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The Secret to My Sucess

I am a lawyer.  When I was contemplating the idea of going to law school I dreaded taking the LSAT exam.  I was sure I would score horribly and never get into my school of choice.  Despite this, I did not take an LSAT course.  Truthfully, the schedule they required wasn't flexible enough for me and I've always been better at learning by doing then by listening to a lecturer.  It was also expensive.  After a month of studying as if it was my job I took the LSAT.  I scored in the 95th percentile.  It was a lot of work, but I did it on my own, and saved a significant amount of money.  LSAT prep courses often run well over $1000.  You can do it yourself too if you follow a few common sense tips.

My entire program of study consisted of taking old LSAT exams. I then scored them and carefully studied the answers I got incorrect. I took a ton of exams and my scores just kept going up and up. You must time yourself, set a timer and quit when it goes off, even if you're not finished. Make it realistic, you don't want to create a situation where you are uncomfortable taking the exam without a fan on your face, or without your ipod playing or without laying on your bed.

I bought my LSAT exams directly from LSAC, they have one free test on their site as well as sample questions and answers. You can purchase more LSAT exams as well, do this.  The Law School Admissions Counsel also sells through Amazon.  Please see my Amazon recommendations on this page for LSAT study, I've included links to prep tests as well as other things I think are helpful in studying for the LSAT or in the law school admissions process.  Do wear earplugs during your practice sessions and your exam.  There was a person next to me when I took my exam who had a very loud cold, complete with sniffling and nose blowing, the earplugs were a lifesaver!

The LSAT consists of five sections:
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games)
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Experimental
  • Essay
Reading comprehension is just like it sounds. Slow down, read carefully and you will breeze through this section. Haste makes waste, and missed concepts.

Analytical Reasoning - I loved the logic games, this was my favorite section. The only real trick to logic games is knowing they are formulaic. Do a ton of them, read closely when you make a mistake to see why you made it. I can nearly guarantee you that if you do enough of these you will see very similar games on the LSAT and you will get the answers quickly, and more importantly correctly. The trick is to know how to go about solving the puzzle, knowing the formula.

Logical Reasoning - This section requires you to pick apart an argument. If you have ever taken a course in Philosophy it will be very helpful in mastering this section. If you haven't you will still be fine if you study. Quite often they are looking for you to find the assumption (and thus error) in the argument. The statements are often ridiculous and the correct answer is likely to be blatantly false.

Experimental - Every exam has an experimental section. People often waste valuable time on exam day trying to figure out which section is experimental. It's a giant gamble to assume any one section is that section, just ace the whole exam, including the supposed experimental section!

Essay - This part tends to scare people, probably because it is subjective. Realize that this section is not part of your score. However, it is given to law school admissions at schools you send your LSAT score report to. They give out scratch paper, use it. Make a basic outline and start writing, NEATLY. Argue persuasively and do not end up with arrows and scratch outs or any other things that make your page hard to read.

Remember, study, study, study and you will be fine. Another bonus of repeated test taking is that your speed increases over time. Don't worry if you can't finish a section in the time allotted at first, there is a definite learning curve (but do stop when the timer goes off). If you prepare yourself well and have actual scored tests you can accurately judge how well you will do in the actual exam. Do not stop studying, make it your job, not something you do in your spare time. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.  Good Luck!

5 comments:

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UOPgirl said...

I dropped $1500 on an LSAT prep course, studied for 4 1/2 months, yet still came up short on the LSAT. I have a 3.8 gpa, but I seem to not test well on standardized tets. I also had a really low score on the SAT. I am going to take the LSAT again in Dec., what would you suggest doing? I think I did everything I could, I studied so much, the LSAT was my life for those 4 1/2 months :/

Administrator said...

UOP Girl:
I think you can improve your score. Take an old test and score it. See your weaknesses and read the answers to see why you got it wrong. Focus in on the details. Learn the tricks. Then take another one, did you make the same mistakes? Take your time, pour over incorrect answers. Know why they are wrong so you can get them right. The key is to keep taking them. You want to be extremely comfortable and familiar with this test. Don't study tips and tricks, study old exams. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for all your tips. They were really helpful. But according to LSAC, earplugs are prohibited in the test rooms.. Did you ask the proctor whether you could wear earplugs before you took the exam?

Dodi said...

Hi, I have to take the exam this June and I am freaking out because my practice tests score do not seem to improve as I wish. I have been studying for about a month, even though I did not start practicing on tests immediately. The test in June is my only chance. How many hours do you think I should study? I have problems especially in the logical sections. What can I do about that?
Thank you!