Almost universally, people who do well on the LSAT spend a lot of time in preparation. The LSAT, despite a common myth, is an exam you can study for. While it is an aptitude test per se, you can prepare yourself for it by developing techniques and strategies for approaching the different sections.
Teaching yourself different ways to approach different types of problems is the best way to do well on the test. This, however, takes time, especially if you are juggling school, work, and family obligations as well. That is why it is imperative to start your prep as early as possible. If you have other commitments beyond studying for the LSAT, you most likely cannot complete your test prep in a month. For students who have jobs, classes, or family concerns, 4 months ahead of the test is the ideal time to start preparation. If you juggle all three, 6 months might be a more reasonable goal.
Figure out when to take the LSAT before figuring out your LSAT study schedule.
As best as you can, try to schedule the LSAT during a time of year where you do not have as much going on. The test is offered in February, June, September and December. In my opinion, the best test dates for college students are June and September. June allows prep to take place during the winter semester, and a month’s worth of sole focus on the LSAT after classes end. If you do not take summer classes or have a summer job, September might be best, as it will give you 2-3 months of uninterrupted time to focus your attention on LSAT prep. June, however, does give you the advantage of knowing your results before most law schools start accepting applications. If you have children, December or February might be best because they will most likely be in school for most of your prep time. Any time of year works, really, just try to make sure the LSAT is your central focus in the months leading up to the exam.
Plan on studying during your “best time.” Incorporate this into your LSAT study schedule.
After determining your test date, figure out when you do your most efficient studying. Some people are best able to tackle difficult concepts in the morning, others in the evening. Some people study best at home or the library, while others like the white noise of a coffee shop or some other public place. Any place is fine, as long as you are able to concentrate there. Once you’ve figured out how you study best, make sure that you are able to consistently study in the place you do your best work. Treat your study time as sacred. Sure, we all have issues that creep up from time to time. One missed session is not going to kill your chances of doing well on the LSAT. However, if you are not able to consistently study, your score will inevitably suffer. Make sure you set clear parameters with your family and friends; the expectation should be that you will not be bothered or interrupted during your study time. Try to keep it as consistent day-to-day as possible.
Here is an example of an LSAT study schedule for someone looking to take the test in 4 months who has no experience with any parts of the test. Ideally, 1-2 hours a day on average should be spent on preparation. As the test date grows nearer, you will see that your time commitment will go up, as taking full LSATs is an invaluable tool to preparing for the big test. We’ll base this study schedule on 16 weeks of preparation.
Before you start studying, take a full LSAT under timed conditions. If you do not finish a section, consider the ones you did not answer wrong. As you do your prep, always time yourself, as it allows you to track your progress. (If you are wondering why you should start timing yourself early, read this post!)
LSAT Study Schedule — 4 Month Plan
Weeks 1-5: Logic Games
Week 1: Linear Logic Games
Learn the basics of how to approach linear logic games. Prep should involve learning to diagram and solve the problems. Sessions should focus on getting the correct inferences and answers, not necessarily the time.
Week 2: Continue Linear Logic Games/Start Advanced Logic Games
Learn how to set up advanced linear games. Continue to practice basic linear problems, and continuously time yourself. Again, understanding how to get correct answers is more important than time at this point.
Week 3: Grouping Games
Work on grouping games, and continue to practice 1-2 linear/advanced linear games per day. You should start to see that these take you less time than they did previously.
Week 4: Continue group games/Sequencing Games
Work on both linear and grouping games after you have finished reviewing sequencing games. Mix and match to give yourself a variety day-to-day.
Week 5: Hybrid Games/Whole LSAT sections
At this point, you should be familiar enough with all the types of games that you should try to complete a whole section (4 questions) every time you study. Sections should take you no more than 40-45 minutes. The actual amount of time you’ll get on the test is 35 minutes, but as you practice over the coming weeks, your time to complete questions will decrease.
Note: Logic games are the easiest part of the LSAT to increase your score, which is why they should be focused on first. If you pick up on the logic games quickly, feel free to shorten this section of your prep and move onto logical reasoning.
Weeks 6-8: Logical Reasoning Section
Three weeks should be spent getting ready for the logical reasoning section. Here’s the breakdown:
Week 6: 10 questions, review logic games
Time yourself taking 10 logical reasoning questions, making an effort to stay under the time limit (1:15 per question). Afterward, spend time analyzing any questions you answered incorrectly. Wait to look up the correct answers until after you have finished a section. Also complete one full logic games section each session.
Week 7: 20 questions: review logic games
Time yourself taking 20 logical reasoning questions, following the same instructions above. Again, take a full logic games section after you have completed your logical reasoning question set.
Week 8: Full section: review logic games
Do a full section (25-26) of logical reasoning questions. Afterward, immediately take a full section of logic games. You now should complete two LSAT sections every session, both under 35 minutes.
Weeks 9-10: Reading Comprehension
Week 9: Full reading comprehension section, one other LSAT section
You should be able to complete a reading comprehension section right off the bat in your LSAT prep. After you have completed it and analyzed your answers, do either a logical reasoning or logic games section.
Week 10: Full reading comprehension section, one and a half other LSAT sections.
Complete a full reading comprehension section each session, as well as 1.5 other sections. So, do either a full logic games and 12-13 logical reasoning, or a full logical reasoning and 2 logic game questions.
Weeks 11-16: The Final Push
This is the final push for being ready for the LSAT. Take three full, timed LSAT sections, taken at random from your test materials. This will amount to almost a 2 hour commitment every day.
Take 4 full, timed LSAT sections, broken down into: 1 logic games section, 2 logical reasoning sections, and one reading comprehension section each study session. This will amount to 2.5-3 hours every session, depending on how you structure your breaks.
Take a full LSAT each time you study. Test yourself on 5 sections (1 logic games, 2 logical reasoning section, 1 reading comprehension, and a section chosen at random). For the last 4 weeks of prep, you will take a full LSAT under test conditions every session. This will help get your mind and focus attuned to the mental strain of the test.
Same as Week 13. You can also start to introduce a writing section at the end of session. Examples can be found online of previous scenarios LSAC has given.
Same as Week 13 and 14.
Same as Weeks 13, 14, and 15, with the exception of taking 1-2 days before the LSAT off. Give yourself a day or two to clear your mind and be mentally refreshed and prepared for the test! (Also, read this post on what to do the day before the LSAT!)
As you can see, your time commitment the last 5 weeks is going to be at least 3 hours a day, so plan accordingly. The best thing about this type of schedule is it allows you to get used to taking more of the LSAT over time, and allows you to get used to taking multiple sessions over several weeks. This should help stop mental fatigue from becoming an issue by gradually building up your work load until you are doing a full LSAT for three or four full weeks before the test.
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