The Guide for Studying for the LSAT a Second Time

This is the guide for LSAT retakes. If you’re still wondering if you should retake, have a look at this post and this post from an actual retaker. I’ll assume you’ve got your mind made up to retake the LSAT.

0. Brush up on fundamentals

Before you do anything else, you have to brush up on your fundamental skills. You need to know how to diagram everything under the sun. You need to know how to spot conclusions and premises. You need to have all the common LSAT flaws memorized. You need to know the common wrong answer choices for each question type. You need to know all the Logic Game types and which strategies they invite. You need to know the general approach to each question type. And finally, you need to know how to break down a Reading Comp passage. If you at all had to rush to study for your last LSAT, I’m sure you skipped out on a lot of fundamental skills. This was a big mistake. This time around, you need to have your fundamental LSAT skills down.

1. Find your old study materials

If you weren’t so happy about your last LSAT score, you may have thrown out or otherwise destroyed to your satisfaction your old study materials. I hope not. That stuff is gold. You want to hunt down all your old practice test and questions and then find all the ones you got wrong. Your task is now to go through all those warts on your ego and remove them one by one.

For each question you missed ask yourself: (1) why are the wrong answer choices wrong, (2) why is the right answer choice right, and most importantly (3) how could you have anticipated the right answer choice?

Just a little tip here, if you find yourself thinking this a lot, “Well, B is wrong because the stimulus just didn’t talk about that.” Think some more. That’s usually a copout. Try to figure out which logical reasoning flaw you fell for, or exactly what about the answer choice is out of scope.

2. Make Logic Games are your new obsession

The Logic Games section is predictable — there are only a few game types and rules you have to master — and there’s always a one best method for solving them. For this reason, this is where I see students make the most improvement. Because Logic Games are so predictable, and the methods so mechanical, you can make up for a lot of innate shortcomings (Bad working memory? No problem!) by zealously sticking to the mechanics.

For example, a lot of my students waste a ton of time on a game simply because they forgot about a rule. There’s simple mechanical fix for this. Write your rules out and number them on the left hand side of the page EVERY TIME. Now, train yourself to go down the list of rules whenever you get stuck. Your Logic Games problems have mechanical solutions you could train this dog to do.

Get yourself a giant stack of all sorts of games. Now redo these games until you have the best approach to each game perfectly memorized. You’re not memorizing, A, D, C, D, A . . . , you’re memorizing rules and rule patterns that lead to deductions. Why? Because the Logic Games section is extremely repetitive. So take advantage of it.

This redoing-logic-games approach also help retakers deal with what they often perceive to be a problem: not enough “fresh” LSAT questions. This isn’t a real problem. The rest of the LSAT may not be as repetitive as the Logic Games section, but it’s close enough. Don’t be afraid to redo old questions.

3. Don’t repeat your old LSAT prep mistakes

Sit down and write down all the ways you thought you could have prepped better the last time. Too much time with the bros? Not enough practice exams? Didn’t memorize the logical reasoning flaws? Didn’t go over your mistakes systematically? And so on. Now quit it. Do better this time.

For general timing help, have a search through our other guides. And make sure you do the last month of your prep right.

There isn’t a whole lot that’s different from studying for a retake than for your first go. But now you’re a bit wiser, and more determined—fine, desperate. This time around, try to be the student you’ve always wanted to be.

Mic drop.

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