For those of you just getting started on our LSAT Study Schedules, I wanted to talk a little about the direction your early study should take. Right now, it’s going to feel like a ton of concepts are being thrown at you all at once, and I’m hoping I can give you a little clarity.

Habit vs. Skills on The LSAT

So what should you focus on right now? Right now, you should be close to 100% focused on building skills — the technical ability to actually solve the problems. Don’t worry about how fast you are or whether there is a better strategy you could have used or any other top-level stuff like that. Right now it’s time to look at the nitty gritty of skills you need to do the problems. Later, after you got the skills, your focus is going to shift to developing correct habits– the knowledge about when and how to apply your skills.

Now, when we talk about skills, we mean learning how to do things the right way. On a logic game, for example, anyone with enough time can try out all the answer choices one by one, laboriously check how all the rules work on each possibility, and finally get a right answer. Doing pure trial and error like that doesn’t even resemble proper attack. We have to start from the ground up and give you skills that will help you attack these problems much more efficiently.

For games, I’m specifically talking about something called diagramming. Diagramming is a way of visually representing games so it’s much easier to determine where the variables can go. With diagramming, you’ll soon have a consistent way to represent every single game you come across in an effective manner that makes it much easier to handle.

So dig into your materials and start building those skills. Can you diagram the rule “if G is third, the J goes after G” in a useful way that helps you remember it? Probably not yet. It’s time to start adding all these things to your arsenal. Understanding that task should simplify matters and give you some clarity. Believe it or not, it’s not the most monumental task to learn all these skills. Working diligently, it will take about a month to learn 95% of the tools you’ll need to crush the LSAT.

So that this discussion isn’t purely academic, let me show you a quick video that illustrates this skills vs. habits distinction. We’re are taking a look at game 1 in preptest 12 from the 10 Actual Official LSAT Preptests book, so grab that and take a glance at the game’s rules before you watch the video.

Good luck getting started an keep at it. We’ll be providing advice every step of the way!


University of Chicago, J.D., 2012 Ready to Kickstart your LSAT Prep? Join the LSAT Mastermind Study Group

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