Before we discuss specifics, it’s important to understand that the most important part of your LSAT preparation is the mentality you bring to it. You should be tenacious, persistent, and thoughtful in both your overall approach and in any LSAT class, LSAT tutoring session, and practice test you take. Because the LSAT is so difficult, it does a great job of separating those who will end up at, say, Columbia Law School, as opposed to a lower-ranked law school. Those who succeed dedicate significant time and resources to taking the test.
In addition, it is important to understand that almost nobody in the world can sit down and get their best score without preparation. Even those who are capable of scoring 175 or above on the LSAT generally need to spend several months preparing for the LSAT before consistently scoring 175 or better.
Below, we’ll go into detail on the following four essential components of LSAT preparation:
- Making a plan
- Learning the material
- Practice, practice, practice
- Targeted review of problem areas
Making a Plan
Taking the LSAT requires several months of dedicated study. At Stratus Prep, we recommend that our clients plan on spending approximately four months preparing for the LSAT, broken down as follows:
- Two months to learn the relevant techniques and strategies
- Two months of full-length practice tests and targeted study
Preparing for four months, scary as it may sound, is manageable. The key is to understand that you do not need to spend more than 15 hours per week preparing. In other words, the LSAT is not a test you can cram for. Instead, plan on devoting several two- to four-hour blocks of time per week to uninterrupted LSAT study.
Learning the Material
To learn the methods, techniques and strategies necessary to maximize your LSAT score, almost everyone needs some form of help. That help can be in the form of books, LSAT group classes, or one-on-one tutoring. Although LSAT preparation books can get you some of the way, most people benefit from the personalized approach that small-group classes and one-on-one tutoring provide.
Working with an experienced teacher or tutor on your LSAT prep creates a personalized approach. An experienced teacher or tutor will not just be able to teach you one approach, but multiple approaches, and help you identify which one best suits your learning style and way of thinking.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Having the proper mentality and learning the material are near meaningless without tons and tons of practice. This practice should come in two forms:
- Full, timed practice tests
- Targeted problem sets
Taking full, timed practice LSAT tests is a necessary part of a complete LSAT preparation. At Stratus Prep, we recommend that our clients take at least 25 full, timed practice tests before taking the real thing. To help our clients get comfortable with taking the test in real conditions, we give our clients four free, proctored LSAT tests before each LSAT administration at our New York City office.
Targeted Review of Problem Areas
Taking at least 25 practice LSAT tests not only gets you ready to take the real thing, it also gives you a ton of information about what you’re already doing well and what you need to improve on. To properly identify both the areas of weakness and how to improve them, an LSAT tutor is a great resource. A good LSAT tutor will be able to identify areas of weakness not just by question type or section type, but by identifying other, less obvious patterns. Identifying these patterns can be the difference between scoring a 165 and a 170 on the LSAT.