So, you’ve decided to apply to law school? The most important part of your law school applications is your LSAT score. Your LSAT score is such a huge factor in your chances of admission that you don’t want to take it without proper preparation. Keep reading to learn how to prepare for the LSAT, along with tips for using our LSAT prep checklist.
How should I prepare for the LSAT?
Your LSAT prep process should proceed through the following stages:
- Gaining familiarity with the format of the LSAT.
- Building your understanding of the concepts it tests.
- Going over the LSAT prep checklist one month and two weeks before test day.
- Taking and reviewing practice exams.
- Getting ready for the day of the test.
1. Get to Know the Format of the LSAT
Before diving into your LSAT studies, you’ll want to read about the format of the test and what’s in each of the different sections. Then, take a diagnostic test to see where you’re starting. This is also a good time to think about the target score for your dream law schools and get motivated to master this test!
2. Build Understanding of LSAT Concepts
After learning about the format of the test and taking a diagnostic exam, it’s time to build your understanding of the different concepts tested by the LSAT, including conditional logic, causal reasoning, logical fallacies, diagramming logic games, and so much more. This is where taking an LSAT course or working through LSAT prep books can be very helpful. During this stage, you’ll want to develop a systematic approach to every component of the test and work through problem sets from past LSATs to expose yourself to many of the tricks and traps the LSAT writers set for unprepared test-takers.
3. Check Your Progress With Our LSAT Prep Checklist
Our free, downloadable LSAT prep checklist will help you keep track of the concepts you’ve learned throughout your LSAT preparation. Start by rating your knowledge (on a scale of 1-5) of the concepts listed about one month before your test day. After you complete your first check-in, look at which concepts have a 1, 2, or 3 next to them. These are your weaker areas, and you’ll want to focus your review and practice on these concepts.
Two weeks before test day, go through the LSAT prep checklist again, and rate each concept again. Have you improved your confidence in the weaker areas? Are there any concepts you still feel unsure about? Be sure to strengthen your LSAT prep in any concepts that you rated between 1-3 while still leaving time for doing overall review and practice tests.
- To use our LSAT prep checklist, click here to access the PDF.
4. Take and Review Practice Exams
Many LSAT-takers don’t take enough practice tests before the real exam. Although you might feel comfortable with a lot of things tested by the LSAT during a relaxed study session, you may feel differently under the pressure of a test. When you’re limited to 35 minutes per section and have to deal with a mix of question types, the pressure is on! Taking practice tests under realistic conditions is the best way to get used to the pacing of the exam and to figure out your weaknesses. The most successful LSAT students usually take at least six practice tests before the real thing, and many take more than ten.
Reviewing your tests is even more important than just taking them. To learn from your mistakes, you have to understand why you made them and how you can avoid similar mistakes in the future. For every question you get wrong, strive to understand:
- Why the answer you picked is wrong.
- Why the right answer is correct.
- Why you picked the wrong answer instead of the right one.
- What you can do to avoid this kind of mistake.
To help you with this process, using resources from an LSAT prep course or working with an LSAT tutor can be effective.
5. Get Ready for Test Day
About two weeks before the test, it’s time to get ready for game day. The LSAT is a test of mental performance and endurance, and it’s therefore critical that you’re in top test-taking shape by the time of the real exam. This means you should adopt a sleeping, eating, and exercise routine that fits the time of your scheduled exam.
You should also get all of the logistical and administrative issues for the test out of the way well in advance. If you’re taking the LSAT Flex, you should prepare your space for exam day and test out your internet and computer on ProctorU’s website. If you’re taking an in-person LSAT, you should know how to get to the exam location and gather all of the items you’ll bring to the exam center.
On the day of the test, make sure to do a super easy logic game and a handful of easy logical reasoning problems to warm up several hours before the real exam. Think of it like stretching before a run.
How long does it take to prepare for the LSAT?
So, how long should you plan to study for the test? That depends on a lot of factors, including how you do on your diagnostic test, how much you want to improve, and how much time you have to study each week. That said, an average person coming to the test as a beginner should be prepared to spend between three to six months studying for the test. No matter how long you intend to study, make sure to use an effective LSAT study plan.
What are the best LSAT prep courses?
Magoosh offers an affordable and effective LSAT course. You’ll get access to video lessons on every LSAT concept, hundreds of questions from past exams, and 10 (and counting!) official LSAT practice tests.
Khan Academy’s LSAT course is also useful. You probably can’t rely solely on Khan Academy for your LSAT prep, but it is free!
Other popular LSAT study resources include the Powerscore bibles and The LSAT Trainer. Learn more about their pros and cons in our review of the best LSAT prep books.
Finally, although this is technically not a course, LSAC’s Official LSAT Prep is a great way to get access to over 60 digital practice tests presented in the exact same format used for the real exam on test day. We go over how to incorporate LSAC’s Official LSAT Prep in your studies in this post.
LSAT Prep Checklist: Where to Go From Here
Now that you have your LSAT prep checklist and a better understanding of the LSAT preparation process, it’s time to get started!
Your LSAT journey won’t be as hard as you think if you use effective LSAT prep material. Need more advice on how to prepare for the LSAT? Look to these LSAT words of wisdom from lawyers who were once in your shoes.
That’s all for now. Good luck on your LSAT prep journey!