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Countdown to the February LSAT: Study Tips

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Five days left before the February LSAT! In other walks of life, lots can happen in such a time span. You can acquire mad bowling skills, build a poorly constructed hut out of palm fronds, and watch enough Lost to wish for Dharma peanut butter.

But what should you do for the LSAT in 5 days?

At this point in the process, your mind-set is far more important than learning new information. Maintaining your calm on test day so you can get points with what you know will yield better results than taking practice test after practice test. So in the words of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic. The LSAT is getting close, yes. And that is stressful. But there are ways to manage the stress while continuing to study productively.

How to Study

By this stage in your LSAT life, you should have realized that getting ready for the LSAT is different from studying for school. 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 much with the LSAT. Accordingly:

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 this last week. 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 or even more than one or two. 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 recommend you only do one more (if at all) and definitely not more than two between now and the real deal.

3. Don’t study at all on 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 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.

4. Don’t look at new material the day of the LSAT.

If you’re a Blueprinter, go through your flash cards (they’re specifically made for the days leading up to the exam). You can bring a few familiar games and logical reasoning questions to go over while you’re waiting to get into your room to warm up your brain. But DON’T cover new material because if you miss the questions, you’ll just stress yourself out. Think warm-up exercises, not all-out sprints.

So if you find yourself pulling out prep test 55 at 3:00AM on Thursday, walk away. Pull out the Dharma peanut butter instead – it’s delicious.

Article by Jodi Triplett of Blueprint LSAT Preparation.

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