Hello! I recently got accepted to my first choice law school (yay!). I took the LSAT in September 2019 and here are 10 tips for LSAT success that I’d like to share with fellow aspiring law students:
1. Take your time studying for it
The LSAT is hard. A quick google search will show that a minimum of 3 months should be spent on prepping for the LSAT. Emphasis on the minimum. 3 months is simply not enough time.
The LSAT is a different kind of exam. It requires you to change the way you think. And that takes time. It’s also a mental marathon.
So be patient with yourself and take your time. Whether that means studying for 6 months or a year or two.
2. Take care of yourself
There is absolutely no point in studying for the LSAT for months only to get a terrible score because you weren’t feeling your best mentally and physically the day of the exam and not because you didn’t study enough.
Eat healthy, get enough sleep every night, and take much needed breaks.
Burnout is very real and it can (will) happen to you if you don’t take good care of yourself.
3. Be honest with yourself
This is extremely important. You don’t just need to know yourself, you need to be honest with yourself.
Ask yourself, “what type of person am I”? “How do I learn best”? “Am I really going to study for 8 hours every single day up until the day of the exam?”
I failed to ask myself these questions before registering for my exam. Huge mistake.
I told myself that I would study for 8 hours every single day so of course 3 months is going to be enough time to prepare for the LSAT. I did not study for 8 hours every day. And I also couldn’t force myself to at my own peril.
Being honest with yourself from the get-go and knowing what your capabilities are and how much you are (seriously) willing to commit is the best thing you can do for yourself.
4. Take a diagnostic exam
It’s not necessary, but I highly recommend taking your diagnostic exam (try the June 2007 LSAT) under timed conditions BEFORE studying for the LSAT.
Find out where you’re at. If you get a low score, that’s okay. That just means there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Having a diagnostic score can be really useful. It can help motivate you by providing a baseline that you can measure your progress against. It can also help you plan for studying by giving you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses on the LSAT.
5. Set a goal score
A diagnostic score is important but a goal score is even more so.
Do some research into the schools you’re interested in. What are their competitive average GPA and LSAT scores? Check out their applicant profiles.
Most schools admit their students by looking at a combination of GPA and LSAT. So calculate your L2 (graduating GPA), figure out what’s a good LSAT score that’ll balance it out and set a goal score for yourself to work towards.
It will keep you focused and on track.
6. Take an LSAT prep course
It’s a good idea to have structure and direction in studying for the LSAT. Consider taking an LSAT prep course (either online or in-person).
It’s a good investment that will get you started and guide you in the right direction.
Check out 7Sage (it’s awesome!) but find what works best for you.
7. Take PrepTests
Don’t be afraid to take PrepTests under timed conditions.
It can be extremely daunting and tiring to sit down and do them for 3 hours straight but it’s the only way you’ll improve.
Put what you learn to practice. And be sure to only use official LSAT content.
Beware of sample questions/tests that are NOT from LSAC. Avoid those like the plague (they’re not the same as the real ones and will just throw you off).
8. Prepare for LSAT Writing
LSAT Writing isn’t scored so it tends to get, I guess, overlooked during the studying process. But it’s sent to every law school you apply to so it’s still important to take some time to prepare for it.
Look at a few prompts from past LSATs and have an idea of how you want to approach and organize your essay.
Also, be sure to do it as soon as you can. Now that LSAT Writing can be done on your own time, it can be easy to keep putting it off.
9. Be organized and consistent
It helps to take some of the burden off while studying. Take notes that make it easy for you to refer to later. Create a schedule and stick with it.
Try to do your PrepTests on the same days and at the same time each week.
Try to read through the LSAT rules and prepare what you’ll be bringing to the exam room well in advance so you don’t stress about it the night before the exam.
10. Don’t do a retake if you’re not ready
I’ve known people who would register for two LSATs back-to-back “just in case.” But to be honest, I think that’s a waste of money.
If you do poorly on the first one, chances are, you wouldn’t have had time to really improve yourself within a month or two so you would end up with two similarly low scored LSATs on record.
According to an admission advisor I talked to, this is never good in the eyes of an admissions committee.
Instead, take the LSAT and either cancel it or wait it out and see how you scored. Then decide to retake the LSAT, giving yourself AT LEAST a couple of months to prepare for the next one so you can make sure that you do much better than the first. A score of 150 to 165 in a span of 5 months is better than a score of 150 to 153 in the span of 2 months.
This goes back to the first tip on this list: take your time. Law school is not a race. So go at your own pace.
I hope you find these 10 tips for LSAT success helpful. If you don’t agree with any of them or you have your own 10 tips for LSAT success that you’re willing to share, feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading and best of luck to you on your journey to 180!