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Countdown to LSAT Game Day

  • by Matt
  • Sep 17, 2009
  • General LSAT Advice, LSAT

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Countdown to LSAT Game Day
We are getting close. It’s nearly game time. Crunch time. Crap your pants time. Whatever you want to call it, there are just eight real days left before the September LSAT.

At this point in the process, I sometimes feel like I am doing more psychological counseling than LSAT teaching. With that in mind, I’ll say to MSS readers what I have been saying to my class for the past two weeks: can you get me some coffee at Starbucks? Actually, what I say is there is no need to freak out. The LSAT is getting close, yes. And that is stressful. But there are ways to manage the stress while continuing to study productively.

By this stage in your LSAT life, you should have realized that studying for the LSAT is different than studying for school (although there are plenty of good reasons to take this administration of the LSAT). You cannot cram. Many students make the terrible mistake of studying for the LSAT like they were studying for finals. All-nighters and caffeine pills might have gotten you through that biology final during freshman year but they will not help you out much against this beast.

So what should you do over the next 8 days?

The following are a few tips about what you should be doing in the next several days leading up to the LSAT. Some of them might surprise you a bit, but hear me out.

    1. Don’t study too much.

The LSAT is a test of skill, not of knowledge. LSAC wants to see if you have developed the ability to break down arguments in Logical Reasoning, see deductions in Logic Games, and absorb huge chunks of incredibly dense information in Reading Comprehension. This means that, unlike a Geography or History test, cramming facts into your brain isn’t going to help. You need to continue to review and apply your skills, but doing so for a huge number of hours every day isn’t going to yield positive results.

If you are beaten and broken from too many LSAT questions when you walk into the testing center, it is not going to be a good day. But it you walk in cool, calm, rested, and confident, the results tend to be much better.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t study at all over the next week and a half. You definitely should. But you should only study for a limited amount of time and only when you are really focused and ready to do your best. Depending on your own study style, two to three hours a day should be plenty.

    2. Don’t take a practice test every day.

I know you love to get a score at the end. We all like to see the results. But I would urge you not to take a full practice test every day. You probably shouldn’t take one every other day, either.

This is because practice tests are tiring. They wear you down mentally and that should not be the goal heading into game day. Also, you never learn much from taking a practice test. By the time you are done, the last thing that you want to do is look over the material. You are fatigued by three hours of extreme concentration so it is hard to learn from your mistakes.

To remedy this, mix in some practice with just one section at a time. Do a bunch of timed sprints where you tackle one or two sections in the morning when you really think you can excel. Then, spend some time in the afternoon or evening reviewing the problems you missed and focusing on why you missed them, so you don’t make the same mistake on the real exam.

You should take a practice test every now and then to see how your score is progressing, but I would advise you to take no more than three or so between now and the real deal.

    3. Don’t study at all next Friday.

Friday is an important day because you need to relax yourself and get ready for the big show on Saturday.

It is a good idea to take a break and relax a bit before game day. So use next Friday to unwind. Ladies, get a massage, do some yoga, or have some small woman rub your feet for a while. Boys, lots of couch and some sports on the Tivo sounds like a plan. Unless you’re a metrosexual. Then have some small woman rub your feet for awhile.

So, if you had plans tonight for a 3 AM practice test, please consider getting some sleep instead.

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