How To Set Yourself Up For LSAT Success
We are often asked if there is some secret formula to LSAT success. While there is no shortcut to doing well on the LSAT, we do have a general guideline to help you plan for it! Read below for more details!
How To Set Yourself Up For LSAT Success
1. Know what you are getting into.
Yes, we’ve all heard stories of a super genius who just showed up on LSAT day with no prep and scored amazingly well on the exam. The best way, however, to achieve LSAT success is to prepare for the test strategically. A persistent rumor about the LSAT is you can’t study for it, that it’s something you either get or don’t. While this is untrue, there is a small kernel of truth in this. The LSAT, unlike almost every other exam you’ve taken in your life, doesn’t have set of facts to memorize. In order to do well on the test, you need to recognize that it is unlike almost any other test you’ve encountered.
So, before you commit to sitting for the LSAT, take a timed practice test to see where you are. It might be that you really enjoy the LSAT material. It might be you don’t really enjoy it, but can suffer it to get to law school. You could also hate it so much you don’t want to go to law school. Regardless of the outcome, knowing what you’re getting into is the first step toward LSAT success.
2. Set realistic expectations for review time.
Know your limits. Some people take to LSAT material quickly, and are able to rapidly learn the ins and outs. However, if you are not one of these people, don’t worry! Your LSAT success is not based on how quickly you master the material. Rather, it’s based on how completely you master the material. Don’t set artificial deadlines of when you should understand something. The ultimate goal is to do well on the LSAT, not master the material in as short a period of time as possible.
Use your practice LSAT as a guide, even if it does not go well. I always tell students that this step is meant to show you what you need to work on, not how much you don’t already know. It may be frustrating to score low on a practice LSAT, but this step lets you know where you are so you know where to focus your studies moving forward. Then, after a few weeks of review, take a different timed LSAT and so how you’ve progressed. If your score improves significantly, start to think about when you will sit for the exam. If not, that’s OK too! Keep at your studying, and repeat a practice exam again after you give yourself time to work through the material to see if you’ve made any progress
3. Set realistic expectations for when you sit for the exam.
This tip to LSAT success goes hand-in-hand with step number two. While it is completely natural to decide when you want to apply to law school, and then pick which LSAT you will sit for, don’t set this determination in stone! If you are not progressing through the material quickly enough, there’s no point sitting for an exam you are not ready for. It will only hurt your prospects of getting into your dream law school
Often, students place more stress on themselves by picking an unachievable LSAT test date. This is most common with students who are procrastinators, or decide to apply to law school on a whim. Your LSAT test date should be well thought out, and provide structure so you can plan your studies accordingly. Deciding to take the LSAT in a month when you have either done no prep work, or really struggled with the material, is not going to work well. So, after evaluating what you need in terms of preparation time, set a test date that allows time for both studying and set backs, should you encounter any.
4. Develop and stick to a study schedule
This is the real key to LSAT success. Even students who really take to LSAT material need time to prepare for the rigors of the exam. Consistently, we’ve found students who develop and stick to a study schedule do better on the exam. So, develop a study schedule based on your results from the previous 3 steps. Take a practice test, see what material you struggle with, and then give yourself enough time to review.
Nick, our LSAT tutor, wrote this post. Nick scored in one of the top percentiles on the LSAT and enjoys helping students achieve their dream scores and get into their dream schools! If you are looking for any other LSAT advice, LSAT timing tips, or LSAT tutoring, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help you!
Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam. Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.