Judge Richard Poland (Flagler College) gives some outstanding advice related to LSAT PREP.
What not to do: Memorization. What to do: Understand. Working on many sample LSAT test questions will not help if you are just trying to memorize the solution to the problems because the actual test will change the words/problems and then you probably won't know how to get the right answer. The LSAT does not reward memorization. Even good students who are very bright can do poorly on the LSAT if they only know how to memorize. This is one reason why there are so many good students (as measured by the GPA) who do not do well on the LSAT. From Pre-law Studies at Florida Atlantic University (with some changes)
How do you get admited to a top law school? Practice previously-given LSATs, practice previously-given LSATs, practice previous-given LSATs.Practice is essential because the skills tested in the various sections can be developed and improved upon through practice.Moreover, each of the different LSAT sections use certain repeating patterns of questions. The questions themselves do not repeat, but the style or format of the questions are limited to a fixed number of different patterns. SOURCE: University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
The LSAT tests SKILLS (reading and critical thinking). Fhe LSAT does NOT assume that any test taker has knowledge of a particular academic discipline. The only thing the LSAT assumes is that you read and write English at a college level. LSAT skills may be developed by passing courses that require writing or critical thinking.
To prepare for the LSAT, take and do well in a beginning course in logic.
Purchase and use copies of actual, previously administered LSATs. OVER FORTY ARE AVAILABLE from LSAC (215-968-1001). Take as many as you can.
Only careful, strenuous preparation over a long period of time will train your brain for the rigors of the LSAT. Do not attempt to cram for the LSAT.
From the end of your sophomore year to the end of your junior year (we are assuming that you are taking the LSAT in June), block off an ever increasing chunk of time to devote to preparing for the LSAT. This will give you time to slowly but surely prepare for the LSAT.
Preparing for the LSAT should be an extended process involving familiarizing yourself with the format of the test, the types of questions that will be asked, and the pace of the exam.
First work on being able to understand and do previously administered LSATs with no time restrictions on yourself.
Gradually the time that you allow yourself for taking previously administered LSATs should gradually decrease and approach 35 minutes per section.
Adapting and getting used to the time constraints put on the LSAT is crucial; this may be easier said than done.
After completing a previously administered LSAT, first calculate your LSAT score. Then go over all the questions for which you were unsure of your answer; this certainly includes the questions that you answered incorrectly but also includes the questions for which your correct answer depended on some lucky guessing. If you took this LSAT under timed conditions, also go over all the questions that you did not have time to attempt.
During practice sessions you must get used to working faster than you are comfortable in order to become comfortable working faster--approximating actual conditions is exceedingly important.
During the LSAT, watch the clock and work quickly and efficiently.
In the two weeks before the LSAT, the LSAT must be your number one priority.
Upon opening your LSAT booklet on the test day, you should get a feeling of deja vu; you did not prepare well enough if some of the test material seems new and exciting.
If you feel that you have done poorly on a section that you usually do well on, stay relaxed; note that this section could very well be the experimental section.
For each subject or skill, there are fast learners and there are slow learners. Without having to take needed time away from other activities, a fast LSAT learner can begin LSAT preparation four to eight weeks in advance of the LSAT and earn a very good score. But for others, beginning four to eight weeks in advance of the LSAT may lead to unpleasant consequences. Our suggestion is that you slowly begin LSAT preparation at least two semesters (perhaps even one year) prior to your planned test date. If two or more semester is too much prep time, you can always take a break. Remember that if you start preparing too soon, you can cut back on yourLSAT preparation time. If you start too late, postponing the LSAT may be your only hope. Make good use of LSAT Prep Tests.
For a laugh, you may want to begin your LSAT preparation by taking a previously given LSAT test under test conditions. After having a good laugh over this LSAT score, begin by spending a couple of hours a week working on one of the question types (Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning) of the LSAT; this should involve taking the section(s) of previously-given LSAT tests involving this question type. Your goal eventually is to take these previously-given LSAT tests under timed conditions and earn a decent LSAT score. After proficiency in the three question types, begin taking previously-given LSAT tests with the goal of taking these tests under LSAT test conditions with a decent LSAT score. The preceding is general advice, you must fill in the details (e.g. how many previously-given LSAT tests you should take, what LSAT prep books to buy, whether you should take a LSAT prep course, etc.).
WHEN TO BEGIN PREPARING
HUNTER COLLEGE (CUNY) Pre-Law Guide gives the following good idea: It is never too early [only too late] to begin studying for the LSAT. The higher your LSAT score, the greater your chances are of admission to law school and of obtaining financial aid. Do not take the LSAT until you feel you have reached your highest potential score. Do not go into the exam thinking that you'll just take it again if you are unhappy with your score. The LSAT is a significant factor in admissions decisions by law schools and you should take seriously the need to study for it. ... Many people begin to substantially improve their score on practice LSAT tests only after 150 hours of study. It is therefore advisable to plan to study for the LSAT for a year and to try to set aside a period of time for intensive study some months prior to the exam. If your schedule does not allow you adequate time to study, consider [taking fewer credits and making up for this in the summer or] putting off your application to law school for a year so that you have the opportunity to do your best on the LSAT. The Hunter College recommendation is a little extreme when compared to the recommendations from other universities. Many of these recommend six weeks to one semester of preparation time. For the record, like Hunter College, we are in favor of planning to study for the LSAT for one year (or at least two semesters). Considering that you will spend approximately three or four years of forty-hour weeks to developing your GPA, spending four to eight hours per week (on average) for one year preparing for the LSAT does not seem excessive.
Ideally, preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) should begin six months to a year before the LSAT is taken (we recommend one year) and this preparation should be so serious that there could be no reason to repeat the LSAT although there may be reasons not to take the LSAT at the scheduled time (e.g. illness, family emergency).
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE OF THE LSAT TEST DATE SHOULD PREPARATION BEGIN?
Two semesters or one calendar year. Begin with three hours per week; adjust as necessary.
It is typical to need 8 months to 1 year of study to reach maximum potential score on the test. Study much more intensely some months prior to the exam. Some find that they don't improve significantly on practice tests until after 120 hours of studying. Do not be discouraged!
A common recommendation is to study at least 50 hours for the LSAT (and ideally much more).
Preparation for the LSAT requires an intense commitment of both time and effort.c
How much time did you spend on achieving the GPA for law school. To answer this question, let us make some reasonable assumptions: By credits, we mean semester credits 90 credits taken (six full-time semesters) Each semester involves 15 weeks of classes Each semester credit involves 15 hour of class and 30 hours outside of class The number of hours per credit is 15+30=45 and there are 90 credits. Therefore total hours spent is 45*90=50=4050. We are not suggesting that you spend 4050 hours (almost two years of 40 hour weeks) preparing for the LSAT but we are recommending that you put in enough time to get a score commensurate to your potential. We are recommending that you begin a year in advance (let us assume June) and begin with three-or-four hours per week.