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Q&A With Sages LSATcantwin & Cant Get Right on how 2B successful while Working Full Time & Studying

tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
in General 3679 karma

Hello everyone!

A couple weeks ago I posted a discussion and many people thought it would be a great idea to have a thread dedicated to helpful tips for those who have to balance working full-time with their study routine. Well here's the thread! I've tapped @"Cant Get Right" and @LSATcantwin, two Sages who worked full time while studying and still managed to score 170+ on the LSAT, to give us some helpful tips on what we can do to beat this test all while working 40+ hour weeks, taking care of families, running errands and all around keeping our lives afloat. Below are their answers in a Q&A Format, and I gotta say, it's some GREAT advice. So if you're feeling overwhelmed with work and study, definitely take a few minutes to read. I've also included the recording from @"Accounts Playable" 's AMA from 1/8/18 below. Starting at ~42 min he gives some awesome tips to those who go to school full time and are studying as well. Happy Reading + Happy Studying!


Q&A with @LSATcantwin

Score Range

Diagnostic: 151, Attempt 1: 157, Attempt 2: 163; Attempt 3, 171

Length of study time

Year and a half (May 2016 - Dec 2017). From May 2017 until October 2017 I studied about 20 hours a week.

What successful study habits did you incorporate into your routine while working full time?

Lunch became dedicated LSAT time. It was an extra hour I got to throw into the mix each day. I would eat and review questions or do LG. Half my commute was spent on public trans, I would do LG or study LR on the train as well.

What was your ideal study schedule and how did that help you reach your goal score?

Monday - Friday; Get to work an hour early and study. Study during my hour lunch break, study 2 hours or so at night when I got home. (4 hours or so a day) (2 hours at night included blind review of my Sat PT); Saturday; Timed PT; Sunday; rest.

How did you find the time to juggle work with studying?

Basically just took any "free time" I could find and dedicated it to LSAT.

What concrete tips can you give those who are struggling working full time while studying part time?

Burnout is real and it isn't only the LSAT that can cause it. Remember to give yourself breaks, down time and sleep. Don't compare yourself to other people studying. Lots of people are going to be studying full time or only working part time. They might make faster progress than you, but you'll still make progress I promise. Time management is key. With 40 hours a week dedicated to our job free time is hard to come by. It is even more limited when you have other responsibility to worry about (children, dishes, cooking, cleaning, friends, family...) I gave up running and working out for more time. Because I love cheese I gained about 20lbs over the year and a half....Time to start running again! haha! Remember to be as open as you can with your employer/family/friends. I sent a massive text to all my friends explaining my situation. I apologized and told them I was not ignoring them or blowing them off. I made it clear that my goal was T-14 and I was working my butt off to get there. My friends understood and did not hold it against me. I did much the same with my family.

What were some mistakes you learned during your study process?

Don't do things that are unnatural for you. I tried waking up before work (at 4am) to study more. My body hated this, and in turn, I got nothing out of those hours of studying before work. Don't try and break yourself. Slow and steady will win the race. Don't be afraid to take extra time to study. Working full time will slow us down. Don't create a timeline. The LSAT isn't going anywhere, so make sure you are getting the score you want before you take the plunge.

Any other tips for success?

If you can't teach something to someone else, you probably don't understand it yourself. During my studying I spent a TON of time on 7Sage. My favorite posts were specific to questions. I would open them immediately and try and type out an answer that explained the question. In so doing I was able to spot many weaknesses because sometimes I couldn't explain why the right answer was correct. Other times I'd be able to explain it with relative ease and these were questions I knew I understood.


Q&A with @"Cant Get Right"

Score Range

Diagnostic: high 140's,
Officials: 163, 162, 170, 176

Length of study time

Two years+ (Summer 2015 - Sept 2017).

What successful study habits did you incorporate into your routine while working full time?

I set a very low daily minimum study time--one hour most days. One hour is manageable on the worst of days, and so it always got me started which was frequently the hardest part. I enjoyed studying and so I often found myself engaged and wanting to continue. Other days, I didn't. On those days, I fulfilled my minimum daily requirement and allowed myself to leave it at that without guilt. Studying for the LSAT requires high energy, and when the energy isn't there the returns on study time are going to be miniscule. Recharging and managing your energy is essential. In all seriousness, I learned to view taking one night off a week to eat pizza and catch up on TV as an essential part of my study routine.

What was your ideal study schedule and how did that help you reach your goal score?

Morning before work was always best. After work, there was very low chance of having the energy to study at a high level. I began going to bed earlier and earlier in order to create more and more study time before work. This allowed me to, in at least some small way, prioritize LSAT over work. Work took more of my time, but LSAT got me at my freshest.

How did you find the time to juggle work with studying?

Strict scheduling. Time management must be done proactively which was not something I was really used to. For the first time, I made a google calendar and began chopping my days into blocks. I accounted for as much as I could. Work went down first. Then sleep. Then LSAT. Then everything else. And the everything else is really important, so you have to leave space for it. I tried to be ambitious at first and devote every waking hour away from work to LSAT and that burned me out real fast. Flexibility is also important. Sometimes you just need to take a week off when you just can't stand to look at the test anymore. One time, I was taking a PT on my day off and I had a total meltdown. You can't let it get to that point.

What were some mistakes you learned during your study process?

I didn't adjust my timeline to my reality. I thought I could work full time and conquer the LSAT on the side in only a few months. This is a mistake many people make, but I think it's particularly destructive for those of us who work. My best score while still working was a 163. I came a long way in that time and that was a score that would open a world of possibilities to me. I had enough savings to leave my job and study full time, so I acknowledge that my advances after that are perhaps of questionable value for those who aren't able to quit work. However, I do think it's worth acknowledging that most of the mistakes I made were not corrected until after leaving my job, and leaving my job was not a part of those corrections. I didn't even find 7Sage until after I quit working. Looking back on it, I realize that it is much more important to study correctly than to study full time. It just takes longer. Had I continued working but made the same shift in my mentality, I am positive I would have been successful. On the other hand, I could have studied full time for a decade without changing my mentality, and I know I would have never improved.

Any other tips for success?

Seek understanding rather than a score--understanding of logic, understanding of language, understanding of testing strategy, understanding of every component of taking the LSAT. If you achieve a higher level of understanding, a higher score will follow. If you chase a score, you will always be trying to push beyond your understanding rather than advancing it.


AMA with 7Sager @"Accounts Playable" 1/8/18

Comments

  • J.CHRIS.ALSTJ.CHRIS.ALST Alum Member
    edited January 2018 394 karma

    Gosh, I feel this post on another level. For awhile (5.5 months) I was working two jobs: a legal assistant job and a serving job. It was exhausting to find time to study. I was lucky to accomplish 10 or 11 hours of studying a week. While I was seeing improvement in LR, the gains were very slow. So, after I made enough money to build up some savings/security I decided to quit my serving job, as the return of investment will be much higher if I kill this test, as opposed to continuing to make money as a server and consequently achieving merely an "okay" score on the test. Now, I'm getting up to 20 hours of studying a week and feeling a lot better about myself as a result!

    Definitely "favoriting" this thread for when I need a pick-me-up.

    And, I will say, though... my apartment isn't as clean as I'd like it to be because of this test! haha

  • 170ORBUST9192170ORBUST9192 Alum Member
    65 karma

    @LSATcantwin - great post here and thanks again for the AMA on 02/03/18.

    I had a question regarding your statement on openness, specifically " Remember to be as open as you can with your employer..." - You were open with your employer that you were studying for the LSAT/applying to law school? How'd you swing that openness?

    The conventional advice I've been given is to not share that info with your employer as it shows you to be a "flight risk" (although, I am currently in a PT job as a securities paralegal and the peace of mind I feel with having been very open with them I want to start law school in August 2019 is palpable).

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    2134 karma

    @170ORBUST9192 said:
    @LSATcantwin - great post here and thanks again for the AMA on 02/03/18.

    I had a question regarding your statement on openness, specifically " Remember to be as open as you can with your employer..." - You were open with your employer that you were studying for the LSAT/applying to law school? How'd you swing that openness?

    The conventional advice I've been given is to not share that info with your employer as it shows you to be a "flight risk" (although, I am currently in a PT job as a securities paralegal and the peace of mind I feel with having been very open with them I want to start law school in August 2019 is palpable).

    If I can provide my experience - I regret not being open with my employer. By the time I finally told him about my plans I think he was hurt that I hadn't told him about it initially. This put a strain on a very good working relationship. If I could do it again I would have told my boss my plans from the beginning and I think things would have worked out better. I have to say though that my boss and I had a very good working relationship and we were almost like friends. Its also a small company. Perhaps this advice would not be the same for a bigger company where the boss is really the boss and not a friend.

  • 170ORBUST9192170ORBUST9192 Alum Member
    65 karma

    @LCMama2017 said:

    @170ORBUST9192 said:
    @LSATcantwin - great post here and thanks again for the AMA on 02/03/18.

    I had a question regarding your statement on openness, specifically " Remember to be as open as you can with your employer..." - You were open with your employer that you were studying for the LSAT/applying to law school? How'd you swing that openness?

    The conventional advice I've been given is to not share that info with your employer as it shows you to be a "flight risk" (although, I am currently in a PT job as a securities paralegal and the peace of mind I feel with having been very open with them I want to start law school in August 2019 is palpable).

    If I can provide my experience - I regret not being open with my employer. By the time I finally told him about my plans I think he was hurt that I hadn't told him about it initially. This put a strain on a very good working relationship. If I could do it again I would have told my boss my plans from the beginning and I think things would have worked out better. I have to say though that my boss and I had a very good working relationship and we were almost like friends. Its also a small company. Perhaps this advice would not be the same for a bigger company where the boss is really the boss and not a friend.

    @LCMama2017 said:

    @170ORBUST9192 said:
    @LSATcantwin - great post here and thanks again for the AMA on 02/03/18.

    I had a question regarding your statement on openness, specifically " Remember to be as open as you can with your employer..." - You were open with your employer that you were studying for the LSAT/applying to law school? How'd you swing that openness?

    The conventional advice I've been given is to not share that info with your employer as it shows you to be a "flight risk" (although, I am currently in a PT job as a securities paralegal and the peace of mind I feel with having been very open with them I want to start law school in August 2019 is palpable).

    If I can provide my experience - I regret not being open with my employer. By the time I finally told him about my plans I think he was hurt that I hadn't told him about it initially. This put a strain on a very good working relationship. If I could do it again I would have told my boss my plans from the beginning and I think things would have worked out better. I have to say though that my boss and I had a very good working relationship and we were almost like friends. Its also a small company. Perhaps this advice would not be the same for a bigger company where the boss is really the boss and not a friend.

    Have to play devil’s advocate - I think he was “hurt” because he/the company was investing in you with the expectation you’d be around for the long haul, not that you see this as a “stepping stone.” Had you told him from the beginning he likely wouldn’t have hired you.

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    2134 karma

    @170ORBUST9192 said:
    Have to play devil’s advocate - I think he was “hurt” because he/the company was investing in you with the expectation you’d be around for the long haul, not that you see this as a “stepping stone.” Had you told him from the beginning he likely wouldn’t have hired you.

    Ha! You make a good point.

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