Seven Tips for More Effective LSAT Prep

  1. Create a Schedule: Time flies. If you start your preparation (as you should) 3-4 months before your test date, that time will stretch in front of you, filled with opportunity. Then, one day you’ll look at everything you want to get done and start to panic, wondering where the time went. The best way to avoid this common experience is to map out the work you want to get done before you ever get started, so that you know how much time you need to build in and you don’t find weeks slipping by.
  2. Be Realistic: Creating a useful schedule means exercising some restraint. Life intervenes, and you probably aren’t going to accomplish every single task you’ve mapped out on exactly the day you scheduled it for. You may get sick, or have to work extra hours, or have an unexpected school project. You may just get so sick of LSAT prep that you recognize you’re not being productive and need to walk away for a day or two. You may find that a particular section is more difficult than you anticipated and you need extra practice. If those sorts of setbacks break your whole schedule, it will be much harder to get back on track, so be sure to build in some buffer.
  3. Don’t Overdo It: Some LSAT students talk about studying 10 hours every day or being behind on sleep or preparing for a year as if those things were badges of honor. In fact, they’re almost always counter-productive. The single most important factor in LSAT success is the ability to think clearly. When you’re falling asleep at your desk, the content is getting fuzzy and you’re having to go back and re-read that last sentence or you’re making mistakes because you’re exhausted, stressed or just burned out, it’s time to walk away.
  4. Keep it Regular: Though putting in long hours every day isn’t a good idea, regular practice is critical to your success. That means that studying all day every Saturday with no practice in between isn’t as effective as putting in an hour or two every other day. It also means that if you work one section at a time, you shouldn’t consider Logical Reasoning a wrap and move on to Logic Games—you’ll want to keep those skills fresh with regular practice sets even as you work the remaining sections.
  5. Pick a System: There are many good programs for LSAT preparation, from online courses to live classes to one-on-one tutoring and retail books. How you choose will depend on a variety of factors, including time, cost, geography and how you learn best. The one thing that is very unlikely to work well is to attempt to pick and choose. All effective LSAT methods require internalization of certain processes, and switching back and forth or attempting to cobble together a system with pieces from several systems can be confusing and counterproductive. Choose your program wisely and then stick with it.
  6. Focus on Patterns and Process: It’s easy to get caught up in the specifics of a particular question, but there’s nothing to be gained from that. You won’t be seeing that question in the testing room. Your goal in practice isn’t the largest number of correct answers, but to learn the patterns and processes that will net you the largest number of correct answers when it counts. The LSAT is a very predictable test, and your job in practice is to learn what to expect and how most efficiently to tackle that type of question.
  7. Go Where the Points Are: Many LSAT students are inclined to focus on their weakest areas. If you’ve bombed Logic Games and performed respectably in the other two sections, instinct will tell you to invest heavily in upping your Logic Games score. But, your job is to get the largest possible number of points, no matter where they come from. Because there are approximately 50 Logical Reasoning questions, 27 Reading Comprehension questions and 23 Logic Games questions, the percentages don’t tell the whole story. Do the math and figure out where you can pick up the largest number of points.