Posted on

4 Ways to Get Motivated for LSAT Prep, Even if You Work Full-time

LSAT prep

Read time: 4 minutes

So, what’s stopping you from getting down to LSAT prep?

Dealing with test anxiety, lack of time, or just have no idea how to get started?

Let’s be honest: studying for the LSAT is time-consuming, and for the most part, pretty boring. But you need a competitive score to reach the next major milestone in your life—admission to a great law school.

If you’re struggling with motivation, and can’t seem to get your prep off the ground, you need a way to flip the script…and quickly.

Follow these steps to re-focus your energy, make a smart LSAT plan, and do yourself proud on test day.

1. Research Application Deadlines, LSAT Scores for Your Target Law Schools

Application deadlines for law schools in Ontario are usually the first week of November, the year before you want to start studying. But schools outside of Ontario all have different deadlines.

You’ll need to take the LSAT in advance of the application deadlines—so start by figuring out what kind of timeline you’re working with.

Next, take a look at the LSAT score you’ll need to compete for admission at your target schools.

Most schools provide stats on this (and other key data, like the average GPA of accepted students), so applicants can see where the cut-offs are.

Here are a couple of examples from Queen’s University Law, and the University of Toronto Law School.

LSAT pep

U of T Law School Standards for Admission 2015-2017

LSAT prep

Knowing what LSAT score you’re aiming for, and your deadline for taking the test, should really light a fire under you to get started with prep.

Admittedly, part of that fire will probably be anxiety about achieving a 160+ score—but you can use that to power through your next step: a mock LSAT exam.

Take a Mock LSAT Exam & See Where You Stand

If you’re procrastinating about LSAT prep, it’s probably because you have no idea where to start. Or even what’s on the exam.

Before you stress yourself out looking at random sample questions online, just dive right in and do a mock LSAT exam.

This is the best way to find out your natural strengths and weaknesses, get your baseline score, and jumpstart the study process.

You don’t have to prep before the mock—just sign up for a free exam, show up, and do your best.

Remember: This is just one of numerous practice tests you’ll be doing to build up your test-taking skills, and track your progress leading up to the exam.

Don’t heap tons of pressure on yourself before the mock; it’s just a warm up.

Click here to see upcoming mock LSAT exams in Toronto

Map out Your Personal LSAT Study Strategy

Once you’ve gotten the mock exam out of the way, you’ll be ready for the most important stage of LSAT prep: figuring out your own personal study strategy.

This is your roadmap to your highest possible score, tailored to your specific needs. It’s a detailed plan that includes:

  • an analysis of your mock exam
  • which specific weak areas you need to address
  • which study materials you’ll be using
  • a realistic target score
  • how many hours it will take you to reach that score
  • a doable daily/weekly study schedule

Sounds like just another really hard task you’d rather not do? Have no idea how you’ll “analyze” your mock exam and figure out all these data points?

Well, you don’t have to. You can get an LSAT coach to do it for you, for free.

Quite a few LSAT test prep companies offer this service, at no charge, and with no strings attached. You don’t even have to sign up for a course. As long as you’ve taken the mock exam, you will qualify for a free strategy session.

Check out Quantum’s LSAT Personal Assessment & Strategy Service

Once you have your customized plan in place, you’ll know exactly what step to take next, where you’re heading, and how to get there.

Remember: Uncertainty is the enemy of motivation. Wipe out the uncertainty factor, and there’ll be nothing standing between you and your LSAT prep.

Unless of course, you’re dealing with…

LSAT Study Fatigue: The 9-5er Problem

Working a 9-5 job while prepping for the LSAT? Not loving the prospect of coming home after a long, hard day to hours of studying?

You’re not alone. Many, many LSAT challengers are dealing with the 9-5er problem, and are struggling to find motivation for daily prep. You’ll see entire discussion threads devoted to this topic on law school/LSAT forums.

LSAT prep
How do you find energy for LSAT prep after a full day of work?

There’s no easy solution here; preparing for the LSAT while putting in full time work hours takes some serious grit. However, there are a few techniques you can use to pump yourself up, and stick to your study plan:

  1. Set achievable daily study goals

Be realistic. Don’t promise yourself you’ll study for 3-4 hours every single night after work. That’s probably not going to happen. And then you’ll feel bad about it, and your motivation will drop even further.

Aim for something more achievable, like 1.5 to 2 hours of LSAT prep in the evening.

  1. Create your own “rewards” program

It worked for you back in elementary school, and it’ll work again now.  Dangle a little treat or reward in front of yourself to motivate your evening LSAT prep—something you’ll get after you finish studying.

Maybe it’s a slice of cheesecake…maybe it’s something cold and bubbly…maybe it’s an episode of Stranger Things. Maybe it’s a night off to go out with your friends and forget the LSAT even exists—whatever it takes to push yourself just a little harder.

  1. Recharge with a workout

Hate the idea of starting LSAT prep right after you finish work? Get super sluggish after dinner, and can’t “re-boot” when it’s time to study?

Try getting some exercise before you hit the books at night. This is a fairly reliable way to re-charge yourself, and re-set your brain.

  1. Remember what’s at stake

Every time you feel like slacking off, and bailing on your evening LSAT prep routine, give yourself a little reality check.

Remember what your end-goal is; what you’re working for.

Think about the thousands of people you’ll be competing against for admission into a good law school. You better believe plenty of them are powering through, and hitting the books right now.

The bottom line: You can’t afford to slack.  Every night you avoid prep, you’re giving your competition a better edge. (That should scare you into a few more study hours!)

Need more help sorting out your LSAT study plan, or considering a professional LSAT course for extra support?

Leave us your questions in the comment section, or give us a call. We’ll get you back on track.

Posted on

4 Things To Do Before You Start LSAT Test Prep

LSAT test prep

Read time: 4 minutes

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

LSAT test prep

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.

Learn more about getting a Personalized LSAT Assessment here

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.

Click here to browse Quantum’s collection of LSAT prep materials

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?

Take a look at Should You Take a Professional LSAT Course? 3 Things to Consider

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!

 

Posted on

Should You Take a Professional LSAT Course? 3 Things to Consider

LSAT course

 

Read time: 5 minutes

Taking a professional LSAT course comes with pros and cons. For many students, price is the biggest detractor. Quality test prep does not come cheap.

For others, the issue is time and distance. There may not be a live course near where they live, which means travelling to another city for a weekend LSAT bootcamp.

On the benefits side? A good LSAT course equips students with a solid repertoire of problem-solving skills, which in most cases, results in a significant score increase on exam day.

And that bump in score could make all the difference for your law school application.

So should you, or shouldn’t you, invest in LSAT training?

Ask yourself these 3 questions to figure out if professional test prep makes sense for you.

1. How much time do you have for LSAT prep?

Many prospective law school students work full time, have family responsibilities, or are juggling other obligations in addition to LSAT prep.

When weighing whether or not to take a course, time is often the deciding factor. Start by mapping out how many hours each week you could set aside for prep.

It takes most students about 4 months to learn the skills tested on the LSAT—which breaks down into at least 6-8 study hours each week.

There is no reason you can’t tackle this process on your own, but you must be willing (and able) to invest extra time researching and gathering the best study materials.

Plus, you’ll need to test out, and narrow down, the most effective problem-solving strategies for each type of LSAT question.

On the other hand, taking an LSAT course shaves time off your prep schedule, because all of these resources are provided for you. And the instructor simply shows  you which approach is best for solving each question-type on the exam.

Training is usually condensed into a weekend, and you leave with all of the materials, techniques, and practice questions you’ll need to prepare for the test.

You’ll still need a few months to practice and refine your skills, but you’ve gained a significant head start.

2. How strong are your self-study skills?

In addition to time, self-study takes discipline and a very particular set of skills. Some students are completely confident in their ability to structure, and stick to, a highly effective LSAT study plan.

These individuals are typically high academic achievers who have always done well on standardized tests. They’re comfortable learning new material, tracking progress, and figuring out how to achieve a competitive score.

On the other hand, some students have been out of school for quite some time, and it’s been years since they’ve taken a difficult exam.

Others may have graduated recently, but struggled with this kind of testing during their undergraduate years and in high school. Confidence is a significant issue, and they’re not even sure how to approach LSAT prep.

Where do you fall on the self-study spectrum?

If the idea of tackling prep on your own fills you with dread, you’re probably better off enrolling in an LSAT course. The instructor will break it all down for you.

A quality course will explain everything from the structure of the exam and test-day procedures, to how to solve the most difficult problems, avoid traps, and target your personal weaknesses.

Comprehensive training will prepare you to answer every question-type for each section of the exam (reading comp, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning).

The benefit? Predictability and a greater sense of control. Nothing will feel unfamiliar on test day. And for under-confident students with rusty study skills, this can be a powerful game-changer.

3. Are you struggling in a particular LSAT topic area?

Feeling particularly worried about those notoriously difficult “logic games”? Not sure your reading comprehension is where it needs to be? Don’t know how to strengthen those skills?

If you’re dealing with a significant weakness in a certain topic area, targeted LSAT training could be your best bet for fast improvement.

In this case, you may not need a comprehensive LSAT course, which will cover all of the content on the exam. Instead, you might opt for a shorter course that deals specifically with your area of weakness.

Most test prep companies offer mini-courses (or modules) for each section of the LSAT. Or, you might consider a few hours of individual tutoring.

This is usually the best way to quickly target your weak points, and learn more effective problem-solving techniques, before continuing to study on your own.

Still not sure about which prep plan you should pursue?

Looking for more information on LSAT test prep strategies, resources, and professional courses? We’re here to help.

Browse our collection of LSAT study guides & practice tests

OR

Explore Quantum’s LSAT Courses in Toronto

Posted on

3 Ways to Conquer LSAT Anxiety

Read time: 4 minutes

If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely decided to pursue law school. Congratulations! Law school can open new doors for knowledge, opportunity and making connections.

First thing’s first: now that you’ve made this decision, you need to write the LSAT as part of your law school application requirements. Making a large commitment such as the LSAT is bound to result in some nerves. But, you can’t let anxiety get in the way of your goals!

Here’s how to conquer LSAT anxiety once and for all, so you can focus on your studies.

Continue reading 3 Ways to Conquer LSAT Anxiety