Congratulations, you have decided to continue with your education! Deciding to attend law school is a big step. It will open up doors to further opportunities for you, both intellectually and professionally. Having a law degree under your belt can help you earn that prestigious title of ‘Lawyer’ and pivot your post-undergrad career into an area you are super passionate about! Regardless of why you are deciding to attend law school, one large hurdle stands in your way: the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT for short.
For many, the LSAT can seem like a daunting task. Especially for those individuals who are returning to school years after completing their undergrad. But the task of successfully studying for and taking the LSAT is doable. As long as you are driven, determined, and willing to set a strict study schedule, your law school dreams are within your grasp.
Here at ApexLSAT we have created the perfect LSAT calendar preparation for future LSAT test takers. By following the simple steps we have laid out, you can get the most out of your LSAT preparation and ace your exam!
Steps to your Perfect LSAT Prep Calendar
First, grab a calendar, yearly planner, or your phone. You will need to mark the dates and times necessary for studying.
1. Figure out when you want to take the LSAT
So, you want to go to law school. Once you have figured out what type of lawyer you want to become, you need to find the perfect law school program for you. For most law schools, an LSAT entrance exam is required. Some schools offer LSAT waivers, however, these are rare and are usually offered on a case-by-case basis. Once you have found the programs you are applying to, check out their application deadlines. Based on these deadlines, you can figure out when you need to take the LSAT. It would be suggested to take the LSAT well before the admissions deadlines. Often, your LSAT scores last at least 5-years, meaning you could technically take the LSAT a few years before you apply to law school. However, here at Apex, we suggest you take the LSAT a couple months before the admissions deadline. This is because, if you happen to get a score lower than expected, you will have time to retake the test and aim for a higher score.
Count back 3 months from the test date. THIS is the day you will begin your official LSAT test prep.
2. Take a free practice test
Before you even begin studying for the LSAT, you need to take a practice exam. By taking a practice exam, you will know right away where your strengths and weaknesses are. It will also give you a baseline to know how to study and which parts of the exam require the most effort from you. By keeping track of your score, you will also see your progress as you go along your test prep journey.
Determine strengths and weaknesses
3. Capitalizing on when you can best prep.
Are you a morning bird? A night owl? Do you find your brain works best during the afternoon? Knowing this about yourself can help you set your daily study schedule. If you find that your brain works best bright and early, then try to carve out an hour or two each morning to study before heading off to work or going to class. If you enjoy studying late at night, then find time after work or after dinner where you can spend two hours preparing. Once you have decided what time of day you want to study, it is important to keep a daily schedule. It is best to find a rhythm that you work best with so that your mind and body are prepared to study each day.
Are you a Morning Bird? A Night Owl?
4. Week 1 – LSAT Basics
Great. You have decided on your test date, you have counted backwards by 3 months, and you have determined what time of day you wish to study. Pull out your calendar, yearly planner, or phone and mark out the first week. Putting aside 1 or 2 hours each day in either the morning or the night where you study for the LSAT. During this first week you will get acquainted with the LSAT Test Basics.
Become familiar with the LSAT format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your LSAT exam. This includes get comfortable with the LSAT structure, sections, timing, and scoring.
Analyze the results from your practice test. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your practice test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?
5. Week 2 – Logical Reasoning
Great, it’s week two! During your first week you have overviewed what to expect on the LSAT overall. Now it is time to get a little bit more specific. Keeping your same daily schedule (whether you study in the AM or PM), change your study content to familiarize yourself with the LSAT logical reasoning section. Read about which types of logical reasoning questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the LSAT test.
Review LSAT ‘arguments’. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to read about the types of ‘arguments’ the logical reasoning section utilizes. Make flashcards which differentiate between argument points, abstract concepts, and tips for evaluation. If you found that during the practice test the logical reasoning section was easy-breezy, consider studying exceptionally difficult problems. While the LSAT is not computer adaptive, feeling comfortable with difficult questions will make you more confident going into the test. Especially when you encounter a moderate or ‘easy’ question where answering quickly can save you time for a more difficult section.
Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (identifying conclusion, point of agreement, assumptions, true/false).. In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.
6. Week 3 – Analytical Reasoning
It’s week three! Bearing in mind how you have been studying for the past two week, be sure to maintain your same study schedule for this week. During this week it is time to get acquainted with the LSAT analytical reasoning section. A great way to start working with the analytical reasoning section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. This section is 35-minutes long and is broken down into 4 logic games. Questions are answered with multiple choice and tests your capability, among other things, to understand and analyze conceptual relationships, and draw conclusions.
Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the analyticall section (Sequencing, grouping, and matching games) and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies.
Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days. For example, your third week could look something like this: Monday & Tuesday Sequencing, Wednesday & Thursday Grouping, and Friday & Saturday Matching Games, with Sunday being a rest day.
7. Week 4 – Monthly check-in
It has been a month since you started studying. If you have stuck to your study schedule, you have most definitely made progress. Now it is time to put that progress to the test!
Take your second practice test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to LSAT practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.
Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.
Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster.
Because the practice test takes only a couple of hours. Use the rest of the week to work on the Reading Comprehension section. This section is for you to show your ability to analyze texts and draw conclusions from the given information. For many, this section will be a review as most undergraduate programs require students to successfully read academic texts and draw conclusions from the content. However, practice and study this section none-the-less.
8. Week 5 – Logical Reasoning Review
It is week five, and you now have two practice tests under your belt. You should be seeing progress in your ability to take the exam. Time to refine your reviewing and fortify your strengths while strengthening your weaknesses in the logical reasoning section.
Practice and enhance your knowledge of abstract concepts, text evaluation, and analysis of arguments. Now that you are familiar with these terms it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress.
9. Week 6 – Analytical Reasoning Review
Practice and enhance your knowledge of analytical reasoning questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Practice and enhance your knowledge of analytical reasoning questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.
10. Week 7 – Reading Comprehension and Writing Sample Section
Make yourself acquainted with the LSAT reading comprehension section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you.
Review sample reading comprehension and Writing Sample templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your responses and/or essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day.
When it comes to the writing sample section make sure to practice. practice. practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your LSAT essay. This section is meant to test your ability to formulate and support an argument from provided facts.
11. Week 8 – Monthly Progress Check
Time for another practice test! After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress.
Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help.
Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.
12. Week 9 – Review your Weaknesses, solidify your strengths
You have been spending a lot of your time preparing for the LSAT. It is an arduous journey, but you’re not alone! During week 9, it is best to spend time reviewing the parts of the exam that you are most struggling with. Whether it is logical or analytical, spend a few hours a day reviewing those parts of the exam that you are most worried about.
At the same time solidify your strengths. If you are a powerhouse on the logical section, that doesn’t mean you should no longer study that portion. Switch between your strengths and weaknesses during this week in both the logical and analytical section. If you know of someone else who is taking the LSAT, get together with them and swap tips and tricks on how they are tackling studying. Finding a study buddy is especially helpful as you can both be emotional support from one another!
13. Week 10 – Time and Stress Management
Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the LSAT test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills.
14. Week 11 – Review and Relax
During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough. Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your LSAT preparation journey.
We at the Apex team hope that you find this LSAT study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly have some one on one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a LSAT instructor here.
Contributor: Dana Coggio