Tips on studying for the LSAT and getting a good score?

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Posted on : 25-07-2013 | By : My Study Coach | In : study skills
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Hi everyone. I am a 3rd year undergraduate student with accounting major and have one more year to complete my under-graduation. I am really interested in entering a law school once I finish my under-graduation. I would want to know, about the preparation for the LSAT and study tips. Should I start preparing for the LSAT now? Should I sign up for prep classes and what books should I be referring? How much time should I devote towards LSAT per day in order to prepare for it?

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Comments (1)

Hi Heisenberg,

Good questions. If you are planning on attending law school in Fall 2014, then you need to take either the October 2013 or December 2013 LSATs, which means you do indeed need to start preparing now. the October LSAT is actually the preferable test for you because most law schools use a rolling admissions process (meaning the sooner you get your application in, the better your overall chance of being accepted) and also because if something goes wrong in October you’d still have the December LSAT in reserve. Depending on the schools you are applying to, you might be able to take the February 2014 LSAT, but it depends (not all schools accept the results of that LSAT, and the more highly ranked the school, the less likely they will take that LSAT for admission purposes).

The secret to doing well on the LSAT is to study hard, learn good methods and techniques, and practice with those techniques by taking dozens of practice tests. In that vein, the best LSAT prep method also depends on a lot of personal factors. I prepped with both books and a course, and both had value. I now teach LSAT prep classes, and I definitely see exactly what prep courses can do for you.

That said, let me give you some general thoughts on how to prep for the LSAT, and some of the pros and cons of the different approaches. Here are the kinds of questions you have to ask yourself before making a decision on which route to take, or even how much time you need to spend preparing:

► Where are you scoring now, and how much do you need/want to improve?

► What kind of studier are you? Can you motivate yourself, or does a more structured environment and study plan better suit you?

► What kind of time do you have for studying on a weekly basis?

For the first question, if you haven’t already, go to the LSAC website and download the free June 2007 practice LSAT and take it as a timed test. Getting a starting score will help you make some decisions on what method to use when you start studying.

Depending on how much you need to improve, you have a few options: self-study with tests and prep books, take a prep class, or get personal tutoring. Books are the cheapest approach but you have to do all the work, and you have to be motivated to study and be a good self-learner. Courses are more expensive, but they give you a lot of material and provide a schedule and study plan for you. Tutoring is the most expensive, but it is completely personalized and focused solely on your needs, with someone there to help you at every turn.

If you go the book route, you need both strategy books and practice test books (for the practice tests, get actual tests from LSAC). Start with the strategy books like the LSAT Bibles first, then start sprinkling in full tests, and then towards the middle and end focus on taking a lot of test. Try to take at least one or two tests a week if you can. The only real trick to studying is to put in a lot of hours and to take a lot of practice tests. Getting familiar with the test format and your own strengths and weaknesses will make you as comfortable as possible on test day. There are also specific books you can get to help with the areas of concern (like the Logic Games bible for the LG section), so you have a lot of options as far as what books to choose.

If you are scoring relatively low, or if a particular section is killing you, or if you need a large score increase, a prep course or getting personal tutoring might be a better route. The main benefits of a class are that:

A. They lay out the strategies for you so you don’t have to figure them out on your own. You also have a source to go to when you have questions or need help.

B. They provide plenty of study material, and that material is directed in a particular way.

C. They structure your preparation in a way that self-studying cannot.

D. You meet other people in the same position you are in, and it helps to have friends who can motivate you to study.

Do the classes help? I know they do from taking one myself, but I worked pretty hard. Whatever class you choose, find a class that uses a lot of real LSATs and find out who your instructor will be. Try to get someone with a lot of teaching experience and a high score, because having a good instructor makes a big difference.

Last, as for time spent studying each day, it depends, but most dedicated students spend between 2 and 4 hours daily once they really get into preparing. I’ve seen people do far more than that (up to 10-12 hours a day), but that is overkill, in my opinion.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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