6 Tips to Start Studying for LSAT - Resolution Test Prep (2024)

Starting your LSAT prep can be intimidating. With lots of books and prep courses out there, it can be hard to know where to start studying for LSAT. You may have heard that the LSAT is the most important part of your law school admissions package, but that just adds to the pressure of wanting to make the right choices in your prep.

And if you’re also trying to juggle school, an internship, work, or kids, it’s so easy to feel like you won’t have the time. That just makes it even more important to start your LSAT prep with the right mindset.

The goal of this post is to help you cut through the overwhelm. You’ll learn six key principles you can apply to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

Be in it for the long haul

The LSAT is a test of reasoning rather than a test of knowledge. You may be one of those people who can memorize facts or formulas for a test in school without too much trouble, but the LSAT is different.

Learning to do well on the LSAT requires learning tothinkin different ways than you’re used to. You’ll have to be able to process arguments, assess whether the evidence justifies the conclusion, and figure out what problems the argument has. No worries if you aren’t sure yet what all that means, but eventually you’ll need to do all of this. And you’ll need to do it quickly and with the precision and accuracy of a surgeon.

Learning to think in the way the LSAT rewards takes time.

The good news is that the critical thinking skills you’ll develop for the LSAT will be vital in law school and your future career as a lawyer. The not-so-happy news is that most students need to invest time and considerable effort into the process. It’s common for students to spend 4-6 months preparing for the LSAT. Many students, especially when life gets in the way, end up spending much longer.

So then, how should you dive in and get started?

Know where you’re starting out

When you start studying for the LSAT, one of your very first steps should be taking a diagnostic. It’s fine if you want to read a blog post or two about the structure of the LSAT so that you aren’t going in completely cold. But don’t do more than that before sitting down to take a full-length, timed practice test.

At this stage, it doesn’t matter whether the diagnostic is on paper or digital.

One SUPER important note:Your diagnostic score is a starting point and in no way reflects your ending point.

I once had a student get 120 on his diagnostic—literally the lowest possible LSAT score—and then build from there until he was scoring in the 160s after only 4 months of hard-core prep. He never once let his diagnostic define how much he was able to increase his score, and that attitude paid off big time.

Your score increase is limited by only two things: the effort you put in and the upper limit of 180 imposed by LSAC.

It’s worth reiterating:your diagnostic does NOT define the score you’ll end up with.

So how can you make sure you’ll see the score increase you need?

Build a solid foundation first

I’ll tell you what NOT to do. Do NOT just take practice test after practice test and bemoan the fact that your score isn’t going up. I equate that to trying to lose weight by stepping on the scale repeatedly. It’s not terribly effective.

And what’s worse, by just taking bunches of tests, you’re burning through a limited set of precious materials without actually making progress. You don’t want to realize you should have been prepping differently only after using up the best material.

Instead, follow this general blueprint:

  1. Focus on building foundational skills first.Learn how to dissect arguments and what approaches you should take on the different types of logical reasoning questions. For games, learn how to diagram and how to attack the questions. And for reading comp, learn what you should be paying attention to while you read.
  2. As you learn these skills, put them into practice on questions.Focus on accuracy here rather than speed. You’ll be slow at first, but that’s ok. Speed comes as you build familiarity and solid skills.
  3. Check your progress.You shouldn’t take many full practice tests in this first stage of your prep, but you should occasionally do timed sections. As you get more and more comfortable with the questions in isolation, you can start incorporating more timed practice and full-length practice tests.

Want to learn more about what NOT to do? Check out my post onhow NOT to study for the LSAT.

Review thoroughly

Effective review is one of the keys to LSAT prep.Make sure that you are using every question to its full potential as a learning tool.

Especially when they are just starting to study for the LSAT, students typically think review means looking at the answer key, seeing that the answer was A instead of C, and thinking to themselves “Ah, that was my second choice!” They then move on to the next question.

That’s a frustrating way to review your work. And honestly, it doesn’t help you make progress.

Instead, use your review process to hone your LSAT reasoning skills even further:

  • As you revisit questions, make sure you have solid justification for your answer and solid reasons for eliminating each wrong answer.
  • When you miss a question, don’t mark down what the correct answer is. Reconsider each answer choice until you spot something you didn’t see before.
  • After thinking the question through on your own, look up explanations online to see if your thought process was right.
  • Finish up by asking yourself, “What should I be doing differently to make sure I don’t miss a question like this in the future?” Write that down!

Want help with your review process? I’ve created an LSAT Practice Test Review Guide to help students make sure that they are learning as much as possible from their review.

Stay positive

Prepping for the LSAT is a mentally grueling process. It’s not easy to become better atthinking, and the LSAT is a really tough test of your thinking. You’ll miss a LOT of questions, especially when you first start studying for the LSAT, and you’ll likely feel frustrated and disappointed at times. Everyone does.

Don’t get discouraged, and actively work on keeping a positive attitude about your journey.

Instead of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy about never getting to your goal score, remind yourself that each missed question is an opportunity to learn.

Of course, that’s much easier said than done…

One thing that helps me when I am trying to learn something new is to remember thatno onewas born knowing how to do it. We all have to start from zero and learn. If other people can learn it, so can you.

For times when the thoughts that you can’t do it or that you’ll never make progress are particularly strong, I highly recommend the bookMindset: The New Psychology of Successby Carol Dweck. It’s also a great idea at that point to just take a break! Our minds need time to process and consolidate what we’ve learned, and our psyche needs time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Get Support

One of the best things you can do to stay positive and moving forward as you start studying for the LSAT is to get support from others who know the LSAT. Whether that be a study group in your area, an accountability partner, or an expert mentor or tutor who can encourage you when things get frustrating, having a support network can be extremely valuable.

Need more support? I offer both private tutoring as well as materials to support self-study students, like my LSAT Study Planner and LSAT Practice Test Review Guide. Not sure what would be the best option? Schedule a FREE consultation call with me here.

The LSAT is tough, but you got this!

LSAT Notes

If this post resonated with you, I’d love to stay in touch. About once a week, in the form of an email newsletter, I share useful strategies and insights I’ve picked up during my years teaching the LSAT. “LSAT Notes” you can use to study more effectively and raise your score.

Often these are inspired by breakthroughs my students had that week. Other times, they respond to questions students like you have. My goal is to provide motivation and encouragement along with knowledge about the test and advice about how to study.

Learn more about it here, or to subscribe, simply fill in the form below.

6 Tips to Start Studying for LSAT - Resolution Test Prep (2024)


What is the best way to start studying for the LSAT? ›

How do I prepare for the LSAT?
  1. Familiarize yourself with the test. Get familiar with the types of questions on the LSAT. ...
  2. Take a timed LSAT practice exam. Free practice exams are available for free from LSAC here. ...
  3. Develop a study plan. ...
  4. Research the various preparation courses available.

Can I raise my LSAT score 10 points in a month? ›

It is certainly possible to increase your score to 160 in a month! As you review Practice Tests, you want to be able to focus your studies on your problem areas, and then study those questions and the concepts until you feel like you could explain them to another student!

How do you get a 170 on the LSAT? ›

But what does it take to achieve that score? On the most recent LSAT, you would have to answer at least 89 out of 101 questions to receive a 170. In other words, you can miss 12 questions, and still be above 97.4% of testers (alternate view: you can miss 11.88% of the questions but still be in the top 2.5% of scores).

How can I improve my LSAT 10 points? ›

How to Improve LSAT Score By 10 Points
  1. Complete an Assessment.
  2. Wait to Test. See the Top LSAT Review Courses.
  3. Make a Plan.
  4. Call in the Big Guns.
  5. Purchase a Logic Games Bible. Get Discounts On LSAT Review Courses!
  6. Pace Yourself.
  7. Be Ready to Work.
  8. Use Flashcards.

Is 1 month enough to study for LSAT? ›

One month is the minimum for LSAT prep.

You can make great score improvements with one intense month of study, practice, and review, but most expert LSAT faculty will recommend a longer schedule if one is possible for you.

What is the average first LSAT score without studying? ›

The average LSAT score without studying ranges from 135 to 145, well below the median at 151 in the 50th percentile. Preparing with practice tests and learning the skills you need for each exam section is the key to boosting your LSAT scores.

How many questions can you get wrong to get a 150 on the LSAT? ›

How many questions can you get wrong on the LSAT to get a 150? Since the LSAT is about 99-102 multiple-choice questions, you can get about 41-44 questions incorrect to achieve a score of 150. In other words, you need to get 58 questions correctly to get a 150 on the LSAT.

What is the easiest section of the LSAT? ›

What Is the Easiest Section of the LSAT to Improve? The analytical reasoning section is generally the easiest to improve on because it is very teachable. A lot of AR games follow a few patterns, so it's just about learning how to approach these different patterns to find the right answer.

How much is 50% more time on LSAT? ›

The LSAT is already a slog—remember that with the experimental 5th section on test day, the regular LSAT lasts over 3 hours. An extra 50% brings it up to 4.5 hours; this is long, but still manageable, and almost always worthwhile.

What is the average LSAT score for Harvard? ›

As of the most recent application cycle, Harvard Law's median LSAT score is 174. Assuming the rest of your application is perfectly “average” for Harvard Law, if your LSAT score is below 174, your chances of getting in are below average. If it's above 174, your chances are above average.

Can you get a high score on LSAT without studying? ›

The LSAT Is A Very Challenging Exam

To be clear, there are dozens of verified examples of individuals over the past decade who have scored above 165 without studying, but those are few and far between.

How many LSAT questions can I miss and get a 170? ›

To achieve a score of 170 requires a test taker to correctly answer 90 out of 101 questions.

How much can you realistically improve your LSAT score? ›

The Short Answer Is

Ultimately, most people improve by 10-20 points or more, but there are outliers who will improve by a lot more (and also, unfortunately, by a lot less). This is not to say that a target score that is 30+ points higher than your current range is utterly unrealistic: it's just exceptionally ambitious.

What is an impressive LSAT score? ›

According to U.S. News, law school admissions experts recommend striving for at least a 150; however, for a top-ranking law school, you should aim for a 160 or better. For a Top 10 law school, a 170 or more is desired. Of course, this all depends on which schools you are applying to.

What are perfect LSAT scorers? ›

The LSAT scale ranges from 120 to 180, with 120 being the lowest possible score and 180 being the highest possible score.

What is the hardest month to take the LSAT? ›

You'll look at my LSAT PrepTest Raw Score Conversion Charts and calculations of what it takes to get an LSAT score of 160 or 170. Using that data, you'll find that the December exam consistently has the easiest "curve," and the June exam consistently has the hardest.

How long do most people study for the LSAT? ›

For most students, a three-month period of preparation (of approximately 20 hours per week) is a great goal. This is, of course, an estimate; most students are not all students. To find out how much LSAT prep time you're likely to need, we recommend taking a practice LSAT to get a baseline score.

How many hours a day should I study LSAT? ›

It's recommended that students treat studying for the LSAT like a full-time job, meaning they should dedicate around 30–40 hours to studying per week. This averages out to roughly six to eight hours a day if you study for five days a week.

What is the lowest LSAT for Harvard? ›

As you can see from these numbers, an LSAT score of 170 or higher and a GPA above 3.75 will give you a chance of gaining admission to Harvard Law School. If you have a GPA of 3.94 or higher and above a 175, you are pretty much a lock for admission, particularly given the class size of ~560.

How many people pass the LSAT first try? ›

According to an LSAT Research Report covering the period of 2010 to 2018, the average percentage of first-time test takers was 68%.

What is the average first-time LSAT score? ›

Data Summary. The average LSAT score for first-time takers was 151, according to scores tracked from 2006-2013. During this period, second-time test takers had the highest LSAT average score of about 152. The average national LSAT score for full-time, first-year JD enrollees for fall 2022 was about 159.

How many LSAT questions can I miss and get a 175? ›

Scoring a 175 means you missed 5 questions on the test, which can be the equivalent of an entire logic game. Scoring a 170 means you missed 10 or 11 questions, which is nearly half of an entire section. The point of all this is that there is room to make mistakes.

What score is 20 questions wrong on LSAT? ›

Every LSAT throughout the year is different, but on a typical LSAT, you can still get 25 wrong and end up in the 160s— or about 20 wrong and get a 164, a 90th percentile score. Even a perfect score of 180 often allows for a question or two to be missed.

Should I retake the LSAT if I got a 155? ›

If you get your official LSAT score back and it is significantly lower than your practice test average, you should retake. For example, if your last 3 practice test scores were a 165, 167, and 166, but on test day you scored a 158, you should definitely retake the LSAT.

What is the lowest LSAT score accepted by law schools? ›

This shows that the lowest acceptable LSAT score is 139. Typically, a good rule of thumb is that you want to at least break 140 to make taking on the cost of law school economically feasible. You can get into a law school with a 140 LSAT score.

What is the most common answer choice on the LSAT? ›

Overall, D is most likely to be the correct answer on the LSAT, and E is the least likely to be the correct answer.

Can you get a 150 on the LSAT without studying? ›

How Much On An Average Can I Score In LSAT Without Studying? A crystal clear and precise answer to this query is 150. The LSAT ( law school admission test) exam is scored between 120-180; on average, students sitting in the exam can score 145-153 without studying based on various statistics.

What is a quiet place for the LSAT? ›

To take the LSAT, you'll need: A quiet, well-lit, private room in which to take the test with a table or desk. Please note that transparent glass walls are not considered part of a private room and are prohibited. A laptop or desktop computer with a Windows or Mac operating system and at least 1024 MB of RAM.

Does LSAT give accommodations for anxiety? ›

One reason to request LSAT accommodations is to address the functional limitations caused by anxiety. Test-takers with anxiety might apply for accommodations of extended time, additional breaks, or a private testing room, to name just a few.

Do schools see how many times you take the LSAT? ›

Law schools will see every time an applicant takes the LSAT. Law schools will see if you cancel a score for whatever reason. Law schools do not average the scores for admission, but we always look at performance if you've taken the test more than once.

What year of law school is the hardest? ›

Law school is an academic challenge; most students agree the first year (“1L” year) is the most difficult. In part, this is because law school is taught using methods entirely different than the lecture method used in most college classrooms.

What was Elle Woods LSAT score? ›

Conversation. The least realistic part of Legally Blonde is how Elle Woods went from scoring a 143 on her practice LSAT to a 179 on the real thing.

What is the hardest law school to get into? ›

The 12 Hardest Law Schools to Get Into
  1. Yale University. With an acceptance rate of just 6.9%, it's no wonder that Yale is the hardest law school to get into. ...
  2. Stanford University. ...
  3. Harvard University. ...
  4. University of Pennsylvania. ...
  5. University of Virginia. ...
  6. Columbia University. ...
  7. University of Chicago. ...
  8. University of Southern California.

What not to do when studying for the LSAT? ›

The LSAT: What NOT to Do
  1. (1) Use an old LSAT prep book you found on some shelf. ...
  2. (2) Do Logic Games in your head to save time. ...
  3. (3) Underline the entire passage of the Reading Comprehension section. ...
  4. (4) Practice for the Writing Sample. ...
  5. (5) Not take every practice test you can.

Can you be a lawyer without the LSAT? ›

Can You Apply to Law School Without LSAT Score? Yes, you can. Many law schools in the U.S. (including prestigious ones) don't require the LSAT. However, they require the GRE; exam applicants take to apply to grad school.

Is the LSAT harder than the MCAT? ›

If you're an experienced test-taker used to memorizing complex facts and information ahead of time, the MCAT may be a bit easier for you. Meanwhile, the LSAT could be the simpler option for proficient readers and writers with logical, analytical minds.

How early should you start studying for the LSAT? ›

But the general advice we give to those who ask this question is that you should start studying for the LSAT around five to six months before you intend to actually take it. The LSAT is currently offered nine times a year in the following months: January. February.

What year should you start studying for the LSAT? ›

Although the June LSAT is ideal, most applicants don't start preparing for the LSAT until the summer before their senior year—after the June LSAT is over. These applicants usually end up taking the test in September or October.

How many hours a day should I study for my LSAT? ›

It's recommended that students treat studying for the LSAT like a full-time job, meaning they should dedicate around 30–40 hours to studying per week. This averages out to roughly six to eight hours a day if you study for five days a week.

Is 2 months studying for the LSAT enough? ›

Two months is the optimal LSAT prep schedule for many students. While you can make great score improvements with one intense month of study, practice, and review, most expert LSAT faculty will recommend a longer schedule if one is possible for you.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated:

Views: 6129

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.