Thoughts/Advice on Studying Full-Time, Working Full-Time, or Working/Studying Part-Time

I've been studying off-and-on for the last 9 months with the 7Sage Ultimate + package (finished the CC), but now I'm ready to hunker down and put in about 15-20 hours of studying per week; however, I work full-time and I have no idea how long this will be sustainable for me as I've only been going at this pace for the last few weeks. My goal is to reach 165+ by June/September 2017 and recently a paralegal job at work has opened up that is only W-F, which would allow me a huge amount of additional study time. Before I apply for this job, does anyone who has scored in this range (PT or an administered test) have any insight about working full-time or part-time and how this has affected their test score? (Obviously more time is better, but I also have 7-11 months at 15-20 hours to fine-tune what I've already learned and PT.) Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated! Many thanks!


  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    @"Lauren L" you should be fine for Sept. I would say study 4 hrs a day and take 2 days off. You can tweak that however you'd like of course. I just need days that I do close to zero LSAT. What was your diagnostic? That'll give a better indication of the progress you have to make to reach your goal in Sept. Start PT and make sure to use the analytics so you can gain clarity on your problem areas. Make sure to do a thorough BR after each PT. Don't skimp on the BR. I promise you'll regret it. BR helps you see what you're doing wrong and why you're doing it wrong. Don't worry about the amount of PT you complete for now, just make sure you're doing a thorough BR. After your BR drill whatever was revealed for that test. I had to return to the curriculum so don't be afraid to stop what you're doing and go back for another round. I haven't been active in the BR calls but there are a bunch of folks on the calls that have awesome advice and I think just hearing other's perspectives is beneficial. I work full time and I'm sure several others here do as well. It's definitely possible. Just pace yourself. I think you're ok because you have ample time. You do not have to worry about cramming and trying to rush yourself to be prepared for Sept. You have plenty of time, just don't let that allow you to relax or slack too much. Finally, if you're not ready for Sept. just push the test back. Good luck! You've got this!
  • Stephanie57049Stephanie57049 Alum Member
    69 karma
    I have a 55 hour a week job and moved my original PT score from 150 to 162 in 3 months studying 10-15 hours a week. I kept thinking I could have got it higher if I would have studied more but I tried increasing the study time for 2 weeks and started getting burnt out. A part-time job would have been nice, but income is nice too.

    I always like to say it depends on people's life situations, how encouraging family and friends are, how social, etc. I would consider how much salary/benefit/experience would be lost. If you have the means to be part-time, it would of course help you reach a goal to get into your college of choice or obtain a good scholarship.
  • @tanes256 Thank you! I will be sure to BR everything - I've started doing it for LR, logic games, and RC and it has really helped my understanding and shown me if there is anything I'm missing. The slacking part was a concern for the last 9 months (I was going to take it in June, which turned into September, then December, and now here I am saying June/September 2017!), but I think I've now irritated myself with how much time I've already piddled away and I'm hoping that this difficult lesson won't go to waste over the next year or so.

    @Stephanie57049 Wow! A 55-hour per week job AND studying?! That is super human. I'll try to stick with the hours I've set out for myself for a few months to see whether it's helping or if going to a part-time job is completely necessary to reach my goal (I do really love my job and don't want to leave it unless it's to go to law school). The fact that you can cram so much productivity into your days leaves me with no excuses. :-)
  • bjphillips5bjphillips5 Alum Member
    1137 karma
    Hi @"Lauren L" ,
    While I studied, I worked both 50+ hour weeks and part time (20-35 hour weeks). Part time is the way to go to really improve. I could barely improve at all during my super full time and then some job. It was exhausting and I had zero time for anything else. Some people don't have the luxury of part time work and can make it work. But part-time made it much easier. I scored a 167 in September studying with a part time job. I felt like I was plateauing before I switched to a part time job. I think part-time makes the most sense, personally. Why not give yourself the best shot to do really well? (Well, other than really legit reasons like needing money and liking work.)
  • bjphillips5bjphillips5 Alum Member
    1137 karma
    Agree with @Stephanie57049 that it depends on your circumstances. But be super wary of burn out @"Lauren L" . It can really slow down and harm your studying progress.
  • @bjphillips5 Thank you for your advice and congrats on the 167! Burn out is definitely a worry I have in the back of my mind. I currently work 35 hours per week, so averaging two hours or so after work per day and then 5 hours each day on the weekend doesn't sound horrible right now, but who knows. I'll be sure to check in with myself to see if I'm headed down the burn out path. The good news is that I work for the county and part-time jobs like this come up all the time (I might even be able to swindle my supervisor into letting me work only 4 days per week). I really appreciate your insight. Looks like I have some tough decisions to make.
  • bjphillips5bjphillips5 Alum Member
    1137 karma
    @"Lauren L" Sounds like you have a really good frame of mind about it. :)

    And when it comes to Law School and the LSAT, it seems like everything is a tough decision! The only easy one is to go with 7Sage :)
  • @bjphillips5 Thanks! And it's true, 7Sage was an easy decision (especially after the let down that was PowerScore) and it is the gift that keeps on giving.
  • desire2learndesire2learn Member
    1171 karma
    I work full-time and am a father. I have been studying for 6 months and you can definitely do it. To battle burn-out just be willing to take breaks. Breaks are okay as long as they are the exception and not the rule. I think ultimately it depends on how motivated you are. As long as your motivation is high you will look forward to the preparation and be able to push through the ups and downs.
  • camcam Alum Member
    349 karma
    I work full time with a fairly unpredictable schedule (military musician), am completing undergrad via distance education, and am studying for the LSAT. My highest PT score so far 162. My target score for most of the schools on my list is 160-164. My target for my reach school(s) is 172.

    I feel like as long as you have a schedule/plan, you'll be AOK. Something that has helped me is to get at least an hour of studying in BEFORE work. Most days, it is closer to two hours completed before work. I still wake up at about the same time, but instead of messing around on Facebook, reading forums, etc, I immediately have my morning caffeine, take a shower/get ready, and then the only messing around I do is checking my email, once I have completed that, I open up this site and get to work.

    The biggest words of warning I have pertain to burn out. When work got crazy busy (14+hr days) mixed with finals week, I took that time off plus a few days from LSAT. I tried to barrel through during a different semester, and that lead to burn out. When your focus starts going away, when your PT scores start to drop, or you aren't feeling it, that could be a sign to take a few days off. Watch Netflix, go to the park, do anything besides sit with either the computer or a study book.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @"Lauren L" said:
    My goal is to reach 165+ by June/September 2017 and recently a paralegal job at work has opened up that is only W-F, which would allow me a huge amount of additional study time. Before I apply for this job, does anyone who has scored in this range (PT or an administered test) have any insight about working full-time or part-time and how this has affected their test score?
    I think it depends... Everyone is different as you know and how quickly we progress is going to affect whether or not working full-time and reaching that score is possible. What is your current PT average? If you are scoring a 140 vs scoring a 157 also matters too.

    I work full-time, somewhere around 50 hours a wee + commute time. I think studying while working full-time is totally doable with discipline. I get home, eat dinner, and study for 4-5 hours every night. I also study all day on Saturday. The time is there, but the problem is somedays I am so worn out after work that I don't get as good of a study session in as I would if I could prep during the day.

    My plan is so eventually take a leave of absence from my job sometime next year to give myself a few months before the test. This test is too important to not give it 100% , so if you can afford to cut your hours or do something like I plan to, I would suggest it. The money you will save by getting a high LSAT score from scholarships could easily be $100k+ Not to mention getting into a top law program that gives you great odds at a high paying job!

  • edited October 2016 524 karma
    @desire2learn Thank you for the advice and I like your perspective! It's motivating to hear that others are juggling the same or more than I am and are still able to make it work!

    @cam My parents were in a military band, too (the Marine Band)! That's where they met and, voila, here I am almost 29 years later. I like the idea about getting some study time in before work - I'll have to incorporate that into my study schedule as time allows. Sometimes just going over flashcards during a break at work even helps me stay focused. And I will definitely heed your words of warning about burn out. Thank you, and good luck in your LSAT endeavors!

    @"Alex Divine" I totally agree - everyone is different, it's just nice to see what others are juggling in their non-LSAT studying world to see how they are still able to make studying and good scores happen (or not happen). I haven't taken a PT in almost a year - it was my diagnostic test and, at the time, I didn't take it that seriously (I scored a whopping 144 and didn't guess on the last several questions I had left in each section #testtakingnewbie) because I was about to start a PowerScore class and I already knew that I had a lot to learn. Right now, I'm doing full timed sections for LR, LC, and logic games, and I'm seeing good improvement after I BR and go over parts of the CC where I was showing weakness. Thank you for your advice and I appreciate hearing what you're doing and what's working for you!
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @"Lauren L" :) It sounds like you are really motivated and that to me is the most important thing when studying this this test! I am confident you are going to kill it no matter what you decide! :)
  • @"Alex Divine" Aww thank you! And I know you will, too! Btw, I love reading your comments on the forum - they're very informative and motivating!
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @"Lauren L" said:
    Aww thank you! And I know you will, too! Btw, I love reading your comments on the forum - they're very informative and motivating!
    Awww well thank you! I'm glad you think so. Stay motivated yourself and no score will be out of reach!
  • forthewinwinforthewinwin Member
    117 karma

    I've had a similar issue. I am taking a 100% courseload, along with being self-employed and having to do so to pay the bills. I started studying for the LSAT in the beginning of October 2020; wrote the first one in November 2020. In October my diagnostic scores were in the low 140s. On the November LSAT, I scored 150 - though this before using 7Sage. I relied on Khan Academy, which proved to be inadequate for significant improvement beyond basics. Now my PTs are in the high 150s, though I am having much more difficulty breaking out of this range.

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