The “How to Score a 180 on the LSAT” Study Plan
You Will Need
Phase I: Accuracy (1-2 months)
Now is the time to learn the theory behind the LSAT. The best way to improve your score is to master each problem type within the three sections (Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension), one at a time. Do drills of each problem type until you are accurate, regardless of the amount of time it takes you.
For each section of the Logic Games Bible, read the chapter and then go to the corresponding chapter in GROUPED by Game Type. Start by doing the first game of each chapter untimed, familiarizing yourself with that particular game type. Take as long as you need to complete the next couple of games, but write down the amount of time it takes you and your score. As a frame of reference, you will have 35 minutes to complete the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT, which equals 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game. Finally, do the rest of the games in the chapter aiming for less than 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game. (Remember, you will need to account for nerves during the actual test.) Repetition is crucial—after you have completed a lot of games, anything the LSAC throws at you will seem elementary and routine. Repeat for each section of the Logic Games Bible and corresponding chapter in GROUPED by Game Type.
For each section of the Logical Reasoning Bible, read the chapter and then go to the corresponding chapter in GROUPED by Question Type. Start by doing the first couple of questions of each chapter untimed, familiarizing yourself with that particular question type. Take as long as you need to complete the next few questions, but write down the amount of time it takes you and your score. As a frame of reference, you will have 35 minutes to complete the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT, which equals approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds per question. Continue through the chapter, doing questions in sets of 10, aiming for less than 13 minutes and 20 seconds per set. Be sure to save some questions to drill with in the later phases of your studying. Repeat for each section of the Logical Reasoning Bible and corresponding chapter in GROUPED by Question Type. Monitor the question types that give you the most trouble and review those questions heavily. If you’re really motivated, tear out the questions that are giving you the most trouble and write out explanations for why each answer choice is correct or incorrect.
The only way to improve on Reading Comprehension is to read as many passages as possible and develop your own personal system as you progress. Reading dense material (i.e. Scientific American, The Economist, etc.) can help as well, but working through as many passages as possible is undoubtedly the most effective tool. Start by doing a few passages from each chapter of GROUPED by Passage Type, taking as long as necessary, but be sure to write down the amount of time it takes you and your score. While the passages range in difficulty, hopefully you will start to see which passage types are your strengths and which passage types you have a harder time getting through. As a frame of reference, you will have 35 minutes to complete the Reading Comprehension section of the LSAT, which equals 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage. Work through each chapter, aiming to complete passages in less than the allotted time frame in order to account for nerves during the actual test. Click here for more information on Reading Comprehension strategies and some helpful tips.
Phase II: Speed (0.5-1 month)
By this time you should be able to accurately complete every question that you will come across on the LSAT. Now it is time to work on your speed. During Phase II you will do all the PrepTests in The Next 10 book.
At the end of Phase II, do PrepTest C from the SuperPrep book, timed and in its entirety. As you did with Preptests A and B, make sure you read the explanations for every single question.
Throughout Phase II, complete all 10 Analytical Reasoning sections in The Next 10 book. You should average 1 section every 2-3 days, depending on how much time you have for this phase. Repeat games that you had trouble with on your days off. If you notice that you are having trouble with a particular type of game, repeat games in the corresponding chapter of GROUPED by Game Type. By the end of this phase, you should be able to consistently complete most, if not all, of the Analytical Reasoning section within 35 minutes.
You must complete all 20 Logical Reasoning sections in The Next 10 book throughout this phase. Depending on how much time you have allotted for Phase II, this will amount to approximately 1 section per day (or a little more if you are in the 0.5-month time frame and a little less if you are in the 1-month time frame). If you notice that you are having trouble with a particular question type, repeat those types of questions in the corresponding chapter of GROUPED by Question Type. By the end of this phase, you should have established an effective pacing system (i.e. 10 minutes for the first 10 questions and 25 minutes for the remainder, etc.) If you are consistently finishing the Logical Reasoning section within 35 minutes, knock off a few minutes and see how you do under pressure.
Continue to develop your style of marking passages. Complete all 10 Reading Comprehension sections in The Next 10 book. You should average 1 section every 2-3 days. Review on your days off. If you notice that you are having trouble with a particular type of passage, work on those types of passages in the corresponding chapter of GROUPED by Passage Type. By the end of this phase, you should have a consistent set of symbols and notations that you use to mark the important parts of each passage. If you think you need more direction than this, and you found the Logic Games Bible and Logical Reasoning Bible helpful, you might want to consider the Reading Comprehension Bible.
Phase III: Endurance (1.5-2 months)
At this point, you should be consistently finishing all sections within 35 minutes, including bubbling in the answer sheet. The final step is to build up your endurance to be able to complete 5 sections in a row. During this phase, you will focus exclusively on timed, 5-section PrepTests. As PrepTests published by the LSAC only contain 4 sections (they do not contain the “Experimental” section that is inserted into each administered LSAT), you will need to add a 5th section to each practice LSAT to represent the full length of the test. Historically, the Experimental section has always been one of the first 3 sections, so you should follow this pattern when practicing with 5-section PrepTests.
Complete the 10 most recent individual PrepTests during this final phase. Try to take practice tests at the same time that your test is scheduled for. If possible, try taking some practice tests in the same room that will be used as your test center for the LSAT. Your schedule will look something like this:
Day 1: Complete PrepTest
Day 2: Review PrepTest
Day 3: Practice problem types that give you trouble using the GROUPED series
Repeat this cycle up through the week of the LSAT. Review is crucial. Do not do multiple tests in a row without review. This is a waste of time and tests. You must go over each test and thoroughly review those questions that you weren’t 100% sure of the answer. You must address any problems that you got correct, but had even the slightest doubt about because chances are you will not be so lucky on the real thing.
The one thing that you have to remember during your LSAT studies is: It is all up to you. You decide if, when, and how you want to study. You decide how serious you are about the LSAT. Just having the books and materials does not mean that you know the concepts. Even going to a test prep class does not mean you are absorbing the information. It is up to you to devote the time and attention needed to learn and master the LSAT. When it comes down to it, you have no one else to congratulate for your successes (or blame for you failures) than yourself.
Special thanks to Pithypike’s Complete LSAT Study Guide, which we updated to reflect the publication of our GROUPED series.
An excellent resource for those of you self studying for the LSAT is Steve Schwartz's LSAT Blog. Check it out! Steve updates it with helpful LSAT tips every Friday.