The October LSAT is just a month away, so hopefully you’re already studying for it if you want apply to law school.
J.Y. Ping, co-creator of 7sage LSAT Prep, has a law degree from Harvard and has helped thousands of students prepare for — and hopefully ace — the LSAT. We spoke to him about the best ways to study.
1. Don’t drink. “A beer here and there won’t hurt, but you have to cut out binge drinking — which is something I’ve been told might happen in college,” Ping joked. Tons of research proves alcohol damages long-term memory. It can also interfere with sleep.
Ping says one of his students who consistently scored in the 99th percentile on practice tests stopped sleeping well because of a stressful family situation. His score dropped almost 11 points.
2. Recreate test conditions as exactly as possible. For example, the LSAT requires a number 2 pencil and only a number 2 pencil, so students should always practice with one.
Ping also suggested studying with a bubble answer sheet. If you skip a question but don’t skip an answer on the sheet, you’ll offset all your answers by one. Disaster. Ping recommends writing down the letter-answers to a single page in the test booklet (maybe 6 questions). Then bubble in the answers on the sheet.
3. Take real, full-length, timed, practice tests. “It’s beyond me why someone would take an un-timed test,” Ping said. And the LSAT doesn’t have any breaks between sections, so you shouldn’t take breaks.
He also cautioned that a lot of companies don’t offer the real LSAT test as practice because they don’t want to pay the hefty fee for use. “It’s not really fair. The students suffer,” he said. Read carefully or ask before signing up for a course. (FYI, Kaplan uses the real test.)
4. Don’t check the answers right after you finish a practice test. What do you do right after you finish a test? You check the answers and mentally high-five yourself with every right answer. “That’s not a good way to review though. Because it’s not test day. Right answers don’t matter. You have to check your reasoning,” Ping said.
Don’t immediately flip to the answers when the timer goes off. Instead, go back through your choices, with no time limit now, and make sure you know why you chose the answer you did. Ping calls this “blind review.”
5. Enroll with a test prep company. But attend a class in your area before you do. “Students should expect to spend $US500 to$ 1000 dollars on test prep courses and materials. You just can’t do it on your own,” law school expert Ann Levine said.
You need to make sure you can learn from a specific instructor, though. “Comprehension really comes down to the learning style of the individual student.” Ping said. Usually, companies will let you sit in before handing over the cash.
Now that you have a solid study strategy, check out some hacks for the actual test day.
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