A common question pops up around LSAT crunch time. “How do I prepare for the test if I’ve burned through all of my practice material?” There are three key steps I’d take between now and test day so you can still maximize the remaining prep time that you have.
Review, over and over, anything and everything that’s given you the slightest bit of trouble the past several months. A lot of people underestimate or even entirely ignore the value of a form of “muscle memory” for a test like this. Doing challenging things perfectly enough times can make you not just intuitive, but automatic.
Pay particular attention to the last two years’ worth of exams since they likely serve as the best indicators of what the next test will hold. Make sure you understand them at the molecular level. Not just why the right answers are right, but why every wrong answer is wrong. Make a point to intimately know how arguments are put together and any recognizable forms of reasoning present (flaws, conditional chains, numbers and percentages constructions, etc). Identify common elements in games like inferences from rule connections and numerical distributions and template opportunities. Be able to spot RC passage structures particularly in terms of identifying viewpoints (competing, agreeing, neutral) and other big-picture concepts (main point, tone, author’s attitude/purpose).
Teach the LSAT
The ultimate goal of reviewing materials is that you begin to understand this test not just well enough to take it successfully, but so thoroughly you could create one yourself. The very best test-takers see the LSAT through the eyes of the folks who write it. One of the most effective ways to reach that level—aside from a deconstructive analysis—is to teach it. That, again, forces you to formalize your process for consistent repetition and see the exam from a different perspective. One of a test-taker more prone to falling victim to the test’s traps, the same fallacies and pitfalls you’re looking to avoid. It’s one thing to be good at the LSAT. But I promise you won’t truly understand why you’re good or what your instincts are doing until you attempt to make other people good.
How can you do this? Find some friends who are taking it and offer to help! Those who score lower, your insights and experience will be a welcome contribution. You’ll also learn a ton about your own strategies as well as about less useful ones. For those who score high like yourself, you can form brainstorming study groups. Here you can take turns explaining the ideal way to attack problems and correct each other’s analyses. You can help each other determine the best way to beat a concept. For instance, I spent a lot of time with LR and RC. I focused almost exclusively on wrong answers and, this is crucial, what it is about each that the test makers would say to defend its elimination. Now, when students ask me “why not D?” I am able to point out exactly why it failed and how to spot similar failures immediately in the future.
Focus on Your Mentality
Perhaps most important of all is mentality. What tends to separate a 171 from a 177 usually isn’t wide gaps in raw intelligence or different experience or conceptual mastery. Usually, it’s mindset (and let’s be honest a touch of luck). The near-180 is just this much more dialed in, drifting less and staying endlessly confident and focused. They’re aggressive without rushing, they’re active and attentive and engaged while still looking to push their pace, and they’re entirely immune to getting rattled. And, speaking at least for myself, they enjoy it.
When I sit down with an LSAT in front of me I have a slight grin on my face because I know I’m about to get in the ring with a crafty opponent who’s going to try every trick in the book to land a punch… and I’m amused at how telegraphed every swing is about to be. Let’s do this! And then it’s duck and weave, stick and move. I’m Ali taunting his increasingly frustrated opponent, gliding my way to the final bell without a scratch. Hell, without breaking a sweat. Is every test a flawless 180? Not quite. Usually, but I’ll slip up now and then, let my guard down or misread slightly or get momentarily distracted. We’re human after all. But I can tell you that at the outset my mentality is exactly as I described it above—hyper-focused and utterly bulletproof.
Work on engineering that type of attitude every single time you sit down to practice—full test or single question; “old” content or new—and come test day you’ll be entirely in control. And your score will show it.