Where to even begin?

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
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preamble

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Where to even begin?

Postby preamble » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:04 am

I'm currently a first semester Junior going into my second semester this fall -- (so three semesters left) -- and up until this point, I have given absolutely no thought to the LSAT whatsoever; not out of sheer ignorance, but rather under the premise that my undergraduate GPA should be my primary concern, as I can study for the LSAT "whenever," but my grades are set in stone during my undergraduate career. My intention this entire time has been to take time off between undergrad and law school and ideally study for the LSAT then (I was looking into a couple of programs like City Year and so on.)

I don't know if I should continue this practice of just focusing on grades/putting all LSAT prep off - or if I should begin some form of studying now. I find the very idea of the LSAT incredibly overwhelming. I consider myself a good standardized test taker generally (I've done well on the whole gamut of College Board exams in high school - I typically don't suffer from test anxiety or anything like that) but something about the LSAT just seems like its the hardest damn thing on the planet and even beginning the process of studying for it is sort of terrifying.

With that said, I thought a good idea to "expose" myself to the LSAT and the rudimentary contours of a study schedule would be to take a prep class. My University offers an LSAT prep class for 500 dollars - it begins in the middle of August and ends in early October, so there's only some overlap with the first couple of weeks with the semester, which means I should be able to dedicate quite a bit of concentrated effort to it. Is this a good idea? Or a total waste of money? I'm not necessarily looking for the sort of intense preparation that'll get me a 180 or whatever, just enough exposure/understanding that makes the entire process seem a lot less daunting - I anticipate having the majority of my preparation be on my own, either after undergrad, or next summer with this class being just an "introduction."

Any input is much appreciated.

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Sprout

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby Sprout » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:10 am

preamble wrote:I'm currently a first semester Junior going into my second semester this fall -- (so three semesters left) -- and up until this point, I have given absolutely no thought to the LSAT whatsoever; not out of sheer ignorance, but rather under the premise that my undergraduate GPA should be my primary concern, as I can study for the LSAT "whenever," but my grades are set in stone during my undergraduate career. My intention this entire time has been to take time off between undergrad and law school and ideally study for the LSAT then (I was looking into a couple of programs like City Year and so on.)

I don't know if I should continue this practice of just focusing on grades/putting all LSAT prep off - or if I should begin some form of studying now. I find the very idea of the LSAT incredibly overwhelming. I consider myself a good standardized test taker generally (I've done well on the whole gamut of College Board exams in high school - I typically don't suffer from test anxiety or anything like that) but something about the LSAT just seems like its the hardest damn thing on the planet and even beginning the process of studying for it is sort of terrifying.

With that said, I thought a good idea to "expose" myself to the LSAT and the rudimentary contours of a study schedule would be to take a prep class. My University offers an LSAT prep class for 500 dollars - it begins in the middle of August and ends in early October, so there's only some overlap with the first couple of weeks with the semester, which means I should be able to dedicate quite a bit of concentrated effort to it. Is this a good idea? Or a total waste of money? I'm not necessarily looking for the sort of intense preparation that'll get me a 180 or whatever, just enough exposure/understanding that makes the entire process seem a lot less daunting - I anticipate having the majority of my preparation be on my own, either after undergrad, or next summer with this class being just an "introduction."

Any input is much appreciated.


Take a free practice LSAT exam to see where you stand without any prep. Then get a study schedule and start as early as possible. Be careful choosing courses. They help a lot of people but they're expensive AF and if you generally do well prepping on your own you can easily study out of practice books with a schedule if you're diligent about it. I just recommend taking a practice test first to get acquainted and see if you naturally are shitty/better in specific sections. Logic games is the easiest section to increase points in over time with prep, while reading comp is harder to improve from studying, so it is useful to know where to allocate your time. hth a little, good luck

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preamble

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby preamble » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:13 am

Sprout wrote: Take a free practice LSAT exam to see where you stand without any prep. Then get a study schedule and start as early as possible. Be careful choosing courses. They help a lot of people but they're expensive AF and if you generally do well prepping on your own you can easily study out of practice books with a schedule if you're diligent about it. I just recommend taking a practice test first to get acquainted and see if you naturally are shitty/better in specific sections. Logic games is the easiest section to increase points in over time with prep, while reading comp is harder to improve from studying, so it is useful to know where to allocate your time. hth a little, good luck



Should I take it timed? Or should I just go through it at my own pace to determine accuracy?

Thank you for the advice.

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:09 am

preamble wrote:
Sprout wrote: Take a free practice LSAT exam to see where you stand without any prep. Then get a study schedule and start as early as possible. Be careful choosing courses. They help a lot of people but they're expensive AF and if you generally do well prepping on your own you can easily study out of practice books with a schedule if you're diligent about it. I just recommend taking a practice test first to get acquainted and see if you naturally are shitty/better in specific sections. Logic games is the easiest section to increase points in over time with prep, while reading comp is harder to improve from studying, so it is useful to know where to allocate your time. hth a little, good luck



Should I take it timed? Or should I just go through it at my own pace to determine accuracy?

Thank you for the advice.


I would say timed, but not strictly timed. There are different schools of thought on this. But, I think starting early is the way to go. I would say to not start studying until you can consistently put time in every day. Make sure you invest in good prep material. I would recommend getting the LSAT Trainer and the Manhattan prep set with books that go over the Logical games, logical reasoning, and reading comp. Get every prep test you can from 1-70+ and put 1-39 aside for drilling/practice sections and 40-70+ for full length tests. Get the LSAT super prep to read and familiar yourself with the test. That will include a practice test you can use as a diagnostic.

I really suggest also following a study schedule. You can always adjust to customize to your schedule, but keep yourself honest and follow a schedule. I think if I could have started earlier I would read through all the prep material, drill and master game and question types. And then spend sufficient time going through every practice test and reviewing carefully.

Good luck, op. :mrgreen:
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mwells56

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby mwells56 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:17 am

If you really don't want to start studying until you're done with undergrad, I'd recommend taking a couple of basic philosophy courses. I'm also in the beginning stages of my studying, and when I sat down to take my first diagnostic I definitely felt like the philosophy courses I've taken have helped. Specifically, if your school offers any logic classes, I recommend it, I think it helped me have a better starting point on the games section. Or just any reading-intensive class will help you with the logical reasoning and reading comprehension. I just took Intro to Political Philosophy and it really got me to think critically about text, which I felt was helpful on the test.

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HiLine

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby HiLine » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:43 pm

Figure out what the LSAT entails before taking a diagnostic test. It's pointless to take an LSAT exam without even knowing what a logical game looks like. You probably won't be able to answer very many questions under LSAT time limits, but you don't want to spend a whole day taking an exam either. So I'd recommend giving yourself an extra 50% time for each session.

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:12 pm

HiLine wrote:Figure out what the LSAT entails before taking a diagnostic test. It's pointless to take an LSAT exam without even knowing what a logical game looks like. You probably won't be able to answer very many questions under LSAT time limits, but you don't want to spend a whole day taking an exam either. So I'd recommend giving yourself an extra 50% time for each session.



This actually makes a lot of sense. I feel like when I took my diagnostic last month, I didn't do it timed. I would only be like half way through a section at 35 minutes. But I also knew I couldn't just take 8 hours to do the test either. So I think I settled on something like this. I gave myself about a little less than an hour per section. It gave me an idea of what I knew, what I didn't, and where I needed to focus most of my energy on.

Also, don't get hung up on where you start. Often just by figuring out how to do certain questions your score will shoot up a few points. Only thing that matter is where you end up... :D

Good luck, op.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Deardevil

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby Deardevil » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:41 pm

mwells56 wrote:If you really don't want to start studying until you're done with undergrad, I'd recommend taking a couple of basic philosophy courses. I'm also in the beginning stages of my studying, and when I sat down to take my first diagnostic I definitely felt like the philosophy courses I've taken have helped. Specifically, if your school offers any logic classes, I recommend it, I think it helped me have a better starting point on the games section. Or just any reading-intensive class will help you with the logical reasoning and reading comprehension. I just took Intro to Political Philosophy and it really got me to think critically about text, which I felt was helpful on the test.


I can attest to this. Having taken two logic-related courses, I have a good foundation for 50% of the exam right out the gate.
And it's always nice to recognize familiar terms, such as "ad hominem" and "straw man." :D

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Blueprint Mithun

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Re: Where to even begin?

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:27 pm

preamble wrote:I'm currently a first semester Junior going into my second semester this fall -- (so three semesters left) -- and up until this point, I have given absolutely no thought to the LSAT whatsoever; not out of sheer ignorance, but rather under the premise that my undergraduate GPA should be my primary concern, as I can study for the LSAT "whenever," but my grades are set in stone during my undergraduate career. My intention this entire time has been to take time off between undergrad and law school and ideally study for the LSAT then (I was looking into a couple of programs like City Year and so on.)

I don't know if I should continue this practice of just focusing on grades/putting all LSAT prep off - or if I should begin some form of studying now. I find the very idea of the LSAT incredibly overwhelming. I consider myself a good standardized test taker generally (I've done well on the whole gamut of College Board exams in high school - I typically don't suffer from test anxiety or anything like that) but something about the LSAT just seems like its the hardest damn thing on the planet and even beginning the process of studying for it is sort of terrifying.

With that said, I thought a good idea to "expose" myself to the LSAT and the rudimentary contours of a study schedule would be to take a prep class. My University offers an LSAT prep class for 500 dollars - it begins in the middle of August and ends in early October, so there's only some overlap with the first couple of weeks with the semester, which means I should be able to dedicate quite a bit of concentrated effort to it. Is this a good idea? Or a total waste of money? I'm not necessarily looking for the sort of intense preparation that'll get me a 180 or whatever, just enough exposure/understanding that makes the entire process seem a lot less daunting - I anticipate having the majority of my preparation be on my own, either after undergrad, or next summer with this class being just an "introduction."

Any input is much appreciated.

You definitely have the right idea, prioritizing your grades above studying for the test. I'm also a big advocate of taking time off between UG and law school (unless there's something important pressuring you to go right in), and I think you'll be able to study much more effectively without classes and grades to worry about.

If you are feeling anxious about the test, I think you should definitely take a practice test as a diagnostic. I'm seeing a lot of varying advice on this thread on how to take your diagnostic - here's my take as an LSAT instructor.

Do it timed, to get a sense of what the actual test is like, but don't put much stock into your score. The idea is to experience what the test is like, and to get a general idea of how you feel about each section. It's true that you won't know how to diagram logic games, and so what you score here will almost certainly not be an accurate representation of how you'll do on that section. That being said, taking it untimed seems pointless to me, as there are strategies that would work for this test if there were no time limit which are completely impractical once you introduce that limit. So it seems counterproductive, if anything, to labor over a test which you've never seen before, trying to figure out how to solve each problem, if those strategies aren't going to be useful. You'll be learning the most effective methods anyway once you actually start studying.

You have to treat studying for this test like a part-time job. That means consistency and a significant time investment. If you feel like you won't be able to balance that while also maintaining your grades, I'd advise you to wait until college is over, or at least another year, until you have just one semester left. It's better to commit to 6 months of focused study rather than a year or a year and a half of inconsistent practice.



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