The Law School Admission Test is viewed as one of the most important parts of getting into the best law schools in the country. The LSAT is designed to measure and project your ability to excel in law school through an exam that is more narrowly focused than other standardized tests. The LSAT is broken up into five sections: analytical reasoning, two logical reasoning sections, reading comprehension, and a writing section which is unscored and provided to any law school you are applying to.
The LSAT is considered by most law schools to be the most accurate way to measure your performance in law school and carries an enormous weight in the application process; however, it is by no means a definition of how you will perform in law school. However, to even be granted admission into law school, it is important to invest a large portion of your time and energy before the exam to achieve your desired scores.
Prepare for a Marathon
Most students think that preparing for the LSAT is like preparing for any other test that they have taken throughout their academic career. If they spend a couple of hours one weekend cramming for the exam, they think they will be okay. Individuals fail to realize that studying for the LSAT should be spread out over two to three months, and during those couple of months, you should spend time focusing on every section of the test. The more time you can give yourself to study, the better your scores can be when it comes time to take the test. Similar to those that run marathons, no one simply does so overnight, you have to spend considerable time training to run the marathon and the LSAT is no different. It is a marathon and not a sprint.
Critical Thinking in Class
While you will not be tested on the information you learned in high school or college, some college classes might help develop your mindset for the LSAT. Logic, philosophy, or qualitative reasoning/critical writing courses can prepare you for the test because these classes focus on analyzing complicated theories and texts. Courses in logic are especially helpful for the logic games section because most logic courses teach you to work with a set of premises to reach a conclusion, which is both useful in any context but especially on the LSAT.
While these classes are not mandatory, they can help make a difference, particularly if that difference adds a couple of points to your overall score. It is not what you learn in those classes that matters but how you learn and understand the concepts being taught so that you can apply those concepts to preparing for the exam. If a course requires a lot of dense reading on unfamiliar topics, it can help with the LSAT’s reading comprehension topics because you will be training your brain and your body to adapt (with the often boring) topics on reading comprehension section of the exam.
There is no penalty on the LSAT for an incorrect answer, so it is important to make an educated guess on each question if you are unsure of the answer provides you with at least a 25% chance of striking the correct answer. Leaving a question blank will not help as each question is weighted the same. Tough questions count for just as much as easier questions when it comes to your final score. It is also important to answer as many questions as you can and revisit the questions you were unsure about with your remaining time.
Logical reasoning is worth half of your score on the exam and makes up two of the four sections, so it is important to spend a good portion of your time studying for this part of the exam. The LSAT will test you on all the key logical reasoning question types and common wrong answer types. Since logic is the foundation of the law, law schools are looking to see if you are proficient in working through what may seem to be premises that do not result in a particular conclusion. However, training yourself and spending additional time preparing will enable you to string the connection between those premises and arrive at the conclusion. Spend extra time setting up logic game sketches and understand reasoning arguments, as such will pay dividends for you on exam day.
Remember, the LSAT is a crucial part of your law school application, and it can determine your future at a specific school. There are studies that have been completed on the correlation between LSAT performance and performance in law school and even on the bar exam. However, do not lose confidence or be discouraged because you receive an LSAT score that is below the target score that you have set for yourself. Remember, the entire process of the LSAT, law school, and the bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Do not allow yourself to become a casualty of the moment and mentally psych yourself out. Continue to run your race and push forward and keep training.
Take it from someone who did not perform well on the LSAT, worked hard throughout law school, graduated early, and passed the bar exam. I put in the time, sought assistance when I needed it, pushed forward and gave every ounce of effort that I could muster to complete the marathon and in the end, all of the hard work paid off. If you take the entire process one day (sometimes even one hour) at a time and set mini goals for yourself, you will improve each day and reach the ultimate goal of passing the LSAT, graduating from law school, and passing the bar exam.