Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time to Change Study Mode for June 6, 2011 LSAT

If you're following the Zen Self-Prep Calendar for the June 2011 LSAT, you know to start endurance practice this upcoming week. Merging your personal Google calendar to our public one is the first step to making your you’re on track for the LSAT, and that you’re differentiating your practice to fit your time-to-test and individual LSAT weaknesses.

    You should have just finished the phase of practicing your action steps, which is where you apply the strategies you found from the Zen of 180 or other sources for your individual weaknesses. 

    You may have found that you are still making systematic mistakes in several question stems or game types, or that your action steps are not accurately addressing the weaknesses. At this point, and if there’s time, you should repeat the self-correcting process and find new explanations that make more sense to you. It may be necessary to rethink your LSAT test date, as you only have 1 month remaining until the test.

    Now it's time to start building endurance (time-to-test: 1 month)
    • For the last month before the test, take two PrepTests (with all three section types) in one sitting, twice a week
    • Use the most recent PrepTests available right before you take the LSAT
    • For example, if you have 4 weeks left, you should be using PrepTests 47-50 in the first week and 59-62 in the last week before the LSAT (check the calendar as it's broken down for you!)
    • Each practice session should be spent taking eight sections over ~5 hours, with breaks between sections 3-4 and 6-7
    • At the end of each session, analyze your mistakes and evaluate your action steps
    The calendar is well and good as long as you've still got material to cover.  If you're planning on retaking the LSAT, that's not always the case, and you might need to get more creative with your material.

    Now, creative doesn't mean finding something different from official LSAT PrepTests, it just means recombining and adding older material in.  Because the question stems and overall tasks have significantly changed in logic games and reading comprehension since the early 1990s, as well as the relative density of tasks in logical reasoning, we typically don't suggest using the oldest of the PrepTests.

    That said, if you're running out of material because you're preparing for a retake, or more likely, you've already used all the most recent PrepTests, you can pair this oldest book with the newest so that it becomes helpful during the endurance phase.

    Here's a complete breakdown of how to use older LSAT material, but basically, take one complete old PrepTest right before a modern one... build your endurance while also seeing how you'll perform when that LSAT fatigue starts to kick in!