Crush the LSAT: When to Start and How to Plan Your Study
By Shelly Kellner
If you are applying to law school, you will need to take the LSAT (or the GRE), which is a test that allows law school to predict how you will do in your law studies. The LSAT matters because the school wants to make sure that the applicants it accepts will do well in law school since that is one of the factors that law schools are graded on for their rankings. The LSAT checks your reasoning and reading comprehension as well as your abilities to analyze and write clearly. Those are all aspects of law school studies which you will need to be very familiar with in order to be a good lawyer.
Additionally, it’s a very good way for law schools to be able to compare apples to apples, since your GPA is very much dependent on various factors, like how much you were able to focus on your studies during undergrad, which school you attended, and which courses you took, etc. Therefore, a standardized test that everyone takes is a great indicator of your abilities.
When Should I Start Studying for the LSAT?
Since the LSAT is a very big deal, you need to take the LSAT seriously and study well for it. You should start studying for the LSAT at least 2-3 months before taking the actual test and do many practice tests before you get to the actual date of the test you scheduled. Practicing this way allows you to see what areas you are weak at and repeat studying in those areas. If you can afford it, we suggest using an LSAT test prep center that will help you be more organized in your studies. It will keep you focused and on target.
For the actual test, we suggest booking at least 2 dates in advance with about 2 months in between those dates. This is due to the fact that the test itself is stressful and many people (yes even those that get into Ivy leagues) don’t succeed on their first try. Even if you have taken many practice tests, the actual test is more stressful and a lot of it depends on timing. In other words, if you get stuck answering a question too long or you don’t time yourself correctly, you could lose valuable points. Plus it takes about 3-4 weeks to get your score back and when you do, you will know what to focus on when practicing for your next test. If you wait too long though between tests, you will lose the edge you had when you were studying so intensely. Therefore, 2 months between test dates is ideal. We do suggest booking those two dates in advance though because test dates do fill up quickly and then you could find yourself having to wait another month since you didn’t book in advance.
How Long Should I Study for the LSAT?
The answer depends on how you perform on your first test. When preparing for the LSAT, it is important to consider not only the amount of time you will dedicate to studying but also the number of times you plan to take the test. Taking the LSAT multiple times can be beneficial if you are not satisfied with your initial score. However, it is important to keep in mind that law schools will see all of your scores, not just the highest one.
We suggest taking the test up to 3 times and only if there is a very big jump from time to time (5 points or more) would we suggest a 4th test. This is because taking more and more tests just to show that you have raised your score by a point or two, actually shows the adcom that your score is very reflective of your abilities. For example, someone who received a 141, 142 and then a 144 score probably will never be someone who gets a 160 score. However, someone who gets 144, 149, 155 scores could probably reach a 160 score with more practice. So the jump in scores does give the adcom some insight about the person’s abilities. This is very general advice and of course, we would need to examine each case in order to assess whether or not a 4th test is worthwhile but as a general rule of thumb, up to 3 tests make sense.
Preparing for the LSAT requires dedication, focus, and a clear plan. It is important to consider not only the amount of time you will spend studying, but also the number of times you plan to take the test. While retaking the LSAT multiple times can be beneficial, it is generally recommended to limit the number of attempts to three in order to avoid sending a negative message to law school admissions committees. Remember, starting early and putting in the time and effort can help you Crush the LSAT. Hit the books!