Disclaimer: I studied for the LSAT over a decade ago (I’m not that old though I swear! Lol). But back then, information was not as readily available so it was a struggle. What I have noticed that even with more info available to some, it is still a struggle for many of us because we don’t even know where to start. It’s easy to tell someone that they need to study for the LSAT, but how? And with what money? And with what time? And what are you even supposed to study?
We’ve discussed the LSAT before, but how to really prep is a little different. First, if you can afford to take a course (online or in person) I recommend it. Remember the LSAT doesn’t gage how good of a lawyer you’ll be or if you’re worthy of joining the profession. It is just a way admission gauges your ability to think analytically—but thinking analytically (in the way that lawyers think) isn’t often natural. It requires re-tooling and re-tinkering, which is why the LSAT is a struggle for a lot of us. It’s not that you’re not smart, it’s just that it’s testing a muscle we don’t often need to flex.
So most important, when you do a practice exam and don’t do well, don’t immediately default to thinking you’re not bright enough or capable. No. You just need to get the tools so that you know how to approach the exam.
Ok. So how do you do that? Like I said, take a course. But, if you’re like me when I was a junior in college—you don’t have an extra thousand to spare. So what can you do? You have to commit to learning the tools in a more piecemeal way.
One. Gather up your materials. Thankfully, it’s 2018, not 2006 and there are many, many LSAT prep guides available via google. Google it, download all the material. Buy a couple of books that you can afford. Go to your school library to see if they have prep material available. Do what you can to get your hands on prep material so that you can study.
Two. Use your resources. Once you have your study materials, you’ll eventually need to put what you’re studying to the test. Research to see if anyone is offering a free LSAT mock test for you to sign up and try. If your school isn’t offering one, get involved with the pre-law society to see if that’s a possibility you can organize. Don’t feel apprehensive about joining a pre-law society or asking for your school to give you resources. That’s what the group’s focus should be—and reach out to other schools that may be doing mock LSATs and see if you can participate. This is not the time to be shy to see if you can piggy back onto free prep tests because the more you can practice in timed circumstances the more prepared you’ll be (so try to do it even just once).
Three. Put your discipline to good use. Now, even if you download all the materials and have a practice test scheduled in your planner, the main thing you’re going to need to study is discipline. This is important no matter if you’re taking a class or not, but if you’re not taking course and you’re dependent on just me, myself, and I–then you already know you have to double down and be committed to studying for this test. That means scheduling time to study, making study time a priority, and making sure the time you’re putting in is quality time that actually helps you learn and master the test.
I will be honest that I didn’t have the discipline I should have when I started studying for the exam. I randomly studied my LSAT book during my commute; I didn’t really read the explanations to understand the answers; or measure if I was progressing. I did up my game closer to the test date, but lost out on time. I went in hella cold and did very average (probably less than). And I didn’t perform as well as I liked not because I wasn’t committed–I was SO committed!! Being an attorney was my life goal! I didn’t perform well because I didn’t really understand how to approach this test. I was naïve and thought it would grade me on my basic knowledge. And because I knew I was smart and because I didn’t do prep courses for the SAT, I thought this would be the same. It’s not. Looking back, I should have done more. Obvi, it worked out ok, but my score did limit my choices and I wasn’t a contender for fantastic financial aid packages because of it. Don’t limit yourself. Put in the time this requires and it will pay off in the long-run.