Q and A: Strategizing for the LSAT

studying-ahead-642559-mI often receive questions from readers who are using the Fox LSAT test prep books to study for the LSAT. Here's some advice I recently gave a student planning to take the test this year. Question: I'm four tests in and tend to start strong. But by the third and fourth section, my brain starts lapsing and my test becomes riddled with errors. Any advice on how to correct this? Also, being only four tests in and am averaging a score of 154, should I plan to take the September LSAT over the December test?

Answer: Don't underestimate the importance of adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, and recreation. I'm sure you're working very hard (at not just the LSAT) and it can be easy to fall into a "brain lapse." I advise students to practice for the LSAT only when they're feeling their best. If you notice you're making a lot of silly errors, it's an indication that maybe you're running yourself ragged, and maybe you should put the LSAT book down for a bit. Maybe a walk or a nap would be a better decision in the long run.

Fatigue in the late sections can also arise from lack of mastery over the topics. If you've only done four practice tests, then you're barely in the beginning stages of an adequate LSAT preparation. After you've done 8, or 12, or 20 full practice tests, you'll be a lot better at them. When you're better at something, it's not nearly as tiring.

Taking the September test is a good goal to shoot for. Two tests per week over the next five weeks gets you to 14 full practice tests. For some students, that would be enough. You'll know whether you're ready or not based on the scores from those tests. If you push for September and aren't ready, you can always change to December. (This can get expensive in terms of LSAC fees, but it's such a high-stakes test that it's absolutely worth it.) If you are ready for September, then a good score would allow you to apply to schools earlier. But more importantly, taking the September LSAT allows you to take another shot in December if necessary. That's the best reason to take it in September.

Then again, if you're not ready, you're just not ready. If your practice scores aren't where you think they could be, then you absolutely have to postpone. Don't take the LSAT until you're ready. An LSAT of, say, 160 in September is nowhere NEAR as good as a 165 in December. Even a few LSAT points is worth holding out for.

Learn more about my LSAT test prep books and how they can help you conquer the LSAT.

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