We posted this article over on Reddit and people were liking it, so we reproduced it below. You can check out the original Reddit thread here:http://www.reddit.com/r/LSAT/comments/vatpu/general_lsat_study_tips/
Here are a few of my favorite study tips that I share with students:
1. Sleep in your clothes.
No, not literally. I’ll explain: I had a student once who told me that she was trying to run every morning before work, but she could never get herself out of bed and motivated to put on her running gear. So she started leaving her clothes and shoes next to the bed. That helped, she said, but not as much as when she – you guessed it – slept in her running clothes. She said that having her clothes on and ready made it much easier to motivate out of bed and get her workout started.
Planning your LSAT work ahead of time is just as helpful. No matter what time you study, having your books out and ready (or packed and ready to take with you to wherever you’re going to study) will make it just a little easier to get started. Planning what topics you’re going to cover in your next study session is also helpful, but if you really want to “sleep in your clothes,” actually take the time to plan exactly what question numbers, logic games, sections, or page numbers you’re going to try to cover in your next session. Most of my students find that this simple technique makes them less likely to blow off study sessions and helps them get the most out of their study time.
Speaking of skipping study sessions, I find that a lot of people procrastinate because they don’t know what they need to study. Which brings me to my next tip:
2. Use the last 15 minute of every study session to plan your next study session.
At the end of your study session you’re probably running on fumes anyway, so it’s best to wrap things up and make a detailed plan for your next study session. Include the time you’re going to study and, as mentioned above, the exact page numbers, section numbers, questions, etc that you’re going to cover. At the end of your session, you’ll have a good idea of what to work on or what you have to ask questions about, so it’s a great time to log all of those insights. You don’t always have to stick to your plan exactly – for example you may realize you need to work on a certain game type when you had originally sat down to do timed LG sections – but it’s nice to have a roadmap to get you started when you first sit down to study.
Get out of the house.
Why not study at home? There are just so many distractions: roommates, facebook, gmail… reddit! Get out, go to libraries and coffee shops. Just because you’re studying doesn’t mean it’s ok to suddenly stop interacting with people. I’m not a doctor, but isolation doesn’t seem healthy! I can tell when students go into isolation mode – I see wrinkled clothes, beards, droopy eyes – and rarely does that translate into amazing scores. It’s important to find the right balance of studying and taking care of yourself, both physically and socially.
Also, even though some public places, like coffee shops, are noisy, it’s good to practice ignoring distractions around you. Test centers are supposed to be quiet sanctuaries, but unfortunately they aren’t always quiet and distraction free.
Lastly, research has shown that you retain more information when you study in different contexts. Apparently your brain can associate what it learned with more places. Check out this article about this topic in the New York Times:
3. Turn your phone off while you study.
This probably seems obvious, but sometimes students’ phones go off while we’re in a tutoring session and I’m wondering, “are you serious?” The LSAT requires your full, undivided attention.
4. Practice in test-like conditions.
I once had a music teacher tell me, “don’t spend too much time practicing any technique that you can’t use on stage.” That doesn’t mean you should ALWAYS be taking 5 section practice tests in timed conditions, but it does mean you should control some variables when you practice LSAT. For instance, don’t practice logic games with a ton of scratch paper, don’t use mechanical pencils, and don’t take practice tests with digital timers, since you won’t be able to do any of those things on test day.
I know these tips are pretty general, but I’ve had success using them in my own standardized test prep and I’ve had students tell me that they were useful. I’ll try to post some more detailed tips in here this summer. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing about some of your go-to study tips.