Simulating LSAT test-day conditions is an essential part of preparing for the LSAT. Because it’s a three and a half-hour long timed exam, the LSAT requires both speed and mental fortitude. By taking PrepTests under time constraints in an environment as close as possible to the real deal, you train yourself to use your allotted time wisely and get used to performing well under pressure. Here’s how to simulate LSAT conditions:
1. Use a digital proctor
The LSAT is divided into five sections and you’ll have 35 minutes to complete each of them.
During the exam, there will be a room supervisor who will read out the instructions, tell you what section you’re allowed to work on, when you can start/stop working on it, and how much time you have left.
One really helpful way to familiarize yourself with the exam’s time constraints and overall feel is to use a digital proctor when practicing for the LSAT that imitates what the room supervisor would say on actual test-day.
Here’s one from the LSAT Prep Course 7Sage. It’s a digital proctor app with other features like pre-test instructions, background noise, proctor voice options, etc.
Don’t want to download an app? Just look for a digital proctor on YouTube.
2. Take PrepTests at the same time as your LSAT
If you’ve registered for the LSAT, you should already know the day and time of your exam.
For most of you, that would be on a Saturday at 8:30 am. If you don’t know what time your exam is yet, pretend it’s at 8:30 am anyway. An exam in the morning is the hardest, especially if you’re not a morning person.
You have to get used to waking up early and writing an exam (when your brain isn’t fully functioning yet) for three straight hours. So you should make it a habit to do practice tests at the same time as your LSAT.
Get up at 6:00 am, eat, get ready, and start your PrepTest between 8:30-9:00 am.
Create a routine that’ll train your mind and body to treat the actual test-day like any other practice day. You’ll feel more relaxed, better prepared, and confident!
3. Take PrepTests in an exam-like environment
On the day of the LSAT, you will be sitting in a room full of other test-takers.
You’ll be in an unfamiliar place (that’s almost always too cold) with a lot of distractions. You won’t be by yourself in the comfort of your own bedroom.
And that’s something many people, including me, forget to consider when preparing for the LSAT that can actually impact test-day performance.
To make sure you don’t get thrown off your game every time you hear pens tapping or when someone coughs, take practice tests in an exam-like environment.
Get out of the house. Maybe go to the library or a school study space.
Be around people in a room that has a proper desk and learn to drown out noises and stay focused.
4. Practice with an experimental section
As I’ve mentioned above, the LSAT has five sections. It always has one analytical reasoning (AR) a.k.a logical games (LG) section, two logical reasoning (LR) sections, one reading comprehension (RC) section, and one experimental section.
The fifth section, the experimental one, is unscored. And it can be any one of the three other sections: AR/LG, LR, or RC.
So if a section has an extra (e.g. three logical reasoning sections instead of two), you’ll know that one of those sections is experimental. But you won’t know which one.
I highly recommend doing practice tests with an experimental section. Choose a random section from a PrepTest to do along with a complete four-section PrepTest.
Even though it doesn’t affect your score, it’s a section that you’ll have to spend 35 minutes on and do your best in anyway come the day of the exam.
Practicing with an experimental section would give you a better idea of the LSAT experience and help you build mental endurance.
Your success on the LSAT largely depends on your performance on the day of the exam. No amount of preparation or studying will make a difference if your nerves and other test-day variables prevent you from performing your best so simulate LSAT conditions while you practice to prepare your mind and body for the real thing!
Related: 10 Tips for LSAT Success