30 Expert LSAT Tips for Test Success

Use this guide to lead you through preparation to test day.

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The LSAT is arguably the most complex and nuanced of the major standardized entrance exams. Drawing on my decade of experience prepping students for the LSAT, I have developed these surefire rules that you can follow to maximize your results in your preparation and on test day.

These tips have helped hundreds of Stratus Prep's clients score in the 170's; I hope that they will help you as well. Here are my 30 top LSAT tips:

Preparing for the LSAT:

1. Periodically time yourself on individual questions during practice tests to find out which ones are taking you too long to answer.

2. Review your practice tests to determine your weaknesses, and work hard to improve all areas in which you lost points (not just your weakest section).

3. Work with a tutor who has scored at least in the mid-170's and has at least 2 years of experience. If there is not an expert tutor in your local area, consider virtual tutoring, which we at Stratus Prep find just as effective.

4. Start preparing early. It can take six to nine months to reach your target score.

5. Every time you read a newspaper or book, read quickly and carefully, looking for flawed logic. You may be surprised how often you find it.

6. Prepare with a mix of practice problems and timed tests. Just problems or full-length tests alone will not help you reach your maximum score.

7. Find a good study location, such as a library. Avoid places with distractions like your home, coffee shops, or bookstores.

8. Study consistently, a couple of hours every day. It will take time for this new way of reading and reasoning to sink in.

9. Sit in a chair during practice tests. You will not be comfortably seated on your couch during the actual exam.

10. Take all practice tests with traditional No. 2 pencils (instead of mechanical pencils, pens, or markers) to simulate test-day conditions.

[Read more about how to prepare for the LSAT.]

Taking the LSAT:

1. Answer questions based on the information provided, not on your outside knowledge.

2. If you encounter a difficult question, do not panic. Figure out what type of question it is, and use the strategy you have been practicing to solve it.

3. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so if you are not sure, make an educated guess.

4. Do not worry if the subject matter you are reading about is unfamiliar to you. Everything you need to know will be in the text.

5. Be sure to read all the answers closely. Remember, you are choosing the best answer, not a right answer.

6. If a question is extraordinarily challenging, skip it and come back to it at the end of the section.

7. Every question is worth the same amount of points, so answer all the easy questions first. Then go back to the harder ones.

8. Do your work right next to each problem and write neatly in case you need to go back to a question.

9. Do not overanalyze. The majority of the questions are not designed to trick you, but a few definitely are.

10. Do not be a perfectionist. You can miss three to four questions and still get a 180, but if you linger on a tough question, your score will plummet.

[See when you should cancel your LSAT score.]

Mastering sections:

1. Do not be discouraged by Logic Games (in Analytical Reasoning). While it is often considered the hardest section, our students consistently see the most improvement in this section.

2. When diagramming rules in Logic Games, be careful not to confuse words like "before" and "between."

3. In Logic Games, do not assume that the reverse of a given rule is true.

4. First practice Logic Games without timing yourself, concentrating only on finding the answer.

5. In Reading Comprehension, focus on what the author says, not your interpretation.

6. In the Logic Reasoning sections, the hardest questions tend to be in the middle, and the easiest are at the beginning and end.

7. Give special attention to the Logical Reasoning questions. They account for 50 percent of your final score.

8. Do your best on the Writing Sample. Even though it's ungraded, admissions committees may evaluate it.

9. Always create an outline before you start writing your Writing Sample, even if it is just a few bullet points.

10. Be sure to address possible counterarguments in your Writing Sample.

What tricks have you found useful in your LSAT preparation? Let me know in the comments, Tweet at me at @StratusPrep, or E-mail me at shawn.oconnor@stratusprep.com.