The February LSAT just happened, and you’re already thinking of June. Maybe you took the LSAT and you just know it didn’t go well. Or maybe you decided you weren’t ready to have an LSAT score, so you pulled out at the last minute. Either way, you want to make sure things go better in June. There’s plenty of time between now and then; in fact it’s a dangerous amount of time. If you put off thinking about the June LSAT, it’ll sneak up on you.
It’s therefore important that you plan out how you’ll study for your retake. Plan out a rough schedule; you can always adjust it later.
Start with a break. Get the LSAT off your mind. You’ve been studying hard, and now you need to just back off and let what you’ve done sink in. You won’t forget what you’ve learned. I promise. The studying you do later will go much better if you start fresh.
It’s important, however, that your break have a defined end point. Don’t just imagine that you’ll study some time in the vague future. Set a date to resume your studies, and stick to it. If you still have a lot of work to do to be ready for the LSAT, give yourself a couple weeks, give or take. Start relatively soon so you keep your skills sharp.
If you think there’s a good chance the February LSAT went better than you fear, then it’s okay to wait until scores come out. That still leaves you more than three months until the June LSAT. Keep in mind that the February LSAT is undisclosed, so you won’t get any illuminating details about how you did, section by section. You’ll just get a score. That’s it.
Begin your studies with a thorough review of everything. You don’t need to start with a full test, because you already know where you’re scoring. So take the time pressure off. Go through all the concepts and skills you need, slowly. Practice doing questions sorted by type. Try to understand each question completely. Go for complete mastery of your approach to every kind of question on the LSAT.
Then, once you’re through with that, transition into timed sections and tests. In the last month or so you should be doing a couple tests a week. When to make that transition depends on where you are now. If you were scoring near your target before February, that means you need to spend less time on concepts and more on timed practice. Maybe spend a couple weeks reviewing, and then get into the timed stuff.
On the other hand, if you weren’t ready for the LSAT at all, then you really need to spend some time brushing up on the details. Aim to transition into timed practice sometime mid-April.
Throughout all of this, reviewing your work is just as important as doing it. You won’t see your score improve from doing section after section if you don’t take lots of time to go through those sections and try to understand the questions you got wrong. For example, if a game took you a long time, can you come up with a more efficient approach? If you fell for a sucker choice on a logical reasoning question, why is it tempting, why is it nonetheless wrong, and how might you have seen it coming? Even if you got a question right, but weren’t sure of the answer, it’s worth revisiting it.
You may be concerned about having enough “fresh” questions to use as you study for a retake. There’s nothing wrong with redoing questions. In fact, it can be great. Even if you kind of remember them, you’ll learn a lot as long as you have to think through them again. But take stock of the full practice tests you haven’t done yet. Space these out over the last couple months, since these will give you the most accurate indication of where you stand.
Stay positive through it all. I’ve seen students who didn’t get near their target scores the first time they studied have great success a few months later. Good luck, and please ask away in the comments if you have any questions about studying for a retake.