Once you create your LSAT study plan, you can work more efficiently by knowing what to study, when to study, and why you’re studying in the first place. The LSAT does not test you on specific facts, which means you can’t cram for it. On the bright side, consistent study often yields significant score gains which open the pathway for law school acceptance and scholarships.
Let’s start by outlining the process before we discuss the steps in more detail.
- Take a practice test
- Set a target score
- Evaluate your improvement opportunities
- Choose resources based on your improvement opportunities, learning style and budget
- Set a target test date and weekly study schedule
1. Take a Practice Test
The first step to create your LSAT study plan is taking a practice test. For accurate results, you’ll want to take an actual LSAT, not a test designed by a test prep company. Two free ways to take your first official practice test are Khan Academy and LSAC’s own Official LSAT PrepSM.
Don’t feel bad if your score is lower than you hoped. With a solid study plan and some basic LSAT strategies, raising your score is very possible. The first practice test is just to give you a basic understanding of the LSAT and give you a baseline to work from.
2. Set a Target Score
You probably already have a law school or two in mind. Using www.abarequireddisclosures.org, look up the average LSAT scores for schools you’re considering. What score would you need to get into that one school, or to get a scholarship at your preferred university?
Setting a target score will help you track your progress to see if you’re on track to hit your target score by the time test day arrives.
The tangible opportunity of acceptance or a scholarship is also a powerful motivator. Let’s be real—we all have something we’d rather be doing than endless LSAT problems. A tangible goal will remind you that your hours of study are paying long-term dividends in your education, career and life.
3. Evaluate Your Improvement Opportunities
Once you’ve taken a practice test, you should have a feel for your strongest and weakest areas on the LSAT. Your weakest sections offer the highest opportunity for improvement, but some sections are easier to improve than others.
- Analytical reasoning (logic games) is generally considered the easiest section to improve on. Known for destroying unwary test-takers, the logic games can feel daunting. However, effective diagramming can dramatically improve your speed and accuracy in this section.
- Logical reasoning uses many of the underlying principles as the logic games, and test-takers generally see moderate improvement in this area.
- Reading comprehension is regarded as the hardest section to gain points in, though improvement is possible.
In short, students see the most improvement in the logic games section, and moderate improvement in logical reasoning. You should also consider your weakest areas from the practice test, as your weakest areas offer the greatest potential to raise your score.
Identifying the most efficient improvement for opportunity will help you make good study choices, so that your hard work leads to the best possible score boost.
4. Choose Resources Based on Your Improvement Opportunities, Learning Style and Budget
Once you know what section(s) you want to focus on in your test prep, it’s time to consider LSAT study resources.
Khan Academy’s Official LSAT Prep leads the way as a great free resource. Khan Academy offers high-quality tutorials in both video and text. They also offer full, official practice tests for free, and all of their example problems are taken from real LSATs.
There are two significant downsides to Khan Academy’s LSAT curriculum:
- It uses a lot of problems from recent LSAT’s. The downside of this is that whenever you take a practice test, you will likely run into questions you have already seen on Khan Academy. This can make it tough to get an accurate assessment of your progress from prep tests.
- Khan Academy’s LSAT explanations and available materials are outdone by some of the paid alternatives.
LSAT Hacks is another great free resource, with courses and answer explanations that won’t cost you a penny.
Finally, the Manhattan Prep forums are a great tool for specific answer explanations as you work through your practice tests.
If you have a budget for some prep materials, there are some great options available. We’ll start with logic games (analytical reasoning). In this section, PowerScore’s LSAT Logic Games Bible is a great place to start.
Once you’ve finished the book and problem sets, I’d recommend working through practice tests along with 7Sage.com, which has excellent videos explaining every logic game.
For reading comprehension, Manhattan Prep’s LSAT Reading Comprehension might be the best choice.
In deciding which resources to use, it’s good to consider your preference between video and written instruction, as 7sage delivers content primarily through video, while the various books use, well… written words.
5. Set a Target Test Date and Weekly Study Schedule
It’s easy to fall into disjointed and inconsistent LSAT study patterns—or to swing to the other side and burn yourself out. A weekly study schedule can protect you from both of those pitfalls.
To start, you’ll need a clear goal. When is your test date? What study blocks can you set aside on weekdays and weekends?
Let’s use Jess as an example. She’s working a full-time job and has about a month until her test date. In her latest practice test, she rocked logical reasoning but struggled on the other two sections.
Looking at her limited schedule, Jess decides to focus on logic games as the most efficient way to improve her score. She’ll work through the Logic Games Bible on weekdays, saving full-length practice tests for the weekend.
If you have more time than Jess, you might be able to study two or three sections. In any case, it’s important to use good resources, create your LSAT study plan, and stick to it.