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Avoid These Bad Habits When Studying for the LSAT

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You’ve gotten a handle on the strategies for the LSAT. Now all that’s left for you to do is practice them. What habits should you avoid getting into so you can be at peak preparedness come test day?

Unrealistic Testing Conditions

Taking the actual test is a high-pressure event, so you want to replicate those conditions as closely as possible, especially when taking practice LSAT exams.

Studying in Complete Silence or in Noisy Conditions
While it may make things easier for you to study in complete silence, this is not what’s going to happen on test day. If you’re taking it in person, your neighbor will be tapping the desk, fiddling with their collar, and playing with their hair (how do they have so many hands?!). If you’re taking it at home, your neighbor might be mowing the lawn, your dog might be crying because you’re not paying attention to them, or your roommate might forget you’re taking a test and come barreling in to propose an impromptu early happy hour.

The point is, you will be distracted—if you let yourself. That’s why you need to practice at not being distracted when there are distractions.

This doesn’t mean that you should be studying somewhere that has Spotify or a TV going on in the background, no matter how satisfying it is to yell in self-righteous indignation at your roommates or family. You’ll get used to the noise, and you’ll get thrown off on test day when there’s too little noise and/or noise that comes inconsistently. Also, you’ll have gotten in the habit of yelling any time you’re aggravated, and you’ll spend too much time curbing that impulse.

Study somewhere that’s quiet, but where there’s some movement and the occasional quiet noise. Somewhere like… a library.

Taking Unscheduled Breaks
When you’re studying, you’re going to want to take breaks whenever you get frustrated or restless, regardless of whether you’ve only been studying for fifteen minutes or if you’re only two-thirds of the way through logic games on a practice test.

You obviously know you shouldn’t take breaks whenever the mood strikes, but you’ll start thinking, “What’s the harm in one?” Pretty soon, you’ll find that your breaks take up more time than the time you spend studying.

Granted, you’ll probably be able to reign in the impulse in the weeks before test day, and you won’t be wandering around every five minutes on test day, but you will spend valuable mental energy fighting the impulse to take a break whenever you feel frustrated.

Schedule your breaks beforehand and don’t wander about in the middle of a practice test.

Taking Shortcuts

There comes a point in your LSAT studying when you have to work really hard to keep your inner eight-year-old from coming out. You know, the voice that says, “Ughhhh, I’d really rather not do this—can’t I just go out and play? Just do whatever it takes to make this go faster.” And while you’ll know the strategies, you’ll think, “Okay, quick check—the strategy is this. I can gloss over it, because I know it, and I’ll still be able to apply it on test day.” And you get in the habit of taking shortcuts with each section.

Logical Reasoning
There are so many questions in Logical Reasoning that it’s easy to justify not marking the question type for just one question, or when you’re reviewing questions you’ve done before. Pretty soon, this leads to not marking the question types for all the questions you think you already know. You tell yourself, “I swear, I’ll actually do this on test day, but I need to get to happy hour ASAP.”

The actual test is no more pleasant—dare I say, less pleasant?—than studying, and you will want to do whatever is possible to get it over with quickly, even doing things you promised you wouldn’t do when you were studying.

Don’t let yourself make excuses. Mark each question type.

Logic Games
It’s so much work coming up with the main diagram, why bother coming up with separate hypotheticals for each question when you can fill in the main diagram and erase it?

Because you’ll be keeping a tight lid on your impulse to freak out during the exam, and any mistake may be liable to send you into a tailspin and a game of Clue. “Did I just erase something that was a part of the main diagram and not just the hypothetical? What did I erase? Okay, deep breath, retrace your steps…”

And now you’ve just wasted five minutes from the ten seconds you “saved” from drawing up a new hypothetical.

Reading Comprehension
The passages are beasts, and you think you should get a reward for even reading each word. Forget marking up the passages—that’d mean spending even more time reading the passage carefully. Besides, you already know how to read, so you’ll be fine.

Not so fast.

The reading passages on test day are somehow going to be even more boring (to some people) but you still need to get through them. Get in the habit of marking up your reading passages now.

Breaking bad habits can sometimes be even harder than establishing new ones. If you need some help with accountability, check out our Live LSAT Course to learn from two instructors in weekly and bi-weekly classes. Our customizable study planner will also help you stay on track and on the road to LSAT success!