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Preparation for the LSAT

You must prepare for the LSAT, and you should do so under conditions that simulate the actual test. Because the LSAT does not test "knowledge" like the tests you are used to taking, "cramming" for it is usually an ineffective technique. Preparing for the LSAT means learning what the LSAT tests, and how it is tested. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the less anxious you will be come test day.

Should you prepare on your own, or should you take an LSAT preparation course? The answer depends on who you ask. In general, a couple of factors should be considered. If you have the self-discipline to set aside the needed time and do quality studying, there is nothing wrong with going it on your own. However, if you have a hard time forcing yourself to turn off the TV, seclude yourself from friends, family, or roommates, and devote your full attention to regular preparation, then the discipline imposed by a preparation course is something you need. In addition to your study habits, cost is another factor. LSAT courses are not cheap. The typical cost ranges from $300 to $1100 dollars. Some of the better-known test preparation companies do offer scholarships for needy students. Your prelaw advisor can give you information about some of the LSAT preparation courses.

If you plan to study on your own, you should start six to eight weeks before the test date. LSAT study books are available in all the popular bookstores, or through Amazon.com and other Web booksellers. Be sure to get a book that includes studying and test-taking tips, but what you're really after is the practice exams. The more practice exams you can get your hands on, the better off you'll be. Most LSAT self-study books contain questions from actual LSATs given in previous years, along with guides to explain the right and wrong answers. Your goal is to understand how the questions and answers are designed, and to get as comfortable as possible with them. You can order copies of previously-given LSATs from Law Services.

You should set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to study. If you can study at home, then study at home. But if there are too many distractions there, then find a quiet place like the library where you can focus and concentrate. The bulk of your study time should be spent reviewing and trying to understand the questions and answers. In addition, you should take at least one full practice exam each week under simulated test conditions. Score each exam after you take it and then spend extra time working on the areas where your scores are the weakest. Track your progress from week to week so you can see your improvement.

LSAT preparation courses offer small group instruction from people who know a great deal about the LSAT and how to take it. The two most widely known preparation courses are Kaplan and The Princeton Review. Both offer regularly scheduled courses that take place over several weeks prior to each LSAT date. You get lots of test-taking information and lots of practice exams. Throughout each course, computerized analyses show your strengths and weaknesses so you can concentrate your efforts in areas that need work.


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