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LSAT Diaries: How I Got a 180 on the LSAT

Amanda Shaw, a former Blueprint student turned LSAT instructor, gave us the inside scoop on how she prepped for the LSAT and sailed past her goal score to get a 180 LSAT score!

Last year, I found myself faced with the most dreaded task on my to-do list: Get a 170+ LSAT score. But how to get a 170 on the LSAT? That was the question. As someone who wasn’t fond of extensive studying, this was a daunting challenge. With a background in Journalism and English, I had intentionally chosen an academic path with fewer exams. However, I was determined to conquer the LSAT, and I knew I was starting from scratch in two areas: 1) Understanding what is on the LSAT and 2) developing effective study habits.

Making My LSAT Study Plan

I began my LSAT journey in January, exploring various online LSAT prep courses and physical textbooks. Initially, my study pace was sporadic and a bit too comfortable, lacking the urgency my September LSAT demanded. However, as March came and went, my study habits remained largely unchanged and anxiety started to creep in. I knew I needed to reorganize my life and prioritize the LSAT.

I didn’t know where to begin, so I took somewhat of a catch-all approach. Embracing discipline as my foundation and playing into my own love of a good challenge, I created a comprehensive 30-day plan, incorporating exercise, LSAT practice questions, reading, journaling, and hydration into my daily routine. Overkill, maybe, but it worked.

While an effective LSAT study plan looks slightly different for everyone, the common denominator is discipline—this lives at the core of every good study habit.  

After months of preparation and the mounting pressure of every friend, family member, and stranger I’d encountered in the past six months waiting with bated breath (okay that’s probably a bit dramatic, but it certainly felt that way) for the 170+ score reveal, I logged into my LSAC portal, only to discover a 169. [crickets]

I felt defeated. I allowed myself a day to mourn and binge Game of Thrones (I know, I’m a bit late to the party). However, I quickly regrouped and returned to the drawing board with renewed determination to strengthen my study methods. One month felt like a short time, but I was committed to making the most of it.

When I retook the LSAT, I achieved a 173. I almost couldn’t believe it. Relief washed over me as I finally checked off that looming item on my to-do list. However, I knew I could go further, and on my last attempt, I got a 180 LSAT score!

My 5 Essential LSAT Study Habits

1. Make a Daily Appointment With the LSAT

The hallmark of a successful LSAT student is daily practice. Even on busy days, I made sure to engage with LSAT material in some form. Whether I listened to Blueprint LSAT Self-Paced Course modules like a podcast while working or reviewed flashcards during a spare five minutes, I made the most of every opportunity. Every minute counts, and there’s virtually no excuse for not having five minutes in a day to dedicate to the LSAT.

2. Maintain Momentum Even When Motivation Lacks

Motivation can be unpredictable, and there were days when I felt uninspired and lacked the drive to study. However, that initial 30-day streak of studying was my saving grace. It had generated a momentum strong enough to push me through those low moments. I didn’t want to “lose” against myself in a challenge I had created. It may seem silly, but preparing for the LSAT is largely a mental game that you need to train for, and sometimes you have to trick yourself into showing up on those tough days.

3. Build a Good Study Environment

The LSAT can be an anxiety-inducing exam. To minimize external stressors, I replicated the test-taking environment during many of my study sessions. This helped reduce any potential distractions leading up to and on test day. Familiarity begets confidence, and confidence is one of your most powerful allies during the LSAT. (On that note, if you haven’t heard it today, you’re doing amazing!)

4. Active Learning and Test-Taking

Before completing practice sets and exams, I spent a lot of time assessing my strengths and weaknesses. I re-watched corresponding modules and took detailed handwritten notes. At moments, it felt repetitive and exhausting, but it felt necessary to address the remaining cracks in my fundamental understanding of LSAT concepts and strategies that needed filling to break into that coveted 170+ score range.

5. Review, Review, and More Review

 I finally caved to the review process and began dedicating equal time to practice and reviewing my answers. Before this point, I had seldom gone beyond the question-specific explanations of right and wrong answers, which limited my improvement. Investing time in intentional, personalized reviews allowed me to gain valuable big-picture takeaways which I believe I owe much of my eventual success to.

So there you have it. The process was certainly defined by dedication, discipline, and grit but not in any revolutionary way. Similar to section-specific success on the LSAT—anticipating in Logical Reasoning and tagging in Reading Comprehension—my success on the LSAT stemmed from the pre-work—a solid study plan, consistency, and a disciplined mindset. 

If you’re ready to put in the work and see some real results, enroll in a Blueprint LSAT prep course. Whether you have the discipline to study on your own with a Self-Paced Course or want to navigate the LSAT with instructors in a Live Course, we have the study method that fits your learning style!