by Judge Richard Poland, Flagler College
One of the more common questions asked by our pre-law students concerns preparing for the Law School Admissions Test. The LSAT consists of four graded parts ranging from 24 to 28 questions. Those four sections are Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning I, and Logical Reasoning II. There is also an experimental section and a writing section which do not affect the student's score.
I believe, and experience has confirmed this, that a student cannot study for this exam. The student can only prepare for it to the best of his or her ability. The best way to prepare for the LSAT is to take several actual exams under test conditions. The student should sit down during the time of day when he or she will be taking the LSATexam and complete it in the allotted time.
I recommend beginning this preparation process with The Official LSAT SuperPrep which can be ordered from Law Services at www.lsac.org for less than $30.00. Completing this book allows the student to get inside the mind of the testmaker. It allows the student to understand why one answer is better than the others. Students need to take whatever time is necessary to thoroughly understand the contents of this book. Begin this process at least by the Christmas break of the junior year.
After completing this process, the student is ready to order the six most-recent LSATs from Law Services. I advise my students to take three of the exams during three consecutive weeks. After taking each test, the student should spend the entire week analyzing that test during the week. The point is to figure out why each right answer was the right answer and why each wrong answer was wrong. This part of the process is intense.
At this point, most students have discovered that the logic games are their biggest weakness. The good news is logic games is the one area in which all students can make significant progress. There are several approaches to improve significantly in the logic game area. I prefer two tried and proven methods.
First, many students will purchase logic game booklets from a bookstore. These games are different from and more difficult than the LSAT games. Nevertheless, many of my students have improved their scores with this booklet process.
Second, students who have taken a Logic I course (another strong recommendation of mine) prefer meeting with the logic professor to work on weaknesses. Diagramming rules and then making and incorporating one immediate inference will always benefit the student who is seriously preparing for the LSAT.
The student is now ready to complete the other three LSAT exams in the same manner as discussed above for the first three exams. If necessary, additional exams can be purchased so that one is being taken each week prior to the student's date to sit for the LSAT.
Finally let me offer a few test-taking tips to students. Every question should be answered because there is no penalty for guessing. Use a watch to make certain that you use the last 30 seconds of each testing period to answer all questions. Visit the site prior to examination day and, if possible, take a practice exam there. If you are not a morning person, register for the June exam. Besides a watch, take a little candy for extra energy. Expect distractions and preordain that you will block them out. Be confident.
The thoroughly-prepared student will do the best she or he is capable of doing.
Published in the SAPLA Handbook for Pre-Law Advising