Law Students

10 LSAT Preparation Tips You Need to Know
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Summary: These effective LSAT preparation tips can help you stand head and shoulders above your peers.

Achieving high scores on the Law School Admission Test, commonly known as the LSAT, increases your chances of getting into a top-tier law school. Largely different from any other standardized high school or college tests, the LSAT is designed to measure and estimate your ability to excel in law school. 

Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council, the nonprofit organization that administers the LSAT, says the purpose of the test is to evaluate the skills needed for success in law school and legal careers, such as logical and analytical reasoning abilities. Preparing for the LSAT helps aspiring attorneys cultivate the skills they will need as law students and lawyers.

  
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The test comprised of three 35-minute multiple-choice sections: analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and logical reasoning. The students are also required to submit a writing sample and take an unscored digital writing exam that is administered online separately from the rest of the LSAT. 

Scored on a scale of 120-180, the average score is 150, but to get into one of the top 25 law schools your score should be over 160.

As far as an LSAT score to aim for in order to be competitive for admission to law school, it really does depend on the particular school and how competitive it is,” Testy told US News. “In general, scores in the high 160s and 170s are usually considered very competitive,” she says.

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In order to achieve a score that will almost guarantee your admission to any law school of your choosing, follow the preparation advice outlined here:

1. Prepare Three Months in Advance 

Many aspiring law students oftentimes find the LSAT preparational period overwhelming and more stressful than the test itself. Getting the best LSAT score requires months of continuous effort.  



Jeff Thomas, executive director of admissions programs at Kaplan Test Prep explains that it is difficult to prepare for this test in six weeks or less.

This is entirely a skills-based test,” says Thomas. “There is no knowledge required, and therefore it is impossible to cram for. This is like learning how to play a sport or musical instrument. And the only way to get better at this is to practice consistently and regularly over a long period of time.

Thomas recommends aspiring attorneys to study for the LSAT a minimum of three months and ideally for longer.

2. Study Alone

While studying with a friend can be beneficial in many ways, experts advise preparing for the LSAT alone or with a tutor or LSAT instructor.

The test exposes your personal strengths and weaknesses, and what comes easily to one person may prove challenging for another.

The test examines your ability to use logic and think analytically. So, it’s best to learn what gives you the most trouble and test yourself on those questions alone. 

“If a student and a buddy are prepping for the LSAT and if they go along the same course of action, same assignments (and) same prep exercises, they’re going to have immensely different results,” Thomas says. “Every student is different.”

3. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

Because of the analytical nature of the questions, mere practice is not enough, according to testing experts.

Once you become familiar with the questions and get accustomed to the format, you should look closely at each question you missed and analyze what led you to the wrong answer.

“Real review takes time,” says Steve Schwartz, an independent LSAT tutor and author of an LSAT Blog. “Most people don’t spend enough time reviewing. If you got 10 questions wrong, and another 15 you weren’t 100% sure of but still got right, that could take at least three to four hours if done properly – a full day of study.”

4. Play Games Before the Test

Playing logic games boosts memory and strategic thinking, according to experts. LSAT experts agree that students struggle most with the test’s analytical reasoning section because it’s drastically different from anything they’ve seen on other standardized tests.

“Logic games is the section of the test that is the most foreign and most feared by students,” Thomas says. “But it’s also the most coachable. We tend to see the most dramatic improvements in that section.”

To sharpen your ability to think on your feet, practice LSAT-based games. 7Sage is one of the favorites among students preparing for the LSAT. The online study guide teaches each section of the LSAT through practice tests, interactive games, and discussion boards.

5. Focus on Accuracy Before You Focus on Speed

Time pressure is a problem for anyone who takes the LSAT. Most people either rush through questions or skip them in order to finish each section in 35 minutes. It’s important to remember that your timing is largely a reflection of how good you are at solving questions. Make sure you practice enough ahead of time so you are confident in the accuracy of your answers.

Once you are confident in your ability to answer questions accurately, speed will come naturally. There’s a saying coined by the Navy SEALs that applies here – “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” Stay calm and focus on accuracy.

6. Sharpen Your Critical Thinking in Class

Some college classes like philosophy, logic or critical writing can help you achieve the right mindset for the LSAT.  

Experts note these classes are not mandatory for the test preparation, but they can make a difference. 

Any course that requires lots of dense reading on unfamiliar topics is helpful, as the LSAT’s reading comprehension topics are specifically chosen to be areas with which few test-takers have any prior familiarity,Schwartz says.Being comfortable with dense passages on new topics is very helpful when the LSAT suddenly throws you a curveball topic on test day.”

7. Expect to Answer Everything

Unlike the SAT, there’s no penalty for getting a question wrong on the LSAT, so it’s important to make an educated guess on each question. Leaving an answer blank does you no good.

8. Know Where to Find Easier Questions

There is a general progression from easier to more difficult,” Testy says. ‘Students should not be concerned if they find the last question of an LSAT section to be especially difficult since it is typical for an LSAT section to gradually become harder, she says.

9. Get the Best Study Tools

With the help of your smartphone, you can study for the LSAT anytime, anywhere. Moreover, using an app to study will help you think more abstractly.

Apps like Arcadia Prep, Inc. and Malyshev EduSys LLC’s LSAT are great prep tools and may help improve your critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Arcadia Prep, Inc offers 100 sample questions (each with step-by-step explanations), logic games, and a workspace with pen tools so you can draw logic diagrams and highlight passages.

10. Exercise and Relax

Preparing for the LSAT is often a long, overwhelming, stressful process. You should be physically and mentally prepared for the test. Staying cooped up in your room for three months and doing nothing else will cause more harm than good. So, make sure to take regular breaks and use that time wisely. For instance, do some basic cardio or meditate.



 

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