You certainly can improve your LSAT score with diligent practice and sound instruction. ScoreItUp students in the past have averaged a 15-point LSAT score increase, comparing their first-to-best practice LSAT scores (using real LSATs in timed settings – full details can be seen here). Some students, like Nick D., have increased 35 LSAT points (comparing initial practice LSAT score to actual LSAT score).
Relying upon “average” score increases is imprecise, since results often vary dramatically from student to student for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, the potential for significant improvement is a good reminder of the importance of preparing thoroughly for this critically important exam.
So, what factors are likely to lead to the more dramatic (20+) score increases some students achieve on the LSAT? Here is my impression of five key factors that will make it more likely you will see a substantial increase in your LSAT score compared to your initial mock/diagnostic exam score:
- Learn the logic and legal-reasoning fundamentals underlying the LSAT. Find an LSAT coach/instructor or some other resource you trust, and be sure the learn the basics in a way that makes sense to you.
- Apply those LSAT fundamentals to lots of real LSAT questions. Preparing for the LSAT is not like studying for the typical college exam. In particular, the goal of successful LSAT Prep is not to memorize and regurgitate the information you memorized on the exam. Instead, the key to success on the LSAT is understanding the concepts and learning how to recognize and apply those concepts to real LSAT questions. Be sure to practice on lots of real LSAT questions to see how the underlying logic and legal-reasoning concepts play out on actual test questions. Learn how to use practice exams wisely – that will make your LSAT Prep more efficient and effective.
- Learn from your mistakes. The logic principles tested on the LSAT repeat themselves frequently. By studying your mistakes, and learning from them, you are much more likely to correctly answer LSAT questions involving a similar “issue” in the future. Be sure that the explanations you receive on questions you missed (or are unsure about) make sense to you.
- Take lots of timed practice LSATs. At first, you don’t want to worry about timing. However, before you take the official LSAT, you eventually will want lots of practice in “game-day” conditions – i.e., take lots of full-length practice LSATs in timed conditions designed to simulate the official LSAT. Once again, be sure to learn how to use prior LSATs efficiently for both untimed and timed practice.
- Give yourself enough time to prepare. As you can see, effective LSAT Prep is a multi-faceted process. All of the above tasks takes time. I tell students that they should plan to take 2-6 months to prepare for the LSAT, on average – some students take more time than that. You can’t cram for the LSAT, and overconfidence is a curse. The exam is a challenging one, and it takes time to fine-tune your skills to maximize your chances on the LSAT.
FINAL THOUGHTS: You can do a lot with 2 months of effective LSAT Prep. However, if you are aiming to maximize your LSAT score (and score increase), you should try to do more than the minimum recommended amount of prep time – you may want to plan on giving yourself closer to 4-6 months (and in some cases, even more than that). In addition, plan a sensible schedule that will allow you to make LSAT Prep a meaningful part of your weekly routine during that time – my general advice is that students ideally should plan to spend approximately 20 hours per week on LSAT Prep (including class time, if you are taking a course)…but even if you can’t manage that much time per week, remember that doing some LSAT prep is a lot better than doing none!
Doing all of the above tasks won’t guarantee you a particular LSAT score or score increase. However, it will give you the confidence that you have done everything you can to maximize your readiness to take the LSAT. Questions? Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!