If you’re thinking about studying for the LSAT, or if you’ve already started, you might be feeling overwhelmed. That’s okay—everyone who studies for the LSAT feels that way at some point. But don’t worry. All you need to do is follow these top ten LSAT study tips and you’ll succeed on the day of the test.
1. Register for the LSAT.
Your first step in preparing for the LSAT is to pick the LSAT test date that works best for you and register with the LSAC. This step is critical because by registering for the LSAT, you’ll lock yourself into a test date and you won’t be able to put off studying by always telling yourself there’s more time to study. It’ll also be easier to say no to those day trips to the beach or slopes, because you’ll know exactly how much time you have between you and the LSAT. To help you decide which LSAT test is best for you, you’ll need to make sure you have enough time to study.
That bring us to tip #2—effectively setting your study schedule.
2. Block your study time early.
Ideally, you’ll plan to study for the LSAT for at least two months, three months if you can. During these months, you want to study about 2 to 3 hours a day for at least 4 to 5 days a week. There’s no way around it—preparing for the LSAT is like adding another course to your semester. And the only way to succeed in your LSAT preparation is by blocking off your calendar accordingly. Look ahead to make sure you have enough time to dedicate to studying. You don’t want to find out a few weeks before the LSAT that you don’t have enough time to set yourself up for success.
Setting and stick to a LSAT study plan will be essential to your success, so set your LSAT Study Schedules early.
3. Pick the best study materials.
Once you’ve decided on the best LSAT study schedule for you, you need to select the best study materials. Essential to your successful studying will be an LSAT prep book or two. There are a lot of books to choose from so save yourself some time by checking out this handy list of Best LSAT Prep Books.
In addition to selecting a good book, you may also decide that a prep course is right for you. If you struggle with discipline or the thought of setting up your own course schedule overwhelms you, you can find a course with a set schedule. If you love flexibility or are fitting in LSAT prep around an already full schedule, you may find prepping online at your own pace works best. Either way, make your selection early and base it on what has worked well for you in the past.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice.
You’ve selected your LSAT test date and you’ve purchased your study materials. You know what’s coming next—lots and lots of LSAT practice! To truly improve your performance on the LSAT, you’ll need to dedicate hours and hours to completing LSAT practice problems. You have to do this for a few reasons.
First, you need to get familiar with how LSAT problems are structured and how the test creators will write questions and answers to try to trick you. Second, you have to see all the levels of difficulty that you’ll see on test day. Not every Logic Game or Logical Reasoning question is created equal. Your success will depend, in part, on how well you can recognize harder questions. You’ll want to skip these questions and come back to them if you have time. Finally, you want to be so familiar with LSAT test questions by the time the actual LSAT rolls around that you can tackle anything the LSAC creates.
Another key part of your practice will be reviewing your wrong answers and taking practice tests (more on this in the next tip!). Knowing how to study for the LSAT is crucial and will help you make the most of your dedicated study time. So, before you start in on your hours of LSAT practice, check out How to Study for the LSAT to ensure you use your time effectively.
5. Take full length LSAT practice tests.
Another part of your LSAT preparation that is essential to raising your LSAT score is taking full-length LSAT practice tests. As you’re staring down taking multiple practice LSATs, you’re probably wondering what kind of time commitment to expect. Check out How Long Is the LSAT? to learn more about what you’re in for.
You should plan to take at least four, full-length practice tests. This means you’re looking at about 16 hours of multiple choice fun. Exciting, huh? Well, trust me, on the day of the LSAT, you’ll be so grateful for those 16 hours of prep time—the test structure, format, and timing will be so familiar to you, you’ll have no choice but to crush the LSAT.
6. Focus on LSAT Logical Reasoning.
If you want to do well on the LSAT, you have to do well on Logical Reasoning. Why is that? Because Logical Reasoning makes up half of your score on the LSAT. Another way to think about how much Logical Reasoning is worth is to realize that any time you spent on Logical Reasoning has twice the value as any amount of time spent studying Logic Games or Reading Comprehension. That being said…
7. Don’t avoid your weak areas on the LSAT.
While you want to spend extra time focusing on Logical Reasoning, this doesn’t mean you want to neglect any section of the LSAT. Although it can be tempting to skip over whatever the hardest section is—Logic Games for most students—don’t fall into this trap. Your weakest area when you’re starting out is also the area where you can gain the most points and see the biggest increase in your score.
8. Don’t skip the LSAT writing sample.
Even though the LSAT writing sample doesn’t make up part of your LSAT score, this doesn’t mean it’s not important. Law schools may assess your writing sample when reviewing your records—you don’t want to miss out on another opportunity to impress the admissions team. On the other hand, you don’t need to spend a lot of time preparing for the writing sample. Just practice the writing sample every time you complete a practice test and you’ll be all set.
9. Prep for LSAT Test Day.
To get the most out of your months of LSAT studying, you have to do well on test day. Easier said than done? Nope. Just plan out the logistics of the LSAT test day prior to the actual day of the test. Know how you are going to get to the test center and by when. Plan out your snacks and anything else you’d like to bring that the LSAC permits. By being prepared for the details of test day, you can focus on performing your best and scoring well.
You’re probably thinking, how can I relax when I have to pick a test date, a test site, study for months, and then sit for a four hour multiple choice exam? Fair point. However, it won’t matter how much studying you put in if you don’t have a chance to recharge and let your brain absorb what you’ve studied. Also, to do well on a timed test, you’re going to have to learn to relax even when you’re stressed. So, practice relaxing while you’re studying and taking practice tests so you can absorb more while you’re studying. You’ll end up doing your best on the day of the LSAT.
Succeeding on the LSAT consists of setting a game plan early on and sticking to that plan. By maintaining your focus—on both your strong and weak sections of the LSAT—you’ll be sure to rock the LSAT and get into the school of your dreams.
Allyson earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her JD from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been teaching and tutoring the LSAT since 2007, and loves helping students achieve their goals. She currently practices law in Austin, Texas. When she’s not helping students conquer the LSAT, she enjoys traveling, camping, and listening to live music. Check out more LSAT articles and tips on the Magoosh LSAT blog.