Advice for Retaking the LSAT

Today's LSAT advice comes from our friends at Blueprint LSAT Prep. Blueprint offers live LSAT prep classes throughout the country and online LSAT classes for those who want to study from home (and have the willpower to avoid watching TV).

When studying for the LSAT, ideally you want to go in with a study plan, diligently follow it, and then rock the test. But as Miley Cyrus’s hair stylist can attest, things don’t always go as planned.

Sometimes people find themselves in the position of having to retake the LSAT. So what do you do if you’re in this boat?

Well, something needs to change. How much to change depends on what exactly didn’t work last time. In other words, you’ll need to take a long look at how you prepared the first time and figure out what part or parts you need to do differently.

For the majority of people retaking the LSAT, time is the pivotal factor. It’s often the case that people just need more study time to reach their desired score. You may have been improving, but needed additional time to reach your optimal score. Studying for a few more months will of course help with this. But you have to make sure that you budget plenty of time (more time than you allotted the previous time you studied, and more time than you think you really need). There’s no such thing as studying too much for the LSAT; until you’re consistently scoring 180s, your score could always be higher.

An additional factor that often causes people to retake is that the real LSAT seemed much more difficult than the practice tests. If this includes you, I have some news: the test wasn’t actually harder.

It was the setting.

If you only ever took your practice tests in familiar, comfortable surroundings, then when you sat for the real thing it probably seemed terrible. You’re in a new place, surrounded by strangers who are coughing and tapping their pencils and breathing loudly. You have to deal with a proctor calling out time warnings. It can be scarier than babysitting Honey Boo Boo.

So this time around, make your practice tests as similar to the real thing as possible. Do your work in unfamiliar places that have some distractions. University libraries are a good choice. Get a friend to proctor a test for you. If you’re enrolled in an LSAT prep course, make sure that you attend all the proctored tests. The more your practice resembles the real LSAT, the less intimidating test day will be.

If you hit a wall last time around, try mixing up your strategies. Look at what your preparation consisted of last time, and try to mix it up. You might need more structure, so you should consider taking a prep course or getting a tutor. Often, getting an outside perspective can help to remove any roadblocks getting in the way of your improvement.

So make sure you thoroughly investigate what was lacking in your preparation the last time around, and address it. Don’t just dive back in blindly. If you can figure out what you need to fix, and then fix it, you can see big improvements for the next LSAT you take.

For more information on preparing for the LSAT, visit Blueprint’s free help area.