If You’re Just Starting to Study for the LSAT…
- Apr 09, 2015
- General LSAT Advice, LSAT
We don’t mean to scare anyone, but as of today, there are exactly two months until the June LSAT.
If you’re planning on taking the LSAT in June but haven’t started preparing yet, it’s not too late – but you’ll need to start studying, like, today. If you haven’t decided on a study method yet, check out our run-down of your options, do some research, and try to sign up or purchase materials ASAP. (A side note for those interested in Blueprint LSAT Prep’s live course: although most of our classes have started already, it’s not too late to sign up! Contact our office for assistance in getting up to speed.)
Two months is generally plenty of time to prepare for the LSAT, but you’ll need to study for the LSAT like it’s your job over the next couple months, so clear your calendar and tell your friends you’ll see them after June 8th.
Your first step will be to take a diagnostic practice exam. Your score probably won’t be amazing – that’s why you’re studying for the LSAT, after all – but it will be useful later on in your studying, when you want to measure how much progress you’ve made.
After that, it’s time to hit the books. The general plan of attack is pretty similar regardless of whether you’re studying on your own or with a course – you’ll start by learning and practicing the basic skills. At this point, you shouldn’t be worrying too much about how long things are taking you. In fact, you’ll want to give yourself as much time as possible to ensure that you thoroughly understand each question. You also need to give yourself ample time to understand every single question – by the time you’re done reviewing the questions, you should be able to explain to someone else exactly why the right answer is right and why the wrong answers are wrong. Throughout this phase of studying, you might take a practice test here or there to measure your progress, but your score probably won’t improve too much yet, and that’s fine.
After you have a good handle on how to tackle everything – and only after that point – you’ll move your focus to getting faster. The exact timeframe depends on a lot of factors, but if I had to guess, I’d say it will take you around a month of studying to get to this point. As you start turning your attention to speed, you can set time goals for certain chunks of questions (e.g. challenging yourself to finish 10 Logical Reasoning questions in 15 minutes), by doing full timed sections, and by taking full practice tests.
As you’re trying to get faster, make sure that you’re still using the skills and techniques you learned earlier in your studies. Too often, when students want to get through questions more quickly, they skip important steps like anticipating the correct answer or diagramming conditional statements. You might feel like you’re saving time by not doing these things, but ultimately you’ll end up wasting time and making avoidable mistakes.
It’s also important to note that review is just as important in this phase of studying as it was in the earlier phase. Quite simply, you will always need to make sure you understand any question you found difficult so that you can get through a similar question more easily (and accurately) the next time. You’ll also want to take some breaks from timed practice to focus on question types that are still giving you trouble.
Ultimately, the closer you get to the test, the more your studying will shift from untimed practice to timed practice tests. You’re unlikely to see big score increases until you really start focusing on timing, but that doesn’t mean you’re not making progress in the early phases of studying. Hitting score plateaus can be frustrating, but it happens to everyone – try to have faith that the hard work you’re putting in will pay off in the end, even if there are moments when you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
Studying for the LSAT is a long, arduous, sometimes-frustrating process, but it’s also entirely worthwhile when you end up with an awesome LSAT score. And of course, we at Most Strongly Supported will be with you every step of the way, providing advice and comic relief. So hit those books, and best of luck!
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