Everybody who has ever come near the LSAT has probably at least wondered, “How many hours will I have to study for the LSAT?” There’s a lot of different ways to answer that question—because everyone brings different needs to the table.
Let’s approach the question by looking at what is true for most students staring down the LSAT: Planning in advance and opening up your schedule for LSAT prep hours is a tried and true piece of advice.
Determine how many hours you need for LSAT prep
First of all, let’s talk bare minimum: you’ll need to allocate 120 hours worth of preparation to get well acquainted with the test in general. The key word here is “minimum.” If you are looking for a massive score increase or want to spend more time diving into test skills according to your needs, this should not be your LSAT prep goal in terms of how many hours you set aside.
We recommend that most students look to spend 150–300 hours on LSAT prep; that’s a healthy range over a two- to three-month period at around 20–25 hours per week, which is a standard amount for most students. Keep in mind that those hours include any classes or private tutoring sessions you might be using. If you are self-preparing, you should nudge toward the higher end of that time recommendation because you will have to do more of the analyzation and organization of material yourself.
Plan your personal schedule
There are, of course, people who start six months or a year in advance. For most people, this is unnecessary and can even lead to burnout if you are pushing yourself too hard for too long. If you know that you have a crazy schedule with a lot of commitments, you may want to examine whether a longer timeline would work out. If you only have 10 hours a week to spend on LSAT prep, you may want to start a lot earlier than someone with more free time.
The rule of thumb in planning for how many hours you’ll need is to balance study obligations with how preparing for the LSAT impacts your personal life. It will thoroughly disrupt your day-in and day-out activities, but you’ll still have to commit to enough studying, which will be a little bit different for each person.
The first thing you need to do is take a practice test and see where you are scoring right now, followed by conducting some research into what kinds of scores the schools you are interested in are accepting.
Set a goal score, and do some LSAT preparation exploration: Will you prepare on your own, with a class or tutor, on-site or online, interactive or on-demand? Figure out what kind of prep will work best for you and your schedule. Then take a blank calendar and fill in all of your current obligations. Get an idea of how much time you really have to spend on LSAT prep—and be realistic. That’s when you can set a test date and weekly schedules for studying, taking into consideration both time and how dramatic your score goal is in comparison with your first practice test.