If you’re here, it’s fair to assume that you’re taking your LSAT prep seriously. That’s smart! But are you being smart about how you study? Both commitments are important if you want to do well on the LSAT without going mad and burning out before test day.
The LSAT Emotional Roller-coaster
Most people studying for this test experience a full range of emotions: fear, excitement, loathing, you name it. The excitement you feel when a concept finally clicks or when you raise your score on a PT. These are fantastic motivators that keep you coming back for more. It’s a geeky kind of high and part of the fun of studying for the LSAT. But then, there are those times when your fear forces you to sit down with your books even when you don’t want to. You loathe those minutes and hours toiling away at topics you don’t find fun or even insteresting. These are the times when you need to be disciplined.
Some students fall into the trap of studying only what they enjoy. Typically, these are concepts they already understand! If you’re tired of studying and afraid you may not truly understand the material, you may find yourself compromising and going for the easy wins. You can feel proud of yourself for “studying,” but you’re not doing yourself much good.
Where to Focus Your Efforts
Assuming that you’ve already built a comprehensive conceptual foundation, your study should always focus on the things that you understand least that appear on the test most frequently.
Let’s say you don’t understand how to approach Evaluate the Argument questions, a difficult question type for people to master. The good news is that Evaluate the Argument questions appear very infrequently. You may not even see an Evaluate the Argument question on your test! Since you don’t fully understand the question type, you should absolutely spend some time reviewing it. However, it would be a mistake to devote a large chunk of your study time to a question type that you may not even see on test day.
On the other hand, suppose your difficulty is with a concept like Assumption questions. These are a frequently tested concept and you’ll definitely see a few of them on test day. You should absolutely devote time to figuring those questions out and preparing yourself to crush them. Be sure to identify the concepts that you’re not only struggling with, but are most likely to encounter on test day!
Don’t Settle for Easy Wins!
Instead of taking this more effective approach to organizing studying, some people continually revisit the same concepts they’ve already mastered. It may be comforting, but it’s not efficient. Ultimately, it will leave you ill-prepared to attack the entire test.
Break out of your comfort zone! If you know you’re susceptible to falling into this study trap, organize yourself so that you’re prepared to avoid it. Set out clear, discrete, and attainable goals. On your study calendar (and you have one, right?), rotate the topics so that you keep some variety in your study and hit all of the topics multiple times. When you have gotten to where you truly understand a specific area of the test, reduce its prevalence in the rotation so that you study it less frequently, but still revisit it periodically to keep it fresh in your mind.
You’ve already made the critical decision to take your preparation seriously. Now reward yourself, by making your study time as efficient, effective, and fun as possible.