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How distractions while studying can help improve your score

Students often ask for recommendations on the best place to do LSAT studying. The answer depends on some extent to how you learn and where you are in the study process. At a high level, you generally want someplace without a lot of distraction or noise. In particular, when working through timed sections and full tests, if there are interruptions you will not get an accurate measure of your abilities. I see the breakdown going like this:
  • Initial month: (learning methodology): any reasonably quiet place, from a coffee shop to a library to your dorm room (door closed).
  • Middle months: (timed sections and full practice test with review): you definitely want to cut out noisier spots where you may be interrupted. Here it’s time to get serious and either find a quiet corner of your residence free of distraction or, better, go to the library
  • Final month: this is where ideal study situations change somewhat. During your last month of study, I believe it’s actually beneficial to not choose the most quiet spot in the world. This is because on test day there will be a variety of inevitable distractions: dropped pencils, sneezes, proctors answering the phone, etc. Taking full tests in absolute silence is an advantage you won’t have on test day; doing so in practice is akin to not filling in a bubble sheet on preptests. It’s just not the best simulation (especially because you can’t use earplugs on test day).
  • Final week: it won’t always be possible, but when it is it can pay to do a preptest or two in the building where your LSAT is going to be held. If this is a college, you can generally sneak into a lecture hall/classroom after hours. Being very familiar with your surroundings can be an important advantage on test day.

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