Noodle Pro Lisa Liberati is an LSAT expert. She has been professionally tutoring for 20 years, and has tutored thousands of students in Southern California, around the country, and all over the world. Lisa worked with the best research and development teams and trained to teach exams from middle school through graduate school. She is devoted to mastering what’s on the test, how it is tested, and how best to prepare. Here, Lisa answers 20 of the most common LSAT questions.
1. What is a good score on the LSAT?
If you’re a perfectionist, you might think 180 — the best score available on the 120-180 scale. In reality, however, it’s a little more complicated than “the score that gets you into the school you want to attend.” You want to be within the 25-75% range, but the Applicant Profile Grids on the LSAC website can show you that even a 180 isn’t a silver bullet.
2. How long does it take to prepare for the LSAT?
It depends. The LSAT tests a way of thinking. If you take a practice test, your starting score only tells part of the story. If you only need help with analytical reasoning, that can be a quick fix. If you struggle with reading comprehension, it’s going to take months (and you might want to reconsider spending three years in law school if you struggle with reading).
3. What is the best way to study for the LSAT?
Start with a practice test to identify weaknesses. Accuracy must precede speed. Pattern recognition is key – work slowly enough to gain familiarity.
4. What are some good materials to use for LSAT prep?
I’d recommend using released exams only, the fresher the better. If you’re doing a prep course, make sure they only use actual materials.
5. How do I self-study for the LSAT?
Don’t just do games. Spend time analyzing your progress, not just burning through exams.
6. If I want help with LSAT prep, should I take a course, work with a tutor, or both?
Are you self-motivated? Does a class work with your schedule? Are you starting in the 145-155 range? Are your weaknesses all over the place? If you’re an average student with an open schedule, a course can be a good place to start; you can bring in a tutor nearer the test for fine-tuning. If your needs are at all specialized, it’s probably going to be a better use of your time and resources to work with a tutor.
7. How do I find a great LSAT tutor?
Ask around. Ask people who actually got into law school. Don’t ask them what they scored — ask them how much they improved. Plenty of people who can score 180 have no teaching skills, and no ability to help someone who doesn’t just see it. When you interview LSAT tutors, make sure you get a sense of how they can teach you to take the test, not just how they scored or which law school they attended.
8. How can a tutor help me to prep for the LSAT?
An experienced tutor can speed up the pattern recognition process, and will be able to identify trends on the test. It’s a real advantage to have someone working one-on-one with you, at your pace, in order to learn techniques for the different sections of the test. When you encounter difficulties with a concept, someone with experience will probably have more than one way of explaining it, and isn’t being pressured by other students in the class to move on if it isn’t clicking for you.
9. What’s a realistic LSAT goal to aim for when studying?
1-2 more right answers per practice test, no more than one full practice test per week. If you’re in the middle of the bell curve, it will take time to move the needle on the scaled score. As you approach the upper end, the return on investment accelerates.
10. How do I prep if I have 6-12 months to study for the LSAT?
Start at the beginning. Get your hands on the oldest Prep Tests you can. Reading will be easier. Games will be harder. Take a full test every Saturday or Sunday, and work on individual sections during the week. Don’t do timed sections until you hit tests from the last decade. Focus on accuracy, and spend lots of time reviewing your work.
11. How do I prep if I have 3 months to study for the LSAT?
Go straight to the last 30 available Prep Tests. Spend the majority of your time on your weak areas, but do not neglect your strengths, or they’ll become weaknesses. (See also: friends don’t let friends skip leg day.)
12. How do I prep if I have 1 month to study for the LSAT?
If you need more than 5 points, reconsider your test date. This is a serious test that requires serious preparation. “Winging it” is not an option. You need to make the LSAT your full-time job and get professional help. Generic advice isn’t going to solve your individual challenges.
13. Do you have any advice if I’m trying to get from the 160s to the 170s?
(Don’t do it! Once you score in the 170s, your parents will never forgive you if you don’t go to law school!!) As always, it depends on where and why you’re missing questions. This is when serious professional help is called for. You need a tutor who has scored in the 170s, and has enough experience with high scoring students to sift through all the things you’re doing right and figure out where the gaps are.
14. Do you have any advice for getting the last few points on the LSAT?
Look at why you’re missing the few questions you’re missing. Is it pacing? Not reading the full question because you’re rushing? Getting sucked into time-consuming questions and letting the easy ones get away? Analyze your own progress, and if necessary, bring in outside help. A professional tutor can really help in these situations.
15. Which section should I spend the most time studying for on the LSAT?
Logical reasoning is the section with most questions, but if you have a lot of time, start with your weakest area. If you have very little time, focus on honing your strengths. But work on everything. Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.
16. How can I improve my logical thinking?
Question everything. Everything, especially the beliefs you agree with. If you’re being rigorous about looking for unspoken assumptions and logical flaws, you will be intolerable by test day. Which is good. Friends just get in the way of the time you need to study – not just for the LSAT, but in law school when you get there.
17. What is the best way to increase speed on the LSAT?
Start by focusing on accuracy and pattern recognition. You can’t get faster if you don’t know how to do it right. Next, learn where the quicksand lies, and skip those questions, passages, games on your first pass. Last, start working on your aggressive guessing skills as you fall within a month of test day.
18. How many times should I take the LSAT?
Although there is now no limit to how many times you can take the LSAT, this isn’t the SAT or the ACT. There’s no superscoring in LSAT. Some schools will average your score, and if you have your heart set on that school, there is no way you should test before you’re in their 25-75% range just to be safe.
19. When should I cancel my LSAT score?
Within six calendar days of the exam, duh. But are you asking IF you should cancel your LSAT score? If you’ve been rigorous about taking practice exams under realistic conditions, you have a good sense about how you’re going to perform on the exam. Unless something disastrous happened that really ruined your day (such as a cell phone going off in your room) – and you know that the section that went wrong was a scored section, not the experimental section – don’t cancel. The best way to be prepared is to be realistic. Don’t check your answers mid-section when you’re practicing, don’t think you’re miraculously going to improve 10 points on test day, and most importantly, know your target school’s averaging policy.
20. Should I consider taking the GRE instead of the LSAT?
If you’re limiting your applications to the handful of schools that will take the GRE (a list which is growing so quickly it’s probably been updated since I typed this), and you know from taking practice tests that you perform demonstrably better on the GRE, then yes.