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. Guidance on how to best simulate test day and get the most out of your PrepTesting is included below.
Simulate the Format
The LSAT is administered digitally either remotely, from a location of your choosing or at an LSAT 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 a few 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 not enough to get enough practice to be fully prepared for Test Day. 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 $115.00 and includes over 75 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 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 free practice tests.
-The Experimental Section-
The Official LSAT PrepTests included on LawHub in the LSAT Prep Plus subscription are four-section tests that students took in the past. While four sections are included on the modern LSAT, one of those sections will be an unscored experimental section. You can use the PrepTests included in LawHub to simulate test day by completing all four sections under the same time constraints that you will be under on Test Day. When you score those tests all four sections will be score while on the modern LSAT only three of the sections will be scored. Still, this is the best way to prepare for the modern LSAT. Be sure to follow the timing conditions laid out below when taking PrepTests.
Simulate the Testing Environment
-Test in a Quiet Environment-
On test day you will take the LSAT in a quiet testing environment, either remotely from a location of your choosing or in-person at an LSAT test center. If you will be taking the LSAT remotely it is best to take your PrepTest in the same place and under the same conditions as you will on Test Day. If you decide to test in-person at an LSAT test center then it won’t be completely silent as there will still be some level of noise from students writing on their scratch paper, nervously shifting in the seats, coughing, and sneezing from time to time 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 PrepTest 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 you can use up to 6 sheets of scratch paper and a pen or pencil for scratch work. To simulate test day, practice taking your PrepTests with scratch paper (ideally a blank 8.5″ by 11″ sheet of standard white copy/printer paper).
-Test Without Your Phone-
On test day you will not be allowed to have your phone with you. To simulate test day always take PrepTests 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. All PrepTests should consist of four multiple-choice sections . Give yourself 35-minute sections on each section with a 10-minute break after the second section. Whether you are taking the free Prep Tests provided by LSAC or PrepTests from their LSAT Prep Plus subscription, you can choose to take the test under timed conditions like you will on test day.
The timing breakdown is as follows:
Section 1 – 35 minutes
Section 2 – 35 minutes
Break – 10 minutes
Section 4 – 35 minutes
Section 5 – 35 minutes
-What to Do During the Break-
On test day you will have a 10-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. For more information on the 10-minute intermission please view LSAC’s website here: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/taking-lsat/about-10-minute-intermission.
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 LSAT Writing
Most test takers can sufficiently prepare for the separately administered LSAT Writing 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. For more information on the Writing Section see the Everything You Need to Know About LSAT Writing 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.