SweetTort wrote:SweetTort’s Guide to the LSAT
Table of Contents:
1. About me
1. About me
I attended college with one goal—go to a t14 for free. This was likely a terrible plan, as I boxed myself in and eliminated a lot of non-legal options. On the bright side, I had a clearer idea of what it took to win the admissions game than my peers did. The formula? GPA plus LSAT. Since there’s likely not much left that can be done about your GPA at this point, you owe it to yourself to give 100% at the LSAT.
I took my first diagnostic midway through freshman year, because I was (and still am) a spazz. I got a 164, with a lot missed on LG. I lightly studied here and there, registered for the LSAT twice, and postponed twice. Finally, I decided to stop screwing around and to take one full summer to study. I did so, and got a 174 on the real thing. This was 3-4 points below my average, because I didn’t sleep at all the night before, so I’ll talk about situational factors in section 7.
Now, I’ll be attending a t10 for free in the fall, all because of one stupid test. There are many guides out there far more helpful than mine will be, so take mine with a fistful of salt. TLS has given me so much over the past four years, that I want to contribute to the hivemind in any way I can.
- Every LSAT ever given (preferably in PDF format, with the first 30-something divided by type)
- Manhattan LR
- Manhattan RC
- Powerscore LG Bible
- Mike’s Trainer
- Every TLS guide on the LSAT
All in all, the test probably cost me 500 bucks in materials and printing. Which, when you consider the returns, isn’t too bad.
I think planning is one of the most underrated parts of LSAT prep, but you can definitely go overboard in your planning. What worked best for me was to schedule blocks of time for certain goals. Here’s an example day.
7-8: Blind review
Obviously, adjust this as you see fit, but the basic point is to block out chunks of time for general objectives. Don’t plan the exact games you want to complete; similarly, don’t fail to plan and only study “when you have the time”. Update your plan as you recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
I recommend reading all of the guides on TLS before starting your study regimen. It’ll motivate you, and you can be assured that you’re studying in the most efficient way.
4. Logic Games
Logic games are, quite literally, free money. ANYONE can eventually get to -0 on LG with enough time. It started off as my worst section (I think -8 on my diagnostic) and it ended up being the only section I went -0 on on the real thing. Please, do NOT give up hope.
Stage 1: Divide the first 30-something tests’ logic games into subgroups (grouping, sequencing, etc). Print about 10 copies of each game. Do each game, one at a time, untimed. Go back, check your answers, understand what you did wrong. Don’t aim for perfection, just understanding.
Stage 2: Grab your 9 extra copies of each game. Do them one by one, timed, until you can complete the logic game under the 7sage recommended time AND with no incorrect. Literally, I would do the same game 7 times in a row sometimes until I got it mastered. Then, a week or two later, I’d do the game again, just to make sure I had internalized what I had learned. Don’t worry about “memorizing the game”. You’re building a skill, even if you’re repeating the same game.
Stage 3: Get all the logic games you just worked on, and print new sets as needed. Staple them into sets of 5, with a variety of difficulty levels in each. Then, finish each section in under 35 minutes with -0 on each. If you can do this, you’ll be able to get through the 4-section LG on the actual test without panicking about time.
It’s a slog. A brutal, brutal slog. But you’ll thank yourself when you start taking PT’s and realize you’re finishing LG with 10 minutes to spare.
5. Logical Reasoning
I have very little useful advice on logical reasoning, as it sort of just came naturally to me. Here, I’ll just leave a few vague thoughts that helped me with tricky questions.
- ALWAYS bracket the conclusion. Most questions center around the conclusion in some way; simply knowing what the conclusion is will often give away the answer.
- When in doubt, literally ask yourself, “Why do they think this?”
- Graph complicated ones the same way you would graph a logic game. Like, if AB unless C.
Also, this is a bit extreme, but I wrote out explanations for EVERY answer I got wrong. Ended up being a 100+ page word doc.
6. Reading Comprehension
This was the section that plagued me the most, and in the end kept me from getting a 177+. So, I can’t provide that much help.
Here are a few tips:
- I dual-diagrammed my RC, and that seemed to help. My first system of diagramming, done once-per-paragraph, is for structure. For instance, 2-3 words like “Background” or “1st Main Point”. The second system of diagramming is 2-3 words on the actual content, like “Nature represents unknown.” This will save you time later.
- The only other tip for this is to read faster, and to reference the text more. It’s far easier to look back and find the answer than to digest the passage completely and answer completely from memory.
Anxiety: I struggle with anxiety, and it can sometimes close my brain off during high pressure exams. I recommend getting on medication if you feel you need it, or seeing a counselor. These aren’t just good for the LSAT, but good for your mental health generally. I think not dealing with my anxiety was part of the reason I underperformed.
Physical Fitness: I got into a good workout routine during my summer of LSAT prep, as well as eating a healthier diet. This really strengthened my mental and physical health, and helped with stamina.
Sleep Schedule: I started going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 4am. Highly recommend.
Vary Test Conditions: Take tests everywhere!!! Starbucks, library, outside, everywhere! Once you take a test in a crowded place on an unbalanced table, the real test will feel like a joke. Additionally, change the time constraints. I like 30 minute sections. Additionally, I started doing 8-section tests, which helped with endurance.
Overall, work hard, stay calm, and remember that you can ALWAYS retake.
Happy Hunger Games!