How to study for the LSAT
We’re a little less than three months from the June LSAT, which means it’s about time for the studying to begin. It’s going to be a long and arduous process, but you’ll come out with an awesome score when all’s said and done. That is, if you study, study hard, study a lot, and study well.
But how does one go about studying? Well, you have to have a plan. You can’t just start taking practice LSATs over and over. If you’re taking a prep class, you’ll have a plan laid out for you, so you won’t have to worry about coming up with one of your own. But no matter what you do, the progression of your study should look something like the following.
Step 1 – Learning the methods. The LSAT is a difficult test with tons of different question types. You have to learn how to attack each question one at a time. Whether it’s games, reading comp, or logical reasoning, there are many different subtypes for each question. You should learn how to do each of them on their own. For each subtype, you should also do tons and tons of practice. The LSAT is a very complicated test, with many different types of questions to learn, so this phase may take quite a while. That’s ok. It’s important that you learn how to do the questions correctly before moving on to the second stage of studying.
Step 2 – Practicing what you’ve learned. After you first learn all the methods, you still won’t be rock solid on them in practice. You’ll just need more repetition, and even bigger than that, you’ll need to practice in a way that mimics the test. During stage 1, you spent your time learning question types one at a time, so you may only really be at your best when doing just batches of that one question type. But on the LSAT you need to be able to answer the question types in a random order. The practice phase will help you with that. You should also make sure that you’re going for longer and longer stretches, preparing for actual tests.
Step 3 – Timing and tests. Step 3 will overlap with step 2 somewhat, but this is all about the tests. You should be taking a whole lot of full tests in realistic settings. You need to get used to being relentlessly bombarded with five 35-minute sections. You get no extra breaks, and shouldn’t have distractions (turn your phone off). As you take tests, you’ll learn how to translate the skills you developed in steps 1 and 2 into a high LSAT score. Part of this will come from timing. As you practice, you’ll learn where you can shave off time, and how you should pace yourself. Many people find that they need to speed up early on in sections so that they can take their time on the later, harder problems. Others find that they need to warm up before taking the test, or else they start weak. You’ll figure many things out about your testing particularities, but you have to take a lot of actual exams to do so.
The LSAT’s a ton of work, so budget plenty of time. You should be studying regularly for long intervals. Don’t wait until the last month to really get on it. That being said, don’t kill yourself studying, either. You should never do 10 straight hours of LSAT work. You should never do practice why you’re falling-over tired. Just study diligently, learn the methods, practice the methods, and take a ton of tests, and you’ll be on the road to a higher LSAT score.