Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to (Re)-Incorporate Used and Old LSAT Material

If you've been preparing for the LSAT on a non-traditional timeline like many of our clients have--say, more than 6 months--you've probably already used the vast majority of real LSAT questions published by LSAC. And since that's the only material that we suggest using in your LSAT prep, it sometimes can become an issue if you're retaking or had to hit the pause button on your LSAT plans. We've already addressed re-using the older LSAT material, so today we wanted to reiterate that solution and apply it to the oldest of the real LSAT books.

If you missed the earlier posts from our LSAT statistics, we've already explained why the older material for logical reasoning and reading comprehension is not ideal. The LR sections have changed noticeably for an LSAT connoisseur, and even a child could see the difference in the comparative passage structure.  However, the biggest change is arguably in logic games, where the scenarios seem off the wall and are usually not hybridized like modern games. It's kindof like early versus late Calvin and Hobbes: they're still getting at the same idea, but with completely different levels of polish.

In our professional opinion, prepare so this doesn't happen during the LSAT.
So, is there a place for the oldest PrepTest material in your self-prep? If you are following the normal Zen LSAT calendar, no: you won't run out of material in ~5 months, and PrepTests before 19 won't meaningfully add to your practice.

However, here's a way to modify the Zen calendar to incorporate the oldest LSATs if you've run out of material or want to retake the newest PrepTests.

It's kindof like incorporating experimental sections, but with an entire PrepTest and as part of your endurance practice. Zen students take 6-8 sections back to back to simulate the length of the actual LSAT day and to help prevent LSAT fatigue. While part of the point is to go over all the modern material, another is simply to put your brain through its paces.

So, instead of doing PrepTests 43-46 this week, someone who has already done that material might take PrepTest 7 back to back with 51. Since there are 10 of the oldest PrepTests and five weeks left to the LSAT, that's one way to spread out the material and reuse the newest in a way that will truly test your ability to perform on the real deal.

Trust me, even if you've seen the questions before, having the newer material as sections 5-8 is taxing in a way that will provide some great feedback on your preparedness and ensure you're in top condition come February 12.