LSAT practice exams are an extremely important component of LSAT preparation. As the LSAT exam got closer and closer I significantly increased the number of practice exams I was taking. LSAT practice exams are notoriously lengthy though and you don’t want to spend every waking hour taking five-hour long practice exams. How often you take LSAT practice tests depends on where you are in your studying. If you have just begun studying for the LSAT, focus on the fundamentals and take individual practice questions. Once you are a month out from the LSAT you should aim to take 2-3 full length practice tests a week.
Now you know that taking practice exams is an important part of any LSAT study strategy, but let’s now take a closer look at your LSAT preparation timeline and how many exams you should be taking throughout, lets also examine some LSAT practice test taking strategies so we can ensure that you are getting the most out of your preparation.
Practice Exam Frequency Depends On Where You Are
If You Just Started Studying for the LSAT
You do not want to dive into LSAT practice exams if you just began your LSAT preparation or you haven’t started studying yet. Practice exams are important, but you aren’t going to learn the fundamentals of the LSAT through taking exams. You need to build a base of knowledge by sticking to the fundamentals for a few weeks.
Your first bit of business is to take a diagnostic exam to get your feet wet and to get a baseline score. Then you should stick to studying prep books, such as the LSAT Bibles, for a few weeks. If you would like some information on LSAT prep books, you can check out this comparison article here. Once you’ve done that you can start mixing in practice exams.
Ideally I recommend that students should start LSAT preparation four to five months before their scheduled exam. More is even better, but unnecessary. It’s unlikely that you will reach your full potential if you begin studying less than four months in advance.
There are lots of exams available
At this point there are tons of old exams available for LSAT prep. There are well over 70 full-length practice exams. Don’t worry, I am not going to suggest that you should take them all. Hell I didn’t come close to taking them all, I might have completed 30.
What I am saying is that no matter your exam schedule there is very little chance that you will complete all of these exams. When you begin taking practice exams you should start with the most recently available as the question format has changed a little bit over the years. That’s not to say that the exams from 1995 aren’t worth taking, they just aren’t as valuable as a 2019 exam.
The closer you are to the LSAT the more exams you should be taking
Three months out from exam day it’s perfectly fine to take a practice exam a week. But three weeks out from exam day you should be taking three practice exams a week if you can. By the time you approach exam day you should already have a firm grasp of the LSAT exam and your focus should be performing well on the practice exams, and even more importantly learning from them.
- David M. Killoran (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 2006 Pages - 09/27/2021 (Publication Date) - PowerScore Publishing (Publisher)
Don’t Just Take the Test
A terrible habit that some people get into is that they will take the practice test, check their score, and then move on to more studying. Taking the exam is important because it familiarizes you with the questions under a timed environment. But it’s more important to learn from the answers you got wrong.
There are logic game explanations on YouTube for most of the recent practice exams. I found these to be extremely helpful. There are also logical reasoning and reading comprehension answer explanations found online that are extremely helpful. Use these to your advantage and spend an hour or two after every exam learning from your mistakes.
You want to avoid burn out
As the LSAT approaches three practice exams a week are preferable, but everyone is different. Some people are more susceptible to burnout, I know I got burnt out by the end of my Fall Semester of 2L year and I probably was burnt out a few times during my LSAT preparation.
The best way to combat burnout (in my opinion) is to take a break from the source of the burnout (the LSAT), and perhaps remind yourself why you are putting yourself through all this preparation. It helps me to write out how my work is going to pay off in the end, remember that pain is temporary! Check out Lance Armstrong’s quote on the subject, I absolutely love it.
If you feel like you’re getting burnout from all of the exams, perhaps lightening the load by taking two instead of three a week will reduce your burnout.
On the other hand, if three exams a week doesn’t phase you then you can consider putting your foot on the gas pedal a little more and add an additional weekly exam.
Do you have other commitments?
Several months of preparation can be significantly more difficult for some people than others. Many people have jobs, some are students and others have young children. LSAT preparation can take a toll on any of these additional commitments.
Depending on the extent of your additional commitments you may not have the time to take three exams a week. That’s okay, while not preferable if you don’t have time to take multiple three-hour exams a week you can chop them up into smaller sections to complete when you have time.
The number of LSAT practice exams you take is not all-determinative of your score on game day. What also matters is how you are taking the exams, and when you began studying. My recommendation is that in the early days you should focus on the fundamentals with a practice exam once a week, and then you can gradually ramp it up to three or even four a week once you have mastered the fundamentals.
I hope this article helped and you can find more tips on obtaining a great LSAT score here.