Most students getting ready for the LSAT know that practice tests are important (which is why they are included in many full-length courses), but there are several common mistakes made by test takers in their approach to this vital component of their LSAT preparation. If you are willing to invest the time and effort to take full PrepTests as a part of your preparation, you should be sure to get the most out of your practice, and out of your test review.
- Take full PrepTests. Some students study LSAT concepts but avoid practice tests. The LSAT is not merely a test of concepts, so even if you are comfortable with any given Logic Game, Reading Comprehension passage, or Logical Reasoning stimulus in isolation, you should still be taking practice tests and practice sections, to develop proper pacing and build the endurance you'll need to optimize your performance on test day.
- Take your practice tests seriously. Students sometimes admit to being liberal with the timing, and taking extended breaks, for example. The more closely you can approximate the experience of taking the real test, the better off you will be on test day. So when you are taking a timed practice test, be strict with the time. Have someone proctor (or use our free virtual proctor) and if you know others getting ready for the test, gather a group to make the practice feel even more like the real thing.
- ...regardless, remember that some practice is better than no practice! This is not an all-or-nothing proposition; if you don't happen to have time for a full practice test on a given day, then maybe you can get in a practice section or two. You'll still be developing your familiarity with the test, the pacing required for each section, and the endurance that you'll need for an optimal performance on test day.
- Take the right approach to your practice test review. Students sometimes treat their test review like something to be almost mindlessly checked off a list. It can be tempting to quickly review the questions you got wrong, looking at the right answer and "confirming" that the answer makes sense. This kind of retrospective analysis is not ideal. Instead, make a list of the questions you got wrong, but don't note the correct answer choices. Then go back through those questions, and try to arrive at the right answers on your own to more closely approximate the analysis that the test actually requires. Before you move on from any question in your review, ask yourself whether you would get such a question correct if you were to encounter it again. If the answer is “Yes,” that should be very reassuring, because the LSAT has many, many recurring themes. If the answer is "No," come visit our LSAT Forum, where students, instructors, and course developers (even our company’s founder, Dave Killoran!) regularly respond to questions about specific LSATs as well as more general inquiries about the test and how to best prepare. For a much more expansive discussion focused entirely on optimizing your PrepTest review, you should check out this recent post from Dave as well!
Image: Broken Breaker, courtesy of Rodger Evans