The June LSAT is a beautiful thing. The afternoon start time means you get to sleep in. The early administration means you’ll have your LSAT score before the application cycle even begins. But for all its virtues, the June LSAT has one nasty secret: if you’re a college student, those last four crucial weeks of studying are going to overlap with your final exams. Yikes.
Thankfully, juggling LSAT prep with your finals is possible. As someone who took the June LSAT as a college student and survived, I thought I’d take a moment to give my two cents about what I learned from the experience. If you do it right, juggling final exams with your LSAT prep won’t feel like “juggling” at all.
Balancing finals with the LSAT means you have a good amount of work to do in a limited amount of time. In such situations, the best thing you can do is plan out each day. If you’re not the type of person who has their iPhone calendar already set up and color-coded, fear not—neither was I. But every night before I went to bed, I took a piece of paper or a blank Word doc and bulleted out my timeline for the following day. This allowed me to stay on task as I was trying to keep up with my papers, exams and LSAT prep simultaneously.
If there’s one thing I wish I had done differently, however, it would have been giving myself more time than I thought I needed for each task. I budgeted time for papers and exams, for LSAT, for eating, for sleep, even for exercise, but I didn’t plan for the inevitable interruptions and lapses in focus that are a part of daily life. You can plan your day perfectly, but the reality is that life never goes perfectly according to plan. So if you think dinner will take half an hour, give yourself an hour. If you plan to spend three hours working on a paper, give yourself four. This way, you’ll never feel overwhelmed or behind schedule when your day takes a sudden left turn. And if you do finish everything ahead of time, you can enjoy some well-deserved relaxation at the end of the day.
Any discussion of final exams and LSAT prep would be incomplete without a word about procrastination. We all do it, but with the amount of work you’ll be juggling with finals and LSAT studying, you may be worried about keeping it under control. The key is to understand that procrastination, if done right, has a beneficial purpose. It allows us to step back and take a break from a problem we’re trying to solve. I think this is important, especially with papers, since often times the biggest creative breakthroughs happen when we’re in a relaxed frame of mind and have stepped far enough away from the problem to view it holistically. However, it’s important to use procrastination as this kind of tool, and not in a way that is going to hurt you. That means sticking to brief distractions, and avoiding activities that could become addictive time sinks (one episode of Archer or Scandal on could suddenly become a season-long Netflix marathon).
When I was in college, my roommates and I often procrastinated with this old browser game called TextTwist, which I think was the perfect procrastination tool for a couple of reasons. First, I’m a big fan of puzzle games (if I were procrastinating today, it would probably be with 2048). Second, TextTwist is a short, simple game, and the iterative nature of it meant that it wouldn’t become a time sink—I would usually play it a handful of times then become bored of it. The bottom line for procrastination is to find something that is a fun distraction, but not so fun that it will suck you in for hours.
Honestly though, if I could go back and do it all over again, I might have tried procrastinating with the LSAT. Wait, wait, hear me out. How ridiculous is it that we seek out LSAT Logic Games like 2048 to distract us, when we could be distracting ourselves with, well, LSAT Logic Games? Logic Games might not sound like your idea of fun, but that’s probably because when you typically do them, you’re worried about getting all the questions right in nine minutes. So consider this a challenge: next time you feel like procrastinating, open up an LSAT Logic Game. Don’t worry about timing, don’t worry about getting the setup perfect, don’t worry about getting all the questions right. Just go ahead and lollygag with the game—spend upwards of 20 minutes if you want, thinking about the rules and deductions. If you make your LSAT studying a respite from your other studying, chances are you will do much more of it.