Taking LSAT classes and utilizing one-on-one LSAT tutoring can both be essential parts of the test preparation process for many law school applicants. However, LSAT preparation also requires a significant time commitment outside the classroom.
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To see the best results, you need to supplement classes and tutoring with studying on your own to apply everything you are learning. Since concentrating and staying on task while you are studying alone can be difficult, here are four tips to keep you on track:
1. Consider studying to be your new job: Take your LSAT preparation as seriously as you would take a job. Plan out the hours you will study each day ahead of time, and stick with that schedule. Be prepared to turn down a few dinner invitations and skip a few nights out if you are supposed to study early the next morning.
As you would with any job, be professional while "on the clock." That means you start on time (no procrastinating), and you are not allowed to text or watch television while you are studying. Further limit interruptions by turning your phone and laptop off so you can concentrate fully on the LSAT.
2. Find a suitable study location: Once you are mentally prepared to study, you need a quiet place conducive to test taking. Keep in mind that you should not seek complete silence since there will be some sounds on test day, from papers rustling to people coughing and more.
Some options for a good study space are your bedroom, another room in your apartment or house, a library, common study rooms at your college, or extra rooms at your LSAT preparation company's office. Avoid busy coffee shops and student centers because the loud noises and heavy foot traffic will detract from the effectiveness of your studying.
When possible, take practice LSAT exams sitting in a chair at a desk, as opposed to lounging on the couch in your living room, so you are used to taking a test in that position.
3. Set goals, but be flexible: Do not start out your LSAT preparation by doing full-length, timed practice tests. You should concentrate on accuracy first, applying all of the concepts you are learning in your class and/or tutoring, and then work to answer questions more quickly so you complete sections within the time constraints.
Work with your LSAT instructor to set goals for accuracy and timing, but also be flexible throughout the process. Holding yourself to unreasonable standards or pushing yourself too hard will only frustrate you.
The LSAT is a difficult test that takes even the most apt standardized test takers months to prepare for, so take the time you need to reach your target score.
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4. Actively review your exams: It only takes a few minutes to check all of your answers after a practice test and calculate your score. However, this is not always an accurate portrayal of your performance. Sometimes, you will guess on a question and coincidentally choose the correct answer, but you may not be so lucky on the actual LSAT.
Actively reviewing your exam means going through each individual question and figuring out exactly why you answered it correctly or incorrectly. If you have a private tutor, your sessions will be much more effective if you have already analyzed your practice tests and discovered which question types you are having trouble with and what you do not understand.
How do you stay on task while studying for the LSAT? Let me know in the comments, Tweet at me at @StratusPrep, or E-mail me at email@example.com. Send me your admissions profiles and any general law admissions questions to be featured in next week's edition of Law Admissions Q&A.