The LSAT Made Easy – 17 Prep and Study Tips
The Law School Admission Test, commonly known as the LSAT, does not test what you already know. It assesses essential skills needed for success during the first year of law school. Knowing what to expect and familiarizing yourself with the timing and structure of the test will go a long way to prepare you for a qualifying score for entrance into your chosen law school.
The LSAT is administered in two parts and typically takes three and a half hours to complete, with each section taking 35 minutes.
The first part consists of four sections of multiple-choice style questions:
- Reading Comprehension
- Analytical Reasoning (a.k.a. Logic Games)
- Logical Reasoning
- Unscored Section (can be any one of the question types)
The second part consists of an unscored writing sample.
The LSAT is a demanding, fast-paced test designed to determine your readiness for law school. Knowing how to study for the LSAT, what to study and when to study can help organize you for success. Read on to discover 17 LSAT tips for studying and preparing for the test that will open doors to a reputable law school and a legal career.
General Study Tips and Methods
Tip #1 – Take Care of Yourself
At the top of the list is YOU. Don’t cope with stress and let off steam by celebrating in unhealthy ways. Instead, prioritize yourself and get plenty of rest and downtime to recharge your battery between focused study times.
Tip #2 – Create a Schedule That Is Both Consistent and Realistic
Block your calendar and set aside time for study just as you would for any other work or personal task, and get your brain in the same mindset every time. Create a study schedule that you can stick to over three to four months and aim for 120 hours of dedicated LSAT study at least one to two hours a day, four to five days a week. Be sure to schedule breaks and ask for help when you need it.
Tip #3 – Form a Study Group
On test day, you’ll have only yourself to rely on. However, while preparing, many students find it helpful to study in groups. One of the best reasons to do so is that explaining concepts and questions to others is a great way to gauge how well you actually understand them.
Study groups can help keep you on track, especially if you’re a procrastinator. As a group, you can set goals in advance, such as completing a specific practice test by the day your group meets.
Tip within a tip: Studying with like-minded people in your profession is a valuable way to network and connect with others.
General LSAT Tips
Tip #4 – Practice the Blind Review LSAT Method
The blind review is a practical way to study for the LSAT so that you learn from both your correct and incorrect answers. Instead of checking your answers right after a timed LSAT prep, review them before looking at the correct answers. Why? Because the correct answer isn’t the most important thing here. Your reasoning process behind it is equally important so that on test day, you are confident in your ability to choose the correct answer and not just rely on your gut.
Tip within a tip: For your first few test preps, try taking them without being timed so you can focus on your understanding of the concepts, not the time constraint. If you have unlimited time, you can determine whether or not your errors are attributable to time or to a lack of understanding.
Tip #5 – Take an LSAT Prep Course
Some students study by referencing books, previous exams, internet resources and forums, while others seek professional test preparation resources to help them achieve higher scores. A good prep course from a reputable prep test company can mean the difference between getting an acceptable score versus an exceptional score and ultimately getting into the law school of your choice.
Tip #6 – Use Practice Questions to Strengthen Skills
Practice exams are worthwhile to prepare for test-taking and understanding your LSAT score, but practice questions help strengthen your skills for understanding individual test sections. It’s crucial to review and learn from each question and to understand the reasoning behind why a question was correct or incorrect. Otherwise, your score may not improve over time.
Tip #7 – Take the Test When You Are Ready, Not When You Sign Up
Timing is everything. It’s better to study, prepare, and practice before you sign up for the LSAT. It puts too much pressure on you if you sign up for the test and then have to cram with a looming deadline.
Tip #8 – Be Prepared for Test Day
The day before the test, rest your brain. Do NOT review any material. Instead, visit with friends, watch a movie or get physically active. Prepare everything you’ll need in a clear, one-gallon plastic bag. For full details on what is permitted at test centers and remotely, check the LSAC policies.
- One or more writing utensils
- Large pink eraser
- Analog watch (no digital watches allowed)
- Healthy snacks and a drink (plastic container or juice box, 20 oz. max)
- Identification (government-issued ID)
- Test ticket
If taking the LSAT at a test center, you can put your keys and wallet in the bag when you arrive. On the test day, arrive early and leave your cell phone in the car
Tip within a tip: Do not talk to others during the break or after. The LSAT is a complex and demanding test that needs your full attention and concentration for nearly four hours, so you must be focused and stay on your game.
Tip #9 – Allocate Your Time Based on Section Complexity and Your Strengths
Don’t focus on time. Focus on getting the answers right. Remember the winning mantra: 2 out of 3 for a 150, or 3 out of 4 for a 160. No law school requires a perfect score of 180, so figure out where you’re strong and pick your problems. Points are points—you can be weaker in some areas and still do fine if you are strong in others. If you get stuck or flustered, skip it and move on.
Tip within a tip: If you have time, go back and fill in all answers—there is no penalty for wrong answers.
LSAT Logical Reasoning Tips
There are two separate Logical Reasoning sections, each consisting of a few dozen short prompts or arguments, followed by one or two questions about what you read. You get approximately two minutes per item, and they are arranged from easiest to hardest. This section tests your ability to analyze arguments, determine their strengths and weaknesses, and draw conclusions. Practice is essential here because logical reasoning skills can be learned.
Tip #10 – Don’t Consider Why Wrong Answers Are Wrong
Unlike classroom study, don’t waste time second-guessing or trying to articulate reasoning during the LSAT. Do not attack the truth of your premise or conclusion. This is the LSAT bubble—outside knowledge can hurt you. Look for the argument’s structural validity and don’t investigate why wrong answers are wrong.
Tip #11 – Break Down Each Portion of the Statement
For every Logical Reasoning statement, read the question stem first, then find your conclusion and box indicator words. Remember, the conclusion will be disguised. The answer will not be verbatim but may be very close.
LSAT Analytical Reasoning Tips
The Analytical Reasoning section is also known as the "Logic Games" category. It features four games that each have several multiple-choice questions. Some games require matching and some sequencing. Logic games can seem very unfamiliar and challenging at first, but mastering them can be an excellent way to boost your score once you understand the mechanics needed to solve them. This section tests your skills in analyzing information and drawing conclusions, problem-solving capacity and competence to apply logic in complex situations.
Tip #12 - Pick and Choose Your Games
As you look through and choose the games, remember that the first ones are NOT the easiest. Do not confuse easy and difficult with simple and complex. Often (not always), games with easy setups have complex and time-consuming questions. Games that are difficult to set up may nearly give you the answers.
Tip within a tip: Use scrap paper and a highlighter to mark fixed items from the stimulus so you don’t lose track when you try possible configurations or plug in conditional stems from items.
Tip #13 – Take Time to Set Up Your Games
You’re allowed roughly seven to eight minutes per game set. Time flies fast in this section, so read carefully and make deductions. Take time to set up your games and see the implications of rule interaction. You can pass two or three games and still do just fine on the test, so don’t worry if you don’t finish the fourth game
LSAT Reading Comprehension Tips
The Reading Comprehension section contains four articles on varying subjects, including arts and humanities, science, history or law. Each article is followed by five to eight questions. This test is designed to assess your ability to read carefully and thoroughly, identify concepts, make reasonable assumptions and determine relationships within the context of the article.
Tip #14 – Practice Reading and Develop Background Knowledge
It sounds simple, but the more you read, the better reader you become. As in the other sections, Reading Comprehension doesn’t involve memorizing facts or definitions. This category tests your ability to quickly synthesize written material, even if you’re unfamiliar with the topic.
Multiple studies, including the famous baseball experiment, have shown that reading comprehension scores are influenced by the amount of background knowledge the test taker has on the subject. In other words, the more you read, the more comprehensive your base of knowledge and the more quickly you’ll understand the subject matter.
Tip within a tip: Bolster your knowledge by reading as much variety as possible so you won’t waste time trying to familiarize yourself with the language and subject matter. In this way, you can use the time to get right to the key arguments of the passage.
Tip #15 – Go Global First
Within each passage, do the global items first, then go back and do local items, as these are less time-consuming than global items and usually do not require that you read the whole passage.
When reviewing the passages, note the role of each paragraph in shorthand and highlight critical concepts and directional words. Mark whether they are descriptive or persuasive and look for purpose/verbs accordingly.
LSAT Writing Tips
The persuasive writing portion of the LSAT is essential to law school success because it demonstrates your ability to organize evidence into a position and argue logically. The online proctored test is taken on your own time and is administered separately from the LSAT. While not scored, most law schools require the writing sample as an integral part of their admission decision, so it must be completed for your LSAT score to be released.
Tip #16 – Plan, Write and Review
The best way to prepare for the LSAT writing portion is to practice and answer sample prompts under the 35-minute time constraint. Read and consider the facts, outline two to four paragraphs, write your argument and review the essay for errors. Practice this over and over until you’re comfortable with the process
Tip within a tip: You only need to complete the writing sample once, even if you take the LSAT multiple times
Tip #17 – Focus on the Facts, Not the Answer
Even if you’re well-versed in the topic, only use the information in the prompt to make an argument. Do not include outside information that you believe will strengthen your position. This persuasive writing exam tests your analysis and reasoning skills with only the information given
Tip within a tip: Remember, these prompts have no right or wrong answer. Either side can be argued, so choose whichever side you feel you can create the most persuasive argument
Get Your JD Online Without Relocating
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In this uniquely designed online learning environment, you can achieve your goal of earning your JD degree part-time in a little more than three years while staying engaged in your professional and personal life.
One section of both Reading Comprehension and Analytical Reasoning and two sections of Logical Reasoning questions are used to calculate your LSAT score, which can be anywhere from 120 to 180. LSAT experts recommend achieving a minimum score of 150 for entrance into most law schools. Your percentile rank matters just as much as your score, so keep that in mind
Starting August 2023, you may take the LSAT five times within the current reportable scoring period or a total of seven times over your lifetime.
Whether you’re taking it for the first time or the last time, the LSAT registration cost is $222.
Your most recent LSAT score results will be reported to the law schools you apply to if earned in the current testing year or the prior five testing years. LSAT scores before June 2017 are not valid and cannot be reported
Starting with the August 2023 LSAT, most test takers can choose whether to take the test in person at a Prometric digital testing center or via a remotely proctored online version at home.