How to Create an LSAT Study Schedule That Works for You

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Unlike other standardized tests, the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, requires not just an understanding of the individual questions, but an understanding of how the exam itself works. That means that you need to develop problem-solving skills specifically related to the LSAT. If you create a personalized study schedule, and you stick to it, you’ll be more than prepared for the exam.

On average, you should spend a minimum of 250-300 hours studying for the exam over a 2-3 month period. This means around 20-25 hours per week, including any prep course hours or tutoring sessions you might be taking.

However, keep in mind that everyone studies differently and learns at a different pace. Creating your own schedule ensures you’re allocating your time to areas you need to work on and not spending unnecessary time on areas you already understand. Some students may need more than three months—light studying over a long period may make more sense, as intensive studying for a long period could lead to burnout. Getting the perfect balance is key to studying efficiently. 

Take a Practice Test to Get Your Baseline Score

Before you start studying, you may want to take a diagnostic test to get a baseline score. A diagnostic test can tell you how much you need to study, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re taking a course, this also helps your instructor gauge your performance. If you’re studying on your own, then you should spend some time analyzing your answers so you can chart your performance.

To get your baseline score you can download any free LSAT practice test. It is extremely important that you take the test under timed conditions. If you can, use a virtual proctor to simulate the real LSAT experience. When you’ve finished, first determine your raw score by seeing how many correct answers you got out of the total number of questions. Then, use an LSAT score conversion chart to determine your scaled LSAT score. 

Do not be discouraged by the results. It simply tells you what you already know, which is that you have a lot of work ahead of you. Simply use the diagnostic as a benchmark to gauge your progress as you advance.

Set a Goal

Chances are you already know which law school or schools you’d like to attend. Look at their admission criteria (GPA and LSAT score). This will help you determine what score you need, and this number can become your LSAT goal. Then, compare this to your baseline score to get a good indication of how much you need to study and how much time to commit.

If you are in need of a scholarship, you should aim for a score that is above the median score of the school’s 1L class, especially if you’re looking for a large or full-ride scholarship.

Determine Your Time Commitment and Adjust Your Lifestyle

As mentioned before, the minimum amount of time you should spend on studying is approximately 250-300 hours over the course of 2-3 months. However, depending on your baseline score and your goal, you may need to increase this. 

If your baseline score is far from your goal score, you need to invest more time, but if you’re pretty close to your goal, you don’t need to study as long. Once you’ve determined your time commitment, you need to plan when you’re actually going to study. Students who have set blocked-off times for studying tend to be more successful than students who study sporadically in their spare time.

Obviously, it won’t be feasible to stop all of your life commitments like work or school. However, you can reduce your course load, take some vacation days from work, or even put a pause on some hobbies. That being said, you should always take a break from studying when you need it. Too much studying can lead to burnout, which ultimately harms your success rather than helping it.

Prepare Weekly Schedules

Effective time management is key to reaching your LSAT goals. Weekly schedules that detail your study sessions, assignments, other obligations, and extracurriculars help you use your time more effectively. If you are taking an LSAT class, you will probably be provided with a rough study outline that you can personalize. However, if you are studying independently, you need to plan out all your activities as far in advance as you can. That way you can ensure you’re devoting enough time to studying.

In these weekly plans you should also create a rough outline for what you’re going to study. This may change according to how far you progress and what areas you find difficult, so you don’t need to go into too much detail. You should create weekly schedules up until the exam date. Remember to include time dedicated to just reviewing your weak areas, problems you have difficulty with, and any that you answer incorrectly.

Set Aside Time for Vocabulary

One important skill the LSAT tests is your ability to read with precision. For this reason, it’s beneficial to set aside some time to review key vocabulary words, as the LSAT often includes abstract and unfamiliar language.

Remember that the LSAT specifically tries to trick and frustrate you. Knowing definitions will not only help you reason effectively, but it will also help you get through the test faster. The best way to do this is to write down any words you come across during your studies that you don’t understand. Figure out the definitions and then write them down on flashcards. It’s a good idea to review these for at least one hour a week, but you can also study them during your downtime.

Review Your Progress

Lastly, you should review your progress at the end of every week. This means looking at your mistakes and adjusting your study schedule so you’re focusing on those areas.

Analyzing your performance takes time. For every three-hour practice exam, you should set aside 4-5 hours to review your answers and identify error patterns. This should also be done with any assignments or drills you complete. Even if you get test reports pointing out areas of weakness, you still need to analyze why you’re getting those questions wrong and how you can improve. If you’re having trouble doing this by yourself, you can always ask an LSAT teacher or tutor to help you.