Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

Secrets to Conquering the LSAT

WMU-Cooley had the opportunity to sit down with Ashley Heidemann of JD Advising as she shared secrets to conquering the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Heidemann has been working with current and prospective law students for several years, helping them find success in their law school journeys.

The LSAT is an important test as it is one that is used in the admissions process for all law schools and for some it is weighted more than in others.

When Heidemann speaks with students about the LSAT, she typically first asks if they have taken the LSAT before, and if so, how well they did. Depending on their answer, she may start by having a student take a practice LSAT test, as the practice test helps to show what an individual struggles with and what areas, such as timing or logic games, need work.

Heidemann also said she asks students how much time they have to prepare for the LSAT, something she considers critical.

"Four years of undergraduate work is sometimes seen the same or equivalent as the results of a four hour exam at many law schools. "

Thus, you can see now how important this test would be in this regard. If you do well on the LSAT, not only can you gain admission to the law school you want, you may also be more likely to be awarded scholarships too.

The other thing to consider when thinking about admissions is that some schools may have minimum scores to achieved for admissions that you should be aware of.

How to prepare for the LSAT

Be disciplined about studying for the LSAT. Practicing it every day during your study period five-six days a week. You can improve on a lot of the skills and sections in the LSAT if you practice. (Most students begin to study at least two-to-three months before taking the LSAT).

Read things that will improve your critical thinking such as:

  • Books that are somewhat difficult to read.
  • Materials required when taking critical thinking, philosophy, history or English classes. By reading or studying in these areas you will enhance your vocabulary and your ability to synthesize the information.

Practice by using past released LSAT questions to prepare for the current LSAT.

If you have taken the LSAT in the past and are thinking about taking it again, Heidemann suggests that you:

  1. Assess why you did not receive the score that you wanted. Did you not spend adequate time preparing? Did the course that you took not adequately prepare you? Were there external factors that caused you to get a lower score than expected? (Death in the family, sickness, etc.)
  2. Identify what type of test preparation is right for you and use this early on. Knowing how you learn best will help you identify how to proceed when it comes to getting outside help on LSAT preparation.
  3. Have the discipline to practice consistently.
  4. Consider individual tutoring instead of an LSAT course.

What should you ask test preparation companies?

  • How much does it cost?
  • When does the course start in relation to the LSAT?
  • Does the test preparation company use actual released test questions in your preparation? 
  • Is the course online or in person?
  • How many students are in the course?
  • How much one on one attention can you have with your instructor?

Last but not least, Heidemann offered three more thoughts to help you succeed on the LSAT. First, don't be afraid to start early; second, ask yourself targeted questions early on; and third, realize how important the LSAT exam is!

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