By Manhattan LSAT, a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider. If you don’t know much about the LSAT, you can read the Manhattan LSAT intro guide or attend one of the free workshops (available in NYC and Live Online).
Two of the more common questions asked by future LSAT takers are: 1) “When should I begin studying for the LSAT?” and 2) “How long does it typically take to prepare for this exam?”
The answer to these basic (yet extremely important!) questions provides a ‘jumping off point’ for folks and helps them plan their lives (or lack there of) during the months spent prepping for the LSAT.
If you are planning to take the June 2012 LSAT, I’ll save you the drama of the rest of this post: it’s time to start studying now! Get started with a diagnostic test. This will give you a great sense of where you are, although you should not get discouraged if you score well below the national average (151) your first time.
When Should I Start Studying for the LSAT?
The answer? Annoyingly, it is very difficult to generalize just how much time an individual needs to prepare for the LSAT. The trend we’ve noticed is that 2.5-3.5 months is typically necessary to maximize ones potential on the exam. This does not mean that it is impossible to thoroughly prep in 2 months or less, nor does it mean that you are a dummy if it takes you six months to prep – it simply means that everyone is different – and that this test is a major pain in the butt!
It is also important to recognize that the amount of real time that you have available to you to put in to studying on a daily/weekly basis will have an impact on how long (in weeks and months) it will take you to adequately prepare. A college student who has dedicated their summer to studying for the LSAT may only need 2.5 months to get ready for their test day, whereas a busy working professional with two children may require a bit more time.
Since the LSAT is only given four times each year (and on very specific dates), my advice for folks trying to determine their timeline is to pick a target test date, and then work backward from there.
When it comes to choosing a target test date, here is what you should be considering:
- Can I execute a dedicated study regimen in the three months (approximately) before my target test date?
- When am I hoping to start law school?
- Do I need a ‘back up’ LSAT test date?