Enjoy a Healthy Diet of Practice Exams in These Last Few Weeks
- Aug 24, 2018
…but don’t overdo it.
This may shock you, but many pre-law types tend to fall toward the Type A end of the spectrum. Surprising, I know.
One side effect of this tendency is that many people who are studying for the LSAT want to overdo it. After all, if doing one practice test in a week is good, then doing seven practice tests in a week must be seven times better, right?!
Well, not so fast. Here are some reasons it makes sense to pace yourself in your LSAT prep:
1. Doing practice tests doesn’t help you learn techniques
Practice tests are great for a) assessing your progress and b) practicing your pacing. However, they are not great for working on your techniques or sorting out problem areas. After all, when you’re rushing to get a section done, you’re going to fall back into whatever habits are most ingrained instead of trying new and exciting approaches.
That’s all well and good, but if you keep doing questions in the same (inefficient) way, you’re not going to see big score improvements. That’s why the best plans include a healthy mix of timed and untimed practice — the timed practice lets you see how things are going, but the untimed practice is where you actually improve your skills.
That means that during the final weeks leading up to your LSAT, you should be planning on doing two or three practice tests per week (schedule permitting), but no more than that. Instead, use the intervening days to review the tests and drill any skills that could use improvement.
2. Doing too many practice tests is mentally exhausting
Finishing a full LSAT makes you feel like your brain got hit by a truck. It’s good to take practice tests in order to get used to that feeling, and occasionally — like, once or twice during your prep — you might want to take practice tests on back-to-back days in order to get used to pushing through that mental exhaustion.
But it’s not a good idea to make a regular habit of doing practice tests in short succession. For one thing, you’re probably not allowing yourself sufficient time to review the tests, which — as discussed above — is what helps you actually improve. But on a more basic level, you’re not doing yourself any favors by regularly practicing to the point of mental exhaustion; you’re only hindering your ability to absorb new information.
Doing practice tests is like eating Taco Bell — great in small doses, but not something you want to overdo. It turns out that “everything in moderation” applies to LSAT prep as well. So incorporate practice tests into your study plan, but make sure that they are a side dish of your studying, not the main course.
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