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I’m writing this post on May 15, 2017. The June LSAT is just a few weeks away. The number of people starting to panic, or continuing to panic, is probably pretty high.
So what do you do (no matter how far away the actual test is) if your LSAT practice test scores aren’t going up—or moving in the wrong direction?
First, and most essentially, you need to know what not to do. Some students try what I call “spamming” practice tests. You see this sometimes on LSAT forums: some variation of “I just did and re-did every single practice test three times and I was ready!!!” I suppose this works for some people. I don’t know why these people hate themselves, though. I mean, really, there must be some kind of masochism involved if you’re just doing test after test after test after test. I teach this thing, and the thought of that makes me a little nauseous!
Spamming tests is a pretty terrible idea for a few reasons. First, it’s not actually studying. Preparing for the LSAT isn’t like practicing free throws in basketball: more repetitions of the same activity isn’t necessarily productive. Second, it’s exhausting. This point should be fairly self-explanatory. Finally, it’s a waste. Each practice test is a valuable, semi-rare commodity, and should be treated as such.
So don’t spam practice tests.
To go back to the initial question: what is it you should do to make your LSAT practice test scores go up??
Examine how you’ve been studying so far.
Each person reviews the questions they get wrong, but do you study the questions you got correct? What was it in the game that led you to those beautiful frames that answered every question in 3 minutes? How were you able to narrow down to two choices quickly in that LR question? What made the main point so easy to identify in that RC passage? How often do you review what worked, and plan out how to use that in future questions?
Do you plan your “get out”s? No one needs a 180 to get into law school. What are the questions you’re going to sacrifice? Which questions either (a) take you too long (b) you never get right or (c) both? My personal “get out”s are those ID the Disagreement questions and Necessary Assumption EXCEPT questions.
And to be clear, there are different levels of “sacrifice.” You may decide to bail immediately on this kind of question, or you may decide that you’ll give it the effort to narrow down the choices, but move on quickly from that point. For the two types of questions I mentioned above, sometimes I narrow it down to 2 and I move on.
Finally, are you implementing changes to the way you’re studying? Introduce group studies into your routine. Cover up the choices on an LR question and write your own (including 4 tempting wrong choices). Cover up the RC passage and see if you can eliminate any choices before reading by removing extreme language. Shake things up every once in awhile and get your brain viewing the test in a different light.
Above all else, try to ease off the panic button—check out one of our blog posts on mindfulness and meditation.
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.