If anyone can be described as Type-A, it’s law students and—by extension—pre-law students. Planning ahead is simply second nature to you. This means it’s time for all of you who want to take the LSAT and get a score that will enable you to apply early in the process to start thinking about signing up for an LSAT class. We get a flood of questions from people wondering what they should do before their LSAT class begins. Since we have a fair bit of knowledge in this arena, I’ve put together a list.
What You Should and Should Not Do Before Beginning Your LSAT Class
1. Do go on vacation
You won’t get another break without the LSAT weighing over your head between the time your class begins and your test date, so head out to the Mediterranean/cruise ship/Gas-N-Sip now. Fine-tune your drunken snorkeling skills, watch re-runs of M*A*S*H while eating bean & cheese burritos—whatever you want to accomplish, now is the time to do it.
2. Don’t read your LSAT textbooks
Especially for a Blueprint LSAT class, the first few lessons provide the backbone of the course. This means that if you begin the course without the benefit of your instructor, you’re covering the most important material on your own, and probably not understanding it as well as you could.
This also means that if you begin doing homework before class, you’re taking up real LSAT questions with methods you’ve learned without the benefit of instruction. The possibility of tackling them incorrectly is thus much higher than if you had sat through your lesson. In other words, if you begin working on homework before you begin class or your video lessons, you’re just wasting LSAT questions.
3. Do read scholarly articles
While many students are terrified of logic games coming into LSAT class, we at Blueprint have found that most students find it to be a very learnable section. However, it seems as if the reverse is true for reading comprehension. Students come in thinking they know how to read so it shouldn’t be that hard, but then they don’t internalize a better approach for it and their scores don’t increase.
The first place to start in reading comprehension is to understand dense, academic writing so reading articles from The Economist or New York Times feature articles will provide a good foundation that won’t interfere with your LSAT study. We suggest combining this tip with the first one and reading these articles on a beach in the south of France, if at all possible.
4. Don’t take practice LSATs
It’s important to set a baseline for your score at the beginning of your LSAT study so that you can track your improvement. However, taking additional practice tests before you know all the methods for approaching all the questions isn’t a great idea. You will build stamina for taking the exam, but you’re just reinforcing bad habits for tackling questions you don’t know how to approach correctly. You can always build stamina later when you take tests and know enough methodology to actually use the prep tests to diagnose weaknesses. So wait.
In addition, there are a finite number of released LSAT prep tests. By taking prep tests early in the class, where except for providing a base score they’re not really helping, you’re just wasting them.
So relax and if you want to do anything, some good reading between episodes of that Game of Thrones marathon should do the trick. Now go forth and be fierce.
Article by Jodi Teti of Blueprint LSAT Preparation. An earlier version of this article was published June 18, 2010.