The DOs and DON’Ts of Taking a Practice Exam

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As the June LSAT approaches, you should be shifting gears toward taking more frequent practice tests. However, just taking practice tests is not sufficient for improving your LSAT score (see what we did there??). Here are some quick tips to make sure you’re making the most of your practice tests.

DO take the test in a quiet place

You’ll need to focus, so take the test in a relatively quiet area — that means that the living room where your roommates are watching The Bachelorette is not a great spot. (However, having a small amount of ambient noise isn’t a bad idea, since your test center certainly will not be dead silent when you take the real test.)

DON’T cheat yourself on timing

It’s frustrating when you know you’re about to wrap up a game, and suddenly time’s up — but them’s the breaks, and it’ll be that way on test day too. So, when you’re taking practice tests, resist the urge to be loosey-goosey with the timing, and stick strictly to 35 minutes for each section.

DO review the test thoroughly

Practice tests are a good barometer for progress, but you’re not going to actually learn anything from a practice test unless you take the time to review it thoroughly afterwards. You should go back and re-do any questions you got wrong or guessed on, and then make sure you understand exactly why the wrong answers were wrong and why the right answer was right. If you finished a logic game but missed some deductions, you should figure out how you ought to have found those deductions. Otherwise, you’ll keep making the same mistakes in future practice tests.

DON’T take too many tests in a row

Practice LSATs are mentally draining, to the point that if you take a practice test on consecutive days, your score will very likely be lower on the second day. Occasionally taking a test on two days in a row can be a useful way to build up your mental endurance, but otherwise, make sure to space out your practice tests by at least one day — you’ll need that day to review the test anyway.

DO try to take a test in your testing center, if possible

Test day nerves affect the best of us. One way to get ahead of ’em is to take a practice test in the same location where you’ll be taking the real deal — it helps the actual test feel that much more familiar. So, give your testing center a call to see if you can get in a room for a few hours — it could give you a big leg up, mentally.

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