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.