So you decided you want to go to law school. Congratulations! Now it’s time to start thinking about the LSAT and planning around how long to study for the LSAT. The response to how long to study for the LSAT is not a one-size-fits-all answer, but, after reading this article, we hope you are confident in how long YOU need to study for the LSAT to get into the school of your choice.
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Determining How Long You Need to Study for the LSAT
The first step in deciding how long you need to study for the LSAT is by determining your baseline score on the LSAT (without studying) and finding the difference between the baseline score and your goal score. How do you determine your baseline score? Take a simulated full-length LSAT official LSAT test! We recommend starting the newer LSATs like PrepTests 52-61 and 62-71.
How to Take a Diagnostic LSAT Test
The purpose of a diagnostic LSAT test is to show how you’d score if you walked into an LSAT testing facility and took the test right now without any LSAT studying. That means simulating real test day conditions especially with timing yourself and taking breaks only when allotted on test day. You can use an LSAT proctor app that will guide you through your test-taking experience as well as add a bit of ambient noises that you should expect to experience during test day.
When you are finished taking your diagnostic LSAT test, you can grade your test using the answer key that is provided with any practice test you purchase. You will only have a raw score for this test, but you can convert your raw LSAT score to a scaled score using estimates. Once you have converted your score, we can determine the difference between your diagnostic test score and the goal score. Unsure of your goal score? Check out 7Sage’s list of top law schools & LSAT test scores.
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The Numbers: How Long You Need to Study for the LSAT
The lower your LSAT diagnostic test score, the easier it will be to make some quick score gains through studying. Inversely, the higher your LSAT diagnostic test score, the harder it is going to be to make any significant score increases (as you already are answering most of the questions correctly). Here are some estimates based on reports from LSAT scores and their prep period:
Most students start out in the low 150s for their diagnostic test and can easily raise their score by 5 points after a 3-month LSAT prep period studying 10-15 hours per week.
Similarly, if you study over the minimum 120 hours recommended for LSAT prep, many students have shown an increase of 11 points after a 3-6 month period studying 15 hours per week.
If you are looking to max out on your studying for the LSAT and need a significant score increase, then a 6-month LSAT prep schedule studying 15-20 hours per week is the longest recommended amount of studying to be done and some students have been able to raise their score by more than 11 points.
Related: Free LSAT Study Guides
Finding the Right LSAT Study Schedule For You
Once you determine how much studying you need to raise your LSAT score to hit your goal score, then you can decide on an LSAT study schedule that fits your timeline. Check out our One to Six Month LSAT Study Schedules.
Consider LSAT Prep Courses with Score Increase Guarantees
If you study better with a little bit of pressure you only can find in a classroom course or live online classroom course, then you may want to consider an LSAT prep course that offers a score increase guarantee. Here are a few LSAT prep companies that offer score increase guarantees:
- Blueprint LSAT increase guarantee (avg. +11 pts for classroom course): Check Prices
- Magoosh: 5 point score increase guarantee: Check Prices
- Kaplan: LSAT score increase guarantee: Check Prices
Check out our full list of recommended LSAT prep courses.
When choosing how long to study for the LSAT, keep in mind that the most important indicator in raising your score is how diligent and focused you stay with your studies. Keep all distractions at a minimum when you’re studying (ahem, no Netflix in the background) and be ready to put in the time and effort to do well on the LSAT.