Balancing LSAT Studying with your Already Hectic Life
So first, let me say, “Congrats on deciding to take the LSAT and taking the first step towards your future legal career.” Deciding that you even want to take the LSAT is a huge deal and it shows your true passion for becoming a lawyer. Now that you have made that decision, you must realize the investment in time (and perhaps money) necessary to excel at this exam. The LSAT, a standardized test for law school admissions that is scored on a 120-180 scale, is an extremely hard test, but if you have the time to master all of its intricacies you can surely get the score you want!
However, you may be thinking that since the time commitment to figuring out how the test works is so vast, how can you possibly balance studying for the LSAT while studying for all your other classes, still participating in your clubs/organizations, and interning? Well, here are some tips to get you to the score you want while leading a hectic life:
1. Take as few classes as possible
Since studying for the LSAT is a huge time commitment, I recommend taking as few classes as possible during the semester in which you are studying. If you were lucky enough to come into college with many AP or IB credits, you probably have the ability to take 1-2 fewer courses than you would in a typical semester and still maintain the ability to graduate on time. By taking fewer courses, you can use the time you would be typically studying for those classes to study for the LSAT instead. Also, if you still haven’t finished your General Education Requirements, now would be a good time to finish them up since these classes are typically easier than your major classes. In turn, you will have a less stressful final exam period, since finals week is typically only a few weeks before the LSAT exam (this is particularly true of the June administration).
2. Take an LSAT course
If you are a busy bee who is trying to balance classes, leadership positions, and internships, self-study may be extremely difficult. If you can afford an LSAT class, not only will experts help you learn the tips and tricks to beat the exam, but you will also have a set few hours every week that you are studying. Since you wouldn’t want to waste the money you spent on the course you will want to go to your class to at least get your money’s worth. However, if you are just trying to find time in the day to study, you may find excuses to not study such as being tired. Nonetheless, if you do decide to self-study, it will be imperative to carve out a few hours each week when you know you will be studying without any exceptions. Additionally, some companies, such as Kaplan, offer online programs that will help tailor your self-study schedule if set class times do not fit into your current schedule due to other obligations.
3. Prioritize your Obligations
If your priority is to get a high enough LSAT score to get into a Top 14 school, then cutting back on some of your other obligations may be necessary. As noted previously, to master the test you need time to not only work on individual sections, but also to take full-length practice tests which are 4 hours long. If you do not have the time for this, your LSAT score will suffer. Reevaluate your priorities and see what you can cut back on. Perhaps it is not the best idea to intern this semester or maybe you should decline the responsibilities of being President of your favorite organization. Even though you may feel like you are missing out on other great opportunities, getting a high LSAT score will certainly make-up for all of that.
4. Use the 3-2-1 Method
The method is simple:
a. 3--Never study for more than 3 hours at a time (unless you are taking a practice test)
b. 2--Never go 2 days without studying in a row
c. 1—Never study past 11 pm
5. Use your free time wisely
This piece of advice comes from one of my best friends Nina. While studying for the LSAT during her second semester of her Junior year, she was able to get a 4.0, while working and interning. She even got a high enough score to go to law school on a full scholarship! She claims that she would take her smallest LSAT book, which happened to be Logic Games, around with her everywhere she went. Whenever she had a spare 5 minutes she would try to finish a game, to not only enhance her speed but to perfect her technique. Since Logic Games are all about practicing how to diagram them efficiently, doing them as often as possible will help increase your score for that section. Thus, doing them whenever you have a spare moment can prove to be very beneficial. Of course, you can always bring a book that concentrates on a different section around with you, but the moral is that using your free moments to even do a few questions can help increase your score significantly.
After reading all of this, I hope you can create an effective LSAT studying schedule. A little bit of studying can go a long way, but if you don’t have enough time to invest, you may have to rethink taking the exam, at least for the time being. The LSAT requires hard work and dedication and it is okay to realize that your current obligations preclude you from giving the 110% effort needed to succeed. Regardless, good luck with your studying—see you in 1L!
This blog post was written by Lauren Nevidomsky, our Campus Ambassador from Binghamton University.