The February LSAT is coming up. Fast. If next Saturday’s test is in your plans, it’s time for you to take lots of LSAT practice tests and work on your plan for game day. Here are some principles to keep in mind.
Not every question is equal.
It’s tempting to divide the 35 minutes you have for each section by the number of questions in that section to figure out how long you have for each question. If you’re shooting to do every question (more on that later), you’ll get an accurate average time, but it’s just that: an average. Nothing more.
Easy questions are easier. Hard questions are harder. The first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club. If you spend the average time on the easier questions, you’ll be out of luck on the hard ones. One of the best things you can do for your LSAT score is to make the easy and predictable questions, passages, and games as easy and predictable as they can be. Know how to approach them, what to expect, and what makes answers wrong or right so that you can dispatch these questions without wasted effort.
But every question is equal in the points it gets you.
Every question on the LSAT has the exact same value to your score. Question 22, that Parallel question that barely fits on the page, is worth the exact same as question 25, that moderate-difficulty Weaken question. If getting caught up in question 22 makes you rush through the remaining questions and get them wrong, it’s not worth it. Skip especially brutal-looking questions, games, or passages at first; you can come back to them when you’re done with the rest. And if you don’t get to them? We’ll cover that in our next point.
Skipping things at first can be a good strategy even if you’re shooting for a really high LSAT score. I skipped the third game at first on my LSAT, and I was shooting for and got a 180. The third game looked awful, so I went and did the fourth one. That took the pressure off. I knew I had time and that the third game was all I had left to do in the section. It made things much easier not to have to worry about what was to come.
The LSAT isn’t a charity run.
There’s no prize for finishing. It doesn’t matter how many questions you attempt, only how many you answer correctly. In the LR example above, suppose you never get to question 22. If not getting there lets you do the remaining questions and get them right, it’s worth it. For some test takers, it’s best to shoot for three games, or three Reading Comp passages. The question is whether the accuracy you gain from having more time on the three you attempt offsets the loss from the one you don’t.
Keep in mind that you should guess randomly on anything you don’t get to — make sure to mark those random guesses before time runs out. You’ll get a one in five chance of getting any given question right, so on average you’ll get a question or so right on a game or passage. That may not be that much worse than you’d do on that hard game if you approached it super-rushed.
Good luck! You need to work hard now, but the finish line is in sight. Use these next few days to figure out your approach to the full test so that it feels automatic on test day.