I spent three months studying for the LSAT while working full-time. During that period of time, I increased my LSAT score by 14 points and ultimately gained admission to a T14 law school. So believe me when I tell you that three months is more than enough time to master the LSAT. So without further ado, let’s take a quick run through my three-month LSAT study guide.
What To Expect When Preparing For The LSAT
Before we dive in to the study guide, you need to know the LSAT is not like any test you’ve studied for before. It’s hard. Really hard. But the good news is that the LSAT is a learnable test. That means, you can improve your score dramatically over the course of just three months.
It’s natural to want immediate results. But the LSAT demands patience. It will take time to master the techniques you need to score well on the LSAT. Sure, there will be peaks and valleys along the way. But that’s part of the process. Stay the course and remember – you want to peak on test day.
Month 1: LSAT Study Guide
The first thing I did to prepare for the LSAT was take a timed, sample LSAT test without any prep whatsoever. You’ll often hear this referred to as a “cold diagnostic” test.
Not surprisingly, my cold diagnostic test was pretty low. But, taking a sample test without any prep is necessary to establish a baseline to build from as you prepare for test day.
During the first month of LSAT prep I relied heavily on the PowerScore Bibles to develop the techniques necessary to master the LSAT. My goal for the first month was to lay a solid foundation built on proper techniques and analysis, knowing that exhaustive practice of these skills would follow in months two and three.
Here are two tips you should follow as you work your way through the sample problems in the PowerScore Bibles: (1) time yourself, and (2) review, review, review.
Always time and track how long it takes you to finish a set of sample questions. Do not sacrifice speed for accuracy. Trust me, your speed will improve over time.
Here are some good rules of thumb:
- Logic Games: no more than 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game.
- Logical Reasoning: finish the first 15 questions in 15 minutes.
- Reading Comprehension: 4 minutes to read each passage.
It’s essential that you review the questions you miss. One of the keys to preparing for the LSAT is to eliminate weaknesses. If you don’t know why you missed a question, go back and review the relevant Bible. If you still can’t figure it out, head over to LSAT Hacks for detailed explanations.
Month 2: LSAT Study Guide
Practice and review. Rinse, wash, and repeat.
You should be finished with the PowerScore Bibles by the end of first month and hungry for more questions to practice and review. Dedicate the second month to practicing, in earnest, the techniques you learned in the PowerScore Bibles.
Because practice is so critical to mastering the LSAT, I picked up the LSAT Bible Workbook Trilogy in the second month. The “Trilogy” offers the best bang-for-your-buck LSAT practice problems. Review the questions you miss and refer back to the PowerScore Bibles as necessary.
I also took two timed, sample LSAT tests each week during the second month. You can get the official LSAT prep tests right here:
Don’t make the mistake of taking practice LSAT tests created by prep course companies. You need to take the official LSAT tests provided by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).
Your speed, accuracy, and scores should increase steadily during the second month.
Do not get discouraged if you scores vary wildly from test to test. For example, you may score a 169 one day, 160 the next, and a 162 the following day.
This is all part of the learning process. Keep at it. Remember, the goal is to make steady progress and peak on test day.
Month 3: LSAT Study Guide
I dedicated the third month of LSAT prep to focusing almost exclusively on taking timed, LSAT practice tests under actual exam conditions. Let me repeat that: “Actual exam conditions.”
Yes, fill out the bubble sheets like you will have to on test day. Do not allow yourself a second of extra time. In the end, you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t practice under actual exam conditions.
Because the LSAT test has changed over time, take the most recent official LSAT tests you can get your hands on.
You can get all of the most recent official LSAT exams right here:
Here’s another common error to avoid: only taking four-section practice tests. Because the real LSAT exam consists of five sections, be sure to add a fifth section to your new exams. The easiest way to do this is to use a section from one of your older LSAT prep exams.
In the third month you should not only review the questions you miss, but also the questions you get right. Because time is of the essence, it’s critical to know why you answered each question the way you did.
Redo all of the questions you may missed, and head over to LSAT Hacks to better understand any nuances that are not crystal clear.
I varied where I would take the practice exams to help deal with any exam day surprises (e.g., quiet conditions, loud page turners, people walking around). I took some practice exams at home, at a coffee shop, and I even took one in the exam room I was scheduled to take the real exam in. You may not be able to do this at your test site. But, if you can I highly recommend it.
By the end of the third month you should be finishing each practice exam with plenty of time to spare. And, most importantly, your scores should be significantly improved and more consistent.
Related: Best 1L Outlines (Ace Your 1L Exams)
Test Day Tips For The LSAT
After three months of hard work, the big day is finally here.
But even the best LSAT prep books won’t teach you how to stay calm and crush the LSAT on test day.
If you have a proven test day routine, stick with it. If not, here are two tips you may want to incorporate.
First, warm up your brain. Run through a handful of easy logical reasoning questions to wake up your mind and build confidence. Confidence is key.
Second, do not discuss the exam with anyone during breaks. Nothing good will come of it. Keep to yourself and your eyes on the prize.
LSAT prep can be stressful, no doubt, but don’t forget that learning the LSAT is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time to master the LSAT. But by using the tips featured in this three-month LSAT study guide you will be well on your way to dramatically improving your score and attending the law school of your dreams.
All the best,