On the LSAT, Time is Not on Your Side

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As I have said many times, the LSAT is not a test of intelligence. This test is purely a test of logic and endurance. I think it’s mostly a test of endurance. Once you have done a certain amount of LSAT prep, you will have a mastery of the logic and categories of questions that LSAC will throw at you. The final hurdle then is time. Like Groucho Marx said, “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” Right?

Okay so we have a total of six sections on the LSAT and we have all of three and a half hours to finish them. The break down is 35 minutes a section. What I think is most helpful is to make sure to get a general mastery of each section and each question type down before you really begin worrying about timing. It REALLY doesn’t matter if you finish the section on time if you aren’t doing it accurately.

I recommend doing this by taking a ton of sections of each section of the LSAT: Logic Games, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning and doing them back to back until you can get two whole sections in a row perfect. Once you can achieve this feat, then you are ready to really delve into the issue of timing.

When you’re ready to think about timing, you’re end-goal should be to finish the Logic Games and Reading Comprehension section in 8-minute increments. Let’s take Logic Games. Each logic game must be read and answers bubbled in within eight minutes and 45 seconds. Eight minutes, however, would be ideal because after four games 32 minutes have passed, which then gives you three whole minutes to go back over your answers or review any you were shaky on. A further break down of this is to read and diagram the scenario of each game in three to four minutes and then answer all the questions for that scenario in three to four minutes.  It’s easier if you start out by giving yourself twelve or ten minutes per game depending on how much you feel like you need. Then, as you get comfortable with twelve, go down to eleven minutes, and so on till you reach eight. But, try and be strict about it, no matter where you are in answering or reading, once you hit your goal time for that section, turn the page! So, if you’re practicing at ten minutes per question, once that manual watch you are using ticks ten minutes, FLIP THE PAGE!

It’s the same idea for Reading Comprehension. Every passage should take you eight minutes and 45 seconds (ideally eight minutes) to read, annotate and answer all the corresponding questions. That means that it should take you around three to four minutes to read and annotate a passage and then three to four minutes to answer the passage’s questions.

The Logical Reasoning timing is a bit different, but on average, you have about one minute and 45 seconds per question. I have my own way of doing it and you can try it out for a test drive and see if you like it, and if you don’t then no sweat. I find that the first ten-ish questions on Logical Reasoning are pretty easy. Then ten to fifteen are medium-ish. For me, they seem pretty difficult fifteen to around the last two questions, which I find to be medium again. I realized this by looking at my accuracy on the Logical Reasoning section. I’d always have a really nice streak going till around fifteen-ish and then all my mistakes would appear, but I’d always somehow get the last two right again. So I decided I wanted to try and finish the easy and medium questions first and leave the hard ones to the end. So ideally you want to give yourself a minute a question for the easy and medium ones, give or take. What I did was I would answer questions chronologically for fifteen minutes or up to question fifteen, whichever came first. Then I’d flip to the end of the section and work from the last question backwards till I had all the questions answered. Sounds a little kooky, but it really worked for me.*

Okay, that was my crash course in timing for you. Please remember to always use the manual watch you are expecting to use on the actual LSAT during your LSAT prep.  Soon we will discuss the grand importance of mimicking the real LSAT testing conditions to a tee. Hope this was helpful for you LSAT preppers of mine!

Happy Studying!

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*If you decide to jump any questions, MAKE SURE YOU NOTE YOUR ANSWER SHEET! The last thing you want to do is misbubble

Updated on Aug 18, 2016