How I Prepped for the LSAT With ADHD and Scored a 177
- Jan 02, 2024
- lsat prep, LSAT Preparation
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
“I should work on Games today. Combo games, like the one about movies from the last practice test.
Wait, what was that movie I wanted to see? The new one. Let me look up the trailer online…oh, New York Times alert. What’s happening?”
Sound familiar? This was Day 22 of my LSAT prep—Day 22 of studying the LSAT with ADHD.
I was diagnosed in high school and had managed to keep my grades up. Three years into college, I decided that law school was for me, and then I encountered—*dun dun DUN*—the LSAT. Now what?
The LSAT and ADHD—Two Acronyms That Go Great Together!
My first response was actually a bit of joy because….puzzles! I love puzzles.
But it turns out the LSAT isn’t all fun and games. I had to study. I had to work at it.
The LSAT is not a test you can cram for. It is a skills-based exam. It’s learnable, yes, but I had to practice to keep those skills honed. This is where my ADHD reared its head.
Day 22 was not an atypical day for me, unfortunately. The LSAT was a type of responsibility that I, frankly, hadn’t encountered before. Distractions were everywhere—friends, television, the internet, my phone, etc.
ADHD LSAT accommodations might be available to you while you’re taking the test, but prepping for the test is an entirely different obstacle.
My first diagnostic exam went alright, but nowhere near where I wanted to be. And, as one might imagine, three weeks of studying on my own with all those distractions did not produce any forward progress.
If anything, I went backward.
A New Approach
I realized I needed a new approach. I thought back to my success in high school and college.
What enabled me to succeed despite my ADHD? The answer, I realized, was structure.
In school, I had classes to attend at specific times, assignments due on specific dates, and teachers to hold me accountable. I had none of these because I was studying for the LSAT on my own.
It was no wonder I was adrift in a sea of distractions. I had to make a change.
My first step was setting up a calendar. I divided out the months until my LSAT test date, putting in practice tests, practice sections, and study material to complete, in addition to the other elements of my law school application.
This was helpful, but I needed more to hold myself accountable. I needed a study buddy. I reached out to my college friend John who I knew was also prepping for the LSAT.
We decided to work together. He didn’t have ADHD, but he still valued the accountability a study buddy provided. We planned our practice tests out together, quizzed one another on the material (“Wait, so what’s the difference between ‘only’ and ‘the only’?”), and, importantly, celebrated our wins together.
This structure enabled me to earn a 177 about six months later.
Not long after, I became an LSAT tutor. I always enjoyed teaching, and my own immersion in the LSAT ingrained in me a deep love for its rigor. I decided early that when I worked with my students, regardless of their neurodivergence, I would create a structure for them to best enable them for success.
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Recreate My LSAT ADHD Study Plan
So, what does my template look like? Here’s what worked for me and what has worked for my LSAT students with ADHD.
Accountability can take any number of forms, but, at its core, it means that it’s okay to ask for help.
You’re not in this alone! Accountability can mean a study buddy, a class, a tutor, or just a friend or parent who checks in on you.
I had already asked for help with my ADHD in the past, so it seemed natural to me to do so again. For my students with ADHD, they often said that a tutor or an LSAT class was just what they needed—someone to help keep them on track.
Don’t be shy about applying for and using LSAT ADHD accommodations. Accommodations can include extended testing time, permission to sit/stand during testing, and/or permission to read/speak aloud. Make sure to submit your request and all required documentation well in advance of LSAT registration deadlines.
Build out that calendar. With ADHD, keeping a schedule can be very difficult. As a tutor and teacher, I wouldn’t be able to get by without my calendar. It was invaluable as a student.
Create an LSAT study plan and try to stick with it. Put in your tests, your practice sets—everything at all that is LSAT and law school related. If you want to take the guesswork out of making a study plan (and don’t want to deal with a messy spreadsheet), you can use Blueprint’s free LSAT Study Planner tool!
I discovered a key aspect of planning was specificity. Don’t just put “study for the LSAT” on your calendar. That’s vague and opens you up to distractions.
Put specific tasks into your calendar that direct you where to go and what to do: “3-5 pm: Complete two Logic Game Modules and one Logic Games Practice Section.”
A specific task is doable—a vague goal is ignorable.
Finally, if you take anything from this post, remember that even with ADHD, the LSAT can be conquered! Give yourself the grace and space to plan accordingly!
Stay focused, friends! And best of luck.
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