LSAT Practice Test Advice

There are a wide variety of practice LSAT tests on the market.  While more practice is always better than less practice, not all LSAT practice tests are created equal.  The LSAT is one of the most important parts of law school admissions in the United States and Canada.  Therefore, it is no surprise most students are willing to shell out as much time and money as they can afford to increase  their score.  The LSAT is the only test accepted by all ABA-accredited law schools, and thus, required if applying to a wide range of schools.  While there are many methods that have been developed to help students improve their LSAT scores, full length practice LSATs are without a doubt one of the best universal ways to help students increase their LSAT score.  Full length practice LSAT exams taken as close as possible to official testing conditions, are one of the best methods for preparing for the official LSAT exam.

The LSAT was previously a pen and paper test that in total, lasted about four to five hours.  However, in 2018, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), announced the test would become digital in starting in July 2019, and will be fully digital as of September 2019.  This transition does prove difficult for those students who have been studying for a pen and paper test.  In order to level the playing field, the LSAC is offering July test takers the option to view their score prior to deciding whether or not they wish to cancel it.  For those who choose the option to cancel, they can retake the test again through April 2020 free of charge.  While the format of the test is changing, the LSAC has stated the content of the LSAT will remain the same.

There are many different theories and schools of thought on the best way to prepare for taking the LSAT.  However, with all these theories, one dominant theme arises: practice, practice, practice.  That being said, full length LSAT practice tests are probably the best way to prepare for the exam.  Many LSAT prep courses offer strategies and techniques for taking the exam which are helpful.  However, the only way to train for the endurance needed to perform well on the test is taking full length practice LSAT exams.

Types of practice LSAT questions

There are two types of practice LSAT questions and the differences are critical: LSAC released LSAT questions and made up LSAT questions.  LSAC released questions are those which have appeared on previous official LSAT examinations, and have been released for public view by the LSAC.  Made up LSAT questions are those which are created to mimic the questions posed on the official LSAT exam.  LSAC released questions are for obvious reasons, the closest practice students can get to what they will see on their own exam.  While, LSAC released questions are preferred, made up LSAT questions still hold value in providing students with extra practice.

Currently, there are over 60 LSAC released practice exams available for prospective law school students to use for practice.  With no shortage of  practice exams, it is near impossible to take each one as a full length timed practice test.  Students should pay attention to differences in the older exams versus the more recent ones, and put a heavier emphasis on studying the newest released exams, as they will be most relevant.  Older LSAC released exams are ideal for general practice, or even to add a fifth section to help keep endurance up.  What’s the old saying? “Practice should be harder than the real thing.”  Newer tests should ideally be used for full length timed practices, about two months before a students actual LSAT exam.  The comparative passages are a relatively new LSAT development.  Therefore, this section of the new exams are necessary for use earlier on in a student’s studying process.

The benefit to taking a full length LSAT practice test is the ability to see what a student’s expected score would be at the time of practice.  It also allows students to get a better idea of whether they are taking too long on certain sections, or even if they have time to slow down and/or recheck their work.  Students can take the practice LSAT by using a timer at home.  However, the best way to take a full length LSAT practice test is under true test conditions, which would include being proctored by someone other than oneself.  Many LSAT test prep companies offer in-person proctored LSAT practice exams from which students can benefit.  Many universities and pre-law organizations offer opportunities to take practice LSAT exams as well.

Full length practice LSAT exams are important to take through a student’s study process, not just when the student feels prepared enough for the real exam.  Most test prep companies will offer students a diagnostic exam.  This is an important step in determining where a student is currently at with their score, identifying weaknesses and strengths, and setting realistic study goals.  These practice LSAT exams should be taken throughout the test prep process to determine level of improvement, and even to readjust study schedules or strategies as needed.  Full length practice exams closer to the time of the scheduled LSAT will help students to determine if they were nervous, if they got hungry, if they got tired, and if they were able to stay focused.  These are all important things to be aware of prior to entering the official testing room.

LSAT Preparation

If students are not able to take a practice LSAT administered by a test prep company, they should do their best to create their own testing environment.  Go to bed early the night before, get up and eat a healthy breakfast, drive to a library (or other quiet place that isn’t home), turn off  all electronic devices, and have a timer for each section, just as would be the case on actual testing day.  Even during the practice exam, students should practice the written essay.  Writing an essay after three hours of testing is very different from writing an essay while fresh.  Students should also plan to take 15 minute breaks as is the case on official test day.  If students follow testing procedures and perform well on their practice LSAT exam, chances are they can expect to perform well on the official LSAT.  Same goes for poor performance.  However, if testing procedures were not followed, for example, no breaks, taking more time than is allotted, and taking the practice LSAT at home, then the student’s score would not be an accurate reflection of what to expect on official test day.

Many test prep companies are rapidly working to implement changes to their test prep courses due to the new digitized nature of the LSAT.  By Fall 2019, potential law school students will be taking the LSAT on Microsoft Surface Go Tablets.  While this is undoubtedly a welcome change, it does pose some difficulty for students who have been studying for a pen and paper test.  The digitization of the LSAT will allow students to receive their scores quicker, days versus months.  It will also allow students to highlight text or change the size of font.  Students will complete the writing portion on their own computers at their convenience.

The LSAC does have a tutorial for students who will be taking the digital LSAT so they know what to expect.  It is important that students fully review this material prior to test day, so they feel confident in understanding how the test tablet will work.  The tutorial is accessible on any device with internet.  However, it would be most beneficial for students to take the tutorial on some kind of tablet if they have access to one.  It would also be beneficial for students to practice reading on a tablet.  As eyes may respond differently to reading on a computer screen for 3.5 hours versus reading printed paper.

Preparing for the LSAT is no easy feat.  It is a grueling exam and process of preparing is a tedious one.  However, with proper preparation, students have the ability to score very highly on the LSAT.  The practice LSAT is arguably one of the most important aspects of students’ LSAT preparation.  With 60 official LSAC released exams to study from, dating back to 1991, there is no shortage of full length practice LSAT tests.  They key for students is the strategy in which they use the full length practice exams.  It is just as important to take practice exams under official testing day conditions, as it is to take practice exams at all.  The key to doing well on the LSAT is practice.  Practice exams not only allow students to practice for the LSAT, but practice exams also give students a better idea of their strengths and weakness, thus allowing students to create efficient study plans.  LSAT full length practice exams under official testing conditions are the key to scoring well on the LSAT.  As the saying goes, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”