How to Work Full Time and Take the LSAT

BPPerica-lsat-blog-workingGrowing up, I was just your average Korean girl. Great grades, piano and flute lessons, tutoring younger students, sports, and dreams of being a lawyer/doctor/something lucrative and socially impressive filled my life. I graduated from UCLA, had a brief stint at a “fun job”, and then got my first big girl job at a medical malpractice insurance company. After working there for a couple years, I decided that the next logical step in my big girl life was to get ready to go to law school.

Initially, I tried to prepare by buying a prep book from the bookstore and taking it to the beach to study. Three skip-and-go-nakeds and two tan shades darker, I realized that I needed something a bit more structured to prepare for this test. After furiously researching my options (i.e. asking a friend and doing no further research), I enrolled myself in Blueprint.

Unfortunately, at that point I had neither a sugar daddy nor a rich family, and had to continue working full time while studying for the LSAT. What did this mean? It meant that after working 8 hours, I was either sitting in class for 4 hours or doing homework for the same amount of time. My days and nights started to blend into a weird combination of medical records, LSAT questions, and Trent Teti’s face. It certainly wasn’t the ideal way to prepare for the test, but I got through it, improved my score, and came out relatively unscathed. I know that I’m not alone in this, so here are my tips for anyone who has to work full time while preparing for the LSAT:

1. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I know that work is hectic. I know that you’re tired. However, the LSAT is an unforgiving beast, and if you don’t put in the work ahead of time, test day will be one of the most excruciating days of your life. On non-class days, I would come home from work, eat dinner, and do homework from 8 pm – 12 am. Sound terrible? It was. But that’s why you need to…

2. Schedule some break days for yourself! While preparing, I gave myself one day every other week to go out and let off some steam. Whether it’s going out with friends, hitting the beach, or watching a mind numbing Jersey Shore marathon, you need to do something that will clear your mind for a while. Think of it as a palate cleanser between courses at a fancy meal. It’ll help you get more out of the time you’re actually studying the material.

3. Study somewhere outside your home. You’re tired from work, you get home, and kick your feet up. How motivated are you to study? On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give you about a 2.3. Find a café, library, or some other area to do homework in so that you aren’t distracted by the DVR or bed calling your name.

4. Take a Blueprint course. In all honesty, the only reason that I could survive a four hour class after a full day of work was because I loved going to class. My instructor was great, I got to know my classmates, and I truly enjoyed learning about the test. I legitimately missed my class after it was over. How many people can say that about their LSAT course?

In the end, I did not end up going to law school (much to my parents’ chagrin). Though I did well on the test, I realized that law wasn’t really a path that I wanted to go down, as the thought of three more years of school made me twitch nervously. However, I was lucky enough to land a job at Blueprint, where I describe my job as “making sure the company runs.” The rest, as they say, is history.

3 Responses

  1. Full Timer says:

    How much time did you give yourself? 3-4 months? I read Colin’s blog on not starting too early, but I feel that full time worker should give themselves more time?

  2. ES says:

    I studied for the duration of the course, which lasted about 3 months. Like I said, it was a pretty intense schedule, but I didn’t want to draw it out any longer than that if I didn’t have to. I did end up taking the test twice due to a gnarly case of test day jitters the first time around (something that you can’t really prepare yourself for), but before the second time, I did about 4-6 weeks of light preparation to make sure I still had it in me and did much better.

    Ultimately, you know your study habits and schedule best, so if you know that you won’t be able to really crack down in those few months of a course then you can give yourself more time to absorb the material, but I did find that the 3 months of the course was enough for me to prepare for the test.

  3. Future Lawyer says:

    Great tips. Maybe next time around I’ll get a better score, what a joke! It’s amazing you made studying for the LSAT work while maintaining your job at the medical malpractice insurance company. What’s the cost of a Blueprint class? Is the online class just as good as in-person? It doesn’t look like there’s not one offered close to me. It’s, right?

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