How Much Time Do You Need to Study for the LSAT?

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How Much Time Do You Need to Study for the LSAT?
People always ask how late is too late to start studying for the LSAT. My opinion is that six weeks should be more or less the absolute bare minimum, so if you’re shooting for February and haven’t yet opened any books, you might want to retool your plans. As a rule, more study time is a good thing. You can definitely start too late. But can you start too early?

First of all, let me first say that devoting time to LSAT study shouldn’t be measured in just weeks or months. You can definitely study for the LSAT in two months and reach your full potential within that time, as long as you have lots of time within those two months. So you need to be thinking about study hours, not just calendar days. Ideally, you want to be doing the vast majority of every single available LSAT question, so if you condense that into two months or spread it out to four, it’ll still be same amount of time (let’s say 300 hours, for the sake of argument).

One more thing to understand: once you do those 300 hours (or however long it takes you to exhaust all the material), there’s nothing else. There are only so many released LSATs. You can redo problems, but then you have to go back and erase everything you’ve done, or buy new books, and you’re also running into the problem of remembering questions (more a concern for Reading Comp). If possible, it’s a situation that you generally want to avoid. If you started studying extremely intensely for June right now, you’d run out of material by April. Then you’d have to redo everything. Also, you’d be super-burned-out from 5 months of straight study. You’d be much better off starting in March or April. Study intensely, do all the work, build lots of momentum, and you’re ready to go on June 7th.

I really think the only time you want to consider starting way in advance (5+ months) is if you have extremely little time. People are always surprised at just how much work studying for the test can be (20 hours per week [or much, much more] is totally normal), so if you work 60 hours a week and have 8 kids, you might want to start a bit early.

All things being equal, though, this isn’t 100% totally ideal, so if you have the time you should condense it to 2-3 months. You won’t be studying less; it’ll just be more concentrated. This causes you to build lots of momentum, and prevents burnout. As long as you hit the ground running from your first day of study, and don’t let up until test day, the vast majority of people find that that’s all the time they need.

Jan 19, 2011 - 12:35 am - By Colin Elzie
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3 Responses to How Much Time Do You Need to Study for the LSAT?

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  2. Liz says:

    Hey Colin…

    Loved the article…You said 300 hours of study time…how long did you study for your top-notch LSAT score? I think I will be able to only put in around 150 hours…is that enough? Do you agree LSAT also has a lot to do with having a positive attitude? Thanks again!

    • Colin says:

      I myself studied about 300 hours. I took a Blueprint course (100 hours) and did all the homework (200 or so hours with practice tests), which is what I attribute to my score. Having 150 hours will definitely allow you to make significant improvements, but you really should free up more time if at all possible. The LSAT is an incredibly hard test, and it’s so important in your applications that you should devote as much time as you can to getting the highest score possible.

      Having a positive attitude is a huge component, but that won’t be the only thing you need. The positive attitude is what will take you through the 300 hours or so that you’ll ideally have and allow you to stay motivated and sane.

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