How to Prepare for the LSAT

Seth Malkin, Attorney

If you’re thinking about law school, then you’ll need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

Law schools use your results on the LSAT as a leading indicator of how you will perform in law school.

From this assessment, which also includes your grade point average and other variables, the school may or may not extend an offer of admission.

Moreover, a high score on the LSAT can open doors to top-tier law schools.

Certainly, the LSAT has been revised substantially since I took the exam.

Nonetheless, the LSAT remains an assessment of your reasoning and writing aptitude, which are essential traits necessary for becoming a lawyer.

Of course, having a successful legal practice involves much more than that, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

In any event, I remember preparing for the LSATs months in advance, which is probably still the way to go.

Even if the LSAT is a standardized test, it’s unlike any standardized exam you’ve undergone before.

Don’t even think about cramming (that won’t work on the bar exam either).

Based on my experience, all I can say is that preparing for the LSAT is a long-distance marathon, not a sprint.

Understanding the Format Used for the LSAT

One of the first steps in preparing for the LSAT is to understand the format.

The LSAT consists of five multiple-choice sections.

Only four of the multiple-choice sections are graded.

The sections are:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning (two sections)

You have 35 minutes to complete each of the multiple-choice sections of the LSAT examination.

The fifth section is a set of questions that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is testing for future LSAT exams.

Although you will know which section continues the “test” questions because there will be an added section under that category, you will not know which section contains the graded questions and which section contains the trial questions.

The LSAT also contains a writing example — in the form of an essay on a given topic.

The written essay is not graded, however, it is included in your test results that are forwarded to law schools as part of your application process.

Beginning in June 2019, the written essay is completed as a proctored online examination.

You will need to download the secure proctoring software to proctor your written essay.

The written essay must be completed within 35 minutes.

The new format for completing the written essay is only required if you have not completed a written essay during a previous LSAT.

There Is No “Right Way” to Prepare for Your LSAT

Preparing for the LSAT really depends on your study and work habits.

I know of some who spent several hours a week (six to ten hours) preparing for the LSAT while others studied extensively over one or two days each week.

Working two to four hours each day may work best for you.

At the end of the day, most people spend three to four months preparing for the LSAT exam.

Each person is unique.

Preparation techniques and tips that worked for me may not work for you.

So, don’t be discouraged if you try several techniques preparing for the LSAT and fair poorly on the first or second practice test.

You may need to modify your preparation techniques and strategies to tailor them to your learning abilities and needs.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to prepare for LSAT, except for not preparing at all.

Remember, one of the purposes of the LSAT is to test your ability to prepare and study.

The test also measures your ability to perform in stressful, timed situations while reading, comprehending, and understanding complex material.

You must be able to use reason and logic and analyze information in a short period.

In other words, the LSAT tests the skills you will need to be a successful law student.

LSAT Preparation Materials and Practice Tests

The LSAC provides tutorials and practice tests on its website.

It is important to spend time working through each tutorial to familiarize yourself with the Digital LSAT.

The key to success in the LSAT is to be comfortable with the format so that you can focus on the questions and your responses.

LSAC allows you to take up to three previously administered LSAT tests under timed conditions so that you can learn screen controls and become familiar with the online test environment.

LSAC has also partnered with Khan Academy to offer free Official LSAT preparation materials.

According to Khan’s website, free materials are customized to your strengths and weaknesses.

LSAC also recommends several LSAT prep books created by LSAT test writers.

You can also access a list of companies that offer officially licensed LSAC content on the LSAC website.

It is best to use materials that are specifically licensed by LSAC.

Once you locate and access your LSAT prep materials and resources, it is time to begin preparing for the LSAT.

LSAT Preparation Tips and Strategies

Begin preparing early and devote time each week for LSAT prep.

This tip is probably one of the most important LSAT preparation tips that anyone could offer you.

Preparing for the LSAT is like adding another course to your semester.

Block off LSAT prep time and don’t let anything interfere or override your prep time.

Review everything available from LSAC and take an initial practice test to assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Choose one or two LSAT resources to begin study and practice. Some individuals are more comfortable working at their own pace.

You may find spending a week practicing a specific type of question and then taking a practice test at the end of that week is helpful.

However, if you have problems developing and adhering to schedules, you may want to consider an LSAT preparation service that will set the schedule for you and help you remain accountable for studying and practicing.

The logic portion of the exam consists of one-half of your LSAT score.

Logical reasoning can also be one of the more difficult areas of the test to master.

Make sure that you focus a significant amount of time on the logical reasoning questions for the LSAT.

Remember though, try not to focus solely on one area of the test.

Evaluate all weak areas and spend time improving those areas.

Your weakest areas may require you to work hard to see improvement, but they also give you the opportunity to improve your LSAT score significantly.

The more practice tests you take, the more familiar you will be with all possible test question types and the better your scores will be.

You can obtain past copies of tests on Amazon, and if you search the web, you may even be able to locate free versions.

Don’t forget the LSAC website.

Prepare Mind and Body

As the LSAT test day approaches, make sure you get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods.

While it may sound impossible, as you prepare for the LSAT questions, it is best to be as relaxed as possible.

Invest a little time learning breathing techniques and other ways to calm your mind as the LSAT date approaches.

Your brain will absorb more material while you are practicing if you also learn to relax and take care of your physical and emotional needs while sharpening your mental abilities.

A Final Thought About the LSATs

Start now!

I can’t stress enough the importance of beginning your LSAT preparation early and being consistent.

With a solid plan and time, you will succeed on the LSAT, get into the law school of your choice, and look forward to becoming a practicing attorney.

Seth Malkin

About Seth Malkin

Seth Malkin is an practicing attorney at Levin & Malkin. Since 1975, the lawyers at Levin & Malkin have been well respected as The Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to providing the highest standard of experienced legal representation to accident and injury victims. Licensed in New Jersey and New York, we are ready to assist personal injury matters in conjunction with law firms licensed in all 50 states.

2 Responses to How to Prepare for the LSAT

  1. Avatar
    Steven Ferrell #

    Stay mentally and physically healthy during your LSAT preparation to optimize your performance on test day. Adequate rest and stress management are the keys to success.

  2. Avatar
    Eva Swanson #

    Regular practice is essential; dedicate time to work on sample questions and practice tests to build your test-taking skills and endurance.

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