When I decided to take on law school I was so excited. I hoped for new experiences and a promising career path that excites me. Filling out the applications was easy – I am kind of a paperwork nerd so it was a good task for me to get completed. Then came the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), I didn’t really know what to expect from the test. I heard from lawyers and current law school students that it is one of the hardest things they have ever done. Great, here we go!
I couldn’t afford the cost of a prep course for the LSAT so I turned to Amazon and snagged a few books to coach me through. The LSAT is constructed with three main sections: Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning. It then ends with an essay that is not graded but law schools look at it in consideration for admission. As I dug into the books I realized that I was a little over my head. I have never taken a logic or law classes in my undergrad and I was lost. I dug my way through the tunnel and found the light, here is what I learned.
The earlier you can prepare for the exam the better. The content is daunting and it is designed to wear you out. One of the aspects of the exam is seeing how long you can stay focused and work on complex scenarios. Work your brain out as much as possible. If you’re getting tired of LSAT material – pick up a book and dig in. The more prepared your brain is for long critical thinking the less stressed you’ll be.
ACCURACY BEFORE SPEED
The LSAT can cause you to panic over the amount of time you have. It is tempting to feel the weight of the ticking clock on your shoulders and speed through. It works out to be about 90 seconds per question. The questions are pretty complex and if you are worried about time – you’ll miss the details of the question compromising your final score. When you start preparing, go slow. Take your time to get intimately familiar with the process and how to find the correct answer. As you get more confident in your abilities integrate timing routines into your prep. This will help you move forward with the skill and accuracy needed to beat the clock.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
For me, I learned the most by simulating practice tests. I would take a section a week and do slow study on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday take the timed section then review the results. Each section is 35 minutes making it easier to digest the material and add on a review. After 3 weeks of doing that I did a practice test twice a week and studied in between. After taking a practice test your brain can be done by that point. Instead of immediately reviewing it I would review it in my next study section. Taking the full practice exams helped me to prepare for the experience of test day. I experienced the highs and lows of testing, sometimes feeling like I aced it and actually getting a terrible score, while others I crawled through the exam with low confidence yet aced it. Put yourself through as many practice scenarios as possible so you are ready to face the challenge of test day.
Remember: You can do anything you set your mind to. It has been proven over and over that if you discipline the mind you can accomplish incredible goals and then some. Start small with the practices so that you can slay the LSAT when the time comes.
I ended up being very happy with my first score on the LSAT. However, my competitive nature knows I can do better so I have decided to take it again.
I hope this helps you on your LSAT journey or to understand what your friend/family member better that is going through it.
Also published on Medium.