If you are planning to prepare for the LSAT by self-studying, I have created a general study schedule and printable (here is the blank version of the printable)! This schedule is based on what worked for me when I was preparing for the LSAT. I strongly encourage self-studiers to create their own study schedule, or tailor pre-made study schedules to your own preferences and learning style.
As I’ve previously shared on this blog, I don’t completely agree with the various recommendations (from counselors, experts, teachers, and previous law students) to prepare for the LSAT three months prior to your test date. I strongly support preparing for the LSAT six months prior. I understand that everyone works on different schedules, levels of efficiency, etc. However, I’m sharing what has worked for me. Self-study will generally require more time, and giving yourself more time to study will always be better than regretting you didn’t. In my experience, self-studying has a learning curve at the outset. This may be because it is difficult to figure out a study schedule that works for you, you are working while studying, family, or other reasons. These initial difficulties are why I highly recommend self-studying for at least six month prior to your planned LSAT test date.
In my previous post, My LSAT Practice Test Method, I shared that I studied from around mid-March until the September LSAT. If you don’t want to do the math (since you’re planning to go to law school, not med school), that is around six months. If you find that you are doing well studying during an LSAT course, by all means study for less than six months.
Below is my study schedule. It begins with overall goals you may want to focus on and continues with a more specific schedule. Remember that this is a very general self-study schedule. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find and tailor a self-study schedule that fits you. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU.
- Improve your timing over the entirety of the six months.
- Don’t dedicate an entire month on one type of section and neglect all the other section types. Switch between section types.
- Be disciplined. Although you can’t always be right on schedule with self-studying, don’t get carried away.
- Tailor your schedule as needed. For example, if you find that reading comprehension takes longer than expected, change your schedule. Don’t forget there are other sections that may need your attention.
Day 1-2: Create a study schedule. (Maybe use my printables!) I recommend doing your research of what other schedules people have followed online, and either expand or condense the schedule. BE REALISTIC. For example, don’t expect to master logic games in a week or two.
Day 3: Take a diagnostic test. Make sure to take a reasonably recent test. I’d save the most recent LSAT test for the very end of your study schedule. More specifically, save the most recently released LSAT test as the last practice test you will attempt right before your LSAT.
Day 4: Grade your test and create a practice test spreadsheet (an explanation and example of a spreadsheet can be found here). Take note of what sections you did or did not perform well in. Your study schedule should accommodate more time for your lowest scoring sections and the least time for your highest scoring sections. Dedicating “less time” to the lowest scoring sections does NOT mean scheduling it towards to end of your study-schedule. In other words, don’t organize your study schedule in order of least to best performance. You should be working on the different types of sections interchangeably (this is something that helped my brain from getting tired).
REST OF THE FIRST MONTH:
- The goal at the end of your first month should be to somewhat improve your timing. This was my initial goal and it helped my test taking improve overall, and it took me the most time to master.
- Do practice tests untimed.
- Do the questions in sections and take breaks. This is something that helped me build what I like to call “brain stamina”, or at least I like to think it did. Generally, it is a way to start familiarizing yourself with the length of the sections in portions.
- Take note of how long it takes you to do sections untimed.
- After spending a week or two doing untimed tests in sections, begin doing questions in groups and giving yourself about 3 minutes per question. I liked to do pages of questions at a time so about 4-5 questions per page for 3 minutes per question. After a few pages I would take breaks and come back.
- You do not have to be very strict with the 3-minutes-per-question rule, but try not to be completely liberal with the time you spend on questions. Remember you are trying to teach yourself “brain stamina”. Set expectations, but be somewhat forgiving.
- By the end of the first month you should have improved your time. However, remember that timing is something that I worked on throughout all my six months of studying, so this may be a overall goal for you as well.
- Remember the spreadsheet you made? Decide what section type(s) you’d like to focus on. The most promising section to begin with might be the section you performed the worst in.
- Decide the reason(s) why you are performing poorly. This may include timing, approach, strategy, inefficiency, focus, etc. There are many reasons why you may be performing poorly or how you could improve.
- Research different methods for the section. For example, certain efficient ways to note in the margins of reading comprehension passages.
- Make sure you are not completely neglecting the other section types and any other floating goals.
MONTH THREE TO FIVE
- Repeat what you have done towards the end of month one and everything you have done in month two, but with different sections.
- Again, make sure you are not completely neglecting the other section types and any other overall goals.
- This is the home stretch. Take it easy, but pay special attention to any last methods or strategies you want to master.
- Take note of your score trends from your spreadsheet. More specifically, score trends from your LSAT tests overall AND the section types separately.
- In the last week before your test, give yourself time to unwind and prepare for the LSAT. Research the location where you will be taking the LSAT, any rules you need to be aware of, supplies needed, etc.
- Don’t study the day or few days before your LSAT. If you’re like me, it will be very hard not to. I try to remind myself: “At this point, I can’t learn any more than I have and I know what I know”.
Please remember that I am not an LSAT expert nor claim to be. I am simply sharing what has worked for me in the hopes that it helps others prepare their own self-study schedule. If you have any suggestions, please comment below or message me.
Good luck on the LSAT, and remember that you will get where you want to be.