Studying for the LSAT and Your Finals … at the Same Time

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Trust us, you can do both

The June LSAT is on its way. If you’re a student, so are finals. The best part of college. The memories you’ll revisit with your friends for years and years. If you’re on the semester system you’ll probably have finals well out of the way before the LSAT. If you’re on the quarter system, finals will likely be there to distract you in the final weeks leading up to the LSAT. Either way, you’ll have to balance studying for finals with studying for the LSAT.

You can do both.

The key is to spread the studying out. If you have a while before finals, start reviewing what you need to do now. Of course, you’re not going to do everything you intend to do before crunch time hits. You’re still going to have to study more in the week leading up to finals. But if you can get some kind of head start, then maybe those cram sessions won’t be quite as long. That leaves more time for the LSAT.

The same goes for the LSAT. Recognize that you’re not going to have as much time for the LSAT during finals. If your finals are in late May or early June, you won’t have much time after finals for the LSAT either. So it falls to you to get a bunch of work done before finals start. If you’re behind, catch up soon. Put some extra work in mastering all the concepts so that when finals roll around, you’ll be working on putting it all together, not scrambling to learn how to do things.

Now, what should you do during finals? The LSAT tests skills, not knowledge. You really can’t cram for it. If you ignore the LSAT for a couple of weeks and then try to catch up after, that really won’t work. So, during finals, it’s okay that you’ll have less time to spend on the LSAT. But try to spend a little time (almost) every day on the LSAT. Think of it as a break. Maybe not the kind of break you really think you need, but hey, at least it’s not organic chemistry.

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. Instead, every night before bed, take a piece of paper or a blank Word doc and bullet out your timeline for the following day.

If you’re a procrastinator, this next tip is for you. 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. However, it’s important to use procrastination as a 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 (one episode could suddenly become a series-long Netflix marathon).

One final point, one I hate to acknowledge as an LSAT instructor: you can retake the LSAT, but you can’t redo your GPA. With the right planning, you won’t have to sacrifice either. But if finals roll around and one or the other is going to get screwed, don’t abandon your school obligations to study for the LSAT. The LSAT will be offered again in July and in September, and your highest score is the one that counts the most. In school, even if you retake the very same class, both grades will count for law school.

An earlier version of this article was published 4/23/18.

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