The New Year is upon us, and, while you should definitely party your brains out tonight (then recover your brains out tomorrow), now is a good time to think about studying for the February LSAT. In addition to resolving to lose weight, finish that novel, hike Everest, and prepare for the zombie apocalypse, here are five resolutions you must make to get a great score on February 7th.
1. Do away with distractions and unnecessary responsibilities.
Everyone wants a slice of your precious time and none of them understand what it’s like to study for the LSAT. Mom wants your help making pot roast and your friend has a place in Cabo this weekend and that damn novel certainly isn’t going to write itself (dammit!). Well, too bad. Until February 8th you must be an LSAT machine, because studying for the test takes every bit of effort you can muster. If they don’t understand, take a minute to explain. If they still don’t understand, block their calls/texts. It’s better to ask forgiveness than to seek permission.
2. Develop a study plan and stick to it.
It’s great to tell yourself you’re going to study twenty hours a week… until you find yourself with twenty hours left in the week and zero studying done. You can’t just drink four Five Hour Energy drinks and expect to make up those twenty hours all at once. (For all you humanities majors who were lost there, 4 x 5 = 20. You’re welcome!) Instead, craft a detailed study plan around your schedule and write it down, put it in your phone, etc. If it’s 7 pm and that schedule says 7-9 is study time, you have no excuse. (Diagram that.)
3. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
Okay, okay, before you start accusing the Blueprint team of being touchy-feely wieners, hear me out. Some time spent beating yourself up over the rapidly approaching test is normal and even beneficial. That said, stress and burnout are enemies you must tame before test day. A calm and positive mind is better able to finish four reading comprehension passages and twenty-seven questions in thirty-five minutes than a stressed and pessimistic mind. Everyone deals with stress in their own particular way, and, if you don’t know what works for you, then experiment. Here’s non-exhaustive list of stress management tools: exercise, meditation, talking to a trusted friend or family member, visualizing success, taking a day off (just one!) when feeling burned out, taking a day trip to study in a calming or interesting location.
4. Keep reviewing the concepts you feel secure with while learning new ones.
If, for example, you are a diagramming machine right now, you might feel like you don’t need practice with that particular skill anymore. That would be a mistake. The ninja who doesn’t practice with his sword for a few months ends up severing his own limbs when battle begins (at least, according to last night’s fortune cookie). Spending a few minutes regularly practicing your strongest sections will ensure that you rock the associated questions on test day, which will, in turn, free up time for you to focus on the more difficult problems.
5. Diagnose your performance and weaknesses in practice exams.
In the last few weeks before the test, you should take a full practice exam about every other day, and it’s important to think critically about how you did as you review questions. There are timing and test taking strategies that work for some and not for others, and you must adopt those that work for you and discard those that don’t. There’s not space here to list the strategies and tactics you might want to try out, but here’s an example: Are you struggling to finish all four games and tanking all four because you’re rushing? If so, it might be better for you to address three games and guess on the fourth. Try it out, and if you see your score jump, keep with it. If your score drops, that sucks, but the only score that matters is the one on test day.
Well, hope that helps. Have fun on New Year’s Eve, because the coming year has another 365 days of LSAT laughs!