21st February 2024

Spending the sunny summer months studying for a strenuous standardized test may be no one’s vision for a fun summer, but it’s the right move for many law school applicants.

Since the law school admissions process is rolling, applicants should submit their applications by early November for their best odds.

The ideal time to take the LSAT would be months before then, to leave plenty of breathing room in case you need to retake the test.

But despite their best intentions, most people find the winter and spring too busy to make much headway. This is particularly true for college students, for whom getting good grades is just as important as a high LSAT score.

This is why the most popular LSAT test dates are in early fall, and the most popular time to study for the LSAT is over the summer. If you’re willing to trade your beach read for an LSAT prep book, the summer months can provide ample time to prepare to take the LSAT in September. 

Developing a Summer Study Plan

If you are studying part time, on top of work or classes, it’s best to set aside at least three or four months to prepare for the LSAT. To make the best use of this limited time, set a study plan with weekly goals.

Your first decision will be how you plan to learn the foundations of the test. Some people learn best in a structured environment like a class, others prefer to work personally with a tutor. More self-directed applicants might choose self-study using prep books and apps. Making the right choice upfront can save precious time and money.

Anticipate a steep learning curve at first, as you confront unfamiliar material. Don’t worry, your score on initial diagnostic tests doesn’t predict your ability to perform well on the test.

While it’s tempting to rush into practice, time invested in learning and experimenting with the best approaches will pay off in the long run. So, don’t panic if progress feels slow at first. Remember that every skill, like swimming or skiing, feels awkward and utterly humbling until you get the hang of it. 

Practicing Efficiently

Ignore uninformed sources on internet forums. Mastering the LSAT does not require an endless barrage of practice tests. It is high-quality practice, not necessarily a high quantity of practice, that leads to breakthroughs on the LSAT.

Whether you study on your own or with the help of a tutor or instructor, early practice should be focused on learning the right approach to each section and getting a handle on basic skills like breaking down an argument into its component parts.

Once you have learned the fundamentals, turn to untimed practice to consolidate those lessons and put them into practice. Getting questions wrong in untimed practice is the quickest way to identify the areas you should focus on most.

Once you perform consistently in untimed practice, take on timed practice sections with full attention. Be sure to spend ample time reviewing and learning from your mistakes. This is what actually leads to score improvement. 

Maintaining a Steady Pace

LSAT prep is a marathon, not a sprint. Just like a marathon, the LSAT is exhausting both mentally and physically. So, be sure to support your practice with good habits.

Take advantage of long summer days to exercise regularly, eat nourishing meals and get enough rest. Relieve the stress of practice with reading, socializing with friends and other activities that relax your brain.

Most importantly, avoid taking your test performance personally to reduce test anxiety. If you’ve ever done a competitive activity, you know that whether you amaze yourself or disappoint yourself on a given day, what matters is consistency. 

If you practice methodically and steadily, then you will be ready to take on the test by fall. So, set a plan and establish the right study habits early on to make it through the dog days of summer without throwing in the towel.