11 Tips to Help You Take &
Review Your LSAT Official PrepTests
by Zack Baldwin
Taking and reviewing Official LSAT PrepTests is the single most important thing you can do to improve your score. But you also want to make sure you take them right! Below, we’ve listed some essentials for how to effectively get the most out of the tests you take for preparation:
1. Make Sure You Take It At the Right Time of Day
For most people, this is going to mean 9AM, unless you are taking the June exam, in which case you will want to practice at 1PM. If you take your LSAT PrepTests late at night, you can be sure you will get a different result than you would if you took them at your test time. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by starting earlier or later than the actual test time, so make sure to do it right.
2. Get an Analog Watch
You can actually time the 35 minutes on your phone, but don’t check the timer while you go – remember, you can’t see the proctors stopwatch during the section. Make sure you get an analog watch for your actual test date, and be sure to practice with it. Remember, you may not be able to see the clock at the testing center!
3. Use Airplane Mode
You can use your phone to time your LSAT PrepTests sections, but put it in airplane mode. You won’t have your phone on test day, and the temptation to check incoming messages can, at best, introduce anxiety about your texts, calls, and emails, and, at worst, eat up precious time as you actually check and respond! Better to just remove that from your life while you test.
4. Use the Bubble Sheet
It’s tempting to circle your answers in the LSAT PrepTests booklets and then score yourself, but on test day, you actually need to use the bubble sheet, so it makes sense to practice with one. Bubbling answers takes a small amount of extra time, something like 60-90 seconds per section. If you aren’t going to use a bubble sheet, give yourself 33 minutes per section instead of 35. Bubble sheets can be found at the back of the book.
5. Make a Note of Hard Questions As You Go
When you review your LSAT PrepTests, you’ll want to take a look over everything you got wrong. But you’ll also want to review any questions that may have confused you in the moment even if you got them right – questions that you either totally guessed on (you had a 20% chance of guessing right!), questions you narrowed down to two options before guessing, or questions that were particularly time consuming. Put a little note next to each one of these as you’re testing, so you know to review it after the test.
6. After Your First Test, Do Everything Timed
Consider giving yourself one untimed test early in your preparation to give yourself a feel for the complete exam. After that, all of your tests should be timed.
7. The Writing Sample is Your Lowest Priority
If you’re worrying about the Writing Sample, don’t. It’s unscored and the vast consensus is that it’s the least important part of the test. Make sure to do one or two before your actual LSAT, but don’t agonize over this section. Include it in your final LSAT PrepTest, but don’t go to great lengths for this section. That time could better be spent working on LR.
8. After a Few Weeks of Regular Testing, Take 5-Section Tests
The Official LSAT PrepTests have only four sections, but on test day you’ll face a full five section test. This is where older materials can be very useful – take a section from an old test and randomly determine where on the test it appears (use a die – the number that appears is what section number will be the experimental section, while ‘6’ means ‘re-roll’). It’s a bit different from the real LSAT, in that you’ll know which section is experimental, but you’re still getting the full length 175-minute testing experience. Be sure to review your experimental sections, as they are actual LSAT sections with real questions.
9. Take Your Break
Be sure, whether you are taking a 4 section, 5 section, or 5 section + Writing tests to take a break after section 3. The break is the only time you can drink water and eat. It’s strongly recommended that you use the restroom during the break rather than during the test (if you go during the test, the clock keeps ticking). On the actual test day, you won’t be allowed to use your phone or go outside, but you can stretch and walk around the test center.
10. Take One or Two PrepTests Somewhere Unfamiliar
Try to find a library or a quiet-ish study space to take a PrepTest or two. You don’t get to take the LSAT in your kitchen, so you don’t want to do all your practice there. The actual test center will be unfamiliar, so take one or two tests in an unfamiliar environment.
11. Review Your Practice Tests
Give yourself a little time between taking the LSAT PrepTests and reviewing them, but always review. Take your time when going through the test to make sure you’re getting the most out of this exercise. It is crucial to your improvement and overall success, so don’t rush it. Reviewing the test should take you about as long as taking it. Maybe even a little longer since you want to keep the pace slow and relaxed. As you go through, take note of the types of questions you struggled with most, where you were running out of time, etc. The more you know, the easier it will be to improve.
Taking practice LSAT exams is one of the most important aspects of your LSAT prep. With a limited number of available PrepTests, you want to make sure that you are utilizing your resources efficiently. These tips will help you to ensure that every PrepTest you take is helping you to improve your skills and raise your score.
If you’re struggling to improve on your own, consider getting outside help. Next Step offers a free online LSAT class to help students get started with this exam. You can learn more and sign up here. We also offer a free monthly Public Office Hours webinar that covers a variety of LSAT related topics. See all of our upcoming sessions and register here. Need a little more help? Our one-on-one tutoring programs have helped LSAT test-takers just like you earn double digit score increases. Learn more here.
Zack Baldwin is a full-time LSAT tutor with Next Step with over 6 years of experience. An expert in all things LSAT, Zack is one of our top-rated and most requested instructors.
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