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Balancing Your LSAT Prep Over the Holidays

A holiday break can pull your LSAT studies in two directions. On the one hand, you will probably have more free time than usual between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. And on the other, this is likely your first real break since Thanksgiving, and studying will be the last thing you want to do with your time.

Fortunately, there is a happy medium you can strike over the holidays, and it lies somewhere between binging on holiday movies while your brain muscles atrophy, and making yourself miserable pouring over logic games while your loved ones are toasting the New Year without you. Here are a few tips which will allow you to balance the fun of the holidays with some worthwhile preparation for the February exam.

1. Keep your schedule consistent

If there is one thing I look forward to when I get a long holiday break, it’s the chance to sleep in until 2pm, subsist on various holiday-themed candies and stay up until the wee hours with friends, or more often, just playing the Sims.

Not so if you’re preparing for the February LSAT. While there will be some days over the holidays where you ought to enjoy the freedom of your relaxed schedule, you will be better off come exam day if you make an effort to keep a fairly consistent sleep schedule. With the February LSAT administered at 8:30 am, you’re going to be much more prepared for the morning exam if you’re using your time to get yourself used to a morning study routine, or at a bare minimum, waking up sometime in the am.

2. Plan ahead

A major bummer about studying over the holidays is missing out on the parties and other fun that everyone else gets to have over the break. And while the LSAT is a wonderful excuse you can use to get yourself out of the more tedious holiday activities, like caroling or pictures with mall Santa, you don’t have to sacrifice all of the events you look forward to in order to score well on the exam. Rather than pushing your studying to the last minute, make a note of the holiday celebrations you don’t want to miss, and give yourself a manageable study schedule around those.

3. Involve your family

Who else has a bigger stake in your LSAT prep than you do? Whether they’re paying for your tutoring or simply burdening you with unbearably high expectations, your family is likely a part of your LSAT journey. And even if the LSAT is not a test that they have the slightest experience with, there is a way that your loved ones can help you out.

When you are reviewing a question you struggled on, one of the best ways to master the material is to teach it to someone else. For instance, you take that Soft Must Be True question from your homework that gave you a hard time, you review it on your own, and then you walk your dad through the problem. The greatest part of this study method is that it works equally well when your study partner is your eight year old niece or your best friend’s dog, because the benefit comes from you working out the problem out loud until you’re comfortable with it. Just don’t try this method with cats — they tend to be judgmental and uncooperative.

4. Look at the upside

Sure, studying over the holidays isn’t your idea of fun, but now that you’ve signed yourself up for the February LSAT, it’s worth reflecting on the upsides of the upcoming weeks. This may very well be the longest break of your whole year, and really a great opportunity to make a dent in your LSAT prep, with plenty of time to left to refine your skills before test day. Even your screaming family members in the next room can help you out when you’re trying to concentrate on your LSAT homework. With all of the rare but unpredictable distractions which could hinder you on the February exam, these domestic distractions might be just the type of study environment you need, at least for a couple of days.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to enjoy the holidays, and still be well on your way toward conquering the February exam.