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I want to be clear: I don’t mean give up on the LSAT. I mean, how can I tell that I don’t need to slave over Reading Comprehension passages anymore, or that I can finally give Logic Games a rest????
How can I tell that I can rest—that I’m ready to stop studying for the LSAT?
The obvious answer could be “when my score is where I want it,” but sometimes it’s not that simple. And I’ve found that many people spend a lot of time intensely working on things that don’t need more work.
So, here are some clues that you can stop studying for the LSAT.
First of all, how is the timing? Are you finishing within your target time consistently (on the last 3 timed sections you attempted)?
Second, how well are you connecting planning to section performance? Did you plan to skip a particular type of question, and did skipping that question lead to better performance on the section overall?
Finally, are you making connections across question types? Can you tell when an answer choice to a Sufficient Assumption question would actually be correct for a Necessary Assumption question? Can you look at an ID the Flaw question and identify the kind of flaw in the logic—and beyond, can you, to some extent, assess what the answer to a Describe the Flaw question would have looked like?
Bottom line: how often are you reading an LR problem and predicting the issue the correct answer will need to address?
There are two concerns here.
First: how often can you frame a game? My general goal is to build frames for at least one game per section.
Second: how well can you connect the dots across different games? How often do you look at a game and say, “Oh, this feels familiar!”
Bottom line: how often do you read the rule set for a particular game and realize you’re just doing a remake of a previous game?
This one, for me, is the toughest. Reading Comprehension always feels very unique to me, because the passages feel more individual or unique compared to each other. Since they don’t always rely on LR conventions, or LG rules, the passages feel more individualistic to me.
And since the detail questions are fairly specific to the issues addressed in the passage, those always feel somewhat unique, too.
So here’s my approach to assessing RC: how do I feel about the wrong answers?
For me, the wrong answers to RC fall into one or more of 4 categories:
- not there: some portion of the answer just is not relevant to the passage
- overstated: the language of the choice is stronger than would be supported by the passage
- contradicted: the passage actually suggests the opposite(!) of what the answer indicates
- detail wrongness: the answer choice contains a detail that, although in the passage, is not correct for this question
When I review my work for RC, how often can I identify at least one categorization that fits each wrong choice?
And when I’m taking an RC section timed, how often was I able to not only cross off the incorrect answers, but say to myself “this is wrong answer category X” as I crossed it off?
Was I able to do that at least once or twice in every question?
So… Can I Stop Studying for the LSAT?
These are my clues that I can ease off intensely studying for the LSAT and move into maintenance mode. Every once in a while I do a particular section, but I no longer need to do deep reads of Strategy Guide chapters or drill sets of one question type. If the answer to these questions is yes, then I feel pretty good about my abilities in that section.
Why It’s Important
Stress, for one thing!!! And, of course, time management! But I’ve worked with people who kept studying and studying and studying material that they had already mastered, either because they didn’t realize they had mastered it or because it felt good to study something they were better at. And while that kind of “ego boost” is nice and appropriate sometimes, it’s not good to make that the significant portion of your study time.
So ease off studying for the LSAT when you can! And rest when you’re able to. And have a clear, replicable process to identify which elements of the test do NOT need to be studied anymore.
Good luck! 📝
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Chris Gentry is a Manhattan Prep LSAT, GMAT, and GRE instructor who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Chris received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Clemson and JD from Emory University School of Law before realizing that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of standardized tests, and his true passion is teaching. Chris’ dual-pronged approach to understanding each test question has helped countless of his students to achieve their goal scores. What are you waiting for? Check out Chris’ upcoming LSAT courses here.