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Mastering the Final Stage of Your LSAT Studies

You’ve spent months slaving over Flaw and Sufficient Assumption questions. You’re having dreams about diagramming and taking the contrapositive of conditional statements. You’ve pilgrimaged to the top of the tallest mountain and communed with the wise man to find out when to use scenarios in Logic Games. Now you’re in the home stretch of your studying, and you’re wondering how to proceed.

In previous posts, we’ve walked you through how to handle each “stage” of your studying. Today, we’re taking a look at the final stage, in which you’ve covered all of the new material and are shifting into review-and-practice mode.

Your studying in this stage will largely follow a familiar pattern: do timed practice, review said practice, work on untimed questions if there were any concepts that gave you particular trouble, and then rinse and repeat.

Timed practice: Now that you understand how to do everything, your new task is to start trying to get faster at it. To that end, you can either take full timed practice tests, or — if for some reason you don’t want to burn three and a half hours doing LSAT questions on a given day — you can do individual timed sections. Start trying to figure out what pace you should be working at to get through the questions. We’ve talked a lot about how to improve your speed without sacrificing accuracy, so peruse some of those posts.

Reviewing timed practice: As per usual, you’ll want to review the questions extremely carefully — especially as you start getting better at the LSAT, it’s very important to understand why you make mistakes so that you can avoid making similar errors in the future. (Plus, as your score increases, getting one extra question wrong can bump your score down a point — so there isn’t as much room for mistakes.)

Untimed practice: If you’re reviewing thoroughly enough, you should have a strong sense of which areas or question types are giving you the most trouble. Before you go back to timed practice, you’ll want to spend some extra time working on those particularly troublesome questions — make yourself a nice fat practice set and work through it until you’re able to consistently get the questions right. Then, during your next timed practice, pay close attention to whether you’re getting those questions right, or if you still need extra practice.

Rinse and repeat: This one should be self-explanatory.

During this time, I’ve seen many a student get freaked out about small drops in practice test scores, or get frustrated when their score plateaus for a while. Keep in mind that progress on the LSAT is rarely linear — it is extremely common for students to score in the same general range for a while, and then suddenly improve by a few points or more.

Also, individual low scores on practice tests can happen for any reason — lack of sleep, stress, you can’t stop thinking about that cute girl from your class, etc. — so if your score dips at any point, don’t freak out. It will very likely return to normal on your next practice test.

You can adjust the proportions of timed practice/review/untimed practice based on your strengths and weaknesses, but this is roughly the plan you’ll be following for the remainder of your studies. And soon you’ll never have to look at an LSAT question again, which we’re told many people find to be a very exciting prospect. Keep grinding, and stay positive — you’re in the home stretch!