Asking how łong to study for the LSAT is like asking how long is a piece of string? That depends…. While individual students learn, store and recall information differently, there are some common strategies for the best LSAT prep, regardless of intelligence and learning style. The Law School Admissions Test is arduous and incredibly important for any student wishing to gain admission into law school. While you are able to retake the test if you do not succeed the first time, it is best to only have to face the process once if at all possible.
Let this be your guide to help establish your own personal preparation time frame and what exactly to do with the amount of time you have!
Best LSAT Prep and Study Schedule
When to Take the LSAT – Timing is Crucial
Your LSAT study schedule needs to reflect your own personal needs. This includes working around any other commitments, such as a job, that you may have. Like most tests, last minute cramming shouldn’t be considered an option regardless of how intelligent you are.
However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, preparing too far in advance may cause you to plateau or, even worse, burn out well before test day. Your LSAT score is valid for five years, so make sure you intend to enroll in law school within this time, or you will have to sit it again! This article is the best guide you will find to help you figure out the optimum time to start studying for your LSAT, and how to do so effectively and stress-free!
What is the Recommended Amount of Study Time?
As a general rule of thumb, it is suggested to prepare for the LSAT around three or four months prior to test day. This is based on completing around 10-15 hours, perhaps more, of study each week. It is much easier, and much more effective, to study in smaller, more manageable chunks over a longer period of time than it is to try and squeeze 200 hours of study into a couple of weeks!
Even students with a full time job should be able to spare around two hours on most days of the week. Keeping these recommendations in mind, you will need to alter the guidelines based on both your ability, goals and what you have going on in your world as well.
When should I start studying for LSAT?
While the recommended time frame gives you some idea, only you can figure out the best LSAT study schedule for you. Here are some tips to help you work out just how long you need to prepare in order to achieve the results that you want (and need)!
- Complete a practice exam in timed conditions: by simulating the test you can work out roughly how far away you are from your target score. If you are miles off you will need to put in a significant amount of effort to reach your goal. If you can achieve the score you need already, then you can afford to take it a little easy. Note – this means a little easy, not ignoring LSAT prep altogether! You will need to complete the practice exam well in advance to ensure you have enough time to revise and review accordingly.
- Be aware of your ability to perform on standardized tests: standardized tests are unique and aren’t always a true reflection of how much you know. They often test how you react to information, how well you read and interpret the questions, and how calm you can remain under significant time pressures. If you struggle with standardized tests, allow yourself extra time to learn, understand and practice the specific format.
- Take other responsibilities into account: in an ideal world, you would be able to focus solely on succeeding at acing your LSAT, but the reality for most of us is quite the opposite. Look at your schedule, whether you use your phone to do this or old fashioned pen-and-paper, and take note of all your activities and commitments. There is a fair chance that some of these are not necessary and can be eliminated and replaced with study time. Remember, we’re only looking at a few months here, not a lifetime, so your social life can take a bit of a hit in order to get a great score! Now you should be left with the commitments you can’t change, such as work.
- Make sure you allow a little bit of time for yourself to socialize, exercise, read or relax as these are important too. By this stage of the planning process you should have a solid indication of how much prep time you actually have.
- Use the guidelines of around 150-300 hours prep time to work out how long before test day you need to begin your preparation. Remember to factor in your skill level and target scores as well.
LSAT Study Schedule – How to Spend Your Study Time
Once you have established how much time you have each week and have created a preparation schedule, you need to ensure your time is spent effectively. The following tips are actionable and achievable, and will help significantly with your LSAT prep.
The very best way to prepare for the LSAT is to practice! While this is probably very common knowledge, let’s look at the reasons why completing as many practice exams as possible is beneficial.
- It gives you a thorough understanding of the style of questions that are asked. Many students struggle not with the knowledge required to do well in the LSAT, but with the skills required to interpret and answer the questions asked. The only way to fully understand the test before you take it is to practice, just make sure you are using LSAT study guides and prep books as some of the tools in your LSAT prep tool belt.
- You can simulate test conditions. By regularly completing practice exams under timed conditions you will learn how swiftly you need to move through each question. It will also help you overcome the pressure that is often associated with test day. You will gain a feel for how much time you should spend on each question. While there are no penalties for missed or incorrect answers, obviously you want to minimize any potential hits you might take in your test scores. It would be a shame to spend a large amount of time on a difficult question (that you may get wrong anyway) and not have enough time to answer easier questions that you could have quickly answered. If you are finding a question difficult after a certain amount of time, leave it and move on – you can always come back to it later if you have time. Even if the time you have left is minimal, it’s always worth guessing as it’s better than leaving the question blank!
- Familiarity leads to less stress. Stress has an amazing effect on our bodies. While a little bit can be good for us, too much can hurt us and cause issues when doing these kind of exams. If you have spent time familiarizing yourself with the format and layout of the LSAT the you will know what to expect on test day. This will help you perform at your optimum level and minimize any mistakes due to pressure or stress!
Aside from practice papers, there are several other tips to help you achieve success.
- Use LSAT prep books and prep courses – these are designed specifically with LSAT preparation in mind and offer practice question along with detailed sample answers and explanations. Online courses often include videos, which are like having your own tutor that you can pause and rewind whenever you like! LSAT prep classes are an easy way to ensure you spend your allocated time actually studying – there is minimal time for procrastination when someone is guiding you! Here’s some of our favorite ones that might help you this year – Check Them Out Now!
- Analyze and review your answers – if you get a question wrong when studying make sure you thoroughly understand why. If you just add up your score after each prep review, you are likely to continue making the same mistakes and you will be wasting your time. Review each mistake carefully and analyze it until your fully comprehend why you got the wrong answer and what is the correct one and why!
- Get a tutor – group classes are good, but a professional tutor will tailor-make sessions to suit your individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. They will help you understand where you are going wrong and offer valuable advice on how to understand and answer each question. Allocating some time each week to spend with a tutor also ensures that you actually study, and not skip prep sessions. Plus, having an expert help you study can easily cut hours off of your overall prep time since you’ve got someone that knows exactly what and how to help you do well in any areas that are currently difficult. To find a wonderful tutor in your area, check out Private Tutoring at Home
- Avoid group study sessions – these are different than organized classes with a professional teacher or tutor. What we are talking about here are sessions that involve a group of friends ‘studying’. While these sessions can be useful and may help with motivation sometimes, they can often turn into gossip sessions and minimal study or work is done. Also, individuals have different strengths and weakness so what you need may not be the same areas or issues as others in the group.
Figuring out how long does it take to study for the LSAT and “when should I start studying for the LSAT” are common questions and decisions for those prepping for this test. Is 2 months enough time to study for the LSAT? Well, that depends on you and how much you already have done. The key is to determine where you are now and how far you need to go to get the results that you need. The do the LSAT prep that is required to actually end up with the results you are aiming for or something even better!