Ho to Create an LSAT Study Schedule
If your goal is to one day become an attorney, working to protect those wrongly accused of a crime and upholding the highest standards of the law you’ve got quite a long road ahead. Attorneys are respected and well compensated, but they earn that status through years of schooling and dedication. And it all starts with the LSAT, the standardized test that you must nail if you want to get into a good graduate program. The LSAT is one of the hardest exams you will ever face, and those that do well spend months in preparation. But figuring out how to prepare is often just as difficult as the test itself. Here are a couple of pointers to help you create an effective LSAT study schedule.
The first thing you should do is take a practice test. There are plenty of LSAT practice exams available, many of which are completely free. Download one online and take it in real time, to give yourself a baseline score. It may be grim at first, but you need to know where you currently stand so you can figure out what areas need the most attention. The score will help you structure your study schedule to maximize the time spent on your lowest scoring sections, while putting in just enough time on the higher scoring sections that you don’t lose ground.
Once you’ve got this base score in hand, it’s time to come up with some goals. The LSAT is scored between 120 and 180 points, and obviously the higher you score the better your results. Some programs won’t take an applicant if they score under a particular benchmark, even if their grades and extracurricular activities are stellar. So check out your LSAT score from the practice test, and determine how much ground you need to make up. Check in with some of the schools you are applying to and see if they’ve posted an average LSAT score of accepted students. If the gap between that score and yours is big you’ll need to leave more time for studying. If the gap is narrow you can probably maintain a more modest study schedule.
Now you’re ready to lay out the time you are willing to commit to studying. You are making a promise to yourself, and it’s often best to declare this in writing. Start out by noting the time between now and your scheduled test. Break it down into hours, and cut out all of the time taken up by work, sleeping and your other commitments. This will leave you with an estimate of your free time, and it will be up to you and your dedication level to decide how much of that you are willing to put towards your LSAT. Be aggressive at first, as you can always scale back your studies if it progresses well.
If you’re at a loss as to how much time to dedicate, start out with twelve hours a week. You can stick to that for a month, and then take another practice test to see how effective the plan has been. Spread this out over the week, with perhaps two hours a day for four weekdays, and a four-hour study session on the weekend. This gives you enough time to continue taking practice tests, adding in games, general studies and various review sessions for notes. With this sort of LSAT test prep you’ll have enough time to try out various study materials and find the one that works for you, and hopefully see the kind of progress that motivates you to see the process through to the end.