Tackling one section of the LSAT at a time may seem like the most reasonable approach. You don’t want to take on too many new concepts at once, nor do you want to risk mixing up similar-but-different processes in your practice.
Those are valid considerations, but there’s a competing concern: LSAT skills rust when not applied on a regular basis. That means that if you start out with Logic Games, get that mastered, then set it aside and move on to Logical Reasoning, you’ll almost certainly lose Logic Games skills in the process.
Too many students who focus entirely on one section for a period of time experience a see-saw effect, where the section they’re currently working on improves while one or both other sections deteriorate.
If you’re taking an LSAT class, live or online, this issue will probably be managed for you. In our LSAT Quick Course, for example, we begin with Logical Reasoning—that’s where most of the points are. We cover the core question types that net you the most points in Logical Reasoning before moving on to Reading Comprehension and then Logic Games. But, we include regular drills and practice sets to keep skills from the previous sections fresh as you move forward.
But, if you’re preparing on your own with books, videos or just released Prep Tests, it’s important that you’re aware of and plan your studies around the relatively short shelf life of LSAT skills.
Keeping LSAT Skills Fresh
There are two basic approaches to mastering new LSAT skills while keeping already-acquired skills fresh. You may, of course, find some hybrid version most useful for you.
First, you may choose to employ the method described above, which we use in our Quick Course. After taking a full-length practice test, begin with the section where you have the most points to gain. Don’t give this more than a third of the time you have available to study, though—you want to be sure that you get a fair chance at improving your performance in every section. When you’re comfortable with the core skills associated with that section, move on to the next. But, never let those early skills sit idle for more than a few days. Break from your current section to practice the prior section(s), even if it’s only a few questions each day or one full section each week.
The alternative is to take small bites of each section and continue to rotate through them as you learn. The advantage to this approach is that you have all of the weeks or months of your prep time to master each section, and you are building skills for all three sections on a regular basis. The disadvantage is that you have more new concepts to manage at once, potentially making it more difficult to clearly ingrain each one.
Whichever approach (or combination) works for you, be sure that you never go more than a few days without at least a brief practice session in each area that you’ve covered in your studies.