LSAT study schedule: for those who work/attend school
Find work/life/school/LSAT harmony with a good LSAT study schedule
Sometimes it feels like walking a tight rope when you have an incredibly busy schedule, whether it’s from work or school or if it’s that you just still like to have fun (all that partying). Add to that, studying for the LSAT and it will quickly become an almost overwhelming task to keep your life manageable.
It’s important to start early on your LSAT study schedule; as you already know, time won’t be on your side. Is it Murphy’s Law that states: what can go wrong will go wrong? In trying to find the balance between work, school, your social life and the required LSAT preparation there will be many times where procrastination, worry or just normal daily occurrences will keep you from reaching goals.
If you’re reading this you are already likely to understand the difficulty of the LSAT test; certainly if it’s been your dream to go to law school or eventually become an attorney, you understand the importance of the LSAT. It’s important to have a good LSAT study schedule to ensure you stay on task. Time management will also be important; you’ll need to be sure not to allow procrastination or less important things like checking your e-mail or Facebooking to get in the way of your designated study time.
How many hours are required in my LSAT study schedule?
Your LSAT study schedule doesn’t have to be rigorous, rote and ritual, but it does have to be consistent. Ideally you’ll start with a bunch of extra time in order to get the necessary study time and by that, it’s meant to say you’ll have months and months to prepare, rather than weeks. Again, ideally you’d like 3 to 5 months or so to make sure you’ve got enough time to get the “required” hours in.
“Required” hours, means something more like: how many hours it would take a good student on average to obtain their desired LSAT score. Generally speaking, many would agree that a minimum of 300 hours, up to several hundred hours (4,5 or 600 hours) will put you in the best position to grab a great score. That sounds daunting, but the LSAT is a major factor in the admissions process, and it won’t seem all that bad once you’ve grabbed that endorsement and gained admission to the perfect law school for you.
Of course the more you have crammed in your schedule already (you little overachiever!), The more months you’ll need to tack on to ensure you get comprehensive enough LSAT prep in your LSAT study schedule. That could mean one of two things: it could mean you’re adding more hours overall, which probably never hurts, as long as you stay focused and break up your LSAT study schedule into appropriate segments. Secondly, it could mean that you’re just studying for less hours per day and more days per week/month.
Spread that LSAT study schedule out!
Spreading out the study will not necessarily hinder you, as long as occasionally you throw in large chunks of study time into your LSAT study schedule, so you can take advantage of learning techniques. This is important so you don’t have to focus on learning something new each time you study. You wouldn’t want to cram all that study time into one or two big sessions anyway, because the whole premise of the LSAT prep is learning theory, process and ideologies so that you can think on a more logical path. You’ll want to focus initially on understanding the methods and means to beat the LSAT and then incorporate a consistent LSAT study schedule into your daily life which hammers home those ideologies and methods. For this, a longer time horizon (say five months) might actually serve you better than two or three major study sessions, even if those study sessions are with highly competent tutors, or “alleged” world beating test prep companies.
The obvious goal is gaining understanding. If you don’t understand the LSAT, it is recommended that you work with a tutor to understand the methods and the style of the LSAT, after which, self-study will be much easier to accomplish and leaps and bounds more effective.
Make an LSAT Study Schedule
Below are some ideas on how to form an LSAT study schedule:
LSAT study schedule for full-time work/school:
If you’re working full-time or your student full-time, you might consider 15 hours a week over the course of five months.
During a typical week you might pick four days to study 2.5 hours a day while taking off two days, and studying for five hours in a block on one of the weekend days. That might mean studying two and a half hours a day Monday through Thursday; five hours on Sunday, and days off on Friday and Saturday to keep up your social life and ensure you don’t flunk out of undergrad. Mix it up a little; study five hours on Saturday, while taking off Friday and studying Sunday through Wednesday (while taking off Thursday) for 2.5 hours.
LSAT study schedule for a part time work/school:
If you have part-time schedule availability you might be able to cut down the number of months you need to study to, say four months; you might consider doing 20 hours a week in your LSAT study schedule over the course of that four months.
During a typical week you might study with the same schedule as above (Friday and Saturday off but up the hours to 3 to 4 hours a day for four days a week), you’ll still be able to take off two days a week for social activities and keeping your other studies in check, but you’ll significantly improve your chances of scoring a high score on the LSAT. You’ll still want to do at least one block a week of at least 4 1/2 to 5 hours, and you should probably focus on reiterating ideology and method during this five-hour block, as well as performing practice tests to ensure that you’re on the right track.
Keeping your LSAT study schedule in check
You might use the following ideas to keep your LSAT study schedule in check:
- always study for a least one half-hour at a time
- occasionally break up your LSAT study schedule so that you’re not growing tired of the ritual of it
- carry a separate book bag or have access to study materials everywhere you plan to be for large blocks of time
- remember how important the LSAT is to getting into the law school of your dreams, and plan accordingly
- try to get a half-hour in on your lunch breaks or while you’re waiting for your next class
Obviously it will be important to keep your LSAT study schedule from taking over your life. If you can’t stay focused or if the thrill of the chase of the elusive 180 score (or thereabouts) becomes boring or annoying, it’s a lot more difficult to rationalize the time spent. Furthermore you want to look at innovative and unique ways to study for the LSAT and include those cool games and other styles you weren’t initially familiar with, into your LSAT study schedule to keep it from killing your desire for more (and more intense) schooling.
Don’t forget: it’s okay to miss a scheduled study session, but do remember: nothing good ever came from cutting back the total hours of study too significantly, just because you’re still partying too hard on Friday nights. If you’ve got a buddy studying for the LSAT too, that might be just the encouragement you need to continue to study on the weekends and in between classes. Remember too, that over such a long period of time (if you’ve chosen to go the four or five month route) time adds up both on the positive side and on the negative: the more times you allow yourself to miss a scheduled study session the more it will hurt you. Conversely the more often you cram in a 30 min. session of study, the better off you’ll be even if the results aren’t obvious during your study time.
Some Notes for your new LSAT study schedule:
Try to get yourself on a schedule so that you’re not sleeping till noon even if your classes don’t start till 1pm; and so that you’re up early on the weekends to take full advantage of the block of time when you wouldn’t ordinarily be doing something anyway.
*A little note: when we refer to the term of “block” it doesn’t mean you have to study for five hours straight; though the advice would be to not study something else intensely in that five-hour period of time. Messing around on Facebook or having coffee with a friend is a much more advisable break that moving on to your philosophy homework. You’ll want to stay in the mode and stay focused on the method that you’re practicing during each “block” session in order to take the most out of it.
*Another little note: if you like to drink, whether it be coffee, red bull, cocktails (assuming you’re of legal drinking age), or whatever, make sure you stay hydrated with water because nothing’s worse than studying when you’re cramped up, jittery, dry mouthed or feeling the effects of a hangover. Furthermore maybe it’s time to tone down on the partying altogether (I know, I’m not your mom), as it’s a little less tolerated in law school (although the folks at LSU, Tulane or Miami or other law schools might beg to differ).
Get some exercise in to, to keep your stress load to a minimum and blow off that extra steam.
It’s important to have a set goal and track your hours each week or each month to make sure that you’re still meeting that goal or that your goal still makes sense. There will be some leeway; only you can judge what’s most important to you. You should take it seriously though, as the LSAT is by and large the most important factor in obtaining admission to the school you desire. You may even consider taking fewer classes during the 4 to 5 month period of time you might be studying for the LSAT test. Your LSAT study schedule will be very important in determining your capabilities as a test-taker, especially if you incorporate many different styles of study and LSAT test attack methods into your normal routine.
Important points for an LSAT study Schedule
Remember when devising an LSAT study schedule, or when adhering to an LSAT study schedule it’s very important to do the following if possible:
- give yourself a longer time horizon than you normally would have
- try to separate blocks of time from your schedule in at least half-hour increments
- try to devote at least one five-hour block a week for studying
- spread out your time between books and practice tests
- try to take time off so that it doesn’t become too monotonous or too difficult to keep up with other parts of your life
- do what you can to minimize your extracurricular activities as well as school and work obligations over that time period you choose for implementing your LSAT study schedule