One of the most important parts of studying for the LSAT is taking Official LSAT PrepTests. The point of taking the PrepTests is to simulate test day – giving you an idea of what score you would get on test day and what areas you need to improve on before then. Since simulation is the key, you want to make your PrepTesting as much like the official test that you will take on test day. I have laid out guidance below on how you can do that and get the most out of your PrepTesting.
Simulate the Format
-The Digital LSAT-
The LSAT is administered digitally on a tablet to students at the testing center. To simulate test day you should take your PrepTests in the same digital testing environment that you will see on test day. Thanks to LSAC, you can do just that. LSAC has made two official PrepTests available to students for free that you can take in the same digital testing environment that you will see on test day. This is a good start, but this will actually only be enough to take one practice test (more on this in the Experimental section below). To sufficiently prepare for test day you will need to take many practice tests. The best, most cost-effective way to do this is to purchase the LSAT Prep Plus package from LSAC. The package is $99.00 and includes over 60 Prep Tests that you can take in the digital testing environment that you will see on test day. This package provides you with all of the testing material you will need.
For more information about the Digital LSAT see the LSAT Overview. To access the two free Prep Tests or purchase the LSAT Prep Plus package from LSAT follow the instructions under “Practice Tests” on the Free Resources page or visit LSAC’s website here: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/prep. You will need to create an LSAC account if you have not already done so in order to access the two free practice tests.
-The Experimental Section-
The official LSAT Prep Tests are a bit deceiving. They include the four scored sections from actual tests that students took in the past. What they don’t include is the experimental section that students also took on test day. Those sections are never scored and never released but they are a part of the test that you should be simulating in your Prep Tests. The best way to do this is to take five-section Prep Tests, utilizing a full Prep Test and one additional section from another Prep Test. Be sure to follow the timing conditions laid out below.
Simulate the Testing Environment
-Test in a Quiet Environment-
On test day you will take the Digital LSAT in a quiet testing environment. It won’t be completely silent as there will still be noise from students coughing, sneezing, writing on their scratch paper, and nervously shifting in the seats, but the proctors should keep the level of noise to a minimum. The best way to simulate this kind of environment is to take your Prep Tests at a library or a quiet cafe. This ensures that your Prep Test won’t suffer from distractions and will give you a result that more accurately reflects your current understanding of the test.
-Use Scratch Paper-
On test day LSAC provides students with scratch paper and a pen for scratch work. You can also bring your own pencil and eraser to use if you prefer. To simulate test day practice taking your Prep Tests with a scratch sheet of paper (ideally a blank 8″ by 11″ sheet of white paper) and pen (or pencil and eraser if you plan to bring your own).
-Test Without Your Phone-
On test day you will not be allowed to have your phone with you. To simulate test day always take Prep Tests without your phone if you are able to.
Simulate the Conditions
-Take Timed Prep Tests-
There is a place for untimed practice when prepping for the LSAT but for Prep Tests to be effective in preparing you for the official test, you need to simulate the official test by taking timed Prep Tests. As we have discussed, your Prep Test should consist of five multiple-choice sections (a four section test and an additional “experimental” section from another test). Give yourself 35-minute sections on each section with a 15-minute break after the third section. Whether you are taking the free Prep Tests provided by LSAC or Prep Tests from their LSAT Prep Plus package, you can choose to take the test under timed conditions like you will on test day. Remember, you will have to add an additional section on your own to simulate the experimental section and additional 35 minutes of testing that you will have on test day.
The timing breakdown is as follows:
Section 1 – 35 minutes
Section 2 – 35 minutes
Section 3 – 35 minutes
Break – 15 minutes
Section 4 – 35 minutes
Section 5 – 35 minutes
-What to Do During the Break-
On test day you will have a 15-minute break after the third multiple-choice section. During the break you will not be allowed to leave the testing center. Use the break to drink something, eat a snack, and mentally prepare for the remainder of the test. On test day you can have a beverage up to 20 ounces in a plastic container of juice box and a snack that fits in your clear plastic ziplock bag along with your other belongings that you bring to the testing center. The maximum size for the ziplock bag is 1 gallon. Simulate this as closely as possible when you are Prep Testing.
Simulate the Strategy
If you are not sure about an answer, be sure to flag it so that if you have extra time at the end of the section you can return to the question and reevaluate it.
If you have no idea what a question is asking or are having trouble finding the correct answer, skip the question. Be sure to flag it so that you can return to it if you have extra time at the end of the section. Also, be sure not to leave the answer blank – make a guess.
Since the LSAT being a multiple-choice test, you still have a 20% chance of selecting the correct answer even if you make a random guess. You are not penalized for incorrect answers on the LSAT so a 20% chance of selection the correct answer is infinitely better than leaving the question blank and having a 100% guarantee that you will not get the question correct. Be sure to flag questions that you guess on so that you can revisit them if you have extra time at the end of the section or in your blind review.
The Writing Section
Most test takers can sufficiently prepare for the separately administered Writing Section of the LSAT by practicing it once. If you feel comfortable with the section after practicing once under timed conditions then there is no need to practice more. Don’t waste your time completing the writing section for every PrepTest you take. For more information on the Writing Section see the Everything You Need to Know About the LSAT Writing Section blog post.
Get the Most Out of Your PrepTesting with Blind Review
Blind review is the best way to identify the gaps in your understanding of the LSAT. If you are unfamiliar with how to blind review see the Get the Most Out of LSAT PrepTests with Blind Review blog post.