Planning Your LSAT Practice Test-Taking Tactics - dummies

Planning Your LSAT Practice Test-Taking Tactics

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

After you’ve learned the tools for tackling the three multiple-choice question types on the LSAT, you can solidify them by taking practice questions. If you’d like to work on one question type in particular — logic games, for example — work through an entire section of practice questions without worrying about the timing. Then take on another full section or two of logic game questions under timed conditions to get a feel for how speedy you need to be.

When you feel that you have a handle on the three general question types, use one or two practice tests to simulate a full-length exam. Set aside about three hours and take the sections one right after another under timed conditions with one short break. As you practice, keep these tips in mind:

  • Answer every question. The LSAT test-makers don’t penalize you for guessing, so you’d be crazy not to make sure every number on the answer sheet has a bubble filled in, even if you don’t bother to read the question that goes with it.

  • Budget your time. You get 35 minutes for each multiple-choice section. Decide how to spend it. Allotting each question exactly 1.3 minutes may not be the most effective approach, but be careful not to get so caught up in the first analytical reasoning problem that you have only 5 minutes to work the last three.

  • If you get stuck on a question, forget about it. Move on to another question. (But be sure to circle the question in case you have time to come back to it.)

  • Stay on target. You may get bored, and your mind may want to wander somewhere more pleasant, but don’t let it. Use visual cues to help yourself stay focused — point to questions with your pencil or finger.

  • Take an occasional break. When you finish a chunk of test — an analytical reasoning problem or a full page of logical reasoning questions — take a break. Close your eyes, twist your neck, loosen those tight muscles in your shoulders, breathe, and let your eyes focus on a distant object. Don’t take more than 30 seconds or a minute, but do take the break. It helps you more than fretting about how little time you have left.

  • Move around within each section. No one says you have to answer the questions in order. Feel free to start with the reading passage or logic game set that most appeals to you. Working the easier questions first puts you in the right frame of mind for answering the remaining questions. Some test-takers read questions in two passes. On the first pass they answer all the questions that take them less than 30 seconds to answer. On the second pass they tackle the more challenging offerings. Applying this strategy assures you that you’ll at least have a chance at every question in a section before the proctor calls time.