The good news about the LSAT is it can be prepared for. It can be prepared for effectively and scores can be increased significantly. The catch is that it takes time and effort, hard work and analysis. It might even take money, and it certainly takes resilience. Michael Jordan said it best “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
Here is a quick pre-LSAT training camp plan:
- Review question types and instructions online or offline
Go to information sessions and free workshops with test prep companies to find out what they know about the test that you don’t. You can also just go to a book store and check out the LSAT prep section, read a few pages on the same topic from each book to see which is best for you.
- Take a practice test
Before you begin preparing for the LSAT you need some understanding of what your starting score is. The only real way to determine this is with an actual timed LSAT test. Get a real LSAC prep test from their site (www.lsac.org) and take it under timed conditions (there is one free test on their site!).
- Assess how you did
Once you have a score you can assess how you did relative to how you might want to do to gain admission to a school, and also relative to national averages. For example, a 156 is an above average score, however, it’s well below the average of admitted students at Georgetown Law School. How long might you need to prep and how much help might you need to get your score to the next level?
- Consider getting help
After you have a baseline score, have visited a few prep companies’ info sessions, and maybe even had a free consultation with a tutor, you can better gauge how to prepare for the test. We’ve all hired experts and coaches to train us to do things in our lives, from piano coaches to driving instructors to basketball coaches. A test prep coach is the same. You want to take advantage of the greater experience and knowledge of someone whose job it is to help others improve their performance. You can get advice from books just like you can learn to play piano from a book, but you have to consider how you learn best. If you have taught yourself to play basketball from a book or video then perhaps you can do the same with the LSAT. If you’ve tried to teach yourself from books and failed, now is probably not the time to try again.
- Plan ahead
Once you have a sense of your practice plan you should target taking the official LSAT at least one administration earlier than you need to. This means you should be scheduling at least 6 months in advance of your first test date. If you need to have an LSAT score by November 1, you should target taking the June LSAT. That way if you need to retake the test you have the October administration as a back-up plan. Therefore, your preparation should begin prior to the June LSAT rather than prior to the October LSAT.