Writing the LSAT Anytime Soon?

barneyLSATIt is staggering how lightly some people take the LSAT. People look at me like I have a third eye when I tell them I’m already preparing for the October sitting. Four whole months to study for one test?! That’s way too much – said too many people, too often.

If you think about it, the LSAT is weighed equally with your cGPA by Law Schools most of the time, although a few measure the cGPA more heavily (and some don’t even look at the LSAT at all like McGill). With that in mind, it can be said that whatever length of time you’ve spent procuring an undergrad degree is equally important as the time you’ll spend studying for this ‘one test’.

“But the LSAT doesn’t even test a specific subject, how can you prepare for so long?”

While the LSAT isn’t like the MCAT – in terms of certain subjects tested – it is something you can study endlessly for. For example, do you know what formal logic is, and how to debunk sentences favoring form over content? It is true, you don’t need previous knowledge on any given subject, but you do need to have certain skill sets, which you can build up. Indeed, focusing on your fluid reasoning and critical thinking skills can actually make you smarter. According to a study done by neuroscientists at U.C. Berkeley, intensive study for the LSAT actually makes you smarter, literally. So that’s something to remember when you get the traditional doom and gloom spiel regarding law school, like Tucker Max’s blog post earlier on this year. On a side note, I recommend having a look at his insight, but take it with a grain of salt – apply the fluid reasoning, and critical thinking skills you’ve acquired through LSAT prep!

If you’re thinking of going to law school in 2014, and will be writing the test soon, then I highly recommend you start studying. Here are some tips to get you going:

Determine whether you need an instructor, or not. Prepcourses are freaking expensive, and sometimes utterly useless. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some good ones out there, but certain people learn more effectively on their own, so it is a waste of money for some.

Buy some materials, or torrent them, whatever. I personally recommend PowerScore, which is basically impossible to find in conventional bookstores – so go online. Also, get your hands on a shit ton of tests. You should be aiming to do 20-35 if you’re gunning for a 165+.

Treat studying like a job. Go to the library, or wherever, X amount of hours a week. Familiarization is crucial to success.

Have a plan. You can purchase one online, or sift through free ones,OR better yet, make one yourself.

Be suuuper honest with yourself. Really assess your weaknesses. Don’t go back and mark preptests saying “Oh I meant to put B as my answer” and then change it. If you make yourself aware of any sources of error EARLY, then you have time to fix them, even if it’s something little like misbubbling a question (about 10% of LSATers make at least one bubbling error).

Look at the LSAT in a positive way. The test itself is actually, sorta, maybe, a little fun in an incredibly nerdy way.

Always, always, always, always (I cannot stress this enough) look over your answers. Even ones you got right. If you understand why 100% of the answers were right for numerous old tests, chances are, you’ll know which answers are right come real test day.

That’s it for now, I’ll keep you updated on how my progress goes over the coming months.

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