A common question I get asked by my LSAT prep students is, “Can I listen to music while I study for the LSAT?” Well, my little studiers, can you? I’m sure you can. But, what is the number one thing we try to do when we prepare for the LSAT? Mimic the test. Mimic the test. Mimic the test! Now, I know that most of you have yet to take an LSAT, but for those of you who have and for those of you who know others who have, do you remember mentions of Ke$ha or Miss Gaga playing during the Logic Games section? I think not.
Now don’t get me wrong, will there be background noise? Sure. Might there even be the dreaded foreground noise? Hopefully not, but there is a possibility. The first time I took the LSAT, there was a horrid boy sitting at a small desk to my left. Throughout both of my Logical Reasoning sections, he continued to grab the hundreds of yellow pencils he brought with him, and snap them in half. I guess it was his nervous tick, but come on man! Every few minutes I’d get my groove back and then crrrrrack!!! Everyone sent him their venom-stares, and even some people whispered stop! But, he was in his number-2-pencil-snapping zone. Even the proctor waited almost an hour to say something to him. So, my LSAT savvy friends, noise is something that will follow you into the testing location, but it will probably not be music from the Top 40 charts.
Though your favorite singers will not be able to grace your background as you take the LSAT, it is wise to try and mimic some kind of sound around you while you study, so that your “tune-out” ability hones as your logic skills hone. What always helped me was to put on some light classical music on in the background as I was studying. Granted I would stay away from Vivaldi and Mahler as they tend to get a bit epic in their scores.
My favorites to study to are Debussy and Chopin. They have a sweet melodic cadence that will help your mind tune out background noise and focus in on the logic in front of you. That’s no offense to either Debussy or Chopin. I, myself, am a piano player and happen to love Chopin, and there are many Debussy pieces I enjoy. However, let’s not kid ourselves, these songs are great for mellowing you out from your LSAT-taking anxiety and focusing on the questions at hand.
Now to each his own, if it’s not Chopin or Debussy for you, maybe you’ll prefer a calm Beethoven or a lovely Tchaikovsky piece. I’ve even known some students to get this “tune-out” practice by putting on their favorite TV-show in the background, somewhere where they can’t see the screen but soft chattering sounds are audible. Try it out. See what happens. I wish you all many logic filled revelations in this upcoming week and throughout your LSAT prep!