How to Study for the LSAT
Are you taking the LSAT soon?
Doing well on the LSAT is an important part of applying to law school. Although the LSAT is not a test of academic knowledge that you can study for, you can practice the analytical skills that will be examined on the test. You can also become more familiar with the format and layout of the test that can help minimize your stress and help you be more prepared to perform at your best on the exam. This guide to how to study for the LSAT will show you what you need to do to prepare for the LSAT.
The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is offered four times during the year at authorized testing centers around the globe. The exam lasts half of a day and is typically administered on Saturday or Monday, with special testing days available for those who observe religious observances on Saturdays. The importance of your performance on the LSAT varies according to the Law School you want to attend, but it is always advisable to be as prepared as possible in order to give yourself more opportunities.
Step 1: About the LSAT
- The Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
- The LSAT is administered four times a year, in February, June, October, and December.
- There are five 35 minute multiple choice sections, as well as a 35 minute writing sample.
- One of the multiple choice sections is an experimental section, and is included to test out future questions.
- The non-scored section is not identified
- The writing section is not scored, but is included with the test results sent to law school admissions departments.
- You need to register at least 3 weeks prior to the scheduled test date.
- The test covers general analytical abilities, not academic knowledge.
- The questions test three areas of ability:
- Reading comprehension
- Logical reasoning (2 sections)
- Analytical reasoning
- Score range: 120-180
- 50th percentile score: 150
- 99th percentile score: 172
- Law schools usually average scores if taken more than once
Step 2: Prepare for the LSAT
- Plan on spending about 50 hours over two months to adequately prepare for the LSAT. Do some prep work each day.
- Before beginning your preparation, take a practice exam under test conditions, to assess your baseline performance level.
- Test prep companies, such as Kaplan or Princeton Review, will generally do this at the first class session.
- You also can do this on your own by downloading a sample test from the LSAC website or purchasing practice exams.
- For the first three weeks of preparation, take one practice test each week.
- Spend the week after you take each test thoroughly analyzing each question, determining why you it right or wrong.
- After the third week, you should have a clear idea of where you are weakest.
- Devote most of your remaining preparation time to areas you need the most improvement in.
- Taking a logic course in college will help you prepare for the logic sections of the test.
- Time yourself while working through practice questions.
- Take as many practice tests, under test conditions, as possible.
Step 3: LSAT Test Taking Tips
Unlike the SAT, the LSAT only counts correct answers. There are no deductions for guessing, so make sure you fill in every bubble. Start the test and answer each question by reading the question completely, reading the answers then rereading the question. Eliminate any answers you know are not correct immediately. Review the remaining answers and select the best answer quickly.
If you get stuck on any questions, make a small mark beside the question and move on to the next question. You should try to answer all question you can answer quickly, then come back if time allows for questions that stump you. If you start running out of time, fill in any remaining questions with your best guess to ensure all questions are completed.
The night before the test, avoid cramming information and try to get to bed early so that you will be well rested for your LSAT exam. Have your clothes, supplies and other items ready to go so that you minimize your stress in the morning. Work on the exam quickly, yet stay calm to avoid stress. If you get frustrated take a deep breath and then refocus on the question. Remember the test is meant to be difficult and you are not expected to have the correct answer for all LSAT questions.
The key to preparing for the LSAT is to take practice tests, analyze the results, work on your weak areas, and test again. Make sure each practice test is timed, and taken under conditions as close to those as you'll experience on test day as possible.