December LSAT – Tips For The Week Before the Test

For those in the homestretch of the LSAT-prep marathon, we’ll be posting helpful tips from Manhattan LSAT to get you through to to the finish line….

The LSAT is less than a week away, and people are often asking for final tips about test day.  Here’s my best of:

1.  Easy does it. Don’t take any full preptests within the last two days.  The brain is a muscle, let it rest.  Take a few timed sections each day up until 3 days before the LSAT, a couple untimed two days before, with a bunch of review of work you’ve already done.  And the day before just re-do LSAT sections you have already done.  On the morning of the LSAT, re-do one easy logic game on your way to the test center to get your brain moving.  Caveat: if you know you’ll do better with momentum, go right ahead and get momentumming and go crazy on the LSATs the week before.  Some people like to do a six-section LSAT a week before test day to make 5 sections seem easy.

2. Pack-up the night before. Get all your pencils sharpened, print out the ticket (and make sure your printer doesn’t cut off any part of the ticket), and find that analog watch your dad gave you years ago.  Make sure you know how to get to your testing center – there’s nothing worse than freaking out on your way to the test.  Plan to arrive early and to enjoy a coffee outside while you do a warm-up section, or a crossword puzzle or something that is fun and slightly intellectual.

3. Warm-up mental stretches. Bring some light warm-up LSAT material with you to the testing center. I suggest bringing some tough questions that you completely mastered.  Before you enter the testing center, just run through the questions one last time, toss the paper into the recycling bin and head to your room.  Don’t bother checking your work.  The reason to do this is that you don’t want to use the first section of the test as your warm-up.  You want your logical thinking already moving when you start section 1.  The brain is a muscle, so warm it up just like you would your legs.

4. Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. On all but the easiest problems in LR and RC, you should generally eliminate 4 answers.  If you’re going down the answer choice list, and (B) seems to be the answer, act suspicious – assume you’ve been duped – and go and look at the rest of the answer choices, seeing if you can eliminate them.  It’s too easy to “shut down” your brain once you think you’ve found the answer.  Unless you’re scoring 180s, face it: the LSAT is fooling you some of the time.  So look for the wrong answers, not the right ones.  This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give to students who are just looking for a way to freshen up their process if it has hit a plateau.

5. Move along. If you are stuck on a question, take comfort in the fact that most everyone around you is probably struggling with that question too!  Some of your neighbors will spend 4 minutes on that one question, and others will move on and devote time to questions they can tackle.  Those who move on probably will do better and keep their cool.  So, make an educated guess, bubble it in, circle the question number, and move on.  If you have time, come back to it.

6.  Focus! If you find yourself meta-thinking (i.e. “wow, I’m taking the LSAT and it’s really tough, I hope I’m doing well . . . shoot, I really need to focus!  I think I bombed that last logic game.  Dang, what if I can’t focus . .”) you need to get back to work!  One easy way is to read the passage or question to yourself aloud (very quietly obviously).  Some people understand better when they hear information.  Another way to do it is to start writing on the test – “Conclusion!” “Why?” “Author’s opinion!”.

7. Try something. For logic games, if you are into the 2nd or 3rd question and have been struggling the whole way there, you may have not made some important inferences that could “un-lock” the game (and by the way, not every game has important inferences built into the scenario, sometimes there all in the conditional questions).  Lay out 2 possible scenarios with the elements, and question yourself along the way: “could E go anywhere?  Why not?”  This might help focus your thinking.  This isn’t usually the most ideal route to unlocking a logic game, but if you’re stuck, you’ve got to do something!

8. Throw out the rules. You’ve probably spent a lot of time learning diagrams, logic rules, etc.  During test day, feel free to abandon ship if something is not working.  The best test-takers are flexible with their methods.  That said, don’t throw out your general approach to the test, that’s your routine that will see you through section 5.

And I still stand behind my night-before-the-LSAT recommendation:  Watch Legally Blonde, 1 or 2.

This post is provided by Manhattan LSAT, a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider. To hear more from Manhattan LSAT, listen to Law School Podcaster’s full shows,The LSAT: Everything You Need to Know About the Testand Conquering the LSAT: Tips for Tackling the Test.