It’s a deal-maker and a deal-breaker, and it’s going to play the largest role in deciding where you go to law school—it’s the LSAT. Unfortunately, many students fail to achieve their goal scores on this exam, and it’s not because they’re not smart enough, or not capable enough; rather, it’s because students fail to approach LSAT preparation methodologically.

Strategic LSAT Prep Strategic preparation should begin the moment a student makes the commitment to take the LSAT, and, every student’s first course of action should be to take a diagnostic PrepTest. A diagnostic PrepTest determines a test taker’s baseline ability and the total amount of points needed for that student to reach their goal score. In turn, this enables the student to determine an appropriate preparation timeline—if a student needs 20-points or more to reach their target score, doing so in one month would be slightly unrealistic and a longer preparation should be anticipated; however, if a student requires only 5 points to reach their goal score, then several sessions with a private tutor should be sufficient, and as such, a student’s timeline should be anticipated to be much shorter. Therefore, a student’s baseline score doesn’t only determine the amount of points needed to achieve their goal score, it also provides useful information that functions to determine a proper preparation method and a suitable preparation timeline.

Tip #1: Take a diagnostic PrepTest to determine your baseline score. Use your baseline score as a guide to determine a preparation method and timeline.

Choosing the Right LSAT Prep

As an LSAT strategist, it’s not uncommon for students to tell me that they’ve learned more applicable LSAT knowledge over the course of a few hours in private sessions than they had learned during an entire two- or three-month prep course that they’d previously taken. These students probably aren’t wrong, but not for the reason that private instruction is better than group instruction or self-studying—these students were just better suited to excel when the lesson was designed based on their individual needs and focused specifically on their weaknesses. On the other hand, I’ve talked also to many other LSAT students that have had significant point increases, exceeding 20+ points, in a group instruction setting or with self-studying resources. This shows how important it is for students to access their learning style prior to investing in any particular LSAT preparation resource—think about your undergraduate studies, how did you learn in the classroom? Did you learn well from the lecturers, or did you skip review sessions in order to prepare more effectively in the library? Did you attend extra help sessions often? Answering these questions should help point you in the right direction; furthermore, picking the appropriate preparation method based on your learning style considerations can save you a lot of money in the long-run.

Tip #2: Assess your learning style, and then pick a preparation method accordingly. Choosing the right preparation method from the get-go will save you time, money, and stress.

“Official” LSAT Prep – The Khan Academy Partnership

Regardless of which preparation company you decide to use as your LSAT preparation resource, you must ensure that you’re using an officially licensed LSAC resource—if it’s not officially licensed, then the materials used in the prep course won’t be official LSAT questions, and as such, you won’t be exposing yourself to questions like the ones you’ll encounter on test day.

In order to level the playing field for students that find LSAT preparation to be a financial burden, LSAC and Khan Academy have partnered up to create the first free official LSAT preparation course. This course is a fantastic resource for all LSAT students as a standalone, or as a supplementary, preparation tool. This platform enables students to take PrepTests, drill questions, and provides explanations for questions that students answer incorrectly. If you’re on the edge about spending money for LSAT prep—the Khan Academy official LSAT prep course should be your starting place, after all, it’s free, so you have no excuses not to begin your LSAT preparations!

Tip #3: Use an officially licensed LSAT preparation course. If you’re on a budget, the Khan Academy Official LSAT is a fantastic starting place—yes, it’s absolutely free of charge!

Fast-Track LSAT success

There is only one way to succeed on the LSAT—you must understand the LSAT’s logic. Students that wish to “fast-track” their LSAT success in a short time period (e.g., a month), should consider working with a private tutor. In private tutoring, lessons are structured to focus on a student’s biggest testing weaknesses, and as a result, students are able to improve their LSAT scores in less time spent preparing. Consequently, if you have an upcoming date with the LSAT and you’re not hitting your goal score just yet—consider topic-targeted private instruction as a tool that can remedy testing weaknesses quickly. Do remember, though, that the best way to reach your fullest potential is to pace yourself as there can be a big LSAT learning curve, and trying the fast-track approach the LSAT can cause you to develop fatigue and a “burn-out.”

Tip #4: Consider private instruction as a great tool to fast-track your LSAT studies. However, the best approach is to work at a comfortable pace, and in-turn, this will allow you to avoid any potential learning “burn-out.”