How does a prospective law school applicant go about preparing for the LSAT? Simply put, there is no “one-fits-all” approach; however, approaching preparation strategically is a commonality among all successful methods. That’s exactly why several methods of preparation can lead to a student’s LSAT success.
Self-studying, or preparation done in a solitary manner, can be extremely effective—just as long as the student gives themselves adequate preparation time, doesn’t neglect or overlook mastery of any concepts, and the student has the ability to properly assess their weaknesses. Group-instruction is a fantastic option for those that like learning in the presence of like-minded individuals. The big drawback about group-instruction, however, is that students may not adequately understand a topic before it’s time to move on to the next one, and as such, they may fail to obtain their maximal testing potential without heavily supplementing preparation with alternate approaches. Moreover, most group courses only teach one copyrighted strategy for every topic, and the rigidity of this kind of instruction often doesn’t lend itself well to individualized success. Private-instruction generally focuses heavily on the testing-weaknesses of the individual student, and as a result of this personalized preparation approach, students generally reach and exceed their goals in less time spent. That doesn’t mean students solely self-studying the LSAT or students in a group-instruction setting won’t reach or exceed their score goals, it’s just inarguably harder to do so with less focused-guidance.
Regardless of which method you decide to go with for your preparations, if you’re wondering how to start preparing for the LSAT—take a diagnostic LSAT PrepTest, figure out how many points you need to achieve your goal score, and then you can decide for yourself which method you think will lead you to the best outcome!
How long to prepare for LSAT?
There is no definitive answer to this question, and, the vague answer depends on the student’s intended daily time-investment, effort, and desired outcome. LSAT success is governed by routine practice, strategy comprehension, and strategy application-proficiency, and students achieving elite scores likely didn’t start anywhere near their elite outcomes. Generally, students should allot roughly 2-6 months for their preparations; additionally, students must keep in mind that their chosen preparation method will be a determining factor in how much time they’ll spend studying in order to achieve their desired outcome, and preparation methods that focus on a student’s personalized needs will have a significant role in reducing the overall time spent preparing for the LSAT.
The best way to ensure you only have to take the LSAT once, and successfully so, is to provide yourself large enough of a preparation window to both: learn all the strategies, and learn how to apply the strategies consistently. Regardless of the preparation time you decide to allot yourself, creating and strictly-adhering to a personalized study schedule and routine will greatly increase the likelihood that you succeed in your allotted time-frame. After covering all the LSAT’s topics, allowing yourself several weeks to practice strategy application in order to ensure consistent and proficient answering ability will allow you to maximize your testing potential.
What is the best way to prep for the LSAT?
The best LSAT preparation is strategic LSAT preparation. Strategic preparation can be achieved by focusing on a student’s testing weaknesses and eliminating them individually until the student is fully-competent in all three sections of the exam. By focusing on weaknesses first, students get the “heavy-lifting” out of the way early on in their studies, thereby reducing the possibility of encountering exhaustion or confidence loss. Consequently, students that have a difficult time understanding and identifying their testing weaknesses are especially good candidates for private-instruction. Private LSAT instruction personalizes the learning experience for students and targets topics strategically in order for the student to achieve maximal score gains. Additionally, unlike group-instruction courses, private LSAT tutors have the flexibility to instruct students using a variety of methods and they usually aren’t constricted to teaching students using only one approach—allowing the student and instructor to work as a team to find a strategy that will remedy the students testing weakness fastest.
In the summer of 2019, the LSAT turned digital for all North American test takers. As a result of this change, it’s critical for all North American LSAT students to incorporate into their study regimens some form of digital preparation—regardless of whether the student’s primary method of instruction is private, group-based, or self-taught. In order to acclimate students to this change, LSAC has released a free digital LSAT familiarization tool to expose test takers to the official digital testing format. The digital LSAT familiarization tool includes three official LSAT PrepTests (71, 73 and 74), and to ensure the best preparation possible, all LSAT students should take these three PrepTests online using this tool prior to their official administration dates.
On a closing note, students plateauing in their testing performance, or students not progressing as anticipated while using one method of instruction or preparation should consider changing their approach. Different methods of instruction and preparation will lead to varying results for different people; as such, it’s important that students experiment with various methods of instruction and preparation in order to find the preparation method best suited for them!