10 Habits of Highly Successful LSAT-Takers

By Lisa Zimmer Hatch, Scott A. Hatch, Amy Hackney Blackwell

Some people just naturally do well on standardized tests. They fly through the ACT and SAT (the ones you take to get into college), ace the GRE and GMAT (the ones you take to get into graduate school), and consider the LSAT easy. What makes them so successful at taking tests in general and the LSAT in particular? These ten habits of highly successful LSAT-takers, of course!

  • Getting a good night’s sleep: Studies have shown that people who have a good night’s sleep are much better at solving problems than those who are sleep-deprived. To fortify their resources, good test-takers attempt to sleep about seven to eight hours per night for at least five nights leading up to the test.

  • Eating breakfast: Successful test-takers don’t sabotage their chances by skipping breakfast. They eat something with protein and maybe some fat, so they don’t burn through their breakfast too quickly.

  • Planning ahead: Successful LSAT-takers organize all test necessities (such as No. 2 pencils and an analog watch) the night before. That way they don’t show up without a driver’s license and properly sized photo and get kicked out of the test before they even start. Additionally, they try to visit the LSAT testing site at least a day before their test date to scope out the route and check out parking.

  • Envisioning success: Successful LSAT-takers meet the test with confidence, certain that they’re equal to the task before them. They go in knowing that they’re going to get a great score, and sure enough, they do. Confidence is key.

  • Guessing well: The difference between successful LSAT-takers and everyone else is that the successful folks guess well. They narrow their possibilities so that they’re really choosing the better of two answers, not some random choice of five. They eliminate the obvious duds and then work with what’s left.

  • Making notes and drawings: Many people who do well on the LSAT turn in test booklets filled with notes, circlings, little sketches, and other marginalia. They don’t try to hold all the necessary information in their heads.

  • Concentrating: People who do well on the LSAT are capable of concentrating on one thing for several straight hours without meaningful interruption. They don’t allow their minds to wander to the upcoming work deadline or post-exam celebration party. They don’t think about the scratching of other people’s pencils or the ticking clock. They focus on the LSAT and nothing else.

  • Ignoring irrelevancies: People who do well on the LSAT are good at winnowing the kernels of information they need from the great haystack of irrelevant information. The LSAT-makers toss in lots of facts, opinions, and statements, mainly to make the test exactly the right length, but also to see whether test-takers can spot the facts, opinions, and statements they need to answer the questions.

  • Staying relaxed: Effective LSAT-takers don’t let any of the petty stresses associated with the test matter too much to them. They don’t worry excessively about their answers to previous questions or about the upcoming analytical reasoning section. They sit calmly in their seats, focus on the questions, fill in little dots with their pencils, and maybe even consider the experience an enjoyable challenge.

  • Managing time well: Successful LSAT-takers know approximately how much time they can allocate to solving each problem, and they don’t let any particular question impede their progress. If they determine that they’re spending too much time on one question, they bubble in their best guess, mark the question on the booklet, and move on. If they have extra time, they go back to work on the troublesome question after they’ve finished the rest of the section.