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Avoid These LSAT Faux Pas


Some bad habits, like cracking your knuckles or picking your nails, are socially acceptable. But some bad habits are such faux pas that they can never be forgiven among polite company.

We hope that your parents have it covered when it comes to teaching you about social habits to avoid. But when it comes to LSAT faux pas, we’re your guys (and gals). Here are some things to avoid when you begin studying for the LSAT:

1. Not following The Method

When you start studying for the LSAT, you should work through untimed questions, applying the methods you’ve learned to each question until you really understand it. (For instance, diagramming conditional statements or anticipating the answer for a Sufficient question.)

Too often, when you start doing timed practice, all of those carefully ingrained habits go out the window in favor of rushing through the question as quickly as possible. The problem is that you’re then much more likely to fall for a trick answer, and you’re also probably spending longer on the question than you otherwise would.

So, as you begin your LSAT studies, keep in mind that you’re not learning all of those steps for fun: They will help you get to the right answer as long as you use them, and you shouldn’t be skipping ’em, even when you’re rushing.

2. Not reviewing questions thoroughly

We could talk for days about how important it is to review questions thoroughly (in fact, when you look at our cumulative blog history, we probably have talked about it for days). That’s because it’s the single biggest factor in improving your performance on the LSAT. It makes sense when you think about it: If you don’t stop to figure out why you’re making mistakes, then you’ll just keep making those same mistakes over and over.

However, reviewing questions can also be one of the most frustrating and mentally taxing parts of studying for the LSAT — it can be really hard to look at a question until you’ve figured out exactly where you went wrong, and how to avoid it next time.

Nevertheless, reviewing questions thoroughly is well worth your while for the reasons discussed above. So as you begin studying, remember that for any question you get wrong, guess on, or aren’t fully confident about, you should review it until you understand three things: 1) why the right answer is right, 2) why the wrong answers are wrong, and 3) what about the question fooled you.

3. Not keeping a list of questions you’ve gotten wrong

An underrated study strategy is to keep a list that details the questions you got wrong. There are two reasons that having such a list can be helpful. One is that it’s often a good idea to go back and redo those questions after some time has passed; if you’ve reviewed them thoroughly enough, you ideally shouldn’t have any trouble with them the second time around. The other is that it can help you identify trends that you might not otherwise see; maybe you do the worst on a certain question type, or frequently don’t notice a certain type of flaw. Your list will help you spot that type of problem, which you can then take steps toward fixing.

There are plenty of other LSAT bad habits out there, but those are usually more the equivalent of using the salad fork for the appetizer course, rather than being the equivalent of asking a heavy-looking woman when she’s due — that is, those mistakes are relatively minor compared to the ones above. So make sure you’re not slipping into any of these bad habits, and you’ll go a long way.