It’s the final countdown (until the September LSAT). With just one month of study time remaining as of today, now is a great time for students to take stock of their progress and evaluate the best ways to proceed with their studies.
Where You Should Be
When I took the LSAT, I carefully kept up with my Blueprint course and saw some improvements fairly early on, but I was never sure if I was improving quickly enough. In retrospect, here’s what I would’ve told myself one month out from the exam to calm my nerves:
First off, don’t worry too much about performances on practice tests. You should see your biggest improvements in the final two weeks before the exam. If you’re not where you want to be at this juncture, you can use that as motivation to study harder, but don’t let yourself panic.
Second, don’t stress about speed yet. While most of the new material has been—or will soon be—presented, it’s important to drill home the principles before you try to reduce your time.
Finally, don’t get complacent. If, at this point, you’ve practiced thoroughly and feel very comfortable with the methods presented in the first five to seven weeks of your course, you are in an excellent position. However, unless you’re getting every question right, there’s still room for improvement. Now’s not the time to let up on your studying.
How You Should Proceed
Professional athletes will often go back and watch game film from previous matchups to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, LSAT students should use their performance on diagnostic tests and homework as “game film” to evaluate their own mistakes.
If you’re a Blueprint student, your MyBlueprint account provides a detailed breakdown of your performance on each individual question type. If you’re not a Blueprint student, I recommend going through your old homework and practice tests to get a sense of the areas that are giving you trouble. While you may already have some idea, detailed analysis can help you narrow your focus – e.g. “one-to-one grouping games” instead of “logic games.”
Once you identify these areas, make sure you review the methods used to answer those questions, and not just the specific questions themselves. Work backwards to figure out which step in the process led you astray, and move on to a new question only once you can confidently identify the logic behind the question piece-by-piece.
After you feel like you’ve accurately identified and thoroughly addressed your mistakes, you should start taking timed practice tests and practice sections, so that you can start getting up to speed and refining your skills in a timed environment.
I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but the crux of my advice is the importance of gaining a conceptual and practical grasp of LSAT methods before launching into your last month of study; you need to reinforce or rebuild a strong foundation for dealing with troublesome questions before you start picking up the pace and taking whole practice tests. Assuming your methods are sound (and I feel very comfortable in standing by the soundness of Blueprint’s methods from a personal perspective), this will give you a great leg up on achieving your target score.