One of the first questions I often hear from students looking into the LSAT is “How much time do I need to put in?”
It’s obviously different for everyone, some of us can ace the test with little or no preparation while others might take months of dedicated study to see significant improvements in their score.
We’ve put together an LSAT Study Schedule as a guideline for your LSAT studies. This is just a guide and you may require much more or less time than is laid out here. But it’s a great place to start.
Before you charge into the LSAT study schedule, there are a couple of quick things you should consider. Namely, Diagnostic Exams and Goals.
Diagnostic Exam – generally I recommend that students take a diagnostic LSAT to begin with, with two big warnings (we’ll get to those in a moment). Taking a diagnostic LSAT allows you to set a baseline score and to build your goals upon that. You can then track your progress from this base score. If you’re looking for an official LSAT to start with, there’s one in our trial LSAT course. Here’s the caveats on the diagnostic LSAT:
WARNING #1 – many successful students with high LSAT scores, did not score high on their diagnostic, there is lots to learn about the particulars of the LSAT, how they ask the questions and what methods you can use to get to the answers quickly. If you are the type of person who is demoralized easily with low test scores, skip the diagnostic and move into studying. When you’ve prepared a bit more then take an exam.
WARNING #2 – staring off with a full LSAT exam is often daunting and becomes a mental block to getting your LSAT studies started, if you find yourself more than a few days past your planned start date and you still haven’t written the diagnostic exam, skip it and just get started. You can start with a simple lesson on one topic and spend 20-30 minutes learning one thing. Much less intimidating than a 4 hour exam to start. You can always come back and do lots of practice exams later.
Set your Goals!
Essential for any study program, and especially for the LSAT. Set your goals early and review them often.
Goals should include:
- a final score (check what your hopeful law schools require for an idea of what you might require)
- hours per week – determine how much time you are willing to dedicate per week and stick to it
- that’s it. You can add in your school of choice but too many goals and some start to slip. Stick to these two and you’ll stay focused.
You may also want to consider where you’ll be studying. It’s best to set a place, be consistent and visit it often.
Here’s a few good places:
- a school library or other library
- an office
And some bad places:
- home study or bedroom (maybe, see below)
- park bench – it may be sunny but you won’t get much work done
Studying at home – some people can, but most of us can’t. If you’re going to study at home make sure you eliminate all distractions and ensure that no one will be coming in to disturb you. Try this once or twice and if you find yourself taking a nap, watching TV or constantly being interrupted then you need to find somewhere else to study and stick to it.
Once you’ve got your place and goals set you’ll need a study plan. You can put your own together or use our suggestions here. This LSAT study guide will take you through all aspects of the LSAT in approximately 70 hours, plus a few more for extra practice and review. You can supplement it with official LSAT practice exams at any point in the study plan. We’d suggest you fit in at least 5 full length practice exams under timed conditions and include some time to review them after each exam. Total study time in this plan including 5 exams and review time is approximately 90-100 hours. At 10-12 hours per week that’s about 10 weeks, or at 20 hours per week it’s about 5 weeks. You can condense it down further by studying more often or by cutting down on some areas that you find easier. Often students will find a few topics that come easily to them and you can reduce your study time on these.
When you’re ready, get started with the LSAT Study Schedule here.