How early should I start preparing for the LSAT?

I’d recommend starting your LSAT prep about 5-6 months before you plan on taking the exam.

The LSAT is offered every year in February, June, October, and December. (See: When are the 2013 testing dates and registration deadlines).

So, for example, if you plan on taking the June LSAT, then ideally you should start thinking about preparing for the LSAT as early as the preceding December or January.

About 6 months before test day, you should take a timed, practice LSAT preptest in order to get a baseline score that you will spend the next 6 months working your way up from. See How to start preparing for the LSAT for more tips. Also, you will need some Real LSAT preptests, which you can find here, to work on.

If you start 6 months in advance, you don’t need to spend every day on LSAT prep. However, starting this early is an advantage, because even if you only spend a few hours every weekend for the first 3 months, you will have more time to familiarize yourself with the LSAT. A big part of mastering the LSAT is simply becoming familiar and comfortable with the material.

The last 3 months before the LSAT will be the most important. During this period, you should really step up your LSAT prep. Dedicate at least 10-20 hours a week studying and reviewing the best lsat prep books and working through practice test questions.

During the final few weeks before you take the LSAT, you should clear your schedule of everything except for preparing for the LSAT. The month before I took the LSAT, I spent at least 40 hours a week preparing. I was able to increase my score from about a 163 leading into the final month of LSAT preparation to a 177 on exam day by working REALLY hard during those last four weeks. However, I had already increased my score from about a 153 to a 163 during the earlier months of my prep.

If you have 6 months until you want to take the LSAT, then you should start some light preparation today. If you only have 3 months left, don’t despair, there is still plenty of  time if you work hard! If you have less than 3 months, then consider taking the LSAT at a later date, or clear your schedule and work full time on LSAT preparation starting today!