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LSAT self-study is a way to prepare for the LSAT without attending a live LSAT prep course. Instead, you would rely on LSAT prep books, LSAT practice tests, and other purchased and free study material. Many students chose to self-study because live LSAT prep courses are considerably more costly. Others feel that it is more convenient to self-study because of location or scheduling factors. Still others feel that self-study is more consistent with their learning styles. Whatever the reason, before deciding to self-study you must take a realistic self-assessment to determine if you will be able to effectively prepare for the LSAT through self study.
Self-study is not for everyone. It is best for students who are very self-motivated and not easily distracted. You will be studying almost every day for 8-12 weeks. Whether you plan to prepare for the LSAT by attending a live prep course, through online classes or by self-study, you must have a game plan.
There are loads of LSAT prep books. Each series will have its own strategy for how to best prepare for the LSAT. The more effective self-study programs will have well-researched and proven test-taking strategies and will provide clear explanations for the logic behind the correct answers to the practice questions. So which prep book series is the best? That is a matter of opinion. It is a good idea to spend time at a bookstore or online comparing LSAT prep books. However, there are a few things to look for.
There are 3 scored, multiple-choice sections in the LSAT: Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. To do well on the LSAT you must understand each of these 3 question types and be able to identify the attributes of a correct answer for each type. Find the LSAT prep book series that is able to best explain this in a detailed, step-by-step manner, to YOUR satisfaction.
In addition, your materials should include 25-30 released LSAT exams. The test prep books may include some. All are available from LSAC.org through its $99 LSAT PrepTest Plus service.
You should also take advantage of LSAC's free offer of a year-long subscription to Khan Academy. Its drills, explanations, and full tests are invaluable resources as you prepare for the test.
Finally, a more interactive program such as Manhattan LSAT’s LSAT Interact can simulate the live classroom experience in the sense that your teacher’s responses are tailored to yours. It is worth taking advantage of such innovations in testprep technology to simulate as close to a live classroom experience as possible.
Create a schedule for each week and each day of the week for your 8-12 week study regimen. Use your test prep books as a guide to mapping out a detailed study schedule. The first week of preparation should involve familiarizing yourself with the LSAT exam and question types.
• Explore the Law School Admissions Council’s website: LSAC.org. It contains a lot of critical information about preparing for and taking the LSAT.
• Register for the LSAT. The earlier you register, the more likely you will get your preferred test location. Also don’t forget to sign up for LSAC’s Candidate Referral Service so law schools can reach out to you once your score is published.
• Take a diagnostic LSAT exam. They are available at LSAC.org. Taking a timed, diagnostic test will give you a starting point as to where your strengths and weaknesses are, and give you an idea of what it is like to take the LSAT.
• Review the portion of your LSAT prep materials that discusses strategies for preparation and test taking.
For the next several weeks leading up to the week before the test date, design a schedule that allows you to methodically work through the 3 different types of questions.
• Using the organization of your LSAT test prep books as a guide, starting with the Logical Reasoning section (as it tends to be the most difficult to master), read through the materials and complete practice questions. Carefully review the answers and analyze your mistakes.
• Each week, take at least one full-length, simulated test. This will help you see your progress in understanding the different question types and will help you focus on what areas need more attention. Taking full-length timed tests will also help you build up the necessary stamina to successfully make it through test day without becoming mentally and physically drained before the end of the test.
During the week before the LSAT, wind down your study schedule. Continue to practice, but devote fewer hours.
• Continue to work on practice questions.
• Take two simulated LSATs.
• The day before the exam, do nothing, or very little. To the extent that you can, try to relax.
Even though you are preparing through self-study, do not think that you are alone in the prep process. There are many resources for help. LSAT tutors, online classes and counseling, and other online resources are available to give you tips and support. Lastly, do not panic. If you begin preparation well in advance and you stick to a schedule, you will have a good LSAT test day.
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