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Is it too late to start studying for this upcoming cycle?

kalietakalieta Alum Member
edited September 2021 in Law School Admissions 12 karma

Hi everyone,

I am interested in applying this cycle (Fall 2022) but not sure if it's too late already to do so? I am just getting started with studying for the LSAT. I work full time (40+ hours a week), and really have free time to study on weekends (Fridays included). Do you think I can still make the cut? Or should I just take my time and plan for next cycle? If you think this cycle is still realistically feasible - when would you recommend I take my LSAT(s)? I think November might be too close.

Thank you for any advice!

Comments

  • HopefullyHLSHopefullyHLS Monthly Member
    445 karma

    What is your target score? This is the most important question to answer first.

  • MisssACBMisssACB Alum Member
    22 karma

    Depending on the score you want, where you're currently scoring and the schools you want to apply to. January would be the last date to take it for any school whose due date is in February. Other schools have March deadline and some schools have deadlines later into the spring/summer until late July. Taking It in January will give u 3.5 months to study, which is a decent amount of time.

  • kaydee_qskaydee_qs Monthly Member
    18 karma

    Hopefully this will give you some perspective -
    I started studying in August and am testing in November with January for a backup date. I work full time as well and study 2+ hours every week night and 4+ hours every Saturday and Sunday. I'm scoring just below where I want to be right now and need to improve at least 4 points to be at my minimum.

    You will be rushed in the application process if you test in January but if you can mentally prepare yourself, you can totally do it. I would just be aware that you might have to push back a year if you don't get the score you need in January and, even if you do, your chosen schools might be close to capacity.

    It's a risk but depending on your diagnostic score, goal score, and time management skills, you could make it work. Doesn't hurt to start studying now for next cycle anyway.

  • CashhhyyyCashhhyyy Monthly Member
    580 karma

    Hi :)
    This is just my advice because I know everyone is different and no one can really tell you if “you have enough time” or “not”. So don’t let anyone intimidate you out of attempting this cycle! Three questions to ask yourself

    1. How fast do I retain information?
    2. How many hours per week can I study? 25+ would be good if you’re trying to do this cycle. Leaves you around 300 hours of studying for January. Research shows if you study between 240-300 hours over a few month period you’ll be good.
      (If you work full-time, it’s extremely hard BUT NOT POSSIBLE)
      JY study plan has a lot of hours because of the sets. At times, a sections can have like 11 sets and that takes 11 hours/12 hour section. I’ve seen in the comments that people don’t do all of them because they feel as if they are ready to move on.
    3. Do I have the time to study for the LSAT, get my resume together, letters of recommendation, personal statements/other statements, transcripts (they can take up to two weeks, DO ASAP) and such? Yes it’s possible. I want to say I was able to do these in a few weeks.

    My advice is be realistic with yourself. Before I began studying for the LSAT, I googled this question too and some people were a little negative that I HAD to study for like 6 months+ but in reality many people study for 2-3 months straight and do great.

  • McBeck418McBeck418 Alum Member
    500 karma

    This is very goal dependent. Is it possible, sure. Is it realistic, maybe. Is it the best thing to do, I don't really think so.

    It will depend on how competitive the programme you pick is, how quickly you learn information, and how well you can put that information into use. While you don't have to study for any particular amount of time, the higher you want to score, the more work you will have to put in at diminishing returns. It's much easier to jump from a 150 to a 164 than it is to move from a 164 into the 170s (in my opinion). How long it takes you to enter your target range and stay there can't really be determined up front, but I think we tend to overestimate what we can do and underestimate the amount of time it takes.

    My personal opinion is that if you haven't already gotten the administrative portion of the application done ( the personal statement, resume, letters of reference, etc.) then wait until next cycle. Use the time to prepare those materials and work on getting a strong LSAT because even if you're not applying to the most competitive schools, it will still help you get scholarship money. If you don't have to stress yourself out over LSAT deadlines (on top of working a full time job and handling other responsibilities) and you can sustain yourself financially for the next year (it seems like you can) then I wouldn't add an unnecessary deadline that may stress you out and impact your ability to actually learn the test..

  • annaemurphy279annaemurphy279 Monthly Member
    edited September 2021 99 karma

    Hi,
    I agree with what people said above, that is depends essentially on who you are and how fast you can retain information, and how disciplined you are with your time. And although technically it is possible to pull it off, in my personal experience and that of my friends who have gone through this process, you would be doing yourself a disservice trying to accomplish this in such a short amount of time. Studying for the LSAT alone is a challenge, and becoming fluent in the ways of the exam takes a lot of practice and in turn a lot of time. I work full-time and I can tell you that you'll need more than a few weekends. The only reason I'm able to work full-time and study for the LSAT is because I have a lot of downtime at my job and I am able to do problem sets pretty consistently throughout the day. Not to mention I had my first exposure to the LSAT about two years ago, so it wasn't completely foreign to me when I started to buckle down. Furthermore, if you are a person of modest financial means, you will need not just a score good enough to get accepted into a school, but a score high enough that will result in some kind of scholarship. The higher the score the more likely you'll get money, and the higher the score the more money you may be awarded. I think someone above also mentioned the personal statement, and perhaps you could produce a high quality piece in a small amount of time. When it comes to the personal statement, unless you already have a good narrative in mind, and can easily produce high quality work, this too will take time. You want it to be flawless, to a degree it is your buffer if your LSAT/GPA are nothing special. Point being, all of these things take time, and they are incredibly stressful to manage for even the most confident applicants. If there isn't an intense need to start law school next fall, you should really consider waiting until next cycle. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors, and good luck!

  • 43 karma

    Start studying now. That way when you decide to take your LSAT, you will get your baseline score and might even surprise yourself come test day like I did. Even if you don't get in for Fall 2022, you might want to get into Fall 2023. Just give it a 100% effort and let the cards fall where they may.

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @HopefullyHLS said:
    What is your target score? This is the most important question to answer first.

    I would like to score 166+

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @MisssACB said:
    Depending on the score you want, where you're currently scoring and the schools you want to apply to. January would be the last date to take it for any school whose due date is in February. Other schools have March deadline and some schools have deadlines later into the spring/summer until late July. Taking It in January will give u 3.5 months to study, which is a decent amount of time.

    Thank you!

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @kaydee_qs said:
    Hopefully this will give you some perspective -
    I started studying in August and am testing in November with January for a backup date. I work full time as well and study 2+ hours every week night and 4+ hours every Saturday and Sunday. I'm scoring just below where I want to be right now and need to improve at least 4 points to be at my minimum.

    You will be rushed in the application process if you test in January but if you can mentally prepare yourself, you can totally do it. I would just be aware that you might have to push back a year if you don't get the score you need in January and, even if you do, your chosen schools might be close to capacity.

    It's a risk but depending on your diagnostic score, goal score, and time management skills, you could make it work. Doesn't hurt to start studying now for next cycle anyway.

    That is awesome, thank you! May I ask how you combat fatigue after your work day? And you are right - it doesn't hurt to start studying for next cycle if anything!

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @Cashhhyyy said:
    Hi :)
    This is just my advice because I know everyone is different and no one can really tell you if “you have enough time” or “not”. So don’t let anyone intimidate you out of attempting this cycle! Three questions to ask yourself

    1. How fast do I retain information?
    2. How many hours per week can I study? 25+ would be good if you’re trying to do this cycle. Leaves you around 300 hours of studying for January. Research shows if you study between 240-300 hours over a few month period you’ll be good.
      (If you work full-time, it’s extremely hard BUT NOT POSSIBLE)
      JY study plan has a lot of hours because of the sets. At times, a sections can have like 11 sets and that takes 11 hours/12 hour section. I’ve seen in the comments that people don’t do all of them because they feel as if they are ready to move on.
    3. Do I have the time to study for the LSAT, get my resume together, letters of recommendation, personal statements/other statements, transcripts (they can take up to two weeks, DO ASAP) and such? Yes it’s possible. I want to say I was able to do these in a few weeks.

    My advice is be realistic with yourself. Before I began studying for the LSAT, I googled this question too and some people were a little negative that I HAD to study for like 6 months+ but in reality many people study for 2-3 months straight and do great.

    Thank you, girl! This gives me hope :smile: (and yes, the internet can be quite a negative place, but then there are people like you to make up for it!) To answer your questions:

    1) I retain pretty well the information learned, once I break it down to a language I understand.
    2) I will have to adjust some things, but I think 25h/week should be do-able. I just have to figure out how to fight end-of the day fatigue :smiley:
    3) I am not too worried about these items, as I already know whom to ask for my recommendation letters and I am not bad at personal statement writing (I love to write, and had to write one for my graduate program when I was applying). I will just need to plan to get them out of the way.

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @McBeck418 said:
    This is very goal dependent. Is it possible, sure. Is it realistic, maybe. Is it the best thing to do, I don't really think so.

    It will depend on how competitive the programme you pick is, how quickly you learn information, and how well you can put that information into use. While you don't have to study for any particular amount of time, the higher you want to score, the more work you will have to put in at diminishing returns. It's much easier to jump from a 150 to a 164 than it is to move from a 164 into the 170s (in my opinion). How long it takes you to enter your target range and stay there can't really be determined up front, but I think we tend to overestimate what we can do and underestimate the amount of time it takes.

    My personal opinion is that if you haven't already gotten the administrative portion of the application done ( the personal statement, resume, letters of reference, etc.) then wait until next cycle. Use the time to prepare those materials and work on getting a strong LSAT because even if you're not applying to the most competitive schools, it will still help you get scholarship money. If you don't have to stress yourself out over LSAT deadlines (on top of working a full time job and handling other responsibilities) and you can sustain yourself financially for the next year (it seems like you can) then I wouldn't add an unnecessary deadline that may stress you out and impact your ability to actually learn the test..

    That is actually great advice, so thank you! I have not done the administrative portion because I thought I need to first get the LSAT score out of the way, then apply. Do people typically do the reverse? meaning leave the LSAT for last on the to-do list? And yes, I don't mind waiting until next cycle but originally I was hoping to start this cycle.

  • kalietakalieta Alum Member
    12 karma

    @annaemurphy279 said:
    Hi,
    I agree with what people said above, that is depends essentially on who you are and how fast you can retain information, and how disciplined you are with your time. And although technically it is possible to pull it off, in my personal experience and that of my friends who have gone through this process, you would be doing yourself a disservice trying to accomplish this in such a short amount of time. Studying for the LSAT alone is a challenge, and becoming fluent in the ways of the exam takes a lot of practice and in turn a lot of time. I work full-time and I can tell you that you'll need more than a few weekends. The only reason I'm able to work full-time and study for the LSAT is because I have a lot of downtime at my job and I am able to do problem sets pretty consistently throughout the day. Not to mention I had my first exposure to the LSAT about two years ago, so it wasn't completely foreign to me when I started to buckle down. Furthermore, if you are a person of modest financial means, you will need not just a score good enough to get accepted into a school, but a score high enough that will result in some kind of scholarship. The higher the score the more likely you'll get money, and the higher the score the more money you may be awarded. I think someone above also mentioned the personal statement, and perhaps you could produce a high quality piece in a small amount of time. When it comes to the personal statement, unless you already have a good narrative in mind, and can easily produce high quality work, this too will take time. You want it to be flawless, to a degree it is your buffer if your LSAT/GPA are nothing special. Point being, all of these things take time, and they are incredibly stressful to manage for even the most confident applicants. If there isn't an intense need to start law school next fall, you should really consider waiting until next cycle. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors, and good luck!

    Thank you! I agree with you - I am not in a rush so I should probably take my time and make sure I get the high scores :smile: As for the personal statement, I do have a narrative in mind, and I am usually a good writer when it comes to those things (having written a few personal statements in the past). Of course it's better to give myself enough time to do well, so thank you! I think I know what to do now :smile:

  • kaydee_qskaydee_qs Monthly Member
    18 karma

    @kalieta Honestly, I didn't drink coffee before starting my law school journey and now I drink at least two cups a day - one in the morning, one before I study (if you're not a coffee fan, International Delight makes a great iced coffee that tastes like chocolate milk lol). I just push through; you're going to be tired but if this is something you want and you're passionate about, you have to push. I'm not going to lie and say that there aren't nights that I only study for an hour but I think what counts is that you're engaging your brain in something study related while understanding what works for you and that breaks are, of course, necessary.

    For example, I study from noon to about 4 or 5 pm most Saturdays so that I can still relax or go do something fun at night. For me, I need to be able to check out mentally on the weekends for a period of time because I don't have the luxury of quitting my job to study for a year. So I've scheduled my study and leisure time to still work with my fun stuff.

    You really just have to understand what you need. Be kind to yourself. A lot of law school applicants/students and lawyers get so cynical and act like they HAVE to be miserable constantly but you can grind and push and work hard and still take care of yourself and have fun.

  • LuxxTabooLuxxTaboo Monthly Member
    212 karma

    You definitely don't need that long to study if you grasp the information quickly and well. I would just do a ton of practice problems for the next few months and BR everything. I only studied for about 1 month, started at 130 and now I'm in the 150's. I have one more month left to study and in that month I know I will be able to hit at least low 160's. So in 2 months of studying I know I will have improved 30 points considering I improved 20 points in just one month.

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