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Advice for January

in General 296 karma

16high (Nov'21) --> ??? Jan'22

Looking for advice on prep/study time heading into the January exam. I took a break between the November test and when we got our results back, and then hit the ground running for the January exam. I am now spending about 12-18 hours a week right preparing, and try to get through at least 2 full timed sections in everyday (I alternate between all three pretty evenly) and then one or two practice tests a week on top of that. Heading into the November exam, I was doing almost 30 hours a week, and noticed my scores dipping in the few weeks heading into the exam. I also had a minor proctoring issue in one of the sections that cost me about 3 minutes of time.

I noticed a big jump in my scores from November - I was averaging 169/170 before that test, with a lot of outliers including a 165 and a 175, but now I'm averaging a 172, with a much tighter range of scores. Despite the improvement, I'm freaking myself out that I'm not preparing enough, since I'm doing less than half the amount of studying I was doing before the November exam. Part of me is wondering if maybe I burnt myself out before November. How are other January test takers preparing/managing their anxiety ahead of the test?


  • Facta Non VerbaFacta Non Verba Alum Member
    110 karma

    I was scoring in the 160s and then had a 157 and 158 back-to-back, this greatly demoralized me as a 161 was my goal score and I had begun consistently hitting that.

    Took a week break and hit a 164 so it was very obvious that I was burning out. In the next few weeks I'm just doing 2-4 hours of studying a day (averaging about 12-16 a week), which includes timed sections and drilling some of my weaker LR question types.

    I still aim for at least 1 PT a week but ideally I try to do 2. I'm probably going to begin tapering off the studying 2-3 days before the test.

  • Scott MilamScott Milam Member Administrator Moderator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    edited December 2021 1256 karma

    I often compare studying for the LSAT to training for a weight-lifting competition when I'm talking to my clients. There is a phase during which you will be working incredibly hard to build the mental muscles you'll need in order to compete, often taking dozens of hours a week and pushing you to your limit as you work to achieve your goal score.

    But eventually, you reach the score! This begins a new chapter in your training - maintenance. The goal is no longer to "build new muscle." The goal is to rest and let yourself heal so you'll be ready for the day of competition. You'll still need to train of course, but the goal and regimen are different. Now you aren't trying to improve, but merely to keep yourself in shape.

    Interestingly, you may find that as you shift into maintenance mode, your score improves. Just like a weight lifter who realizes he can lift more when his muscles aren't sore from working out twice a day, you'll discover that your mind can accomplish a lot more when it is rested and refreshed.

    The worst thing to do once you get to that point is to freak out and start increasing the intensity of your studying. Stop! You are right where you need to be and your scores are the proof! Don't let your anxiety drive you to wear yourself out right before the test. Continue to taper off as you approach the test, keeping a close eye on your PT scores as you do so. Aim to do no more than 1-2 timed sections a day and 1 PT a week leading up to the test - and once you get to the final week, stop the PTs.

  • Iwillwin_Iwillwin_ Alum Member
    164 karma

    @"Scott Milam" Great Advice!

  • 296 karma

    @"Scott Milam" @"Facta Non Verba" thank you for the advice! Anecdotally, I did feel like the rest I got between the November test and preparing again for the January test gave me the perspective to see how what I had learned had fit together, and take a step back to see the patterns of the test with more clarity. Thank you for talking me off my ledge, and best of luck to the January test takers!

  • 296 karma

    @"Facta Non Verba" congrats on your 164! When I started my diagnostic was a 155, and it took me a very long time to break into the mid 160's. I found that drilling really got me over the hump. My strategy was to focus on the parts of the tests and the questions I knew I could get right, and making sure I get those right every single time. For me, this was mainly in the LR and LG sections... Sounds like you're on the right track! Go get that 161!

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