sections are given the same amount of weight.
You will also have to submit a written sample as part of the practice test. This essay question is not graded and serves simply as a writing sample. It is sent to the law schools to which you apply.
The LSAT is going fully digital beginning in 2019, and if you take it in person, you will use a tablet with a stylus to take the test from LSAC. Each of the multiple-choice sections has a duration of 35 minutes. With breaks and administration time included, the whole procedure might take around four hours.
You’ll use your own computer with downloaded proctoring software and do the exam in a quiet location by yourself if you’re taking the online LSAT-Flex version.
How should you prepare for the LSAT?
The stated goal of the LSAT is to see how well you’ve developed the ability to study Law skills. Your score is used by law schools as a predictor of how well you will do in your first year of law school and, more importantly, on the bar exam.
The LSAT does not assess you on any particular body of knowledge, but rather on your aptitude for critical reading and comprehension, logical thinking, data analysis, and performance in a timed, stressful scenario. These should be the talents you’ve been honing throughout your undergraduate career; however, you must learn how to apply them to the unique question format of the LSAT.
To prepare for the LSAT, commit to spending at least 4-6 hours each week for three to four months before the test date. Consider your prep time as a rough equivalent of a demanding 4-credit course in which you want to do well. The following are the most essential things you can do to prepare for the LSAT:
- Examine the test format, instructions, and question types. When you take the exam, it should appear to be quite similar to what you’re used to.
- Familiarize yourself with the various sorts of questions by going through sample questions and explanations.
- Review at least one set of commercial preparation materials for essential strategies on how to approach difficult questions, particularly the “logic games.”
- Make copies of prior taken LSATs—LSAC provides free online digital practice exams through their “LawHub” following the administration of the real thing, while paper tests are available for purchase from many online and in-person booksellers.
Simulate a real exam using a timer to complete a thorough examination. Take part in as many timed drills as possible.
Over the course of your studies, you may find that certain topics require further study and deeper examination. You should spend time going through each practice test in detail, including questions you got incorrect, why they were incorrect, and how to approach similar questions better in the future. This is where you’ll make the most progress in terms of exam preparation.
Prepare your body and mind for the test. Don’t cram the night before. Get lots of sleep! Also, don’t forget to eat breakfast.
Don’t let yourself get nervous about taking the exam. It’s easy to persuade oneself that you “don’t do well on standardized tests” or, for whatever reason, can’t perform well on the LSAT. Don’t make this mistake yourself. Set a goal for a high score, then plan your studying accordingly. Believe that a high score is achievable with the right preparation.
If you spend enough time studying previous examinations, you’ll learn the test format and develop your analytical and reasoning abilities further. This will raise your LSAT score. Consider the LSAT to be a physical or artistic challenge that requires (deliberate, thoughtful) practice to do well.
Only utilize actual past LSATs for practice. “Model” LSAT questions should be avoided. The LawHub has a complete list of authorized licensees of the LSAC’s materials on its website.
Should you invest in an LSAT prep course?
It’s a personal choice to enroll in an LSAT prep course. These programs are not required to do well on the LSAT or result in a higher score than preparation on your own. The courses are quite pricey, and the instruction quality can be inconsistent.
If you’re thinking about taking one of these courses, talk to people who have already done so at the same institution and with the same instructor. However, keep in mind that not every student has the same study skills, so another person’s experience is only useful if you are confident in your own work habits.
Be wary of any course that promises to improve your score by making extreme claims. Although the majority of courses “assure” a better grade at the end of the class, you should understand that this is a very simple claim to make—even with the most basic teaching, your score will almost certainly improve from your diagnostic test result.
The best part about the LSAT prep courses is that they give you the structure and responsibility to help you complete tasks that you may not be able to do on your own.
Depending on the format, they might also provide a tutor with whom you can ask personalized questions and receive personalized feedback and recommendations based on your practice tests (in general, the availability of more one-on-one time with an instructor implies a higher price).
Make a list of the companies where you’d like to work, as well as their names. Knowing these prep courses by name can help calm your nerves and provide confidence for those who are studying only on their own time. In the end, it’s all about what you know about your own learning style and the circumstances that would be most beneficial to you.
If you do enroll in a course, keep in mind that simply attending (or viewing) the lessons will not be enough. If you wish to improve your score, anticipate to put in significant effort beyond class hours.
How to study for the LSAT on your own
If you’re interested in a self-directed approach, we’ve boiled down the process into 5 key considerations:
1. Commit to a Test Date
Decide when you’ll take the LSAT and work back from there. You may plan your routine and schedule time to study daily this way. It is reasonable to try and give yourself three months to prepare, no matter how you learn.
2. Choose your study materials
It’s essential that you obtain study materials that will help you prepare for the LSAT effectively. Because different publishers provide diverse things, you may have to purchase many books in order to get all of the information you need for your best score.
3. Practice with intention
Many students make the mistake of taking a practice section, getting only a few correct, and then proceeding to take another practice section in order to get more right. The problem with this is that they are avoiding reviewing the questions they got incorrect and instead they’re hoping for the next practice session to be easier.
4. Have a balanced approach
When it comes to studying, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re feeling burned out, take a break and reconsider your study plan. Get some fresh air, exercise, and spend quality time with your friends or family. All of these activities will help recharge your batteries so that you can study productively.
5. Take as many practice tests as possible
Don’t want to be sitting for your first full-length exam on test day. The most difficult aspect of the test is the timing, so maintaining a proper speed is critical for success. Prior to the day of your assessment, you must take at least 4 complete-length examinations.