There’s a good and not-so-good way to prepare for the LSAT. We see test-takers make mistakes all the time! Let’s review three very common errors and how to avoid them.
Looking for Shortcuts
Performing well on the test requires solid conceptual understanding of the material being tested. Relying on a “quick fix” or a shortcut might help in some instances; however, these are not bullet-proof methods that can be applied universally and work every time. Such “techniques” can do more harm than good. Many students who use them never bother to understand and apply the correct method of approach.
For instance, the process of “matching” keywords between stimulus and answer choices in Justify questions is no substitute for understanding how the correct answer choice in such questions serves to prove the conclusion. Likewise, certain keyword identification strategies in Flaw questions that contain errors in conditional reasoning may not always work, because test makers have learned how to describe such errors without the use of the requisite keywords (e.g. “necessary,” “sufficient,” etc.). Indeed, you should assume that test-makers are always two steps ahead of you when it comes to such shortcuts, and have designed strategies meant to circumvent their utility or applicability.
The LSAT is a timed exam and students often feel the pressure to do timed exercises and practice tests. While such exercises are undeniably important, especially closer to the test date, it is imperative that you take your time in the beginning. Only by developing a solid conceptual understanding of the material (see point #1 above) will you see improvement in your score—and your pace will pick up too. Trust us on that one.
Studying for the LSAT can be a mentally exhausting, labor-intensive endeavor. Studies show that if you learn how to relax and take a break once in awhile, you’ll be more productive in the long run. For an even more in-depth analysis of why breaks from the LSAT can increase your score, click here.
What Should You Do?
The surest way to reliably increase your LSAT score is to
- Understand the conceptual framework and structural patterns that underlie the questions on the test.
- Continuously apply that knowledge to timed practice tests that you thoroughly review each and every time. This also helps you feel more confident about the test and even more relaxed on D-day—unless you overdo it.
- Remember to take breaks and relax: there is a fine line between obsession and determination… ask any 3L!