Deciding how long to study for the LSAT can be tricky. The Law School Admission Test is not the kind of test that you want to walk into without sufficient preparation. But what does “sufficient prep” look like? How long should you study for the LSAT…realistically? The amount of time that test-takers put into LSAT prep is often reflected in their scores. In this post, we cover the absolute bare minimum amount of time you should commit to studying, as well as the recommended amount of time and the maximum. (Did you even know it’s possible to study for the LSAT for too long?)
Table of Contents
- How long should you study for the LSAT?
- How do I start studying for the LSAT?
- Studying For the LSAT: Other Options
How long should you study for the LSAT?
The ideal amount of study time is be about 150-300 hours over 3-6 months. This range allows you to devote yourself to your LSAT prep, learn from your mistakes, gain the skills you’ll need to succeed on the test, and maintain the test-taking endurance that’s required to survive test day.
Of course, you can modify your study timeline based on the number of hours you can commit per week—for example, if you can only study for 5 hours per week, you may need to add more weeks on to your total schedule. But in general, condensing your study plan can increase your motivation, since there’s more reason to get serious about studying when you know the deadline is approaching. Furthermore, it’ll be easier to keep sight of your goals when there’s an end in sight.
The time periods we give here assume that you’ll be studying for about 10-15 hours per week. That might seem like a lot of time to add to your already demanding schedule, but it’s necessary to get a great LSAT score.
All that said, deciding how long you should be studying for the LSAT depends on your personal schedule and study habits. Below, we’ll take a look at a few options for what the ideal LSAT study plan for you could look like! Before we get into that, though, let’s take a look at how to get your LSAT study plan off the ground.
How do I start studying for the LSAT?
Before you start studying for the LSAT, make sure you have a good understanding of LSAT basics, including what’s on the test, question formats, and what the test day experience looks like. Depending on when you’re taking the test, this could include a brief review of the remote LSAT, the at-home version of the LSAT currently in use through June 2022.
Then, download Magoosh’s free online LSAT study guide PDF to help guide your work, no matter how long you plan on studying for the LSAT!
Recommended Study Plan: 150-300 Hours Over 3-6 Months
We recommend that you study for anywhere from 3-6 months for the LSAT (150-300 total hours of studying). In fact, we’ll start you off on the right foot by giving you a three month LSAT study schedule to start working off of!
Why? This amount of time really gives your brain the chance to make all of the connections needed for optimal LSAT performance. Most college classes don’t teach you how to solve logical reasoning questions or logic games, so this will all be new material. Focusing on the LSAT over a sustained period of several months will unlock the tips and tricks to higher test-day performance on your LSAT test date.
Studying For the LSAT: Other Options
If you need a different time frame than the above study plan provides, though, don’t worry! We have the LSAT study plans for you.
The Bootcamp: 20 Hours Per Week for 1 Month
If you’re able to put in about 20 hours of practice a week, you could throw together an LSAT boot camp that includes 5 full-length practice tests (taking advantage of true timed conditions).
On day 1, take a full-length practice test and then score it and log your errors. Check out our blog post about how long the LSAT is to get a feel for how much time you’ll be spending on the practice LSAT.
Every week (Monday-Friday), complete two timed sections of a practice test (including Writing Samples). These practice questions will add up so that you’ve completed two more full practice tests by the end of Friday. Always score these sections, record wrong answers, and work through any questions you missed immediately after taking the section. That means you’ll be spending about two hours per weekday on LSAT preparation.
On Saturday, take another full-length, timed practice test, and then score it and review any missed questions. Finally, on Sunday, spend the day looking through your error log, finding any weaknesses, and devoting the day to untimed practice for areas where you need more work. Then, rinse and repeat until the end of the month.
This is definitely a crash course. You won’t have time to fully address every question type on the exam, and more importantly, you won’t be giving yourself enough time to let the material sink in. Acing the LSAT is all about adjusting to a new way of thinking, and that’s better done in moderate doses over a long period of time than in one frenetic month of cramming. So if you have more time, it’s better to stretch out your studying!
The Minimum: 2 Months or 100 Total Hours
Studying for the LSAT should really take at least two months (or about 100 total hours of studying). Any less than that, and you probably won’t get the practice you’ll need to get through the concepts tested. “Getting through” the concepts here doesn’t necessarily mean full understanding—eight or nine weeks is not a long time, so while you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the content, you won’t necessarily become an LSAT expert.
The two-month LSAT study plan can actually be identical to the one-month boot camp, but you can space out your practice in smaller doses, or you can devote a day between all timed sections to reviewing errors, spotting weaknesses, and doing untimed practice that focuses on specific question types.
Alternatively, you could do an intense two-month plan that follows the boot camp model (roughly 200 hours of studying) but involves 10 full-length, timed practice tests and another 20 practice exams broken up throughout the week. This intensive study plan is approaching the ideal amount of preparation for the LSAT, but it’s a fast-paced way to do it and can definitely get tiring, which is something that can ultimately prevent you from maximizing your potential on test day.
The Maximum: 6 Months or 500 Hours
You probably shouldn’t have any longer than a six-month study plan, or 500 total hours of studying time. Why? There are only so many prep tests that LSAC (Law School Admission Council) has released, and only so many real LSAT questions you can use to practice with. Drawing out your study schedule will water down the amount of high-quality test prep material available to you.
As attorney and Harvard Law graduate James Goodnow advises, “Set a schedule. Don’t cram. It’s a recipe for performing below your best. It’s critical that you give yourself enough time to prepare for the test and that you allocate time for preparation on a regular basis.” Good luck! 🙂