Let’s say you have some plans to take the LSAT this year. Perhaps they’re not, technically speaking, plans, more a nebulous and ill-defined notion that you should take the LSAT this year. You missed the January exam already, and the March exam is, frankly, coming way too fast to get adequately prepared. You’re considering taking the June 3rd exam, but that’s close to finals and a million other obligations, so you’re not sure that’s the best time to take the test.
If this sounds like you, here’s the reality you’re facing: You’re probably going to have to take the July exam, if not a later one. And here’s something you maybe haven’t incorporated into your “plans”: the LSAT is going digital in July. Instead of the traditional paper-and-pencil-and-answer-sheet-and-bubbling-lettered-answer-choices exam that the LSAT has used for years, the test will join pretty much every other major grad school entrance and go digital. Instead of reading all the questions in a test booklet and bubbling your answers in a Scantron, you’ll do the entire exam on a tablet with proprietary digital software.
If you take the test in July, you have a 50-50 shot of getting the digital exam. If you take the test on a later date — like September 21st, October 28th, or November 25th — you have a 100% shot of getting the digital LSAT. And this means that the study materials you thought you’d use — which are probably based on the current paper-and-pencil exam — may not be the best prep for the digital test you’ll face.
But this isn’t a reason to fret or panic or decide to jettison your law school ambitions and not to take the LSAT. With a good plan in place, you can get prepared and comfortable with taking the digital LSAT, even if you’re one of the intrepid souls who take the first digital LSAT in July. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Do Your LSAT Studying Online
This seems a little obvious writing it out, but — no duh — the LSAT questions you practice should look like the LSAT questions you’ll see on test date. The LSAT is a hard enough exam that you want to avoid adjusting to a completely foreign format on test day. So, the questions and practice exams you use should look like test you’re about to take.
Which means your plan to just borrow your friend’s old LSAT prep books and download some old practice exams isn’t the best move for the digital LSAT. Instead, look into courses that actually allow you to do real LSAT through a digital platform. Here are a few good ones. (full disclosure: those are ours). Whichever Blueprint LSAT course you use, you’ll be able to do every single published LSAT question, game, or passage through an online interface that mirrors the format the digital LSAT will use. You’ll even be able to take full exams online to take a few trial runs before the big test day.
2. Check Out LSAC’s Digital Prep Tools
The Law School Admissions Council — which administers the LSAT — has provided, in its beneficence, a few tools to allow you to familiarize yourself with the digital LSAT. We have the full rundown of these tools here. While you can’t take a full exam using the digital format, you can at least do a full section of Logical Reasoning questions, Reading Comprehension passages, or Logic Games. There’s also a tutorial you can watch that will tell you all about the features of the digital interface. These limited tools won’t be enough to help you get prepared for the LSAT on their own, but they’re a valuable resource you should check out, especially as your test date nears.
3. Get a Tablet
If you have $500 or so burning a hole in your pocket and you want to get really prepared for this exam, consider grabbing a Microsoft Surface Go tablet. Those are the tablets the digital LSAT will be administered on, so getting one before the test will allow you to be acquainted with the hardware you’ll be using on test day. It’s a hefty price, but maybe they’ll come in handy in law school or something too. Don’t forget adding the stylus, because you’ll have one for the digital LSAT as well.