When To Start Studying For The LSAT

Hey there, future lawyers! If you’re thinking about applying to law school, then you’ve probably already heard about the dreaded LSAT. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test that is required for admission into law school. As a result, a high score on the LSAT is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you get accepted into law school of your dreams. Since this exam is so important, it’s absolutely crucial to know when to start studying for the LSAT and how much time you will need to prepare for the exam. 

The truth is, the LSAT is a challenging test that requires plenty of preparation, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to master the material. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about when to start studying for the LSAT and share some valuable LSAT prep tips for 2023. Whether you’re a first-time LSAT taker or a seasoned pro, these tips can help you achieve your best score and get into the law school of your dreams. So, let’s dive in!

Table of Contents:

What Is The LSAT: An Overview

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is a standardized test that is an essential requirement for law school admissions in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. The test is designed to measure the skills and abilities necessary for success in law school, including reading and comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.

The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and is conducted four times a year. It is a paper-and-pencil test that consists of five 35-minute sections, four of which are multiple-choice and one is an unscored writing sample. The multiple-choice sections are designed to measure different aspects of a student’s abilities.

The first section of the LSAT is the Logical Reasoning section, which is intended to measure a student’s ability to analyze and evaluate arguments. Students are presented with a short argument, followed by a question about the argument’s structure, assumptions, or conclusions. There are two Logical Reasoning sections on the LSAT, each consisting of 24 to 26 questions.

The second section of the LSAT is the Analytical Reasoning section, also known as the Logic Games section. This section measures a student’s ability to understand and analyze complex relationships between different elements. Students are presented with a set of rules and conditions and are asked to use logic to solve a series of problems. There are typically four Logic Games on the LSAT, with 22 to 24 questions in total.

The third section of the LSAT is the Reading Comprehension section, which measures a student’s ability to read and analyze complex texts. Students are presented with four reading passages, followed by a series of questions about each passage. The Reading Comprehension section consists of 27 questions and must be completed in 35 minutes.

The fourth section of the LSAT is an unscored variable section, which is used to test new questions and evaluate their difficulty level. This section can be any of the above three sections and is randomly assigned to students.

The fifth and final section of the LSAT is the Writing Sample section. Students are given 35 minutes to respond to a prompt and write a persuasive essay. The essay is not scored, but it is sent to law schools along with a student’s LSAT score.

Overall, the LSAT is a challenging exam that requires careful preparation and study. The exam is scored on a scale of 120 to 180, with the average score being around 150. However, scores of 160 or higher are typically needed to gain admission to top-tier law schools.

It’s also important to note that the LSAT is just one factor that law schools consider when evaluating applicants. Other factors include undergraduate GPA, work experience, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

Based on all of the above information, you can probably start to see why it’s extremely important to prepare for the LSAT well in advance of test day. 

When Should I Start Studying for the LSAT?

Ideally, you should start studying for the LSAT at least 3-6 months before your intended test date. This will give you enough time to develop a study plan, learn the content, and practice with real LSAT questions. However, if you’re a busy working professional or student, you may need to adjust your timeline accordingly.

Below, we’ve provided a table of the upcoming LSAT test months and specific test dates, along with when you should start studying for the LSAT based on that test month:

Upcoming LSAT Test Month & DaysWhen To Start Studying For the LSAT
August 2023
Primary test dates:
Friday, August 11
Saturday, August 12
February 2023
September 2023
Primary test dates:
Friday, September 8
Saturday, September 9
March 2023
October 2023
Primary test dates:
Friday, October 13
Saturday, October 14
April 2023
November 2023
Primary test dates:
Friday, November 10
Saturday, November 11
May 2023
January 2024
Primary test dates:
Friday, January 12
Saturday, January 13
July 2023
February 2024
Primary test date:
Friday, February 9
August 2023
April 2024
Primary test date:
Friday, April 12 
October 2023
June 2024
Primary test dates:
Friday, June 7
Saturday, June 8
December 2023
An overview of upcoming LSAT test dates & when to start studying for that date

It’s important to keep in mind that consistent, daily practice is key to success on the LSAT. Therefore, it’s better to start early and study for shorter periods each day than to cram everything into a few weeks before the exam. 

How To Effectively Prepare & Study For the LSAT

Preparing for the LSAT can be an overwhelming experience for many aspiring law students, especially with the demands of work & school. Moreover, the LSAT is likely to be the most difficult test a student has encountered in their educational career, so the intensity of the exam is sure to cause some added stress. However; with proper preparation well enough in advance, you can improve your score and increase your chances of being accepted into the law school of your choice. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the LSAT:

Familiarize yourself with the LSAT format

The LSAT is a computer-based exam that consists of four sections: Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and an unscored Writing Sample. Each section is designed to test a different set of skills. You should become familiar with the format of the exam by taking practice tests and reviewing LSAT prep books and materials.

Create an LSAT study plan

Creating a study plan is essential for LSAT preparation. Determine how much time you have to study and how many hours per week you can devote to LSAT preparation. Allocate time for each section of the exam, and schedule regular practice tests to gauge your progress. Make sure to stick to your study plan to ensure that you cover all the necessary material before test day. 

Take LSAT practice tests

Practice tests are an essential part of LSAT preparation. They allow you to become familiar with the format of the exam and the types of questions that are asked. Practice tests also help you to identify areas where you need to improve. Make sure to take practice tests under test-like conditions, such as timing yourself and taking the test in a quiet, distraction-free environment.

Review your mistakes

Reviewing your mistakes on practice exams is a critical component of LSAT preparation. After taking practice tests, review the questions that you got wrong and understand why you got them wrong. Understanding your mistakes will help you to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Reviewing your mistakes will also help you to identify patterns in your mistakes, such as difficulty with a particular question type or topic.

Use LSAT prep materials

There are many LSAT prep materials available, including books, online courses, and in-person courses. These materials can help you to understand the format of the exam, review key concepts, and practice answering LSAT-style questions. When choosing LSAT prep materials, make sure to choose materials that are reputable and have good reviews from other LSAT test-takers.

Focus on your weaknesses

Identifying and focusing on your weaknesses is essential to LSAT preparation. After taking practice tests, review your scores and identify areas where you need to improve. Spend more time on these areas and use LSAT prep materials that focus on these topics. Focusing on your weaknesses will help you to improve your score and increase your chances of being accepted into the law school of your choice.

Take care of yourself

Believe it or not, taking care of yourself & your mental health is just as important as actually studying the exam material.  Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. 

Additionally, developing a balanced study schedule can help to manage stress and avoid burnout. Make sure to allocate enough time for rest and relaxation, as well as to engage in activities that you enjoy. This will help improve your concentration, boost your mood, and keep you motivated during the study process.

Seek Additional Support

If you are struggling with your LSAT preparation, consider enrolling in an LSAT prep course or working with an LSAT tutor. The LSAT is not a test that anyone can master on their own, so it’s important to seek additional support if you feel like your studies are falling short of your goals.

When should I take the LSAT?

Now that you have an idea of how long you should preparing for the LSAT, you’re likely wondering when the best time to actually take the LSAT is. When you should take the LSAT is dependent on a variety of factors, such as when you plan on applying to law school. You can take the LSAT as early as June or July of the year before you want to start law school, but there are some factors to consider when choosing a date:

  • The earlier you take the LSAT, the more time you’ll have to retake it if necessary and apply again next year. If your first score isn’t high enough for your target school(s), retaking in December or January gives them less time to review it before making their admissions decisions.
  • If possible, avoid taking the exam during final exams at any colleges where you’re currently enrolled–this could lead to poor performance on both fronts!

Should I Take The LSAT Before or After Graduating College?

Two popular options include taking the LSAT during college or waiting until after graduation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each route, and help you determine the best timing for your law school journey.

Tackling the LSAT During College

If you’re considering taking the LSAT while still in college, there are several advantages to doing so:

  • Fewer competing priorities: While balancing college coursework and LSAT prep can be challenging, many students find that they have more free time during their undergraduate years than after they’ve entered the workforce full-time.
  • Fresh academic skills: As a college student, your test-taking and studying skills may be more honed, which could provide an advantage when preparing for the LSAT.
  • Early application advantage: By taking the LSAT during college, you can apply to law schools early in the application cycle, which may increase your chances of acceptance and potential scholarship offers.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider if you plan on taking the LSAT while you’re still in school:

  • Potential burnout: Balancing college coursework, extracurricular activities, and LSAT preparation might lead to burnout and potentially lower performance in one or more areas.
  • Less real-world experience: Taking the LSAT during college may mean that you’re applying to law schools with less work experience, which could impact your admissions chances or career opportunities after graduation.

Waiting Until After Graduation

On the other hand, taking the LSAT after graduation offers some unique benefits:

  • Focused preparation: Without the demands of college coursework, you can devote more time and energy to LSAT prep, potentially leading to a higher score.
  • Real-world experience: Gaining work experience before applying to law schools can enhance your application and provide a clearer understanding of your career goals.
  • More time for decision-making: Waiting until after graduation can give you additional time to explore your interests and determine if law school is the right path for you.

But, there are also some potential drawbacks to waiting until after college to take the LSAT:

  • Loss of academic momentum: After spending time away from academia, some graduates may find it difficult to reacclimate to studying and test-taking.
  • Competing priorities: Once you’ve entered the workforce, you may face challenges balancing work, personal life, and LSAT preparation.

Making the Decision: College or Post-Graduation?

Ultimately, the decision to take the LSAT during college or after graduation depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. To make an informed choice, consider factors such as your current academic workload, extracurricular commitments, and long-term career goals.

If you’re leaning towards taking the LSAT during college, be sure to create a realistic study plan that allows you to balance your coursework and LSAT prep effectively. Conversely, if you opt for the post-graduation route, consider how you’ll stay motivated and disciplined in your LSAT preparation while navigating new responsibilities.

How Do I Apply to Law School?

The law school application process can be overwhelming, but breaking it down into smaller steps can make it more manageable. Here are the basic steps to apply to law school:

  • Take the LSAT: If you’ve made it this far in this article, this should be a no brainer; before you can apply to law school, you need to take the LSAT. The LSAT is offered several times a year, so make sure you plan accordingly.
  • Gather your materials: You’ll need to submit your undergraduate transcripts, LSAT scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation to apply to law school. Start gathering these materials early to ensure you have everything you need to apply.
  • Research law schools: Research law schools to find the ones that are the best fit for you. Look at factors such as location, size, cost, and areas of specialization.
  • Apply to law schools: Once you’ve identified the law schools you want to apply to, it’s time to start the application process. Follow the application instructions carefully and make sure to meet all the deadlines.
  • Wait for decisions: After you’ve submitted your applications, you’ll need to wait to hear back from law schools. This can be a stressful time, but try to stay positive and keep your options open.

Frequently Asked Questions About When to Start Studying for the LSAT

Below, you’ll find some of the common questions aspiring law students are asking about studying for the LSAT.

Should I Take The LSAT In My Junior Year or Sophomore Year?

The decision of whether to take the LSAT during your sophomore or junior year of college is an important one that should be based on several factors, including your academic performance, extracurricular commitments, and overall preparedness for the exam. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal circumstances and how much time you can allocate for effective preparation.

Taking the LSAT during your sophomore year has some advantages. Firstly, you will have more time to retake the exam if your initial score is not satisfactory. This flexibility can alleviate some of the pressure associated with the LSAT and enable you to fine-tune your test-taking strategies. 

Additionally, an earlier test date allows you to apply to law schools earlier in the application cycle, which can be beneficial in competitive admissions processes. However, if you choose to take the LSAT during your sophomore year, you must be prepared to balance your coursework, extracurricular activities, and LSAT preparation. This may mean sacrificing some of your social life and other commitments to ensure you have ample time to study.

On the other hand, taking the LSAT during your junior year provides you with more time to focus on your undergraduate coursework and develop a strong academic foundation. This extra time can be especially valuable if you are juggling multiple commitments, such as internships, research projects, or leadership roles in clubs and organizations. 

Additionally, by your junior year, you will likely have taken more advanced courses in critical thinking, logic, and reading comprehension, which can contribute to a stronger performance on the LSAT. However, if you choose to take the LSAT during your junior year, be prepared for a more compressed timeline; you will have less time to retake the exam if needed and a shorter window for law school applications.

Is 1 year enough time to study for LSAT?

The amount of time needed to study for the LSAT varies from person to person, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, in general, one year can be a sufficient amount of time to prepare for the LSAT if you approach your studies strategically and consistently. 

However, it is important to note that one year of study does not guarantee success on the LSAT, as success is also dependent on individual factors, such as aptitude for standardized testing and prior academic performance. Therefore, it is important to approach your studies with a realistic mindset, set achievable goals, and monitor your progress regularly. 

If you find that your progress is slower than expected, or you are struggling with certain concepts or sections, consider seeking additional resources or support, such as working with a tutor or enrolling in an LSAT prep course.

What Score Can I Expect On the LSAT If I Don’t Study?

It is difficult to provide a precise average for first-time LSAT test-takers who have not studied, as individual scores can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, such as prior academic performance, a natural aptitude for standardized testing, and familiarity with the exam format. 

However, it is important to note that the LSAT is a challenging and specialized exam, and approaching it without adequate preparation is unlikely to yield high scores.

The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120 to 180, with the average score typically falling around 150-151. It is essential to remember that this average includes scores from test-takers who have studied and prepared for the exam. 

For those who have not studied, it is reasonable to expect that their scores would likely fall below the average, as they have not developed the necessary skills and strategies to tackle the LSAT effectively.

Finals Thoughts on LSAT Prep For 2023

Given the importance of the LSAT score in law school admissions, it is highly recommended that prospective test-takers invest time and effort into preparing for the exam. 

This preparation can help to familiarize them with the exam format, develop the necessary skills, and ultimately improve their chances of achieving a higher score. 

If you’re considering taking the test in 2023 and have already started preparing for it, then congratulations! You are well on your way toward being prepared for this important milestone in your life. 

Remember that individual factors can influence how well someone performs on an exam like this so don’t get discouraged if things don’t go exactly as planned during your prep period–just keep pushing forward until test day arrives!

Related LSAT & Law School Resources: