The Law School Admissions Tests, or LSAT, is one of the most important factors law school admissions officers consider when evaluating candidates. Despite the countless test prep resources available on the market, acing the LSAT is a rare feat. According to the Law School Admissions Council, fewer than 0.3 percent of all test-takers achieve a perfect score.
Start Studying Early
Even if you aced the SAT and breezed through college, you need to set aside plenty of time to prepare for the LSAT. For best results, start studying for the exam at least three months before your test date. By starting early, you'll allow yourself ample time to conquer your weaknesses and develop consistency. For example, if you discover that you struggle in the reading comprehension section, you will have a few weeks available for intensive reading comprehension practice. The LSAC offers prep materials and practice tests on its website; begin using these aids long before your test date.
Practice with Purpose
To master the LSAT, you need to hone your logical reasoning and reading skills to the particular requirements of the test. The test's analytical reasoning section, for example, features unique logic puzzles that bear little resemblance to anything most students study in college. The best way to improve is to review every difficult question, even those you got right. This technique will help you detect common traps and pitfalls in the test. There are a limited variety of questions on the LSAT, so if you avoid making the same mistake twice you can practice your way to a perfect score.
It's All in the Timing
The LSAT's time constraints challenge test takers to think through complex logical arguments very quickly, so timing is vital. For example, the reading comprehension portion of the exam features 26 to 28 questions about four dense passages in only 35 minutes, according to LSAC. The best way to avoid running out of time is to become intimately familiar with the exam. For example, the reading comprehension section almost always asks questions about the tone of each passage, so you can improve your timing by identifying the tone as you read the passage so you don't have to reread when the question arises.
If you are struggling to improve, hiring a tutor or paying for an LSAT prep course could help. Guided study tends to produce marginally higher scores. According to "U.S. News and World Report," courses and tutors help students by keeping them locked into a study schedule and helping them think through the most difficult problems. For many students, this guidance is critical for success. However, prep courses usually only boost scores by a point or two.
- Law School Admissions Council: LSAT Prep Materials
- Law School Admissions Council: About the LSAT
- Law School Admissions Council: LSAT Technical Report Series
- U.S. News and World Report: How to Best Prepare for the LSAT
- U.S. News and World Report: 7 Tips for LSAT Success
- Law School Admissions Council: Preparing for the LSAT
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