How long should I study for the LSAT?
This isn’t the kind of test where you can be walking through campus one day and see a sign on a building saying, “LSAT. TODAY AT NOON” and then say, “why not?” and take it. For one thing, LSAC doesn’t let you do this (you have to register in advance) and second, you would get an absolutely horrible score way below what you are capable of. Everyone needs some study to do well on the LSAT, but how much is optimum?
There is probably not a perfect answer for everyone as to how long you should study for the LSAT. Some of it is going to depend on individual circumstances such as how much you have to work at a paying job or how well you able you are to focus on problems for hours at a time. However, what we do know is that there is an ideal amount of study: Almost without exception, every LSAT prep student should read prep books AND do every published LSAT question. Instead of reading prep books on your own, you may wish to take a course which will provide you study materials and instruction, but you still want to do every published LSAT problem you can get your hands on.
To master the LSAT, you have to learn how to do stuff that isn’t easy for your brain. The goal is to learn techniques that help you do these problems quickly and accurately. If that got you all the way there, this would be easy. However, you have to go beyond that. To master the LSAT, you have to practice these techniques until they become automatic. It takes time to do this.
How long does it take learn the techniques you need and to do all these problems until the techniques become habit? You could obviously drag it out forever, but doing it slowly over a long period of time is not the best approach. The major prep companies and I agree on this: more concentrated prep is better than very long drawn out prep. 3 months is about the optimal amount of time to study for the LSAT.
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I did a 12-week schedule nearly identical to this while I was working a full time job, but it was a relaxing job and seldom required OT. Also, I could study occasionally on the night shifts. If you work an intense full time job, you might have to extend your study schedule to four or even five months to comfortably do the required work.
Now as to the minimum length of time you could ever get away with prepping, I think someone with no job and nothing to do besides study could conceivably get through all this in eight weeks or so. However, don’t try this unless you have a stellar attention span- a good three month schedule is intense enough as it is. My strong recommendation is that if you are going to take the LSAT, wait until you can devote 3 months to prep. I just don’t think the brain can make all the connections it needs to make with anything shorter than an 8 week schedule.
We are here to help if you have questions about the proper length and intensity of prep. Ask in the comments section!