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LSAT Countdown: T-Minus 32 Days

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LSAT Countdown: T-Minus 32 Days
For all of you who are signed up for the September LSAT, we’re 32 days away. If you haven’t started studying at all, you probably don’t have enough time to be getting your optimal score. You can try if you want (it can be done, given that you move into a cave and start mainlining espresso), but December is probably a better option for you. If you’ve been studying all along, 32 days can be a huge amount of time to refine the skills you’ve already learned and make your score shoot up.

Generally, your studying should come in two distinct phases: learning and implementation. The learning phase involves you figuring out how to do everything. This generally takes quite a while, but when you’re done with this part, you should more or less know how everything on the test works, what all the different question types are, and how each and every one of them should be approached. That’s a ton of stuff to know, and it takes a huge amount of time to do. That phase should have already been completed, or should be done soon. A lot of people expect that, given all this new knowledge, their score should be going up a lot as well. And for a lot of people it does. So good job if that’s you. But a lot of people don’t really see the improvement until they really start implementing everything they’ve learned with massive amounts of practice in the performance phase.

You’ve learned how to do all this crazy stuff, but it’s natural to find it incredibly difficult to actually use these skills. On the LSAT you’ll get all the problems that you learned in a random order, and that can really throw you off. You also have the added pressure of having only 35 minutes per section, while in the initial studying phase you were probably taking your sweet time. And you’re also probably not that fast. To get faster, calmer, and more accurate, you just have to do tons of practice. You want to be doing work for big long chunks, making your brain slave away without interruption. You should try to mix up the sections, forcing yourself to abruptly and without pause shift gears. Also, you shouldn’t be eating or drinking during your study time anymore. The more you make this practice like the real thing, the more prepared you’ll be.

So you have to keep studying, and studying a lot. Up here at Berkeley, school is starting today, and with that comes supposed obligations. Some say they have to be doing schoolwork. That’s B.S. The LSAT is in late September, you’ll have plenty of time after that to catch up on your work in time for midterms. You don’t want to be failing, but your study time should be focused on the LSAT. Also, a ton of my students are telling me that they have obligations to their frats or organizations to try to recruit starry-eyed freshmen into their silly club. Really? Pretend you’re sick or something for rush. This is especially true for all the other UCs and quarter schools; the LSAT is a couple days after instruction begins, so you really should forgo the first week of partying before school starts. Seriously. A week of Natty Light isn’t worth sacrificing Harvard for.

Tons of people see the most improvement in this final month. I don’t care if you’re starting school, working full time, or the single mother of 12 children, you should be doing more, not less. So stay motivated, stay busy, and stay in the damn library.

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