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Taking The LSAT For The First Time? Get Advice from an LSAT Instructor!

Are you preparing to take your first LSAT ever? Have you been scouring Google trying to find tips for taking the LSAT for the first time? Well then, it’s a good thing you found the Blueprint LSAT Blog and particularly this article. Prepare yourself, as you are about to be submerged and subjected to all sorts of wonderful knowledge about how to conquer the beast that is the LSAT.

Although there is a lot of advice I can offer when it comes to taking the LSAT—after all, it comes with the territory of being an LSAT Live Course instructor— the most basic and all-encompassing would be: don’t cry (at least not out in public; under your blankets at home is perfectly normal and even encouraged) and don’t throw your books out the window while studying (mainly because someone could get hurt, they’re not cheap, and you haven’t taken the LSAT yet). But aside from that, some of the most important things to know when preparing to take the  LSAT for the first time are:

1.     Take a diagnostic practice LSAT exam. What does this even mean? It’s a fancy way of saying take your practice LSAT exam before you even think about cracking open an LSAT prep book. This will give you an idea of where your starting point is, establish a baseline, and help you decide what your goal score is. No need to rush out and buy an LSAT practice exam either—get a free timed LSAT diagnostic exam when you create a Blueprint account!

2.     Set a goal score and make a realistic LSAT study schedule. Once you’ve figured out your starting LSAT score, you should set a goal score that you want to reach on the actual exam. Don’t feel defeated if your diagnostic LSAT score is on the low end; remember, you can only go up from here! Your goal score might look different than your friends’ goals because it’s largely determined by many factors including the average LSAT score of the law school you’re applying to, the overall competitiveness of your application and GPA, and your own definition of success.

Once you have a goal score in mind, make a realistic LSAT study schedule for yourself. Don’t overdo it and say you’re going to be studying for five hours every day for the next two months. We both know that’s not going to happen. However, do study a little every day! Also plan to do other things besides the LSAT, like spending time with your friends or keeping up with your hobbies, to keep your sanity. The LSAT is a skill and just like any skill it takes time to learn, so give yourself enough time to master it.

3.     Stick to that study schedule! Didn’t you just mention making an LSAT study plan? We did, but committing to a schedule is extremely important when you’re trying to study for the LSAT, so we wanted to reiterate that. It’s especially crucial for students taking the LSAT for the first time to really study the concepts and understand the exam in its entirety. The best way to do this is by staying on top of your LSAT study schedule. However, we understand some students might need help to keep accountable. This is where your trusty friends at Blueprint come in handy. Our Live Course Classes with veteran LSAT instructors keep you on a set schedule with assigned homework after every class. Private LSAT tutoring with top-scoring instructors and our Self-Paced LSAT course might give you a bit more freedom in creating your schedule, but you still get help from us every step of the way.

4.     Focus on Accuracy NOT timing. Don’t overlook this piece of advice. LSAT novices too often focus on timing instead of accuracy. It’s understandable, given you only have just over half an hour for each section but it’s a BIG no-no.

Remember when you were learning to drive? How slow and awkward you were navigating the streets, slamming on the brakes too hard, terrified of getting on the freeway, and driving 35 mph in a 65 mph zone? Yeah. That was a rough three months. But the more comfortable you got behind the wheel, the faster you ended up driving. It was natural. Until next thing you know, you’re getting pulled over for going 95 mph when the speed limit is 65 mph (not speaking from personal experience, just you know, hypothetical scenario *ahem*). But the LSAT works kind of like that. The more comfortable you get with the concepts, the faster you’ll be at answering questions. So, focus on accuracy first, then timing.

5.     Reach target score in practice, then maintain. Once you’ve reached your target study score, well, the first thing to do would be to celebrate. WOO! But after the celebrations are done, maintain, maintain, maintain. Now, this is where my car analogy no longer applies. Although driving a car tends to be something we remember how to do even if we don’t practice for months, the LSAT doesn’t quite work the same way. You have to make sure you’re not lallygagging, dillydallying, or whatever synonym for “wasting time and not studying” you’d rather use. Keep the concepts and the way to approach the questions fresh in your mind by taking an LSAT practice test every week and then doing a blind review of said practice exams. That will help keep your mind sharp for the actual official LSAT exam test day.

6. Take advantage of the LSAT Score Preview Option. This option was introduced in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. It allows first-time LSAT test takers the option to view their final LSAT score and decide if they want to keep it on their LSAC score report or cancel. This is a huge shift because normally, you only had a few days after your LSAT exam date to cancel your score, which meant you could have potentially canceled a great LSAT score without even knowing! There is a fee to use this option ($45 if you sign up for LSAT Score Preview prior to the first day of testing or $75 if you sign up after the test happened), but it could come in handy if you’re debating if you should cancel your LSAT score.

Okay. Any questions? No? Perfect. Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Whether you’re taking the LSAT for the first time or this isn’t your first rodeo, we’ll help you from the very beginning till the moment you cross that finish line. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for daily LSAT tips and practice and subscribe to our Youtube for more tips and pre-law inspiration!
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