Mentally Prepare For The LSAT

How To Mentally Prepare For The LSAT

Students take months or even years to study for the LSAT. Often, they’ve taken countless practice exams and believe they’re fully prepared for the LSAT. But on test day, not everyone lives up to their potential. The reason for this is often because some test takers did not mentally prepare for the LSAT. Sure, they sat through a class and answered practice questions correctly but that wasn’t enough. In this post, we discuss five tips to help you mentally prepare for the LSAT.

How To Mentally Prepare For The LSAT

1. Mitigate test anxiety

A little bit of test anxiety is entirely normal and can be a good thing. It can help motivate you to study harder and stay on track. However, too much of it can torpedo your success altogether.

If you’re struggling with test anxiety, it’s important to get it under control before the real exam. To do this, try to understand why you feel anxious.  Maybe the course you took isn’t working for you? Maybe you haven’t truly committed enough time to study? Perhaps this is your first exam and you don’t know what to expect?

To better mentally prepare for the LSAT, try to understand what it is that’s making you anxious so that you can manage it better. Focus on how to improve that specific concern. Perhaps you could find a new book to study from, meet with an instructor after class or find a private tutor? You could also create a study schedule to know exactly when you need to study (and then commit to it!). This would allow you to feel better about the time you’re pledging to the LSAT when you see it mapped out on paper. (Here are our tips on how to develop an LSAT study schedule.) Lastly, if you’re unsure of what to expect because this is your first exam, talk to others that have taken it already and read other test takers’ accounts online. This will help demystify the process and allow you to regain a sense of control over things.

2. Visualize doing well on the exam

If you can see it, you can achieve it! Visualize yourself walking into the test room confidently, calmly opening your test booklet, expertly answering questions, and finishing each section in the allotted time.  It might sound silly but this can help prime your brain for success and mentally prepare for the LSAT.  It’s too tempting to focus on the negatives or what you failed to do. There’s always something more you could have done but that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful on the exam.

Instead of negative self-talk, concentrate on what you have done well and how you are going to power through studying and the exam with the same positive energy. Allow your positive thinking to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Not only should you be nice to yourself (as noted above–visualize your own success) you also should surround yourself with supporting, encouraging, and positive people.  Being around people that share good energy, make you laugh, and are generally optimistic will rub off on you! Bonus: it will be a nice break from the solitary studying you may be doing most days.

4. Check out the test venue

Another great way to mentally prepare for the LSAT is to take away all the variables of the test day itself. Be sure to read and re-read the instructions from LSAC. Set aside your identification, test ticket, and anything else you might need on the day of the exam. You should also physically go to the venue where you signed up to take the exam. Find a designated test day parking lot and walk into the building and even the room.

Take note of the temperature, the set up, where the bathrooms are, the echo in the room, and the types of desks and chairs provided. Even take 35 minutes and sit for a practice section if you’re able to! Doing this will take out a lot of guesswork on test day and allow you to only focus on the exam.

5. Keep up your hobbies

You don’t need to surrender yourself to the LSAT in order to get a great score and admitted to an elite school. In fact, you absolutely should not do this. Studying for the LSAT is a marathon and not a sprint. Success requires that you not burnout early. Make sure that you are still setting time aside for the things that you enjoy.  This will often be a great outlet for the monotony and stress of studying. Your hobbies are also likely to be wonderfully therapeutic for you. This will help keep you refreshed, focused and energized when it is time to study.

Rachel Margiewicz, Director of Pre-Law Services, wrote this post. Rachel is a licensed attorney with years of admissions experience across three law school programs in different markets of the country. She knows what schools are looking for and how to make your application stand out.

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