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So, you’ve decided this is the year you’ll tackle the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Good for you!
Have you given some thought to how you’ll approach test prep? Decided whether you’ll study independently or seek out the support of an LSAT course? What about prep materials?
Do you know where you’ll look for quality problem-solving techniques and authentic practice questions?
Ultimately, the strength of your final score depends on how you approach these fundamental elements of LSAT test prep.
Nail down the four steps outlined in this post, and you’ll be well on your way to a smarter, more competitive study strategy.
1. Learn the Structure & Content of the LSAT
Step number one of successfully preparing for the LSAT is finding out exactly what you’re up against. Take a look at this quick overview of exam structure, content, scoring, and time limits.
Note that there are two sections of Logical Reasoning, and two exam sections that are not scored.
Structure & Content of the LSAT
A quick note about those unscored sections:
The “experimental” section is full of questions the LSAT-makers are testing out and refining. It will take the form of another logical reasoning, reading comp, or analytical reasoning (logic games) section.
You won’t know which section is experimental, so plan to devote equal effort to every section.
As for the writing sample, it isn’t scored, but a copy is included in your law school admission package. Schools will consider the strength of your writing along with your overall LSAT score.
Total test time
In total, you’re looking at about 3.5 hours of test time, plus a 15 minute break. But don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to check-in to the test centre, which could be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
Make no mistake: the LSAT is a marathon. But knowing what to expect puts you ahead of the curve—and helps you develop realistic study goals.
2. Create a Personalized LSAT Test Prep Strategy
Before you dive into prep, it’s really important to map out an LSAT study plan that accurately reflects your strengths, weaknesses, time constraints, and score goal.
Without this roadmap, your prep will lack structure, direction, and efficiency. You’ll end up wasting time on fruitless techniques or neglect to address serious skill gaps.
Avoid the struggle, and do a mock LSAT exam and analyze your performance. Determine your baseline score (to track future progress), set an achievable score goal, and figure out which sections you need to focus on most.
If you want, once you’ve taken a mock, you can get help with the analysis for free. Many test prep companies (including Quantum) offer a free LSAT Mock Exam Assessment.
You get one hour with an expert LSAT instructor who evaluates your mock, maps out your study plan, and points you toward helpful test prep tools.
3. Assemble Your Arsenal of Quality LSAT Test Prep Materials
Planning to study for the LSAT on your own, instead of taking an LSAT course? No problem. Just be sure to gather reliable, high quality materials before you dive in.
Learn more about each section of the exam, collect sample questions, download practice tests, and get the Official LSAT Handbook™. Join an LSAT discussion forum for practical advice and peer support.
Many students swear by their LSAT apps for drilling vocabulary words, watching instructional videos, and practising logic games on-the-go. Find a list of best LSAT apps right here.
Remember, your performance on test day relies heavily on the quality of your prep materials, and the problem-solving techniques you’ve learned. Do your homework. Start strong with resources you can trust.
4. Considering an LSAT Course?
Think you might not have the time or self-discipline to do LSAT test prep on your own? Wondering if an LSAT course is the way to go?
This is a tough question many students face at some point during their study journey.
Our best advice?
Look at the results of your mock exam and personal assessment. How far are you from your score goal?
How confident are you in your ability to address your weak areas, and steadily improve within the timeframe you have for prep?
For some students, the answer is simple: they’re ready to go it alone. For others, there are gaps in confidence and knowledge that make independent study more complicated.
Evaluate your own situation early on.
Struggling through months of self-study only to end up in an LSAT course can be really frustrating—not to mention, you’ve learned quite a few bad habits by then, which must be “unlearned” during the course.
Not sure which way to go?
Wondering how a typical LSAT course works, and what you’d cover during training? We suggest reading What to Expect from a 50-Hr LSAT Course (& is it worth it?)
Have other questions about how to start LSAT prep right? Check out our blog, or just drop us a line. We’re here to help!