Before you take the LSAT, you need to have the best LSAT study tips and strategies at the ready. Whether you’re preparing for the LSAT on your own or studying with an LSAT course, you need to know the following 10 LSAT study tips to ensure you get the highest LSAT score you can.
Let’s jump right in so you can start improving your LSAT score today!
1. You’re in charge (sort of).
One thing to keep in mind as you approach the daunting task of studying for and taking the nearly four-hour long LSAT is that you’re in charge of deciding which questions to tackle first. The LSAT is administered one section at a time, so you can’t choose which section you want to tackle first. But you can decide what order you answer the questions in for each section.
Why is the order of questions important? Two reasons. First, by starting with easier questions you can build your confidence before moving on to more difficult questions. And second, by saving the harder questions for last, you ensure you pick up the easy points first before running out of time. Speaking of points, this brings us to our second key LSAT study tip…
2. Every LSAT question is worth the same.
Before you walk in and take the LSAT, it’s critical that you understand that every question on the LSAT, no matter the difficulty, is worth exactly the same. If you’re stubborn like me (and probably most law students and lawyers), you’re going to want to work on a question until you get it right. While this determination usually has its rewards, on the LSAT this doggedness can hurt you. If a particular assumption question in a Logical Reasoning section trips you up for 6 minutes, you’ve missed out on at least two potentially easier questions and two points.
The bottom line, you have to keep moving on the LSAT, and the easiest way to do that is to remind yourself that every question is worth the same. So, move on, and grab a point elsewhere—you’ll be glad you did when you get your LSAT score back!
3. There’s no penalty for wrong answer choices.
In the spirit of moving on from hard questions, it’s important to note that there’s no penalty for wrong answer choices. Let me say that again, there’s no penalty for a wrong answer on the LSAT.
What does that mean for you? You guessed it—it’s always worth it to guess on the LSAT. If you’re running low on time or you really can’t figure out a difficult question, bubble in an answer and move on. You’ve got a 25% of getting it right and an even higher percent chance if you can eliminate at least one wrong answer choice!
4. Read every word on the LSAT carefully.
Every word on the LSAT in each of the three sections is critical to the information presented. The LSAT is not the time to skim. In fact, you should read every word, carefully noting the role that it plays. If you skip over a “not” while reading through a Logic Game setup, you may misunderstand an entire Logic Game and miss all of the accompanying questions. You can see how reading too quickly or carelessly could cost you a lot of points on the LSAT.
Let’s look at the next tip to learn how to read carefully on the LSAT so you can avoid this mistake.
5. Read actively and take notes.
How do you make sure you don’t miss any crucial word on the LSAT? Read actively by taking notes throughout the Reading Comprehension passages and on each Logical Reasoning question. Circle any keywords, such as “However,” “Nonetheless,” or “In sum.” Note whenever the argument changes or the author presents evidence for her argument.
You can check out the video below for tips on taking notes:
Noting these key changes will enable you to better comprehend the passages or questions you are reading so you can find the right answer choice faster and more often. Start this practice today by marking up your LSAT prep book as you practice. This strategy may slow you down at first, but with practice, you’ll be better at reading critically with speed, which will be essential for the LSAT and law school. Look at you, double tasking!
6. Spend more time studying LSAT Logical Reasoning.
Learn all of the key Logical Reasoning question types and common wrong answer types. And for every Logic Games or Reading Comprehension section you do, make sure you do a Logical Reasoning section. One key component of LSAT logical Reasoning is Formal Logic, so let’s turn to that next.
7. Know the basics of formal logic.
Learning formal logic is crucial to your success on the LSAT, in law school, and as a lawyer. Logic is the backbone of law, so naturally, it’s heavily tested on the LSAT. Don’t worry, however, if you’ve never studied any formal logic. You just need to learn the basics to do well on the LSAT. It’s especially important for setting up Logic Game sketches accurately, and for understanding Logical Reasoning arguments. So, study up on formal logic and outsmart those test makers!
8. Always start LSAT Logic Games with a sketch.
Never jump into the questions on a LSAT Logic Game without having a sketch drawn. If you dive right into the questions without having a sketch, you’re bound to get a question wrong by getting tripped up in the details of the game. The LSAC has designed the test to be this way. So, you have to take the crucial step of setting up your sketch accurately before attempting any of the questions. So, repeat after me—I will always draw my Logic Game sketches first!
9. Don’t ignore the LSAT Writing Sample.
So many students make the mistake of ignoring the Writing Sample on the LSAT, only looking at it for the first time on test day. I’m here to tell you that you don’t want to write your first Writing Sample after three hours of intensive testing. You will be exhausted, and it won’t be the best time to see what a Writing Sample entails.
While the Writing Sample is not scored, and thus doesn’t make up any part of your LSAT score, law schools can and probably will review the LSAT Writing Sample as part of your application. Don’t ruin their impression of you by never having practiced the Writing Sample. All you have to do is incorporate three Writing Samples into your LSAT practice. That’s not so bad, right?
10. Key LSAT Study Tip: You can’t cram for the LSAT.
Unlike some college courses, you can’t pick up the book the night before the LSAT and memorize everything you need to get a high score. The LSAT tests your ability to think critically and analyze facts—skills that take practice. Additionally, the LSAT test structure, especially LSAT Logic Games, is unlike any test you’ve encountered. You need to spend time practicing LSAT test questions so you are familiar with their structure on test day.
Ideally, you’ll plan to study for at least two months, ideally three, for the LSAT. A three month study plan will give you enough time to familiarize yourself with the structure of the LSAT, learn all of the tips and strategies mentioned here, and take a few full-length LSAT practice tests under test-like conditions. All of these steps are critical to your performance on the LSAT.
Before you walk in and take the LSAT, you should set aside three months to learn these LSAT study tips and tricks. The LSAT is a standardized test, which means you can prepare for it by reviewing old test questions and learning strategies for each section.
By absorbing and practicing these LSAT study tips, you will ensure that you perform your absolute best on test day. As the LSAT is a crucial part of your law school application, one that can even lead to scholarships, you should dedicate a few months to learning all you can to conquer the LSAT!