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The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is widely characterized as the hardest test you’ll ever take. Comparable only to the Bar exam, this test seeks to determine how well you are suited to study law, and pursue a legal career.
Many admissions officials consider your LSAT result a highly accurate indicator of how well you’ll perform in law school. Rest assured, your score will carry a lot of weight during the application review process.
Given the important role the LSAT plays in your acceptance to—or rejection from—law school, it makes sense to spend time mapping out a realistic and effective study plan.
Start by considering these six keys to smarter LSAT prep. This advice is based on observations from Quantum’s own expert LSAT coaches, plus the experiences of successful test-takers.
1. Make LSAT test prep a daily habit: avoid weekend cramming
Most test-takers are tempted to squeeze all of their LSAT studying into Saturdays and Sundays, for a few months leading up to the exam.
But this approach leaves you vulnerable to setbacks and weak prep in two important ways:
1) Weekend cramming is not conducive to the kind of methodical, consistent practice required to build LSAT-specific skills.
2) Relegating prep to weekends leaves too great a gap between study sessions, making it much easier to fall behind without even realizing it. A daily study plan is better for tracking your progress and staying on schedule.
In a guest post on the popular blog, The LSAT Diaries, contributor Brad says daily study was key to achieving a 179 LSAT score.
He recalls, “I cleared off my large desk calendar and wrote down everything that I needed to do, day-by- day… Having a daily guide kept my studying structured, and forced me to face when I was falling behind, and catch up.”
2. Set aside at least 3 months for LSAT prep
Three months of disciplined, daily study is a respectable goal to aim for when mapping out your LSAT strategy. However, you may need to spread your studying out over a longer period of time—each of us learns at a different rate, and in different ways.
If you’d like more of a safety net (to protect against inevitable set-backs), set aside 3-6 months of prep time. Overall, you should plan to complete 150-300 hours of practice.
3. Don’t rely on re-taking the LSAT for a better score
Quite a few LSAT “tips” lists emphasize that test-takers can challenge the exam more than once. Readers are told not to worry if they do poorly on the first or second attempt, because each new exam is a clean slate.
Quantum LSAT coach, Daniel Yepes must often remind students that, unfortunately, this is not always true: “Some law schools look at all the exams you attempted, and average the scores together. Don’t take the test unprepared. A low score could come back to haunt you!”
4. LSAT practice tests only help if you know how to analyze them
Taking practice tests—many of them—should be a central part of your LSAT test prep strategy. However, it is crucial to note that no matter how many practice tests you take, they will only be helpful if you know how to analyze your results.
Results analysis is a lengthy, meticulous process. You must clearly understand where and how you went wrong on incorrect answers. If you don’t identify your weaknesses correctly, you can’t address them—and are doomed to repeat those same mistakes on every subsequent test (including the official exam).
5. Never underestimate the LSAT “Logic Games”
Over the years, Daniel has seen many students develop a false sense of security after learning the LSAT has no quant section. “They get really excited and say, ‘the LSAT has no math? Great!!’ ”
And then Daniel is forced to point out that, “this is not necessarily a good thing. Instead of math, the LSAT has the dreaded Logic Games section—very challenging problems that demand advanced diagramming techniques and other test-taking strategies.”
Students who don’t invest significant time practicing logic games will have a very hard time achieving a competitive LSAT score.
6. Consider an LSAT course to improve your score
Rather not go it completely alone? Months of LSAT test prep, and long hours spent studying in seclusion, can be very isolating for test-takers.
Plus, despite the availability of quality study guides and resources, many students need extra help to master difficult exam topics and question-types.
Key benefits of taking a quality LSAT course include:
- help with approaching and mastering hundreds of practice questions
- proven strategies for tackling difficult problems (and avoiding common errors)
- quality study materials and free resources
Some test prep companies offer “free course repeat” policies, meaning you can take a single LSAT course multiple times within a certain time period, without paying again.
This is ideal for students who need extra help in certain areas, as they proceed with independent study following the course.
Interested in learning more about strategic LSAT test prep? Looking for a quality LSAT course in Toronto to support your study efforts?