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42 Days Until the June 2011 LSAT

42 Days Until the June 2011 LSAT

42. It was the country code for Czechoslovakia, it’s the atomic number of molybdenum, and it’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. It’s also how many days you have until the most important test you will ever take. But fear not, for 42 days is actually quite a bit of time.

If you haven’t started studying for the LSAT at all, you’re in a far from ideal situation. All is not lost – if you really hit the books now, and work for hours and hours per day, you can still improve a lot by the June 6th. But it’s not going to be easy. Unless you have overflowing rivers of time, you should strongly consider studying for October instead. But if you have been studying, that’s fantastic. It’s totally normal if you don’t feel all the way ready at this point. 42 days really is a whole lot of time to improve, polishing all the skills you’ve attained. If you’re in a Blueprint class, you’re probably in or near the third book, which is where you learn pretty much the last of the new concepts. After this is review time aplenty. At that point you’ll be really learning how to implement the skills you already have, but in a timed, pressured environment. It’s one thing to know how to do a certain type of question in theory, but it’s quite another to be able to do it in practice. This is why it might be the case that up until now your test scores haven’t gone up as much as you may have liked, even though it felt like the homework was going really well. The review phase will be the time to change that.

You’ll do this in a couple ways. First of all, just with practice you’ll become more and more familiar with the questions and the methods, and will naturally get better and faster. But you really need to do more than this. You need to transplant your study into a more testing-like environment. Gone are the days of doing games while watching Larry Sanders reruns. Whenever possible, you should be trying to do your practice like you do the test. You don’t want it to be too loud and distracting, but you also want to be out of your comfort zone as well. University libraries are generally a good bet; overall they’re quiet, but there will be shuffling of paper, dropping of pencils, people getting up and walking around. These are the kind of distractions you need to acclimate yourself to. If you only ever practice at home in bed with your Hello Kitty duvet, the LSAT is going to be a harrowing experience (well, more harrowing). Also, make sure you’re not eating or drinking, listening to music, using anything other than wooden pencils, or anything else deemed forbidden by LSAC. The practice has to mach the real thing.

Also, you have to take extra tests. This sort of goes without saying, but when you’re practicing for the LSAT it’s a good idea to take LSATs. Just don’t go overboard. First of all, if you’re in a Blueprint class, wait until after you’ve taken Practice Exam 3. Also, you should never, ever take two tests in one day. You should generally not take tests two days in a row, either. There’s no need to track your score progression on such a microscopic scale. You should definitely keep practicing, and you’ll have a lot of extra material in the fourth book if you’re in a Blueprint class, but it doesn’t need to be in actual test-form every day.

And just a note about postponing. Many of you might be worried about your progress thus far, and feel that you should have gone up more. As I mentioned before, people generally see the biggest gains in the review-phase, so the best is yet to come. Even if you think you might not be ready in time, don’t worry about that for now. The deadline to change your test date is May 15th. By that point you probably will have improved a whole lot, and none of this will matter. If, by this point, you feel you won’t be ready in time, you can then consider postponement. But that consideration shouldn’t even be on the table for the next two and a half weeks or so.

So get back to the books! You’ve got about three and a half million seconds until the LSAT, plenty of time to see some major further improvement.