Early LSAT Check-In: What Is and Isn’t Important after the First Few Lessons

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Blueprint classes for the June LSAT are underway—most students are a few lessons in at this point. If you’re studying for the June LSAT, let’s talk about what should and shouldn’t be important at this point.

As of now, what’s important is really getting the concepts down. Conditional logic? Study those sufficient and necessary condition indicators until you’re automatic. Like a machine. Quantifiers, too—get those down pat. The same goes for the standard rules in ordering game. Know your blocks from your dashes, your options from your arches.

You should also focus on understanding and following the approaches for the kinds of questions you’ve covered so far. What are you looking for in the stimulus of a Soft Must be True question, for example? What should you expect out of the answer? In the world of logic games, what should you be doing to set up a game? How should you approach the different kinds of questions? And for reading comp, focus on extracting the points of view from a passage: who’s arguing what, and how is it backed up? Where does the author stand?

The emphasis should be on doing things carefully and according to the steps you should be following. That means you shouldn’t worry about how long it takes you. I understand why that 35-minute time limit on each section can cause a bit of a freak-out. You may even think, after your first practice test, that timing is your biggest issue.

Even so, take the time pressure off for now. There’s a very good reason for that. By far the best way to get faster at this stuff is to get really good at it first. If you know what you’re reading for, you know what to expect out of the answer, and you know what makes answers right and wrong, you’ll eventually start to go faster without even trying. On the other hand, if you rush yourself now you’ll just get in the way of developing a good approach. And that won’t help you get better or faster.

Along similar lines, hold off on taking any more practice tests for now. You may be tempted to try out everything you’ve learned so far. But while everything you’ve learned is important, it’s only a small part of the LSAT. You’re better off practicing the particular types of questions you’ve learned so far and really mastering them. There’ll be a time to take plenty of extra practice exams. That time is later, once you know how to do most everything you might encounter.

So study hard, but have patience. If you really get those concepts from the first few lessons down, it’ll only help with the lessons to come. Before you know it you’ll have a fairly complete understanding of what’s on the test.

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