Tips for Preparing for the LSAT

The LSAT is a standardized test required of all students interested in pursuing a law degree.

For all standardized tests, my advice is always the same: study any samples provided by the test creators. In this case, you can find a great deal of information on this website: https://www.lsac.org/jd/ for the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Start early so you will not have to rush, at least half a year before you take the test. You need time to get used to some of the question types, which may not be familiar to you. Practice will pay off, but it takes time.

I will provide and comment on links to this site below.

1. Get started. Here is a link to a set of practice problems with explanations:

https://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/lsatpreparationweb.pdf

I would encourage you to read over and make sense of these explanations.

This might be a good moment for me to comment that the prospect of reviewing for the LSAT often leads to the desire to procrastinate. Students sometimes think they should wait until they have a full Saturday to spend the entire day studying. Perhaps that works for a few of you, but for most students, that would be the recipe for disaster. My advice is to start early and budget daily half hour sessions to whittle away at it. It will keep you fresh and focused. If you get interested in the task, and you study longer than expected, great! If not, when the half hour ends, feel free to stop as long as you are determined to start again the next day.

One more piece of advice--scheduling these study sessions earlier in the day works a bit better than saving it for the end of the day. If your schedule will permit you to do so, get the study time in as soon as possible so you will avoid being too tired by the end of the day.

2. View this video:

https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/about-the-lsat/

The more you have a sense of what you are getting into, the better.

3. Begin practicing the problems in the full length test they provide. Complete one problem at a time, checking your answer each time. If you got the answer wrong, try to puzzle out why it was wrong.

Here is a link to the full-length practice test:

https://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/sampleptjune.pdf

Be sure to study these untimed, problem-by-problem.

4. Seek additional resources to gain insights into strategies for the LSAT. The library usually has test preparation guides that you can check out for free. My favorites are Kaplan and Princeton Review.

5. Other resources:

  • The Writing Center on campus could give you feedback on a practice essay. www.writingcenter.appstate.edu
  • Studying and discussing prompts with friends could be helpful.
  • Expand your vocabulary. My favorite strategy for expanding your vocabulary is to read a wide variety of texts and to look up words that you are not confident you can define. But first, guess what you think the word means from the context. A good supplement to this kind of vocabulary study within context is the use of a tool such as www.freerice.com to quiz yourself on words. Reading, however, is the most effective means to acquire new words.

6. Worried that you'll run out of time on the test? That is a concern. The first step is to get as comfortable as possible with the testing format through steps such as the ones above. The next step is to read every day, and practice pushing yourself to read a bit faster than your habit. Finally, keep building your vocabulary--that is a key to reading faster.

Then when you are ready, purchase at least one practice test from LSAC, time yourself, and see how you do. That may help you be aware of how you stand, and if you are ready to take the test.

7. Expensive test prep programs? My preference is individual study such as the above strategies. But if you have the money and you benefit from having someone guide you through the study process, such programs may be useful. I encourage you to talk to other students who have used the program, first, though.