Because the LSAT is a timed, 4-hour test, it’s widely believed that the best way to study for the LSAT must be to take as many full, timed LSAT practice exams as possible. However, that’s like saying the best way to train for a marathon is to run a bunch of marathons.
LSAT practice tests are important, but you can overdo it. Taking LSAT practice test after LSAT practice test in the hopes that your LSAT score will go up through brute force is a futile endeavor. Here’s how to escape the futility:
First of all, save timed LSAT practice exams until later in the process. They’re much more useful and informative once you’ve studied everything that’s going to be on them. You can and should take a few full LSAT practice tests earlier in the process, but they should be relatively infrequent while you work on learning and mastering all the questions the LSAT will throw at you.
Once you’ve practiced a bit of everything, then it’s time to take LSAT practice tests more often. But it’s not the LSAT practice test; it’s what you do after you take it. If you’re unhappy with your LSAT score and you jump right into another LSAT practice exam in the hopes that your LSAT score will magically improve from sheer force of will, you’re cheating yourself.
Here’s the rule: no taking the next LSAT practice test until you’ve thoroughly reviewed the last one. “Thoroughly reviewed” means that you could explain any of the questions you missed to someone else. If there are any big areas of weakness, review your approach to those kinds of questions. Do a little extra practice before your next timed LSAT practice exam.
If you’re retaking the LSAT, you can take more timed LSAT practice tests earlier on. But it depends on where you were before your last real LSAT. If you were scoring what you wanted to score on practice tests, but you had a bad day on the real LSAT, then it’s OK for your studying to consist primarily of taking, and always reviewing, LSAT practice exams. On the other hand, if you went into the last LSAT a bit short of your target LSAT score, you, too, should put some practice time in on those weak areas before you take the next timed LSAT practice test.
Around a couple weeks before the LSAT, it’s OK if you’re up to two or three LSAT practice tests a week. Any more than that and you risk burning out and not learning everything you can from each test. And if you ever start to feel like you just can’t take it anymore, give yourself a little break. The LSAT will forgive you, and may even give you a few extra points when you come back.
Remember: Before you do, review. Live by that motto and things will be OK.