Hello from the isolation of my apartment, where I’m maintaining a comfortable six feet of social distance between me and my cats. Not to make light of what is a very serious problem: everything from colleges and universities to major sports leagues to St. Patrick’s Day parades are being shut down and for good reason. Perhaps more pertinently to readers of this blog, many LSAT prep classes and individual tutors have shifted from face-to-face meetings to an online format. So what’s a socially conscious student to do? The transition from studying in a structured, teacher-led classroom to managing LSAT prep on top of everything else can feel a bit, well, 😱😱😱… 🛑 👐💦💦 ❌😷
So, how can we collectively (and from afar) deal with the move to an even more online-led life? Let’s talk about it with Blueprint’s edition of Hot Tips for Studying At Home.
Make a schedule. No, like, really.
One of the most difficult parts of managing self-study is figuring out when, exactly, you’re going to be studying. It’s easy to say “I’ve been ‘rona’d into staying home, so I’ll study for at least three hours every day.” But when, exactly, will those three hours come? Are you planning on taking any breaks in there? Do you also have coursework or, well, work-work that you still need to finish?
Making a real, actual schedule makes it much harder for your entire afternoon to slip away in a YouTube fugue. You can also use it as an excuse to get your studying organized. A helpful LSAT studying spreadsheet might look something like this:
Practice Test #
LR: __ / 2_
LG: __ / 2_
RC: __ / 2_
For any missed questions:
- Section and question #
- What type of question was it? (Strengthen, Author Attitude — get an idea of what types of questions you’re missing!)
- Where did you go wrong? (Did you miss a common fallacy? Were you reading too fast and skipped over a key “not” or “only” in an answer? Did you drop a variable in your sketch? Learn your own flaws!)
- Why is the correct answer better than the answer you chose?
Be sure that your daily study plan includes blocks for eating (yes, seriously), and give yourself a couple of breaks throughout the day. Insta isn’t going to scroll through itself, after all.
Find a space.
Your home (or dorm, or temporary quarantine hotel room) might not be the place where you typically study, but it’s looking like it’s gonna be LSAT-central for at least the next couple of weeks. Carving out a dedicated place to do work can make it easier to switch into “study mode.” Your makeshift study space doesn’t have to be glamorous, it just has to get the job done.
Bonus tip: It’s easier to concentrate if your space is relatively tidy, so if you don’t want to deal with all the organization projects you’d been planning on getting to “sooner or later,” point your temporary desk in a direction that faces a window, wall, or other space that doesn’t have a towering, unorganized pile of random items.
Pants: Only kind of the enemy.
Are pants a tool of the patriarchy? Maybe. But it’s probably a good idea to wear them anyway. Getting your ‘fit right can help keep you in a “working” mindset. Getting dressed every day is a good way to remind yourself that you’re actually doing something important, and not just kickin’ it in bed for an extra week of spring break.
If you thought I meant Dungeons and Dragons, congrats nerd! If it’s any consolation, I just outed myself as someone who refers to Dungeons and Dragons often enough to need an acronym, so we’re all facing difficult times today.
Actually, by DND I mean “do not disturb.” Millennials look at their phones on average 150 times a day. (Fun fact: That’s a statistic I double checked on my phone!) During times that you’re devoting to study — particularly if you’re in class or with a tutor — put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Getting your focus together when your phone is chiming every three minutes with a COVID update is pretty impossible. It’s astonishing how much easier it is to ignore your phone when it isn’t lighting up with every Twitter mention and text from your auntie. When your study period is over, you can turn your phone off silent and revel in how popular you were while you were away.
In working from home as in many things, a positive attitude can be a huge help. May I recommend some jams for your personal quarantine? Setting the mood is a great way to help keep yourself calm and focused or, failing that, it can at least let you dance some of your jitters out.