When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

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criminologygeek

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby criminologygeek » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:20 pm

albanach wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:This is honestly helpful and relatable unlike those that say just focus on my GPA. I already have a high GPA of 3.9 with 21 credits this semester. However, I won't start studying until summer of sophomore year but even then won't go in hard because there's no point since it would be a year or two away. By the way I admire your lsat score-that's honestly my target score. And you mentioned how it took an accumulation of 3 years; i'll use that timeline. May I ask what law school you go into?


The poster you replied to said they had a 4.0 GPA. You say you have a 3.9. You also say you're targeting 178 (so out of about 30,000 LSAT takers you want to be in the top 30 or so). I imagine that means you want to go to one of the top schools.

Not that a 3.9 and 178 won't get you there, but realize that that's below median at Yale and Stanford. One or two underwhelming grades could tip that down further.

Will that stop you getting into a great school if you have a strong LSAT? Of course not. But it could be the difference between getting a $100k scholarship and getting an offer of full tuition plus a stipend to live off of from a T-14 school. Perhaps you're independently wealthy and cost isn't a concern but, for most folk, this is important.

I am guessing your plan is to go K-JD given the urgency with which you want to study for the LSAT. Plenty of folk do this, but schools increasingly like to see work and other experience. And experience might actually help you determine that you really do want to be a lawyer. I know that, in my first year of college, I could have told you exactly what I would be doing after graduation. Of course that's not what happened and I've had a host of different jobs and experiences between graduating and choosing to go to law school. Those experiences have been valued both at school and in employment.

Do as you please, but you asked for advice. And the majority of those who posted and who have been in your shoes would say focus on the GPA and get some experience. And have fun. Law school is hard, and being a lawyer many times harder.


Yes! I agree with everything you're saying. But Yale and Stanford is not my choices of school, I know most top law schools look for someone with experience which is why their acceptance rate of those that take a year or two off post grad from university is high, but would being an intern help as work experience?

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:36 pm

No, internships are not considered work experience.

The primary purpose of spending a year or two in the workforce after college isn't to help with law school admissions per se, but to give you (using "you" in the generic sense) a more well-rounded perspective. There are things you don't learn about yourself until you're out in the "real world" holding down a job and supporting yourself. It's hard to describe to folks who've never been working professionals because it's one of those things that you don't know you're missing until you've experienced it.

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby criminologygeek » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:03 am

QContinuum wrote:No, internships are not considered work experience.

The primary purpose of spending a year or two in the workforce after college isn't to help with law school admissions per se, but to give you (using "you" in the generic sense) a more well-rounded perspective. There are things you don't learn about yourself until you're out in the "real world" holding down a job and supporting yourself. It's hard to describe to folks who've never been working professionals because it's one of those things that you don't know you're missing until you've experienced it.

Well the issue with that for me is my major is Criminology and I don't think any of the jobs that go along with that major is lawyer related which sucks, I thought i'd maybe apply to a couple summer internships at a law firm In my area to gain experience but it's a shame it's not considered a "work experience" even though some internships pay you.

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby nixy » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:39 am

Re: studying - some people who get a 178 study a long time. Some people (there are a few out there) are just naturally very good at the test. You can’t extrapolate length of study time from the score someone received.

It also seems incredibly extreme/premature to declare you need 3 years to study because you don’t like to cram. You have no idea at this point what you need to do. Find out the basics of the test and take a diagnostic and get a sense of what your actual weaknesses are before you decide on how long you need to study. I know there are people who study for years and if you turn out to need to do that, that’s great. Personally I cannot imagine spending 3 years studying for the LSAT, mostly bc I can’t really imagine how that would be an efficient use of time, but also because “cramming” works better for me (I know I’d forget what I learned in 2019 by the time 2022 rolled around). Obviously that me and not you, but I still think planning for 3 years from the start isn’t the way to go (like sustained, serious study for 6 months is more likely to see results than a small amount of study spread over 3 years).

Re: work, you don’t have to get a job that relates to your major. But also if you want to see what law is like as a field, internships with law firms are fine, or work for one after you graduate.

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby criminologygeek » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:35 pm

nixy wrote:Re: studying - some people who get a 178 study a long time. Some people (there are a few out there) are just naturally very good at the test. You can’t extrapolate length of study time from the score someone received.

It also seems incredibly extreme/premature to declare you need 3 years to study because you don’t like to cram. You have no idea at this point what you need to do. Find out the basics of the test and take a diagnostic and get a sense of what your actual weaknesses are before you decide on how long you need to study. I know there are people who study for years and if you turn out to need to do that, that’s great. Personally I cannot imagine spending 3 years studying for the LSAT, mostly bc I can’t really imagine how that would be an efficient use of time, but also because “cramming” works better for me (I know I’d forget what I learned in 2019 by the time 2022 rolled around). Obviously that me and not you, but I still think planning for 3 years from the start isn’t the way to go (like sustained, serious study for 6 months is more likely to see results than a small amount of study spread over 3 years).

Re: work, you don’t have to get a job that relates to your major. But also if you want to see what law is like as a field, internships with law firms are fine, or work for one after you graduate.


Yes I definitely see your point, you're very right, i'm still not entirely sure what my weaknesses are in order to determine the right time to study. I said 3 years just as a point that I do take a long time to study and I've seen my study habits over the years and I am able to conclude what's best for me in terms of pace. Everyone just has a different preference of time. Also, sorry for being nosy but what was your lsat score?

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby nixy » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:58 pm

Oh, my score wasn't anything for anyone else to aim for. However, my issue was more study methods than length of time studying (and it's true that I probably would have benefited from more study than I actually did, but I only studied about 5 months total. A few more months, even up to a year, would have likely made a difference, but I absolutely do not believe I would have had it in me to retain the information and improve consistently over three years).

Maybe part of this is based on what you think of as "study." What I would have really benefited from would have been more drilling of specific question types and blind review. I don't think that would have helped me stretched out over three years, though, rather than conducted in a more sustained effort closer to the exam. (By closer I mean within the same year, not literally cramming the three weeks before or something.) Maybe if you're referring to building up reading comprehension skills by reading difficult material, something like that stretched over three years could, ultimately, be helpful preparation. Sort of similar to suggestions to take a formal logic class, which also might help you on the LSAT. I don't think of either of those as "studying" for the LSAT, though.

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby LivHandsome » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:38 pm

I can't really say anything to the specifics of your question, having just started my LSAT prep myself (I'm a junior, if that interests you, and am not planning on really gearing up until this summer). That said, as a college student a little farther down the road, I did want to pop in and second what some other people have said about focusing on other things than the LSAT right now.

They're right that your GPA is probably a better strategic use of your time. Mostly, though, I want to encourage you to try not looking at college solely as a strategic stepping stone to future employment. Regardless of whether you'll still want to go to law school in 2 or 3 years--something I'm not going to speak to either way--undergrad is likely the last time you'll really get to explore academically. Don't choose your major because it's maybe, kind of, according to some, the "best" for the LSAT. Choose it because you enjoy it, even if it appears to have nothing to do with the law. It seems like, for you, that's Criminology. So kick ass at Criminology! And worry about the LSAT later. Nothing suggests your score or admission chances will suffer for it.

It seems like what you really wanted to hear might have been something along the lines of "Start studying now! The earlier the better! You're at an advantage for thinking of this so early." But judging from other replies, I really, genuinely don't think that's the case, and I am sure that not stressing about it now will be better for your emotional health in the long run. (Easier said than done, I know.)

That's my 2 cents. Best of luck! I wish my school offered Criminology.

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby criminologygeek » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:48 pm

LivHandsome wrote:I can't really say anything to the specifics of your question, having just started my LSAT prep myself (I'm a junior, if that interests you, and am not planning on really gearing up until this summer). That said, as a college student a little farther down the road, I did want to pop in and second what some other people have said about focusing on other things than the LSAT right now.

They're right that your GPA is probably a better strategic use of your time. Mostly, though, I want to encourage you to try not looking at college solely as a strategic stepping stone to future employment. Regardless of whether you'll still want to go to law school in 2 or 3 years--something I'm not going to speak to either way--undergrad is likely the last time you'll really get to explore academically. Don't choose your major because it's maybe, kind of, according to some, the "best" for the LSAT. Choose it because you enjoy it, even if it appears to have nothing to do with the law. It seems like, for you, that's Criminology. So kick ass at Criminology! And worry about the LSAT later. Nothing suggests your score or admission chances will suffer for it.

It seems like what you really wanted to hear might have been something along the lines of "Start studying now! The earlier the better! You're at an advantage for thinking of this so early." But judging from other replies, I really, genuinely don't think that's the case, and I am sure that not stressing about it now will be better for your emotional health in the long run. (Easier said than done, I know.)

That's my 2 cents. Best of luck! I wish my school offered Criminology.


I love this reply. And yes I think it is better for my mental health to not be paranoid about not studying in time to achieve a high score in the 170's, but at the same time I will try taking courses nearing junior year that will help me with some things on the lsat so that when I do start prepping, it's not so overwhelming. I really hope you do great on the lsat, let me know how you did whenever you take it, if you remember! :D

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Re: When is the right time to start studying the lsat?

Postby LivHandsome » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:43 pm

criminologygeek wrote:
LivHandsome wrote:I can't really say anything to the specifics of your question, having just started my LSAT prep myself (I'm a junior, if that interests you, and am not planning on really gearing up until this summer). That said, as a college student a little farther down the road, I did want to pop in and second what some other people have said about focusing on other things than the LSAT right now.

...

That's my 2 cents. Best of luck! I wish my school offered Criminology.


I love this reply. And yes I think it is better for my mental health to not be paranoid about not studying in time to achieve a high score in the 170's, but at the same time I will try taking courses nearing junior year that will help me with some things on the lsat so that when I do start prepping, it's not so overwhelming. I really hope you do great on the lsat, let me know how you did whenever you take it, if you remember! :D


From my relatively inexperienced perspective, that sounds like a solid plan. I'll definitely try to check back in once I take the test--not sure when that'll be, though, since I'm planning on taking a year or two between undergrad and law school. :)



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