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Need advice for studying while working full time...

TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Alum Member
in General 1723 karma

I am giving the LSAT another go but I now have a full time job; I work 7:30-4:30 Mon-Fri. Any tips on studying while working full time? I've heard weekends are where you hit it hard.


  • BlindReviewerBlindReviewer Alum Member
    855 karma

    I'm also working full time but my work starts a bit later than your situation, so I can afford to study a good amount in the morning (which is more optimal than studying after work, which I used to do, just because you're not tired from work yet). So if you can wake up really early, then that might be best, but otherwise you do have quite a bit of time after work if you get off at 4:30.

    The most important thing is to develop habits where you say okay it's 7pm, time to study from now until whatever time. And also I've found that a really important thing is just to give yourself some off-days (mine are on Friday evenings). You can hit it hard on weekends, but I just take a PT on Saturday and then review a section or two on Sunday. I think the main thing is to keep yourself from burning out, and I've found that this can happen more from just your overall life (full-time job plus studying for the LSAT is no joke) and to take it slow and steady rather than trying to do it all at once.

    Feel free to PM if you have any other specific questions about developing a routine! Best of luck.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Alum Member
    1723 karma

    @BlindReviewer Thanks! Yeah, I am going to have to study after work for sure! The habits are what I'm going to try to have to figure out. How much do you get done during the week? 2 hours per/day?

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma

    When I had a similar work schedule I managed to study from 5/6pm-9/10pm for a few months daily and took one week day off. I would drill a few sections and PT and BR on weekends. When I got a diff job which ended up with me getting home at 6-7pm I would study at least 40 min during my lunch break, 2-3 hours after work, and on occasion 1-2 hours before work.

  • Pride Only HurtsPride Only Hurts Alum Member
    2186 karma

    I'm lucky enough to have a pretty flexible job in that I can come to work early and put in two hours of fool-proofing before most emails start coming in. I also do an RC passage during lunch. So by the time I'm off work I've touched LG and RC. Which leaves me plenty of time to tackle LR at home.

  • BlindReviewerBlindReviewer Alum Member
    855 karma

    @akeegs92 I can get in about 1.5-2 hours before work and then after work I try to get in about 2 hours but I seriously need to work on the quality of that time haha (often distracted / doing other things so the actual study time may be less).

  • edited January 2019 71 karma

    I work a similar schedule as you @akeegs92 and I do most of my studying after work. I dont like studying in the am and use that time to hit the gym. Below is my schedule (prepping for June/Julu 2019)

    Sunday 6p-9p or any 3hr session depending on the weekend. I use the evening as a prep for the week
    Monday-Thursday 6:00pm-9:00pm
    Friday and Saturday OFF

    *as i get closer to the lsat I will start studying on those days as well and increase overall study time. But I am trying to be mindful of burnout and knowing that I am going to be putting the more hours as the LSAT date approaches.

    For my actual study sessions I do 3x 1 hr sessions with a 10min break every hour to get up and clear my head before diving back in.

    Hope this helps.

  • gkoskigkoski Alum Member
    106 karma

    I can relate as I work full-time, have two kids, and my husband works a rotating shift schedule. Like many others, I find that carving out two or three hours during your work week can be possible. If you audio record your notes (I do using an app), I use my commute time for that. Lunch time can be used for studying. I used half of my lunch to drill and the other to do something completely mindless.

    Also when my kids are doing homework or playing well, I’ll fit in some drills. When I have a weekend free, I’ll always dedicate the morning to studying, then dedicate the rest of the day (usually after 12p) to my family or to myself.

    The biggest mind shift for me is thinking of my week as 168 hours and plugging in study time in creative ways. Often I’ll challenge myself and ask what can I be doing that’s productive and will help me.

    It’s definitely possible, and I’ve learned that it helps to be flexible and creative with your time.

    Good luck!

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Alum Member
    edited January 2019 1723 karma

    @oshun1 @"Pride Only Hurts" @BlindReviewer @BigBobsBeepers @gkoski Thank you all for your responses! Sorry I couldn't get back quicker! Y'all have given me quite a few great ideas! I think I definitely will be studying after work for sure. How long will depend on traffic/finding a good study spot. My job is located in one of the worst traffic spots in the city haha. I just want to make sure I can reach my goals by June/July. This will be round 3+ for me so I'm no spring chicken which I think will help. Thanks again for the help!!!

  • kpj744___kpj744___ Alum Member
    edited January 2019 231 karma

    @akeegs92 , could you study right after work and skip the commute? I used to have a long commute, and sometimes just staying where I was for an hour or two (plus, then the office is quiet!) would mean I wouldn't be wasting precious (not-as-tired) study time in traffic. Just a thought!

  • BlindReviewerBlindReviewer Alum Member
    855 karma

    One thing to add to this is that the time you spend studying will depend on what stage you're at in your prep. If you're in the core curriculum and early phase of getting used to question types and developing baseline familiarity, then you can really discipline yourself to get through X number of questions or do X sections per day. But if you're in the mid to upper 160s and trying to break into the 170s, then the progress will feel a bit abstract. That is, it's harder to set concrete goals for your study time because it's a lot more about recognizing the knowledge you need to acquire and actually acquiring it.

    At the same time, if you can develop drills to target your weak spots then that will be a concrete way to measure your study time. And, as always, I try to spend a block of time foolproofing games just because that requires less conceptual development and more just the act of doing it.

    This is all just in response to an implied sentiment here, that when you work full time your time available to study can feel really precious, and the way you take advantage of that time varies depending on where you are progress-wise!

  • mrowley91mrowley91 Alum Member
    203 karma

    @akeegs92 you are not alone! I am in a similar boat, although, I have a little more time in the morning prior to work. I usually use a little time in the morning to go through a question set or two, and then try to get two hours in Mon-Wed. I like to give myself a break mid week, so I usually take Thursday and Friday off, and then hit it hard for a 3-4 hour session Saturday and Sunday mornings. I think the key is to just figure out what works best for your schedule, and hold yourself to it as best as possible. I've also found that it is key to not be too hard on yourself. If you work late one day, have a ton of errands to run, etc., I've found it's better to take the day off because if you try to crunch in the studying when you have a never ending list of to-dos in your personal life, the quality of your studying is going to be sub-par. When that happens to me, I try to make up the time before work or on the weekends. Good luck!

  • dansykes94dansykes94 Core Member
    112 karma

    I found it really tough. I have a demanding job and I was too tired every day to study. My weekends felt precious and I did not have the motivation to study during MOST weekends.

    I studied during my annual leave. I work for the public sector so they are pretty generous with it. I worked for 6 months without any sick days/annual leave and then booked 21st December - 25th January off and devoted all that time to the LSAT.

    I study 12 hours a day so its brutal but by the time I write the exam in a couple weeks I'll have clocked 300-400 hours. It's not totally efficient, by far, but it's working well for me. I'm 20 points above diagnostic. I need to master LG but they are pretty quick to learn so I'm feeling good.

  • Kaylee HKaylee H Alum Member
    66 karma

    I have been studying on and off for a few year while working full time trying to find the best method. I took significant time off between study periods due to the stress of balancing work and life with studying. I just picked it back up again after taking 8 months off.

    The thing I've noticed is MOST important is making sure you take enough time off to really take care of your own needs. It is crucial to make time for social activities and fun. It is so easy to get stuck in this rut when you are working full time where you don't feel you have a significant amount of down time and have to devote it all to studying. The last time I studied (ending in May), I had been feeling unproductive during my study sessions due to burnout, which would lead me to feel guilty and refuse to take any time away for fun, which led to more burnout and more guilt, and the cycle continued. So after taking some much needed time away, I've come up with a method where I've created a schedule for myself, including for personal time. My rule is that I HAVE to devote at least some time to the scheduled activity, even if it's only 30 minutes, that way I won't feel guilty or give myself an excuse to fall out of my schedule. I've even devoted one of the days as a trade day, so that if I'm absolutely unable to do my studying on a scheduled day, I have a day to trade it with. I'll give you mine as an example:

    Sun - gym
    Mon - study
    Tues - gym
    Wed - Day off / Available for trading with another scheduled day
    Thurs - study
    Fri - Gym
    Sat - Day off!

    I hope my trial and error helps someone, and good luck! Don't be like me and push yourself so hard you need to take years off haha.

  • tristan.locke1tristan.locke1 Alum Member
    100 karma

    I think the best thing to keep in mind is that you should consider delaying taking the lsat if you don’t think you’ll have enough time to prep. When I took the lsat for the first time, I thought that I would be able to prepare over about 4 months. For me, 9 months was just more realistic given that was working full time. I budgeted more time to prepare this cycle and it’s well worth it!

  • lawgikallawgikal Core Member
    108 karma

    @akeegs92, I have a similar schedule (8am-4pm). I get home around 5pm. I do have a bit of a commute, so I also listen to my recorded notes or LSAT/law school/motivational podcasts when driving home. Then, I relax for a bit, have dinner, and etc. I study from 7-10pm. I've been on and off from studying; so, I'm just getting back into it and would really echo @"Kaylee H" in that it is best to be aware of what your needs are and what other things you need to get done. Be realistic about how much time you have to work with and how much energy you have.

    Here is the schedule I am working with (maybe it will help):

    -Mon: work, study @ 7pm
    -Tue: work, study @ 7pm
    -Wed: work, gym right after work, misc (NO LSAT)
    -Thu: work, study @ 7pm
    -Fri: work, prep for mock on Sat/relax

    -Sat*: mock @ 9am, gym right after, misc for the rest of the day, go out
    -Sun: BR, gym

    *I usually miss one mock weekend every month.

  • carlos.raiz23carlos.raiz23 Alum Member
    195 karma

    In my experience as someone who works full time as a paralegal and is studying to take the LSAT, which means that I usually come home mentally exhausted every other day and I don't even want to read anything else, it is important that you give yourself as much time as possible to prepare for this exam. I would say if you can at least 1 year. Considering that there are people who are able to study full time and don't need to work, I believe they can prepare fully within 6-7 months. Again, this is just my opinion. But please make sure you give yourself enough realistic time to prepare.

  • 771 karma


    Just read this and I feel it applies to me a lot. I work 20 + hours a week teaching and then doing a full time masters + married LOL, so yeah...

    Here are my thoughts as a teacher who specializes in curriculum designing:
    1) I think the LSAT is best to be studied part-time b/c a lot of the learning requires behavior changes, etc. - which takes your body/mind a long time to adjust to

    2) foundations - foundations - foundations: i had started studying this exam the WRONG way, through another company. However - if this is your second time, master your foundations (like really well) and then move to PTs etc .

    3) Commitment and your desire to want it: every weight loss program looks good and affordable - people show how much they lost over a few months..etc. Similarly, most LSAT programs are the same - but what they forget to highlight (i think the forum really does a good job of this here at 7sage) is ones desire and commitment to excel in this exam + an obsession to kill it is so needed. committment is tough and consistency is tough - it took me a long time to change it but it was only due to my obsession of destroying this exam and the happiness that I will receive at the end thats helping me with this.

    hope this helps

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Alum Member
    1723 karma

    Wow! Thank you @kpj744___ @BlindReviewer @rowleyml @dansykes94 @"Kaylee H" @"tristan.locke1" @lawgikal @"carlos.raiz23" @Trusttheprocess for all of the amazing advice!! I think y'all's are about in line with what I was thinking. I need to shake the rust off but I'm thinking 1-2 hours a night during the week and hit harder on the weekends/do PT's when its time. I've been on 7sage for a few years and have taken the LSAT twice so I won't be starting from scratch per se. I definitely agree I will have a break day! Can't make myself go insane with a full time job to balance. Really appreciate all the great post!!!

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