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How Many LSAT Practice Tests Should I Take?

Taking LSAT practice tests is a key ingredient to LSAT preparation and performance. Students who take full-length practice tests are far more likely to see their desired score increase than students who stick with practice problems and untimed tests exclusively. However, there is a fine line between not enough practice tests (which can lead to underperformance) and too many (which can lead to burnout). It’s best to hit the sweet spot in between just prior to taking your actual exam.

How much time do you have before your exam?

How many LSAT practice exams you can fit in depends largely on when you start your studying. Ideally, students will begin LSAT preparation 6 months to a year in advance, but let’s be realistic…not everyone does this. The closer you are to test date, the more intense you will need to be with your practice schedule. If you decide to start studying for the LSAT two months before your test, you should still try and fit in about 20 practice exams (2-3 per week). On the other hand, if you have plenty of time before your test (9 months or more), you may be able to fit in all 78 practice tests currently available (at the same 2-3 tests per week pace).

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How much time do you have available in your schedule?

LSAT test-takers come from all walks of life. Some of them have full-time jobs and families, while others are dedicating their full time to LSAT preparation. Where you fall in this spectrum will have tremendous impact on how many tests you can take. If you are taking full-length timed LSAT practice tests, one test will take you about 3 hours to complete, and you should plan on at least 2 additional hours to go over the questions that you got incorrect. People who can commit 5 hours to a practice test three times a week will have a great shot at being well-prepared when the actual test rolls around. If your schedule does not permit this, try to fit in at least one full-length test per week and supplement by taking timed sections when you can.

How susceptible are you to burnout?

Taking so many LSAT practice tests that you put yourself in a negative psychological state will definitely detract from your LSAT performance, and you will want to avoid it. However, every person has a different tolerance for mental pressure, and you want to give yourself an honest assessment of your own nature. If you find that taking 2-3 tests per week stresses you out to the point of not being able to perform well, you should definitely ease up or give yourself a break. On the other hand, if you find that the adrenaline of taking timed practice tests heightens your performance, by all means….step it up. One way to diagnose burnout is if you see a plateau in your performance. If you notice this, give yourself a little break before your next practice exam.

In an ideal world, every student preparing for the LSAT would take every practice test that is out there. Start with that as your goal, and then back off of it depending on the amount of time you have before your test, the amount of time you have in your schedule, and the degree to which you are affected by mental burnout. Good Luck!!

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2 Responses to How Many LSAT Practice Tests Should I Take?

  1. Malekica Cade February 19, 2019 at 8:58 AM #

    Hello,

    I am currently preparing for the LSAT for the second go round. I’ve committed to 11 months of studying and using a self study program. As of now I have about 9 months left and I wanted to know when was a good time to start focusing on timed tests. Ive taken a few and my score went up 2 points then dropped.

    Studying while in the Marine Corps has been hard but I am determined to excel at it.

    My first test score was a 138 :/

    It was devastating since I finished college exceptionally well…I’ve been trying not to beat myself up about it. any advice would be great.

    My study materials: powerscore studying material and powerscore study schedule

    • David Recine
      David Recine February 19, 2019 at 12:52 PM #

      Hi Malekica,

      First off, great choice of materials! While I do think that Magoosh LSAT is the very best unofficial LSAT practice resource (and I’m admittedly biased), I see PowerScore as a close second. 🙂

      Beyond that, let’s look at your drop in score. The most important thing you need to hear right now is not to be devastated and not to beat yourself up. A drop in 2 points is really only a 3% drop in performance, since the LSAT has a 60 point score range. That kind of small fluctuation can certainly make a difference if your maximum score was right near ad admissions cutoff.

      But a change of less than 5% in score doesn’t actually say much about your ability. That kind of small fluctuation is acutally pretty natural during LSAT prep. And there can be many different causes for a 2 point rise and fall over a few practice tests. As one example, if you took the practice tests from different sources, the two point change could be related to the LSAT tests having slightly different structure. A PowerScore test, for instance, might be easier on average than a real LSAT practice test, or it might be harder.

      And even if the tests you took were all very much like the real LSAT in terms of difficulty, the difficulty of a given individual LSAT practice test can also very. One test form PowerScore could be slightly easier or harder than another test from Powerscore.

      Ultimately, if you’ve only taken a few tests, you can’t know for sure what your real ability is. The best way to measure your true LSAT ability and gauge whether your’e improving is to do a lot more than just a few tests’ worth of practice. Do as many practice sessions as you can, ideally over a few months’ time. And don’t just do practice tests. Also do practice sets that focus on any weaknesses you have. For instance, if you’re having particular trouble with a certain section or a certain question type, set of a practice session that focuses on that section or question type. Remember that practice is not just for measuring your ability. It’s also for improving your LSAT skill.

      I hope this advice helps, and let me know if you still have any doubts or concerns. (Also, definitely consider a subscription to Magoosh LSAT. It would be a great way to get the extra practice questions you’ll need in order to improve and accurately measure yur ability.)


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