The LSAT is not designed to measure academic knowledge, but a college background remains useful because certain skills and academic majors hone reading and reasoning skills, both of which are absolutely crucial for success on the LSAT.
Students taking the LSAT should take their time preparing for the test. Law schools weight the LSAT very heavily in their admissions process and it takes time to learn the format of the test and to excel on each section. Preparing for the LSAT is like training for a marathon. It takes time, practice, and patience. The exam takes more than 4 hours, and measures skills and abilities as well as raw determination and endurance.
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How to Study for the LSAT
It pays to practice under the same conditions you will experience on test day. This means taking full-length practice exams exactly as you would on the exam day. You should time yourself to create the same pressure you’ll experience on the test. If you typically study alone in a quiet space, you should consider taking a full practice test in a public area, such as a student center or coffee shop to acclimate yourself to having people and noise around in a high-pressure situation.
We have compiled a list of the best LSAT prep courses, most of which provide full-length practice tests with scoring analytics and timers. Be sure to explore different test prep options, including video lectures, drills and strategies for each section. Check out our comparison chart here.
How Long Should I Study For The LSAT?
Study time will vary by student, but a good rule of thumb is to take a practice test several months in advance of the date you plan to take the LSAT. This will allow you to determine how much time you will need to boost your score, and which sections need the most improvement.
Other factors will include whether you have other commitments, such as difficult classes or a job, your ability to focus and concentrate on studying a large body of material, and whether you are a quick learner. Some LSAT prep courses allow you to begin studying a year in advance, others limit you to a few months before your scheduled exam. You should leave yourself enough time to take as many prep tests as possible, determine your personal strengths and weaknesses, and set up a reasonable study schedule that will keep you on track.
Really crushing the LSAT means teaching your brain to perform challenging tasks. The goal is to learn techniques and strategies to help you produce accurate answers quickly and efficiently. Unless you are among the lucky few who naturally test well, this ability takes time to develop. It takes significantly longer if you can’t dedicate much of your time to the process. In most cases, 1-3 months is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to preparation.
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When To Take The LSAT?
The LSAT should be taken no later than the summer or fall of the year you are applying to law school. Many schools require the LSAT be taken by the December prior to your enrollment, and you will want to give yourself enough time to repeat the test if you do not score well the first time. If your plan is to go straight to law school after college, you will need to take the LSAT the summer after your junior year, or the fall of your senior year. It can be challenging to balance preparation for the test with undergraduate coursework, so studying over the summer is often a good idea.
The registration deadline for the LSAT is approximately one month before the test, and it is advisable to register early (6-8 weeks before the test) in order to secure a seat at your preferred location and avoid late fees. Please see our LSAT information page for additional registration details.
LSAT Logic Game Tips
The ultimate secret to crushing the LSAT logic games section is to learn to love them. Students who approach them as just another form of puzzles or Sudoku fare far better than those who fear these tricky questions. LSAT logic games are predictable and it is possible to learn how to solve them efficiently. You already know everything you need to know – a lot of practice will go a long way, and with the right preparation, you’ll find you can absolutely ace this segment!
Although it is true that the LSAT doesn’t repeat questions word-for-word from one exam to the next, the logical reasoning that underlies many of the games remains very similar. The best way to prepare for this section is to use smart logic strategies, and look at questions on past tests to understand and learn the patterns. The key is to have no fear!
LSAT Reading Comprehension Tips
In this section you’ll have to read a lot of information in a short amount of time. In that way, it is similar to what you’ll experience in law school. Learn to stretch your attention span by reading more before the test. Read daily. Newspaper articles and more complex texts, preferably on subjects that don’t interest you, are great choices.
It’s important to keep in mind that the content of the passages isn’t nearly as important as the structure of the text. Your primary job is to identify the relevant points in the article. Don’t waste your time trying to learn to speed-read, but concentrate on what’s important: understanding the structure. As you are reading, take note of evidence, critics and supporters, motivations behind actions, and conclusions. That’s all that matters.
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LSAT Logical Reasoning Tips
The logical reasoning section is the most important part of the LSAT, as it counts for half the total points. You need to ace this section if you want a top score.
The good news is that it is possible to learn how to approach these problems with strategies that lead to the right answers. This section can be frustrating and is very challenging for many students, but it is by no means impossible. You should familiarize yourself with the different question types (assumption, strengthen, weaken, argument, inference etc.) and pinpoint your weaknesses. Practice your weakest question types until you feel comfortable with them, and your score will improve.
Like many standardized tests, easier questions precede the more challenging ones. The first twelve questions tend to be simpler and more straight-forward. In the beginning of the test, you should trust your first instinct and answer questions quickly. Once you are faced with more difficult questions, you should take your time and start by eliminating obviously wrong answers first. If you are not sure about the correct answer, eliminating wrong answers improves your odds of guessing the correct answer.
Don’t be afraid to skip a question if it seems too difficult. Make sure to answer all the easier questions first and leave more time-consuming problems until the end to maximize the number of points you earn. Also, you should always guess, even if you have no idea which answer is correct, because there is no penalty for wrong answers, and you have a 20% chance of choosing the right answer and scoring additional points.
For more thorough LSAT preparation and to build confidence, consider enrolling in one of the many excellent test prep courses that are available. Check out the best LSAT prep companies on our website by clicking the button below!
Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, YEC.co and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created CrushTheCPAexam.com to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. As Seen On Forbes