How to Study for the LSAT Over the Holidays
- Oct 28, 2022
The holidays are a stressful time, and they can be particularly stressful if you’re trying to find time to study for the LSAT on top of your various other obligations. Here are some tips to navigate balancing your study obligations with your social (and other) obligations this season.
1. Keep your schedule consistent.
If there is one thing I look forward to when I get a long holiday break, it’s the chance to sleep in until 2 pm, subsist on various holiday-themed candies and stay up until the wee hours with friends, or more often, just playing the Sims.
Not so if you’re preparing for the LSAT. While there will be some days over the holidays where you ought to enjoy the freedom of your relaxed schedule, you will be better off come exam day if you make an effort to keep a fairly consistent sleep schedule. You’re going to be much more prepared for the exam if you’re using your time to get yourself used to a study routine, or at a bare minimum, waking up sometime in the am.
2. Plan ahead.
A major bummer about studying over the holidays is missing out on the parties and other fun that everyone else gets to have over the break. And while the LSAT is a wonderful excuse you can use to get yourself out of the more tedious holiday activities, like caroling or pictures with mall Santa, you don’t have to sacrifice all of the events you look forward to to score well on the exam. Rather than pushing your studying to the last minute, make a note of the holiday celebrations you don’t want to miss, and give yourself a manageable study schedule around those.
3. Tell your family about your LSAT and law school plans.
No one ever complained about having a lawyer in the family. So if your relatives and/or loved ones are giving you a hard time about all the time you’re spending hitting the books, tell them about your goals, schools you’d like to attend, and progress on studying for the LSAT. For one, they’ll be reminded that you’re dedicating time toward ~improving your future~ which will likely encourage them to get off your back. And, failing that, if you go into enough detail about the minutiae of your studying process, they’ll probably avoid future conversations with you so that they aren’t bombarded with boring details again. Truly a win-win!
4. Plan some breaks into your study schedule.
No one can (or should) study for the LSAT 24/7, so for the sake of your mental health, you should be incorporating some down time into your study plan. Around the holidays, it works particularly well to combine your down time with other plans you may have; if you were already planning on taking a day off, you might as well take that day off when you’re stuck at your aunt’s house all day/planning to be incapacitated by a hangover/attending your friend’s destination wedding that was selfishly scheduled for New Year’s Eve.
A holiday break can pull your LSAT studies in two directions. On the one hand, you will probably have more free time than usual between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. And on the other, this is likely your first real break since Thanksgiving, and studying will be the last thing you want to do with your time.
Fortunately, there is a happy medium you can strike over the holidays, and it lies somewhere between binging on holiday movies while your brain muscles atrophy, and making yourself miserable pouring over logic games while your loved ones are toasting the New Year without you. Here are a few tips which will allow you to balance the fun of the holidays with some worthwhile preparation for the exam.
5. Involve your family and friends.
Who else has a bigger stake in your LSAT prep than you do? Whether they’re paying for your tutoring or simply burdening you with unbearably high expectations, your family is likely a part of your LSAT journey. And even if the LSAT is not a test that they have the slightest experience with, there is a way that your loved ones can help you out.
When you are reviewing a question you struggled on, one of the best ways to master the material is to teach it to someone else. For instance, you take that Soft Must Be True question from your homework that gave you a hard time, you review it on your own, and then you walk your dad through the problem. The greatest part of this study method is that it works equally well when your study partner is your eight year old niece or your best friend’s dog, because the benefit comes from you working out the problem out loud until you’re comfortable with it. Just don’t try this method with cats — they tend to be judgmental and uncooperative.
Overall, try not to stress too much about your study schedule during particularly busy periods. Find time to study wherever you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to get as much done as you usually would. And, if all else fails, don’t forget that you can always suddenly come down with a terrible case of the “flu” and barricade yourself in your bedroom for a few days.
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