So you want to be prepared for the LSAT? That’s great. You’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find some of my best LSAT tips to help you perform well on test day.
While discipline long before test day is crucial for your LSAT performance, there are many things you can do on or before the exam to ensure your mind is in peak condition. To be “on” for your approximately five-hour exam, it’s essential to care for your body and mind.
Years ago, the advice given to standardized test takers was to get plenty of sleep the night before, study in exam-like conditions, eat a healthy breakfast, and have a supply of extra no. 2 pencils and erasers. Occasionally there would be other things thrown in there, but that’s the gist. Those are all great things. And honestly, I’m going to reemphasize some of those below, but with a different twist.
Today, we have a wealth of information out there about how to order your life for peak performance. This means we have resources at our fingertips to help us thrive in whatever areas we choose.
These LSAT tips may be a little different than ones you’ve heard before. That’s why I wanted to be sure you have them before you take this ever-important exam!
6 LSAT Tips to Help You Prepare for Test Day
1. Get quality sleep
It may be common knowledge that most people need an average of eight hours of sleep per night to function well, but many Americans don’t get the sleep they need. Before taking the LSAT, it’s essential to get deep, uninterrupted sleep.
While this isn’t new news, you may be wondering why it really matters to get sleep. The short story is that when you sleep your body’s glymphatic system works to eliminate toxins and organize your brain so you can be sharp in the morning. A lack of sleep, however, doesn’t allow this process to take place. This results in lessened cognitive abilities. Essentially, when you don’t sleep well you aren’t going to perform well. This also matters for when you study.
College can be a time when many people sacrifice sleep to stay up to write papers or go out with friends. I know how it goes. I’ve been there, too. But when it comes to truly performing well, sleep matters. Even if getting regular sleep isn’t your norm, consider shifting your schedule several weeks before the LSAT. It could mean a boosted score, and wouldn’t you like that? Here’s why:
Have you ever needed to wake up earlier than usual and tried to go to bed early so you can do this? How did trying to sleep earlier go? For a lot of people, when you try to shift your sleep schedule for only one night, it can be challenging to fall asleep. You may toss and turn for hours before the big event in the morning.
To combat this, seek to get into a good sleep routine. I now this is easier said than done, so I have a resource to recommend. One of the best sleep experts I’ve found is Shawn Stevenson. His book, Sleep Smarter, is a game-changer!
You’ll thank yourself later if you get into a good sleep routine. That’s why it’s one of my top LSAT tips.
2. Study in Test-like Conditions
Your journey of studying for the LSAT could be one that lasts several months. Whether you choose to take a prep course or opt for a self-study routine, find ways to do your studying and practice exams in test-like conditions.
Our brains are wired for habit formation. When you get used to studying in certain conditions your brain is ready to go when you repeat those habits. If it’s possible to actually go to the test center before the exam and study there (better yet, take a practice exam!), you’ll be familiarizing your brain with the location. This can create a mental trigger that helps you feel comfortable and ready to go.
By the same token, timing yourself, avoiding all distractions, and being laser-focused during your practice exams can help you feel comfortable with test conditions. If you’re used to using mechanical pencils, use regular no. 2 pencils while you practice. This will help you avoid the adjustment period you’ll go through in the exam room.
3. Do Visualization
If you’ve never used visualization before, you’re missing out on a key habit that can help you remain calm under pressure. Athletes and top performers use visualization exercises to help them feel confident as they step up to perform. Here’s a visualization technique used by a member of the bar in California.
Like the LSAT tip about sleep, this one is also pretty important. Our bodies need water to function optimally. While you can’t actually drink water while taking the exam (you may be able to on a break), being hydrated as you prepare is crucial. Drink water while studying, except for when you’re taking practice exams. You want to be sure you take those in test-like conditions as mentioned above.
5. Use Essential Oils
You know how earlier I mentioned the importance of mental triggers to help you feel calm and confident during the LSAT? This LSAT tip can provide you with another mental trigger. To help with mental clarity and focus, use essential oils while studying. Then apply them before you enter the exam room. Our brains are triggered by scents, so this can help bring you back to a focused state.
6. Eat an Optimized Breakfast
Here’s where knowing your body makes a difference. I’m not going to tell you to just eat a “healthy” breakfast because who even know what that means anymore, right? But I am going to suggest that you eat a breakfast that’s going to provide you with sustainable energy. Do your research to see what kind of brain foods are best depending on your specific needs, and then test them out. Use your prep time leading up to the LSAT to test out different breakfasts to see what helps you.
I hope these LSAT tips have helped you consider ways you can show up to test day in the most energized state possible. You want to perform well, and I want that for you, too. For more law school admissions tips, check out some of our free resources.