How to Prepare for the LSAT: Study Tips
In this post, we discuss how to prepare for the LSAT, what to consider, and where to start.
The LSAT evaluates your logical reasoning, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and writing skills.
You need to learn about the LSAT exam format before taking the test. There are three scored sections and one unscored. Also, there's an online writing component.
Figure out your weaknesses and focus on them initially.
The LSAT is a timed exam, so consider using a timer as you review practice tests.
When creating a study plan, consider whether you want to self-study or study in a group. Each strategy has advantages. You may want to prepare for the LSAT both ways.
Are you looking for tips on how to prepare for the LSAT? The LSAT, short for Law School Admissions Test, is a required entrance exam for students planning to study law in graduate school. Its purpose is to evaluate the skills you'll need in law school — including reasoning, comprehension, and analytical skills.
The LSAT is administered by LSAC (Law School Admission Council) six times a year. The score ranges from 120 to 180. Law schools publish their classes’ median test score as well as their 25th percentile and 75th percentile scores.
Here, we discuss the LSAT test format, what to consider when creating a study plan, and other helpful information.
How to Prepare for the LSAT Exam: LSAT Tips
You don’t need specialized knowledge to take the LSAT exam, but you'll have to show certain skills, such as analytical, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and writing skills.
Are you wondering, "How long does it take to prepare for the LSAT?" Experts say it's best to start at least three months before the test — a few weeks isn't enough time to prepare for this exam.
The following sections feature tips for preparing for the LSAT exam.
What Is the LSAT: Understanding the Format
The test includes four multiple-choice sections and one written section. Three of the multiple-choice sections are scored. The unscored section is used by LSAC to evaluate new test questions for the future. The sections include:
- Analytical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
- Logical Reasoning
- Unscored (covers one of the topics above)
- Online Writing Test — Note that this section is not scored, but your results will be sent to your chosen school, which will then evaluate them based on admission requirements.
Tips for Devising a Study Plan
How should you plan to begin studying for the LSAT? Start by taking a practice test to evaluate your score. Once you do that, take a break from practice tests for a while. Instead, focus on a specific section each day using test preparation books. Later, you can resume incorporating practice tests into your study plan again.
In the beginning, start without a timer so that you can focus. After you’ve honed your skills for a while, start timing your sections.
Because each student learns at a different pace, some experts advise against studying in a group, as students often do when preparing for other standardized tests. Instead, it may be better to self-study for the exam.
Hone Your Skills
Identify which test sections are the most difficult for you, then prioritize your study planning to focus more on those areas in the beginning.
You should also focus on the format to familiarize yourself with different scenarios. For example, if you find the Analytical Reasoning section’s logic games to be the most difficult section of the LSAT, try to play them often before taking the exam and double-check the correct answers to see what you might have gotten wrong.
If you're not improving, consider finding a tutor or specialized LSAT preparation course to help boost your results. Lessons in logic, critical writing, and philosophy require you to analyze long paragraphs and logically point out ideas from those texts, which can be helpful. Classroom discussions can also be beneficial.
Some students believe that reading long texts on new topics frequently is the best way to study for the LSAT.
Guess If You Don't Know the Answer
While preparing for the exam, don't leave questions unanswered. There's no penalty for incorrect answers, so guess if you don't know the answer.
All questions, simpler or complex, are worth the same number of points, so answer all easy questions first and then focus on the more complicated ones. If you focus too much on complex questions in the beginning, you might run out of time and miss the opportunity to answer easier questions.
Keep in mind that easier questions generally appear before the more complex questions.
How to Prepare for the LSAT — Conclusion
The LSAT evaluates your analytical, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and writing skills. Experts recommend starting preparation at least three months before the test, preferably longer (studying for a few weeks is insufficient).
First, you need to familiarize yourself with the LSAT format. It consists of three scored sections — logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning (logic games) — and one unscored section. You also need to complete an online writing test.
After you figure out your weaknesses and strengths, create a study plan. Each day, focus on a specific section from the preparation books and then start going over practice tests. In the beginning, don't use a timer. Start timing when you are more confident in your skills.
Go over different question formats, and if logic games pose a challenge, play them more. To prepare for the reading section, read long texts on various topics to broaden your knowledge. Review answers to note your progress.
Decide how to study for the LSAT — in a group, alone, with a tutor, or in a class. Some experts advise against preparing for the LSAT as part of a group because students learn at different speeds. That could make your own learning process less efficient.
Finally, don't leave questions unanswered when taking the LSAT. There's no penalty for incorrect answers. Start with easy questions and then progress to more complex ones, keeping in mind that questions are ordered from easier to more challenging.
Dedication and continuous improvement are key to achieving a good score in the LSAT exam.
Most experts recommend starting preparations for the LSAT at least three months before the test day. However, preparing for longer than that is probably a better idea. It's best to study every day for a few hours. Experts recommend spending around 300-400 hours on preparation.
It's not easy to pass the LSAT because there's no specific content you can learn ahead of time. Instead, it tests your analytical and reasoning skills.
The score on the LSAT ranges from 120-180; a score above 160 is considered competitive. According to one LSAC report, the average LSAT score in 2019-2020 was 151.88, while in 2018-2019 it was 150.99.