When it comes to law school admissions, experts say the LSAT matters. A lot.
“Admissions officers care about your score because the LSAT tests the skills you’ll use on a daily basis in law school,” according to Kaplan Test Prep. “It’s the best predictor law schools have of the likelihood of your success at their institution.”
But the LSAT isn’t like many other exams. And, in terms of content, it isn’t necessarily an exam that you can simply memorize and expect to succeed at.
“It doesn’t ask you to repeat memorized facts or to apply learned formulas to specific problems,” according to Kaplan. “You will be rewarded for familiarity with patterns that make the LSAT predictable, and ultimately all you’ll be asked to do on the LSAT is think—thoroughly, quickly, and strategically.”
Thus, studying for the LSAT requires a unique strategy. Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently offered LSAT study strategies specifically geared towards three applicant types.
“THE ANXIOUS TEST-TAKER”
An anxious test-taker, according to Kuris, is an applicant who is starts off “with little or no experience with the LSAT and a hatred of standardized tests.”
This type of test-taker will usually study for the exam in an inefficient manner – from compulsive practice to unhelpful study habits.
“In reality, the LSAT is best mastered through methodical, focused practice,” Kuris writes. “Applicants with test anxiety should adopt a structured approach. They should build a fail-safe, confidence-building study plan with a course, a tutor or comprehensive study materials.”
Anxious test-takers, according to Kuris, should start by understanding how to approach the types of questions that the LSAT tests. Once they have a solid understanding of the types of questions the LSAT tests, anxious test-takers should spend a “few weeks of rigorous untimed practice, and finally at least two months of timed section practice with periodic check-ins and review.”
Contrary to the anxious test-taker, the ace of standardized tests has more confidence when it comes to exams. But, Kuris says, these test-takers should still have a solid understanding of the different types of questions the LSAT includes.
Once they have that foundation, Kuris recommends transitioning to timed practice tests and in-dpeth practice on weak areas.
“Through regular timed practice tests, they may find their score increases steadily before hitting a wall,” Kuris writes. “Rather than lose interest or push themselves to try harder, they should home in on exactly what kinds of questions are giving them trouble and devote multiple days to sustained practice on areas of weakness.”
If you’re a procrastinator, Kuris says, your best approach to LSAT prep is a condensed course with achievable goals.
“[The Procrastinator] should take periodic practice tests, perhaps every two weeks, to measure progress and identify their weak points,” Kuris writes. “And they should try to fit in shorter intervals of practice questions, even 15 minutes a day.”