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My First LSAT: Cut Through the B.S.

From time to time, we ask a Blueprint instructor to reflect on his or her experiences studying for the LSAT. Today we welcome Robert Seaney of New York. To read past installments, click here.

Everyone’s approach to the LSAT is going to be a little bit different. When I began my studies, I was told that you just have to figure out which is the experimental section (good luck…), and spend that 35 minute segment sneakily going back to answer the scored questions. I was told by others that Reading Comprehension is specifically designed to be completable only for those who know how to speed-read; a two-time 180 scorer told me that the key is in meditation; and a dubious gentleman studying at Florida Coastal insisted that you really don’t even need to study.

I found – and I think you’ll find as well – that the preparation experience involves first differentiating between the astute and the asinine, and then (and perhaps even more importantly) determining which among the plausible approaches works for you. For your schedule, your preferences, your skill set, and your weird little test-taking idiosyncrasies. As a full-time student, for example, I found it useful to study intermittently throughout the day, rather than in long blocks (this method also accommodated a woefully short attention-span). I also spent a long while focusing on diagramming and anticipating before I ever started to worry about time. I think that this approach really allows the student to master the fundamentals, and definitely recommend it.

The LSAT is largely based on deductive logic, which demands an analytical thought-process unfamiliar to many students without a background in analytic philosophy or computer programming. That’s not a problem, necessarily, but it is a feature of the landscape worth taking into account. Without much background in either of the two, I faced a steep learning curve, but found that after a couple months of studying things started to really click. I’d recommend all students wait, if at all possible, to take the test until they experience a similar epiphanic reorganization of their brains. Flaw questions should make you downright disgusted; contrapositives should burst unbidden to the forefront of your mind. It’s somewhat like that point in learning a new language when you stop merely mentally translating back into English, and instead become comfortable operating and thinking in the new dialect.

Come test day, my personally-tailored program worked well for me. I walked out feeling good about my score-to-be, and am pleased to report that I can now speak of the LSAT with a nonchalance rivaling that of the Florida Coastal grad who makes my afternoon lattes.