Planning on applying to law school this fall?

Last week, I posted the absolute first step you should take if you want to be prepared to apply this fall.

This week, you'll take step #2: Register for the LSAT. Test dates and registration instructions are here. If you're taking the June LSAT next week, hats off to you, that's great. If you're not taking the June test, your next opportunity will be in October. You should take it no later than October if you want to apply this fall (and be at your most competitive). If you find you're not happy with your October score, you can retake it in December, althought that's not ideal in terms of the timeline.

So do everything you can now to get yourself into tip-top shape for the October LSAT, and let's hope that you never, ever have to take it again. Unless, like some LSAT instructors we know and love, you actually enjoy it, in which case... goodness, I don't know what to say to that!

Speaking of LSAT instructors, go find one. A great one. (I guess that counts as step #2 1/2.) Sign up for a class geared towards the October test. You might be one of those few people who are naturally gifted at standardized tests, but be forewarned that the LSAT is hard, and it's very different from other standardized tests. It catches a lot of smart people off guard, so approach it with a big dose of humility. Go take a full-length practice test under timed conditions — no cheating! — and see how you do. (In another post, I'll show you how to evaluate your score.)

The good news, as I wrote about a few weeks ago, is that studying for the LSAT can make you smarter. Yes, the LSAT is a hoop you have to jump through, but it also makes your brain stronger. What a nice upside.

Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. Read more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, recently updated and available as an e-book. Follow Anna on Twitter (@annaivey), or come introduce yourself and join the conversation on Facebook.