The December LSAT is two weeks away and whether you end up crushing it or getting crushed will depend largely on how you use these next 14 days. With just two weeks left, it’s essential that you get the most out of your studying. So it’s time to hunker down for some serious LSAT study time. Better stock up on Red Bulls and Easy Mac; your weekend plans just got canceled.
That said, getting the most out of your studying is not the same as trying to do the most studying. Locking yourself in a room to take three practice exams back-to-back-to-back may maximize your study time for the day, but it’s pure crazy and will likely do more to hurt your score than help it.
From now on all of your studying should be divided into one of two distinct groups – performance practice and skill practice. Performance practice is where you test your skills under realistic constraints; it’s where you practice timing, build stamina and develop your testing strategy. It includes more than just taking practice exams; it also includes taking individual timed sections and even smaller timed groups of questions, games or passages. A four-hour mental duel with the logic of the LSAT should be a draining experience, so taking more than 2 PEs (max 3) a week is a recipe for LSAT burnout. Make sure you space your PEs out and fully recover from each. Focus more on taking individual timed sections; you’ll stay fresher, be able to review immediately after while the questions are still fresh in your mind, and still get lots of practice with timing.
Skill practice is where you ignore timing and develop your logical skill set. It includes reviewing methods and concepts from the lessons, practicing methods on questions, and anticipating answers. Focus on your weaknesses – do you still have trouble with parallel questions? Go back to lesson 7. The most important concepts to review generally are: Conditional Diagrams (L1 and L2), Common Flaws (L6), Grouping Rules (L7), Cause and Effect (L10), and Sufficient/Necessary Assumptions (L12). Let your timed practice inform your skill practice. Review your PEs and timed sections and identify your weaknesses, then address them with appropriate skill practice.
Which type of practice you should focus on more depends on where you’re at now. If you’re at or are near to your goal score, focus more on timed practice, and strive for consistency. The quality of your practice is more important than the quantity. Strive to never get a problem wrong for careless reasons, so if you just got off work and you’re bleary-eyed and loopy, do yourself a favor and take a break before jumping into that timed RC section. And for those of you further from your goal scores than you’d like, consider starting with a 50/50 split between performance and skill practice and then tailor your split to focus more on whichever you feel is more problematic for you.
In either case, make sure you put in the time to properly review everything you do. Find out what questions you get wrong, and more importantly, why you get them wrong, then go practice whatever skill is lacking.