The 5 Biggest (Avoidable) LSAT Mistakes

Next Step Test PrepNot sure how you did on the LSAT last week? You’ll find this guest post by Next Step Test Preparation helpful. Next Step provides complete courses of one-on-one LSAT tutoring for about the price of a crowded lecture-style prep course.

Five Common (Avoidable) LSAT Mistakes

Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Not taking the LSAT early enough

Whenever I speak to law school admissions staff, the #1 tip they ask us to please, please pass on to our LSAT students is to send in applications early (ideally, before the first of the year).

The reason is that law schools roll their admissions — meaning they make decisions on applications as they come in rather than waiting for the application deadline. This gives admissions deans a lot more flexibility to admit borderline candidates than they would otherwise have in March.

If you are planning ahead (yes!), plan to take the LSAT in June of the year you’ll submit applications (for the following fall).

This lets you re-take the LSAT in October if necessary — and still get applications in early.

2. Not studying like it’s your job

Almost everyone studying for the LSAT has a ton of other obligations between work, school, clubs/extracurriculars, and family. I mention this so you know that the students who are most successful on the LSAT don’t quit their jobs or take a year off to study.

Successful students work the LSAT into their schedule by actually blocking out their study times on a calendar, then religiously sticking to that.

LSAT study is the only thing that no one forces you to do (the way you must show up at work). But ultimately, if you’re serious about law school, LSAT is the most important thing you can do during the time you’re studying for it.

3. Relying out outside motivation

Related, students tend to underestimate how hard it will be to prepare for the LSAT. You really have to make yourself work on it — while everyone around you is having more fun senior year of college or going to happy hour after work.

Time after time, we speak to students that signed up for the group prep courses, then never went.

No one can force you to do this — you really have to want it.

In fact, students who do best tend to be the most competitive — not with others, but with themselves — constantly pushing themselves to improve and put the work in to do so.

4. Not taking enough practice LSATs

The best way to improve on the LSAT is by doing the one thing that’s most obnoxious: sitting down and taking a timed, 4 or 5-section LSAT prep tests. The questions are only half the battle on the LSAT — the other half is the time.

  • So the first mistake students make is not doing enough work under strict time limits.
  • But the other mistake is not taking enough full tests.

Anyone who has taken the test can tell you that this test wears you out.

You will not feel as good or do as well on your 5th section of the day as you will on your first.

The best way to minimize this is to integrate fatigue into your practice. This means clearing out a 3-hour block, sitting down, and knocking out a practice test.

5. Not reviewing your practice test results

So after you take that practice test are you done for the week? Not even close.

The most successful LSAT students review their mistakes very closely.

Take a day to recover after you take a practice test, but the next day sit down and figure out, for every problem that you missed:

  • Why was the right answer correct?
  • Why was the answer I chose wrong? Why did I chose it?
  • Does this fit into a pattern of questions I miss? If so, how can I fix that pattern?
The Bottom Line

Luckily, by planning ahead and understanding the challenge ahead of you, you can avoid these 5 mistakes — and massively increase your chances of meeting your goals on the LSAT.

Good luck, everyone!

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More about Next Step Test Preparation:
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You can also read more about them in our earlier interview: LSAT Prep Options: Next Step Test Prep.

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  1. This is great advice, and I can particularly relate to number four! I never took an entire practice test, and it really came back to bite me. 75% of the questions I got wrong were in the final section, because I was so mentally exhausted. Oops! Live and learn.

  2. Shelby VanHoose says

    I really like these tips! There are some great pointers in here for those of us who are taking it. I am taking it for my second time on the 7th of December. I am very nervous because I have failed to do many things on this list. I do really want to go to law school and do well on the LSAT. However, it is just very difficult for me to carve time out of my undergrad priorities to sit and study. Do you have any other advice that has worked well for students who have study habit problems? Thanks!

  3. Great list. Basically sums up my last year. Where was this wonderful brilliant site when I studying for my LSAT last year? But regardless, going into law school in Canada, I want to milk this website for everything that its worth.
    What’s interesting though is that Canadian law schools don’t quite use a rolling admission process like America. There are strict deadlines for LSAT scores. Even when if the deadline is December, they are still deliberating over law school applicants up until August.

  4. I briefly tried studying for the LSAT a few years ago with Kaplan while working part time and raising a toddler but I felt that I spent so much time going through each reading and each logic game. When I went over the answers that also took a lot of time. I felt like I was moving so slowly within each piece that if I were to take a full LSAT I wouldn’t be able to finish half of it because I’m going through it so slowly. What do you recommend to be able to study quickly and efficiently so that when I do practice LSATs I can actually answer a good portion of questions?


  1. […] you need to adhere to the strict time limit for the practice tests because that is the one that will be used on the actual test. In doing so, […]

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