If you’re studying for the LSAT, then you’re in the middle of a strange, niche time period in your life that only other LSAT study-ers understand.
(If you’re really in the middle of LSAT prep, you’ll immediately have picked up on the fact that the above sentence was a conditional statement — the “If” indicating that studying for the LSAT is the sufficient condition that ensures the necessary condition of strange, niche time period … SFL -> NTP. Then you’d find the contrapositive of THAT and …. I know, I know. I, too, am tempted to talk about the LSAT in normal, everyday conversations.)
This strange, niche time period can be totally brutal; or, it can be…. less brutal? In order to ensure we are signed up for the less brutal version, there are a couple very important rules (aww, just like a logic game!) that we can apply to our studying.
1. Plan out a realistic study schedule: Don’t commit to doing a full practice exam every Sunday if you know you have ballet all day on Sunday. Signing up for an LSAT class or private tutoring is a great way to structure your studying.
2. Set realistic goals: Unfortunately, getting to a 180 in one week is extremely difficult (if not impossible). If your goal is to improve 10 points, then check in with yourself every couple of weeks to see if you’re progressing as anticipated. If not, you may need to go back and modify the timeline of your schedule.
3. Reward yourself along the way: A scoop of ice cream goes a long way for the LSAT. Sometimes, especially if you’ve been diligently studying, rewarding yourself is that push you need to advance to the next level.
4. Stick to your schedule: Don’t beat yourself up if you miss one concept or section — just keep reviewing. The schedule is there to help guide you, not attack you.
5. Be kind to yourself: It’s completely alright if you aren’t where you thought you would be on a given date. Cut yourself some slack. The LSAT is also a very unique exam. Learning the concepts, and discovering who you are as a test taker, takes time. That’s alright! Give yourself the credit you deserve; being your own biggest cheerleader will pay off in the end.
6. Know that you can, and will, reach your goals.
1. Skip class: Shocker, but lessons aren’t structured the way they are because no one has anything better to do for three hours. Lessons are structured in a way that helps you learn valuable skills each and every week. Lessons are your opportunity to be with an instructor, who is hopefully an expert on the LSAT, who can help answer any and all questions you have. Coming prepared and staying fully engaged throughout the lesson will ensure you are getting the most out of your prep time. Lessons also tend to build off of the concepts from previous lessons, so skipping out can harm your understanding of future concepts.
2. Skip practice tests: Practice tests are the best indication of how you’ll perform on text day. They’re a great opportunity to practice commuting to a test room (you can even bring your Ziploc bag if you want!) and take a test with other people. Skipping practice tests is skipping out on a chance to replicate test day.
3. Stress yourself out by comparing yourself to other LSAT study-ers: When studying for the LSAT, everyone progresses at different rates. Comparing yourself to others is the thief of making studying for the LSAT joyful. A huge part of progress is trusting that you can get better.
4. Take an official LSAT without preparing: According to new LSAC rules, you can only take the LSAT three times in one LSAC year, five times in five years, and seven times in your lifetime. It would be a shame to waste one of those takes on an exam you could have prepared for, but chose not to. There are plenty of resources to prepare. LSAC has 86 released practice tests you can use. Diagnostic tests are important, but they should not be graded by LSAC.
5. Freak out about the LSAT going digital: Yes, it is a big change. The change does not need to be scary! The LSAC website has a digital familiarization tool that shows you exactly what will appear on your tablet on test day. If you prepare, the digital LSAT can be a welcome change. (Yay, no more bubbling in answer sheets!)
6. Study for the LSAT that’s in two months while taking 24 credits, working almost full time, juggling three internships, AND fostering five dogs: Pick one of these things… or two… but don’t do everything at once! The LSAT will still be here when you’re done.
Don’t stress out! The LSAT is a very learner-friendly test. No matter where you start, it can only go up from here. Stick to the dos, and don’t do the don’ts, and you can have a much less brutal study experience. Now that you know what you should and should not do, get back to grouping cars with the names X, Y, Z, S, M, A, and B in parking garages 1, 2, and 3!
Always remember to be your own biggest fan throughout the journey, and try to have fun!