Alright, back to business. Let’s talk LSAT prep. I studied for the LSAT for six months. Probably a tad long for me, but I’m a textbook “over-preparer.” In the six months after I had finished college and decided to slay the beast once known to me as the LSAT, I gained a lot of knowledge, not just on logic and reasoning, but also about the specific way this beast must be slain.
Literature is rife with mythical beasts that epic heroes must defeat. There’s everything from Cerebrus, the mythical three-headed dog of ancient Greece, to Tolkien’s Smaug, an evil dragon that demolished the town of Dale. And what do these beasts have in common? Though they might seem a huge undertaking for our heroes and heroines at first glance, after a bit of preparation, the hidden strategy and tactics for bringing down said beast become evident. So, as the heroes and heroines of the past have done, I have in my LSAT prep excursions learned many a good lesson, and wanted to share a few of the most important with you today.
1. Pace Yourself: A Tired Hero is an Inefficient Hero
I’ve seen one too many of my students race to finish the section, and in so doing, they sacrifice accuracy for quantity of bubbles filled in. In each section of the LSAT there are easy, medium and difficult questions. But, you gain the same amount of points for getting an easy or medium question correct as you do for getting a difficult question correct. Therefore, instead of sacrificing your accuracy on the easy and medium LSAT questions just to get to the difficult ones, which you might end up missing anyway, why not, as least until you’re at a point where you feel you have no timing issue and are very comfortable with your accuracy, just slow down and make sure you get all the easy and medium LSAT questions correct! Basically, worry about getting the questions correct before you worry about getting them correct under time pressure. Pace yourself, young Padawon. Endurance is gained through practice, not force.
2. Practice Doesn’t Necessarily Make Perfect
If I had a dime for every time a distraught student came up to me after a practice LSAT and asked why, despite their constant practicing, their score has not gone up, I’d have a lot of dimes. It’s not just about getting up and taking as many practice tests as you can. The magic word here is ANALYZATION. Once you’ve taken and scored your practice LSAT, you need to then go over each LSAT question and analyze why you got it right or wrong. Why is the correct answer correct? Why are the incorrect answers incorrect? A big misconception students have is that even if they do analyze, they usually will only analyze the LSAT questions that they got wrong. But, it’s equally important to go over the LSAT questions that you answer correctly—after all, you will never see that LSAT question again, so it is important to take something away from the question that you can apply to future LSAT questions. After you’ve seen a good thousand LSAT questions, you’ll realize that there isn’t much variation. A question may be slightly harder or easier than the next, but there are a limited amount of question skeletons that LSAC builds upon. If you can analyze the skeletons of the questions that you answer correctly, then you can just transfer that strategy onto the questions with more meat on their bones!
3. White Space Should Never Grace Your Answer Sheet
I know some of you may still be traumatized by that baby-beast most of us had to encounter in our young impressionable teenage years, the SAT. However, unlike that blemish of an exam, the
LSAT has no penalty for wrong answers. Therefore, there should never be ANY un-bubbled answers on your answer sheet. Always leave at least a minute before your time is up for each section to fill in any questions you may not have answered, then if you still have time, go ahead and continue working on the problems. If you’re guessing, just choose a letter, and always bubble the same letter in. Mine is always B.
So there you go my valiant heroes and heroines. I will continue to shed my tidbits of knowledge with you as the days pass. Every beast has a weakness, and the LSAT’s is smart preparation.