The BriefA Blog about the LSAT, Law School and Beyond
What should you do today to study for the LSAT? How long do I need to study to get ready for my test date? When do I start taking timed Prep Tests? How do I plan out my days?
To answer all these questions for you, we’ve created a highly detailed and personalized LSAT study schedule that will answer these and more questions about how to plan out your LSAT studies. Our week by week study schedule gives you just enough information that lays out the goals you should accomplish for this week.
Having small discrete goals is incredibly important for staying on track and accountable.
Have you taken Prep Tests yet? You need to if you want to do well on the LSAT.
Now, if you've taken Prep Tests, have you properly reviewed them? To properly review your LSAT Prep Tests, you need to understand the reasoning behind each question and each answer choice.
We have short, to the point, bite sized video explanations for how to approach every LSAT question in the June 2007 LSAT. If you have a free account, you can see all the explanations to June 2007 here.
We also have the same explanations for every single LSAT question from Prep Tests 46 - 69 and many of the questions from Prep Tests 36 - 45. If you have a full course, you can access those from your progress page. You can also purchase explanations for individual LSATs here.
Look at that McRib. So juicy and so tempting. So easy to eat it just melts in your mouth and coagulates on your gut. Look at those fries. Perfectly flavored with all natural chemicals. Crispy and salty. Isn't is so much easier to just eat that than to eat an ugly salad? You know it is. You also know it's terrible for you.
So brace yourselves. We're tossing up some salad and you're not going to like it. But it will save your life.
Also, I'm talking about the LSAT. I don't really care if you eat McDonald's.
Ready? Here we go.
1. Underestimating when to start studying for the LSAT (Three months is not enough time to prepare!)
When should you start studying for the LSAT? The first mistake students make is underestimating the difficulty of the LSAT. So, let me be very clear. The LSAT is a beast. I don't know you. I've never met you. Maybe you're a beast too. But, I'm telling you right now that you need more than 3 months to adequately train.
Now, I know the "industry standard" is 3 months. I have no idea how it got there but it's stupid and detrimental. I have some theories: implicit collusion between you and the test prep companies that charge you $1,000+ for an LSAT Course. They, of course, want to maximize profits and therefore will run the shortest class acceptable. You hate the LSAT so you'll readily accept a prescription of 3 months (or fewer! yay!) as "appropriate" for the amount of time to train. It's collusion and you're the victim.
But that's not important, is it? The important thing is that you plan to spend way more than 3 months training. A year is reasonable. Look at it rationally. Which is weighed more heavily in law school admissions, GPA or LSAT? LSAT. Duh! Yet, you spend 4 years on your GPA but, what, only 3 months on the LSAT? How the hell does that make any sense? Do you even know how important the LSAT is? It makes or breaks your application. End of story. If I'm telling you that you need to spend a year, only a year, to realize your maximum potential on the LSAT, you should be thinking this is a fucking bargain. Because it is. You're getting a great deal. And I haven't even counted the tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships.
The LSAT is a test of skills. Your skills in parsing difficult grammar. Your skills in conditional logic. Your skills in causation logic. Your skills in argument evaluation. These skill, like all skills, require time to take root and grow. You have to actively cultivate these skills. You have to train. A necessary ingredient is time. There is simply no substitute. You need time.
2. You're wasting irreplaceable LSAT Prep Tests
This second mistake causes irreparable harm.
You have to realize that there are a finite number of Official LSAT Prep Tests (PTs). (You're not a moron so you must know that you are to avoid fake LSAT questions like the plague.) To date, there are around 70. That's it. If you exhaust all of those PTs, you're pretty much done. You have nothing left to train with.
This is because the one thing you have to do over and over and over and over and over again is to take timed, proctored, full length PTs and then Blind Review. Performance on a new, recent PT, under conditions of stress and strict timing. That's why it's so important not to spoil recent PTs.
Of course, you do have to learn the fundamentals somehow so you have to sacrifice some PTs for that. But, not the recent ones!
Here's how we do it.
We only pull LSAT questions from pre-PT 36 to use for the curriculum and problem sets. Every PT starting from 36 and above are kept pristine for you to take under timed conditions.
3. You're setting an unrealistic schedule
Don't be naive.
Seriously, take a good look at your ability to handle responsibilities and commit. Back in college, at the beginning of every semester I'd load up on classes thinking this is it. This is the semester that I turn my life around. I will be awesome and responsible and blah blah blah and 3 weeks in I watch ALL the episodes of The Wire in 5 days and shit I missed all my classes. But, hey, I went out and had the BEST TIME OF MY LIFE or whatever shreds of the 36 hour binge drinking marathon that I could recall anyway. And all my heroic, naive promises to myself just look stupid.
Sound familiar? Look, if that's you, that's fine. Just don't expect the LSAT to change you. That shit takes a long time. What's faster is recognizing, embracing, and planning around your limitations. That's called "wisdom".
Don't be like me: "I GOT THIS. I WILL STUDY 30 HOURS A DAY. SLEEP IS FOR LOSERS." No, moron, there's only 24 hours in a day and you need to be not conscious for 7 of those hours. You also need a realistic study schedule. If you're in school. It's very, very hard to study for the LSAT. Plan on something light, like 4 hours a week. Same if you're working full time. Study first thing in the morning, not last thing after all your other things of the day. Draw out your LSAT schedule to a year.
If you are studying full time, still don't study more than 30 hours a week. You simply need to give these ideas time to take root and grow. You also need time to relax. Go on a date. (You're studying for the LSAT, you're obviously single or will be very soon.) Go for a jog. Go on a date with your computer. Go see a movie. Stare at the moon. Get away from the LSAT. Burnout is a real phenomenon and you don't want to be anywhere near it.
Ideally, a wise student who avoids all three mistakes sets out a year long LSAT study schedule, begins with learning the fundamentals (e.g., logic, grammar, causation, argumentation, the scientific method). Then, she practices them on problem sets from pre-PT 35. Then, after some months of doing that, she starts to take timed, proctored full length PTs and Blind Reviews.
Slow and steady. That's the way to go.
Studying for the LSAT can be demoralizing at times. I’ve been there myself and I know how much that sucks.
I also know that when it gets you down. The most important thing you need is a supportive community who also understands what you’re going through.
Over 1,000 students and teachers gather in the 7Sage LSAT Forums to discuss everything related to the LSAT and law school. From explanations to specific questions that you don’t understand, to finding an LSAT study buddy, you can find all the help and support you need.
If you’re doing well on the test, the forum is a great place for you to be a teacher and a leader. Help out others who don’t understand the LSAT as well as you do and improve your own understanding at the same time. After all, as Aristotle said, teaching is the highest form of understanding.
Let’s beat the LSAT together!
Practice LSATs can be a gold mine of valuable data on *exactly* what you need to work on to improve. Unfortunately, most students don't know how to take advantage of this.
That's why we made the most powerful LSAT grader available anywhere. It will let you drill into your answers to figure out exactly what you did wrong, and what you need to work on. You can analyze your performance with pretty charts, question and section difficulty ratings, and question type analysis.
Took a prep test recently? Enter your answers into our free grader. Try keyboard entry, it's a really fast way to enter your scores. Just use the 1-5 keys to enter your answers, and ~ to input blind review.
Most people take practice LSATs wrong. I see it all the time, and it sucks because it comes back to bite them in the ass on test day. I don't want that to happen to you!
The key to practicing LSATs is to simulate the real testing environment as closely as possible. That way, test day is just like another practice test. How do you do this?
First, gear up with exactly what you are allowed to use on test date:
LSAT printed on paper. Never take an LSAT displayed from a screen of any kind.
No. 2 pencil, eraser and sharpener. Never use a mechanical pencil, pen, marker etc.
Analog wristwatch. Never use a digital timer - you need to get used to your watch. If you don't have one yet, use the one in our LSAT Proctor App until you get one.
Secondly, set the mood with the right test environment
Find your test location and practice in a similar place. If you can, practice in the actual test location.
You will test in the early morning (unless you are taking the June LSAT, when it is in the early afternoon). Take your tests at that time.
Lastly, listen to the real test instructions with appropriate background noises.
This is easy - just download the free LSAT Proctor App in less than 30 seconds (Android app is coming soon)
Use the app when you practice. The app includes real proctoring instructions, realistic background sounds and a virtual analog watch.
That's it! Now that you know how to take LSATs the *right* way, get the app and take an LSAT Prep Test right now.
It's very important that you print your PrepTests correctly. If you don't, you're denying yourself the opportunity to get comfortable with the actual layout of the test.
Here are the simple steps to follow:
1. Scroll to the first page of Section 1 of your PrepTest.
2. Scroll back 1 page so you're on the page before the first page of Section 1.
3. Start printing on that page.
This way, whether you print single sided or double sided, you'll get the correct layout. An added bonus is that you are NOT printing the cover page which just wastes ink.
Reading Comprehension, for example, opens up like a book. Passage on the left hand side, (most of the) questions on the right hand side. No flipping the page back and forth to go from passage to questions or vice versa.
For most students reading comprehension is the hardest part of the LSAT to improve on. They feel that reading is a talent that you can't really improve. Or they may try just reading a lot to improve.
But you can improve! How? Use the 7Sage Memory Method.
The key to Reading Comprehension is not reading. It's comprehension! It doesn't matter how fast you tear through the passage unless you understand and remember what you read.
The Memory Method trains you to understand and retain the passage you read. This makes it easier to answer the questions. To learn the Memory Method, check out this quick video.
In just 10 minutes you can be ready to tackle reading comprehension. I know you can do it.
You already know that taking real LSATs is vital to improving your score. But properly reviewing the tests you take will really take your score to the next level.
First, let's look at how most people review. They take a timed test or section. When they finish, they flip to the answer key and rush to correct their work. "Yes, I'm right - I'm awesome!", or "Argh, I'm wrong - I suck!".
You probably review this way - I did when I started out. Heck, there were times when I flipped to the answers mid test. I just couldn't wait to check.
Unfortunately, this is an AWFUL way to review. Think about it - you don't really care if you were right. This isn't test day, so your points don't count. Some answers might just have been lucky guesses.
You really care whether your reasoning was right. And it's hard to check your reasoning if you check the answers first. Once you see that the answer is D, you'll invent reasons why D is obviously correct. I see students make up wrong reasons for right answers all the time.
The trick is to review questions before you check your answers. We call this Blind Review, and it's the best way to study. For details on how to do it, check out this video we made explaining how do Blind Review.
Underestimating your enemy is the biggest mistake you can make in a fight and nearly everyone underestimates how difficult the LSAT is.
Let’s avoid that blunder right now. The LSAT is hard. Really f*ng hard. Law school is even harder. If you already knew this, then you’re in better shape than the vast majority of prospective law students. High five! If you didn’t get a high five but want a high five, just reread this paragraph until you get one.
I will often remind you that this test is hard. This is simply to remind you that you need to study to do well. If the idea of taking a hard test that you need study for is very scary for you, you may want to rethink going to law school.
One last time: The LSAT is hard. Understood? Good, you just avoided the biggest mistake that LSAT newbies make.
And, you also happen to be half way done with your first LSAT lesson! Get a Free Account and finish the rest of it in less than one minute and be on your way to defeating the LSAT.