Taking The Stress Out Of LSAT Prep

Let’s face it, the LSAT can be stressful. But the truth is that it doesn’t need to be. Here are my Top 10 suggestions on how to take the stress out of LSAT Prep (or at least drastically reduce it!):

  1. Stop Focusing On Getting A Particular LSAT Score. Students often have a particular LSAT score they feel they “need” to get. Set an ambitious goal, but don’t worry about failing to achieve it. I routinely tell my students that their goal should be to maximize their potential on the LSAT.  That means taking the exam and LSAT Prep seriously. But it also takes the feeling of “failure” to achieve a particular score out of the equation.
  2. Make LSAT Prep FUN. I’ve said this countless times and it’s because I mean it: the LSAT is the most fun test you will ever prep for, by far. It’s the equivalent of a series of brainteaser puzzles. Have fun with it. Enjoy the learning process and the challenge it offers you. Thinking about LSAT Prep as a fun activity makes LSAT Prep more enjoyable and it likely will lead to a better end result as well.
  3. Reward Yourself For Achieving Mini-Goals. LSAT Prep is a marathon, not a sprint. You will have some ups and downs along the way. Set small goals for yourself along the way (e.g., improving 5 points from your initial mock exam score, etc.). When you achieve each of your mini-goals, reward yourself by treating yourself to something you like.
  4. Don’t Punish Yourself For “Failing” To Achieve Mini-Goals. This is even more important than 3., above. You will have good and bad days/weeks, hit frustrating plateaus and occasionally see inexplicable dips in your practice scores along the way. Don’t panic and don’t get upset with yourself. LSAT Prep is like the stock market – there will be ups and downs, but if you prep for the LSAT thoughtfully you should see meaningful improvement over time.
  5. Give Yourself “Fun Breaks.” This is an extension of 2., above. Take breaks if it makes you happy to do so. That may mean a 5-10 break every hour to surf the internet or listen to your favorite song. Or a full day or two each week where you do nothing LSAT-related. If that makes the process of LSAT Prep more enjoyable for you, don’t feel the least bit guilty about taking those “fun breaks.” But also remember that we are all different: if taking breaks causes you more stress, then feel free to keep churning away!
  6. Stop Assuming There Is Only One Path To Success. Many students feel they need to get an “X” on the LSAT so they can go to “Y” Law School. That isn’t true. If LSAT Prep is a marathon, think about how long your legal career is. There will be countless opportunities to prove yourself during your career, the LSAT is merely one of them. Your grades in law school and your future performance as an attorney will be more important than your LSAT score.
  7. Consider Changing Things Up…Dramatically. If you feel you are in a “rut” and can’t get out of it, change up your prep. Maybe that means buying a good LSAT Prep book or hiring a tutor. Maybe it means taking an inspiring LSAT Prep (or non-LSAT) course, or reading a book on “Logic” (including conditional statements, etc.). Maybe it means reading a couple challenging books to strengthen your vocabulary, including looking up the meaning of every word you don’t know. Maybe it means joining a study group (or abandoning a study group). Be sensible about it, but try doing something different that may help (directly or indirectly) your LSAT Prep.
  8. Stop Worrying About The “Joneses.” There is one LSAT score that matters: yours. It is natural to compare yourself to your friends, classmates, etc. Don’t worry if you aren’t doing as well as him/her/them. If you and your best friend are studying for the LSAT together, one of you will be doing worse than the other. Sometimes a little healthy competition is good, but not if it is making you miserable or causing you unnecessary stress.
  9. Don’t Believe What You Read On Reddit. Around 97% of students aren’t scoring in the 170s, and around 80% aren’t even scoring in the 160s. So why does it appear differently on sites like Reddit? First, Reddit (and sites like it) is full of fake comments. (Numerous LSAT Prep companies have been caught posing as students to post self-promotion messages – imagine how often they were doing that to actually get caught!). Even for the legitimate posts, there is a huge skewing of reality going on: students doing exceptionally well often want to post their scores…the majority of students (who score in the 140s and 150s) aren’t doing so.
  10. Recognize That The LSAT Is Merely A “Means To An End.” Put the LSAT in its place. It is merely a test that impacts your ability to get into certain law schools. That’s it. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t prove how well you will or won’t do in law school. And it certainly isn’t a measure of future success. Even if there is a modest correlation between LSAT scores and future performance, there will be a lot of other factors influencing your future success…primarily work ethic!