Scores for the June 2016 LSAT were released last week. For those of you who got the score you wanted — or a score that’s good enough — congratulations! It’s off to law school for you. Write your personal statements. Hound your professors for letters of recommendation. Oh, and party it up. Now go away, this blog isn’t for you.
Are they gone? Okay, cool. They’re gone.
Now let’s talk, my friend, the diligent student who so very much wanted to be done with the LSAT forever but fell short, about what happens now. But please, before you read further, go to the couch and put a cushion over your face and scream into it as loud and long and hard as you can. Make sure to remove the cushion before you lose consciousness.
Great, you’re back!
The good news first: The September LSAT will still put you in a position to have your applications completed and on the desks of admissions committee officials when application season opens in October. There’s more. More and more schools are only interested in your highest score, whereas they used to take an average of all your scores. So, you get a do over. Third, and most importantly, there’s still room for plenty of improvement in your score, even if you’ve already seen a large jump since your first practice exam. So here’s what you’ve got to do.
1. Review your past performances, and catalogue your strengths and weaknesses.
This is a painful process, in life as in studying for the LSAT, but it’s absolutely essential to growth. You wanna grow, dontcha shorty?
This means going back through all the exams you’ve taken, including your real test, and determining a numerical percentage of questions you answered right and wrong, both on the basis of question type (Necessary, Must Be True, Flaw, etc.) as well as concept tested (Cause & Effect, Conditional Diagramming, Ordering vs. Grouping, etc.). With those numbers in place, you will see what you need to work aggressively on. That doesn’t mean you just ignore questions that test what you’re good at; you still need to maintain your strengths. It just means that you give extra attention to the areas that you are shaky with.
2. Develop a WRITTEN study schedule.
It’s okay if you do this on your phone. It doesn’t have to be a set-in-stone affair, but this will help you keep on track. Motivation is a factor any time someone studies for the LSAT, but that’s especially true the second time around. Use what you learned by completing step 1 above to inform your schedule-making. For example, if you’re just toast on Grouping games, make that the focus of your studies an hour or so a day.
3. Develop a game day strategy.
What did you learn about yourself and your unique test-taking needs on the June LSAT? Was it a timing issue? Did you get stuck on a particular problem type? Were you not keeping track of time? Do you get fatigued with Reading Comp?
A diagnosis of the things you did less well on test day can help you take preemptive steps to make sure those things don’t happen again.
Again, this is something you should write down, review, and tweak as you move forward with studying. The more you think critically about what you personally need as a test taker, the more prepared you’ll be to slay the beast next time.