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…might be beneficial!
The vast majority of LSAT test-takers take it the same way. They open the test booklet when the proctor says, turn to the first page of the section, start problem #1 in the section, and move forward ploddingly from there.
But it doesn’t have to work that way—LSAT creativity is possible!
One aspect of LSAT prep that is different from other tests I teach (GMAT and GRE) is the incredible wealth of practice tests at your disposal. Standard prep involves at least two books of tests, each containing ten tests, plus 6-10 supplemental tests as practice tests. We build lessons and study plans from the tests in the books of ten tests, and use the supplemental individual tests as “dry runs” for the actual test.
So you have a few dozen tests you can practice your timing and test-taking patterns on—even the tests that are “cannibalized” for lessons on question types can be taken as full tests, if you want to get some more work on your test-taking strategies.
Now I need to make something clear: I am in no way advocating that you “spam” tests! (By that, I mean take test after test after test, every day or every other day.) Ultimately, you should not take more than one full practice test roughly once a week.
But, within that, you have the opportunity to inject some LSAT creativity into your test-taking! For example, have you ever tried to take an LR section backwards? Start at the last question and work back to question 1? There are some interesting aspects to trying an LR section this way. The first unusual aspect can be either boon or bane, depending on your natural focus levels: you have to double-check to make sure you’re filling in the right number on the answer sheet. The “bane” part: this might distract you from the question. The “boon” part: it’s an interesting way to force yourself to double-check your answer selection—make sure you filled in choice “C” instead of choice “B,” for example.
The second, and possibly most interesting, aspect: you get the most challenging problems out of the way sooner rather than later and end with the easiest questions. If you have more energy and focus at the beginning of the sections and find your energy and focus dissipating towards the end of the sections, you might benefit from this.
As for LG and RC, why don’t you pick the order? Take a moment, glance over each game and each passage, and decide which one you find most appealing? Again, this will require more focus and attention when filling out the answer key. But the advantages might outweigh that disadvantage: you get the most approachable games/passages done first and can bank some time for the other games and passages.
Again, these ideas are not something you would implement on test day without several practice tests taken using these ideas. But I intend this merely as food for thought: why remain constrained to the test writers’ order of questions if you don’t have to? ?
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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.