How Long Does it Really Take to Prep for the LSAT?

The LSAT is not like any other test for which most students have had to study. In place of measuring a student’s knowledge, it aims to predict their learning ability by evaluating their reasoning and comprehension skills. An ungraded writing assignment is also a part of the LSAT. Because of the uniqueness of this test, many students have questions about how to study for it. If you are preparing to take the LSAT, one of your first priorities should be allotting sufficient time for preparation.   

How Much Time Is Enough?

First, whatever time you set aside for preparation should be quality time. We’ll get to how to use your time wisely later on in this article. Second, there is no one-size-fits-all period of prep time that will magically prepare you for the test. It will be different for every student. That said, most students that do well on the LSAT admit to studying for at least three months prior to taking it. Keep in mind that within those three months, you should be studying from 20 to 30 hours a week.  

Preparing for the LSAT can seem like a full-time job. If you are in need of an incentive, think of it this way: Your LSAT prep is one of the most important investments of time you will ever make in your law career. Your test scores will decide which law schools you will be able to attend, what scholarships you will be eligible for, the firms you can join, and your starting salary when you graduate.    

How to Use Your Study Time Wisely

There are several ways to prepare for the LSAT. You can take practice tests, join a prep course, and study LSAT books. The best way is a pragmatic combination of all of these methods based on your individual strengths, weaknesses, and learning proclivity. Bear in mind the purpose of your studying is not to accrue knowledge, but to exercise your mind and become familiar with the kinds of questions you will encounter during the test.  Here are three tips that can help you make better use of your time.

First, study throughout the week. It is tempting to leave studying for the LSAT for the weekends, especially if you are busy during the week with work. Don’t do it. In order to keep your mind sharp, spend time every day in preparation with the exception of one rest day.  

Second, focus on your weaknesses. Practice tests are diagnostic tools that can help you identify weak areas in your problem solving skills. There are many online companies, like 7Sage, that offer free tools to help you practice for the LSAT.However, taking tons of tests will not help you unless you utilize the results to identify and strengthen your weak areas.

Third, keep a moderate study schedule. Ideally, you should study for several hours every day to keep your mind active. Studying for too long in one day is usually not recommended. It can leave you feeling tired, and you’ll end up with less quality study-time. Making a balanced study schedule will keep you from getting burned out while you prep for the LSAT.

This article was written by Tobar James, a graduate law student at Stanford.

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