What it Actually Takes to Hit a Goal LSAT Score
January 10, 2014
The biggest question we probably get asked as LSAT teachers is what it actually takes to hit a goal LSAT score, so today I’m going to share with you the not-so-top secret prescription to get the score you need on test day. Utilizing these four pieces effectively means planning ahead, so remember to fill out your calendar and go through our pre-law school admissions checklist as soon as possible once you have decided to take the plunge and apply!
Timing is a huge factor on test day, of course, but the time I am talking about here is the amount of minutes, seconds, and hours you can commit yourself to studying for the LSAT. For the vast majority of our students, this is not a two week process: we recommend putting an average of 100-120 hours of preparation toward the test itself. So take a hard look at your schedule, and plan ahead. If you have a very limited amount of time per week, you might need to start prepping many months in advance. The LSAT does not lend itself to a crash diet if you are looking for a big increase, so be realistic with your goals based on how much time you have free and how ambitious your goals are.
Almost everyone thinks about law school for a long time before actually taking the plunge and looking into applications, registering for a test date, and choosing their LSAT preparation game plan. That is as it should be! That doesn’t mean, however, that all those thought processes actually count toward a serious, goal-oriented law school admissions gambit. That clock starts ticking once you are starting applications, taking a prep class, and actually moving toward your target. At some point, you actually have to take action, and there’s no time like the present to get the ball moving. The longer you are actively engaged with LSAT material, the better sense of the test you will have. If there’s one thing that will be stressed above all others in a Kaplan LSAT class, it is the predictability of test day material. You can only get there by putting one foot in front of the other and seeing it live, in real test questions.
If working with LSAT material was all it took to get a 180 eventually, we wouldn’t be in business. I had a friend when I was taking the LSAT, let’s call him Fitzwilliam, who took a billion real practice LSAT tests, every single day, as his sole means of preparation. If you are already scoring very high, this might work out. But for most people (including Fitzwilliam), applying yourself to LSAT material without the structure of strategy does not lead to long-term, serious point increase. Familiarity with the test is absolutely necessary for success, but it is not generally sufficient. You must dig deep into the way the test makers craft questions, passages, and games, so you are never at a loss as to what to do next and how to replicate victories when you do well. It takes real strategy to achieve LSAT brilliance!
I have told every LSAT class that I have ever taught that confidence is the great “unteachable” factor on test day. When I say unteachable, I don’t mean that you can’t gain confidence from a great teacher, but you have to be able to take the next step and stand on your own two feet when confronted with questions on test day. Applying accurate strategies, taking appropriate actions, and setting yourself up with a successful schedule are the ways to gain a killer instinct on test day that will serve you well in law school and in your eventual legal career. Everything about “LSAT thinking” will prepare you for “law school thinking” and “legal thinking”; that’s why the LSAT is such an accurate barometer of success in law school and beyond. Get that preliminary training right from the start, by setting yourself up for a stress-free (or as close to stress-free as possible) test day experience.