Studying for the LSAT as a Full-Time Job

Tiffany Sanders, J.D. LSAT Test Prep Leave a Comment

It is possible to study too much for the LSAT.Recently, I’ve seen a lot of discussion in forums about the “immersion method” of preparing for the LSAT. If you’re not familiar with the immersion method, it’s pretty much just what it sounds like.  Proponents of the immersion method have reporting “studying” for the LSAT 10, 12, even 16 hours per day.

I’m not going to say that this approach can’t ever possibly work for anyone–there are a handful of people out there claiming that they’ve had great success with it. Nonetheless, I’m going to strongly discourage you from pursuing this approach.

As I’ve mentioned before, I taught and tutored LSAT courses and wrote curriculum for a major test prep company for more than ten years. After I left that company, I continued to create curriculum on a freelance basis and work with individual students. I don’t know exactly 

how many students I worked with over the years, but the bare minimum would be several hundred; I’m fairly sure the number exceeds 1,000. I’m not talking about mere enrollees in an online course or large lecture, but individuals I talked with one on one as they worked through their preparation (and, often, law school applications).

In all that time, of all those students, I’ve never seen anyone benefit from putting in 40-hour weeks preparing for the LSAT. I have seen a number of students try it (or something close to it). Almost universally, their prep test scores have declined steadily as they pushed harder and harder.

Obviously, if you’re serious about scoring high on the LSAT, you have to be serious about your preparation.

Commitment is an important element of LSAT preparation.

Carving out regular time in your schedule to prepare, practice and build your stamina is critical.

Consistency is key: optimal LSAT preparation will happen multiple days per week, without letting more than a couple of days pass between sessions.

But, it’s also critical that you understand the difference between preparation and “studying”. It’s no surprise that the distinction gets fuzzy for many prospective law students. Studying, after all, is familiar. And, some publishers and test preparation companies bank on your fear and your recent academic experience to persuade you that you need mountains of material, background and philosophy to do well on the LSAT.

It’s simply not true.

The key to effective LSAT preparation is to be focused and efficient during relatively short study sessions, to work your way up to full-length practice tests and to invest in reviewing those tests and instructive explanations that help you identify patterns. Depending on your starting score, your target score and the amount of time you have to prepare, this can be accomplished in as little as 5-8 hours per week. For most students I’ve worked with, anything beyond 20-25 hours per week or 3-4 hours per day rapidly becomes counterproductive.

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