How Do I Prepare for the LSAT?

Taylor Barnett

For you aspiring law students, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) may be an intimidating obstacle as you begin the journey to law school. It may possibly seem like the source of many heartaches and sleepless nights, especially for those working full-time. However, with the proper discipline, motivation, and healthy habits, the LSAT obstacle can be overcome. Here are five tips to help you study while maintaining a healthy work-life balance (and your sanity).

1. Stick to a schedule.

Step one is to set your study goals. Envision what your study schedule will look like and be sure to account for other obligations in your life.

Consider the following questions:

  • When are you taking the LSAT?
  • What study materials will you use?
  • How much material do you need to cover each week?
  • How much time will you allocate each day to studying?
  • How much money can you budget for study materials? This may include tutoring, books, online subscriptions, or free resources.
  • Do you have any upcoming obligations you must attend, such as weddings or vacations?

My schedule has remained the same for the duration of my studies. As soon as my workday ends, I change into comfy clothes, grab some water and a snack, and go to my study room. I typically study after work for two hours, Monday through Friday. On the weekdays, I complete practice questions and review. Saturday is my rest day. On Sunday, I take full-length practice tests. Then I rinse, wash, and repeat.

Study schedules may be exhausting and difficult to maintain, but the discipline of doing so is worth it for long term retention. I have found that I retain more information from my small, consistent study sessions, than from cramming for 8 hours on a Saturday and doing nothing during the work week. I cannot guarantee that my preferred schedule will work for everyone. You have to find what works for you.

2. Take time for yourself.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Overstudying can lead to early burnout, high stress, and lower motivation. Put down the study guide and schedule time to go out with friends, catch up on your latest show, or do something you love. Again, only you may determine how much downtime you need; however, allocating one day as a rest day will be a healthy start. For example, I don’t study on Saturdays.

3. Stay healthy.

A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. It may be tempting to sacrifice sleep or nutrition in order to squeeze in another hour of study time, but remember that your health comes first. Do not skip meals, get at least 7 hours of sleep, and exercise consistently.

4. Treat your practice tests like the actual test.

Do your best on every problem and be thorough in understanding which problems you got right and which you got wrong, and the reasons why. In addition, it is helpful to time yourself when you take practice tests. This will inform you about the amount of time you average per problem and help you get used to thinking under pressure.

5. Use practice tests to learn your focus areas.

You are only as strong as your weakest link, or in this case, weakest skill. Build up your weaker skills to gain a more well-rounded skillset across all three test areas.

Review the practice tests to see where you need to focus, and which topics need extra attention. For example, if you excel in logical reasoning assumption questions, but struggle with logical reasoning flaw questions, then you may want to spend more time studying strategy for the flaw questions. If you have mastered the reading comprehension but are losing points on logical reasoning, take more time to practice logical reasoning.

Be kind to yourself, too. Notice the questions you consistently get correct and celebrate those small victories throughout your studying odyssey.

What now?

Studying for the LSAT is not your typical study session. It is not about memorizing details you need to recall, as you do in other tests. Instead, you study to gain a good understanding of the types of questions you will be given, as well as the strategies to answer them successfully.

Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint. And do not be afraid to retake the test if you are not happy with your first result. With enough time and practice, you will build up your confidence and your skills to achieve a successful result on the LSAT exam.

About the author Taylor Barnett

Taylor assists attorneys and legal assistants in the family law practice with discovery, document review, legal research, and trial preparation.