10 Excellent Tips to Ensure You Are Prepared for Your LSAT Test
Before taking a Law School Admission Test (LSAT), it is important for students to be prepared. This means studying the various strategies and tips that are available to ensure you are ready. Regardless of whether you are studying for an LSAT by yourself or taking a course designed to prepare you for your test, you should pay careful attention to the ten tips outlined below to position yourself to get the best score possible.
So, without further delay, let us get straight to our ten tips to enable you to begin improving your chances of getting a good score in your upcoming LSAT.
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Tips to Enable You to Begin Improving Your Chances
You are the one in control (or mostly in control)
One important tip to bear in mind when facing the considerable challenge of getting ready for and taking a lengthy LAST (almost four hours of examination) is that it is entirely up to you to decide which test questions you will first address. This is something you have control over. Since these tests are administered in one-by-one sections, you have no choice over the order in which you tackle the various sections. However, you do have a choice when it comes to deciding on which order you will tackle the questions in each individual section.
You may wonder why the order in which you tackle questions is important. There are two good reasons. Firstly, answering the easiest questions first will help build up your self-confidence and some momentum before you move on to questions that are more challenging. Secondly, if you leave tougher questions until last, you will have already picked up vital points before time runs out. This reference to picking up points leads us into our next LSAT tip.
All LSAT questions carry the same weight
Before going into an LSAT and starting to take the test, it is vitally important to know that each question in the test carries the exact same points, regardless of how easy or difficult it is. In the event you are a perfectionist (or possessed of stubbornness) as many lawyers and aspiring lawyers probably are, it is likely you will want to keep working on particular questions until your answers are right. Although determination like this often brings rewards, such persistence can work against you in an LSAT. If, for example, you are working on the logical reasoning section of such a test and any assumption questions hold you up for a while (e.g. five or six minutes), this means you have wasted time that you could have used answering two easy questions and, therefore, missed out on two crucial points.
The key thing here is that it is essential to continue moving forward with an LSAT, and one of the best ways to do this is by remembering that each question has the same worth. Therefore, you should keep moving and grabbing points where you can. This strategy will pay off and you will be pleased you adhered to it when your test score comes through.
You will not be penalized for choosing wrong answers
Referring back to the notion of leaving difficult questions until last, it is worth noting that penalties do not apply for choosing incorrect answers.
So, what are the implications of this? You have probably guessed correctly - it is worth guessing in an LSAT. If time is running out for you or you just cannot work out the answer to a question, guess at the answer and continue to the next question. There is a (roughly) 25% chance that you will get the right answer and an even better chance in the event you at least manage to eliminate one of the incorrect answer options.
Read all the words in the LSAT questions and instructions carefully
In all three of the sections in an LSAT, every single word is extremely important in terms of the information provided. This test is not a time for skimming. On the contrary, it is vital you read every single word with great care and take note of its purpose and/or role. If, for instance, you miss even the word "not" in any section or setup, it is possible you will totally misunderstand that entire instruction and in any questions associated with it. So, it is easy to see how careless or overly-fast reading in an LSAT can cost you dearly in terms of vital points.
So let us find out how to master the art of reading LSAT questions and instructions carefully in order to avoid this costly oversight. This is covered in the tip that comes next.
Read in an active manner and make notes
To avoid missing critical words in an LSAT, we recommend you read every word in an active manner, which means making notes while you go through the test's "Reading Comprehension" text and while reading each of the "Logical Reasoning" test questions. Mark all keywords, which may include such words as "In sum," "However," and "Nonetheless." Take particular note of any changes in an argument or when evidence is presented for an argument.
Taking note of important changes like these will help your understanding of the different passages and/or questions while reading and it should enable you to find correct answers more quickly and more frequently. Begin practicing this at the earliest opportunity by marking keywords in any LSAT preparation articles or books you have. While this might slow your efforts down initially, you should get faster and better with some practice. All this will pay off during your LSAT and at law school. You may also be surprised at how well you can multi-task!
Devote additional time to studying the Logical Reasoning sections of the LSAT
It is well known that 50% (half) of an LSAT's overall score is derived from the Logical Reasoning sections -and these sections comprise of two of the test's four sections. Therefore, skimping on these sections is not advisable, even if you find other parts a struggle. It is vital to spend most of your available time on preparation for and doing practice for these sections.
Try and familiarize yourself with all the main types of questions in the Logical Reasoning sections, as well as the most frequent types of incorrect answers. Additionally, for each "Reading Comprehension" and "Logic Games" section, try and ensure you cover two of sections involving Logical Reasoning. Formal Logic is one of the key components of the Logical Reasoning sections of an LSAT, and we will cover that in the next tip.
Understanding the basic principles of formal logic in an LSAT
If you are to succeed as a law student, a qualified lawyer, or at your LSAT, it is crucial you learn formal logic. This is the very foundation stone of law. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it is extensively tested in every LSAT. However, there is no need to worry if you have not previously studied formal logic. You simply need to familiarize yourself with the basic principles to score well in your test. Formal logic is particularly important for the setting up of accurate sketches in Logic Games sections, and in order to understand the arguments in Logical Reasoning sections. Hence, it is advisable to learn formal logic to be one step ahead of those who set the tests.
Always begin Logic Games sections with an accurate sketch
In an LSAT, it is best to never rush into Logic Game questions without having a ready-drawn sketch. If you do not have one of these sketches you are unlikely to get questions right since you are in danger of tripping yourself up in the game details. The LSAT has been designed like this. Therefore, you need to set up an accurate sketch before you attempt to answer any of the test questions. Keep repeating this rule to yourself!
The writing sample in the LSAT is not something you should ignore
A great many students overlook the LSAT writing sample and only look at it on the day of their test. This is a great mistake. We assure you that no student wants to write their first writing sample at the end of a three-hour period of challenging tests. By this time it is likely you will be feeling exhausted and this is not the optimum moment to start trying to find out what is entailed in this task.
Even though the test's writing sample is not given a score and, therefore, does not contribute to any portion of an aspiring student's LSAT results, it is possible that law schools may and very likely will carry out a review of these writing samples when considering admission application. So try not to spoil the impression they have of you by showing you never practiced this part. All that is required of you is to include three of these samples in the practice work for your LSAT. This does not sound too difficult, does it?
Final important tip: it is not possible to cram for an LSAT
Unlike you would for certain college coursework or exams, it is not possible to revise from a book on the eve of an LSAT and commit everything to memory in order to score highly. This is because an LSAT is designed to test the student's ability to think in a critical manner and analyze certain facts, and these skills need to be practiced. Furthermore the structure of an LSAT is such that, especially the Logic Games part, it is not like other tests you may have come across. Time is required to practice answering LSAT questions in order to be familiar with the particular structure of these on the day of an actual test.
In an ideal would, you would study over a two-month period, or preferably for three months, prior to your LSAT. Three months allows sufficient time to become familiar with the LSAT structure, the strategies and tips described in this guide, and to try some full practice tests in realistic test conditions. Every step described above is crucial to the test-taker's LSAT performance.
A Quick Look Back
Before walking in to take your LSAT, it is advisable to allow a three-month period to become familiar with the tips, advice, and tricks described here. LSATs are standardized tests so this means they can be prepared for by looking back at previous test papers and learning techniques and strategies for dealing with the different sections.
If you absorb the tips provided here and practice them, you should find you are able to perform at optimum capacity on the day of your LSAT. Since this test is a critical component of every application for law school, and a test that even has the potential to attract a scholarship, it is well worth devoting two or three months to acquiring all the knowledge you can to succeed on test day!