As most test takers will agree, there is a learning curve associated with LSAT preparation.
This is not the kind of standardized test that you can cram in a few weeks and score highly. Rather, the LSAT demands a complete rewiring of your brain as you adopt the necessary mental skills and abilities required on the exam.
This is also what makes it hard to determine with certainty how long to study for LSAT.
A cognitive skill that comes easily to one learner may completely elude another.
- Most people find 4 – 6 months to be the ideal LSAT study time for acquiring the skills and confidence necessary to score highly on the test.
- It is recommended to spend between 250 – 450 total hours on your LSAT prep. This translates to 4 – 8 hours of daily study time, studying 5 days a week for 3 – 6 months.
- Give yourself plenty of time to study. The more prep time you put in the more improvement you are likely to get on your LSAT score.
- Study smart AND hard. There is no shortcut around this.
- For some students, it can take as long as 18 months to become comfortable enough with the LSAT test format, allowing you to perform at your optimum level of ability. So don’t rush it. When it comes to LSAT prep, it simply takes as long as it takes.
LSAT Study Length Considerations
The Law School Admission Test differs from other standardized tests in that the LSAT tests mental skills and abilities, rather than content knowledge of a particular subject matter.
Here, you are not required to have strong mathematical skills and neither are you expected to understand the law.
Rather, the LSAT primarily and solely tests your analytical and logical thinking skills.
This being the case, you’d be tempted to believe that you can walk into the LSAT with minimum prep because what are you studying for anyway? Right?
There may not be any ‘studying’ related to the LSAT, per se, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need to prepare for the test and prep intensely, if I may add.
To understand how much study time you will need to put in, you first need to understand what LSAT prep actually entails.
a. Specialized Thinking: As you start taking LSAT practice tests you will quickly discover that the kind of thinking required on the LSAT doesn’t come naturally to most people.
You would need to build your logical thinking, critical thinking, and analysis skills, and learn how to quickly employ these skills within tight time constraints.
You will need to rewire your thought process and this can be quite a lengthy undertaking.
b. Systematic Methodology: From basic logic to advanced test-taking tactics, you would need to build your LSAT skills cumulatively, using proven methods to apply systematic learning.
c. Deliberate Practice: You would need to work with full effort and attention. Rather than just taking endless practice tests, you will also need to be intensely analytical, in discerning what led you to the wrong answer.
Realize that real review takes time. There is simply no way around it.
d. Expert Feedback: Whether the feedback comes in the form of a tutor, mentor, or detailed answer explanations in LSAT prep books, the efficiency of your LSAT prep will highly rely on the quality of this feedback.
Lastly, it is important to also realize that your baseline score in contrast to your desired score will play a role in determining how long you end up studying for the test.
Ultimately, the fact is that if you are looking to get a higher score of 170+, then you will likely need to study for a much longer time than someone whose target score is 150, for instance.
How Long Do I Need To Study For The LSAT?
Preparing for the LSAT can be equated to playing a sport or learning a musical instrument, in that this is purely a skills-based test that requires plenty of continuous effort.
That said, what comes easily to one person may prove incredibly challenging to another, and this is absolutely true when it comes to the analytical nature of the LSAT.
One student may learn the art of diagramming formal logic in as little as 9 days, whereas another student may take up to a month to learn this skill.
While one student may find that argument analysis comes easily to them, another student may struggle to grasp the concept altogether.
The time it takes to master the different LSAT skills is unpredictable. This is why regardless of the type of learner you are, it is advisable that you give yourself plenty of time for your LSAT preparation.
One student may automatically excel in the logical reasoning section but struggle with reading comprehension. For another student, it may be the reverse whereby they breeze through reading comprehension but struggle with analytical reasoning.
It may take one student 8 months to get to 170, while another may get there in 4 months.
If you are in school full-time, while still studying for the LSAT full-time, you could get your diagnostic test scores from 132 to about 178 in about 8 months.
Keep in mind though that this is on the extreme end, assuming you are studying every day, putting in about 10 or so hours of study time daily.
The higher your target score, the more intense and crazy your LSAT prep may get, requiring you to push yourself to extremes. Of course, this is not the most advisable route to take and certainly will not work for many students.
If you are the kind of learner who needs extended breaks and more time for improvement, you could get from 142 to 170 in about 18 months.
If you get burnt out quickly then this longer study period would be the better route to take, allowing you to study at a more manageable pace.
If you have graduated college and are therefore studying full-time with a daily relaxed study plan, you could get your LSAT scores from 150 to 171 in about 1.5 months.
Just as well, with the same relaxed LSAT study schedule you could take your score from 167 in the practice exams to 180 on the real exam in about 3 months or so.
The LSAT is dreadful, at first, and you will certainly share the same sentiments in the earlier weeks of your LSAT prep. However, once you get really good at it, you will find that practice tests will get significantly easier, and enjoyable even.
So at the very least, allow yourself to hang in there long enough until you get to the fun part.
How Many Hours Of LSAT Prep Do I Need?
It is recommended that you spend between 250 – 450 total hours on your LSAT prep, ideally spread out over no less than 3 months of focused study time.
If you study consistently for 5.5 hours a day, 6 days a week for 12 weeks, you will have put in 396 hours of study time by the end of your LSAT prep.
That is pretty manageable, and 400 hours of focused studying are guaranteed to get you well over the 160 score mark.
Although 3 months of prep time works, it is ideal to spread your LSAT prep over 4 to 6 months if you wish to see greater improvement and be more conversant with the test.
Suppose you were to treat studying for the LSAT like a full-time job, whereby you are studying consistently, daily, for 5 days a week.
8 hours of daily study time translates to 40 hours of LSAT prep weekly. By the end of your 6 months, you will have studied for 960 hours! This is more than sufficient prep time if you are aiming for top-tier Law Schools.
Ultimately, the whole point of LSAT prep is to develop the necessary cognitive skills, as well as build the confidence you need for test day. For some students, this may translate into 400 hours of study time, and for others, this may translate into 1,000 hours of study time.
Is 2 Months Enough To Study For LSAT?
Logically, no. 2 months is not enough to study for the LSAT.
2 months is not sufficient time for you to have built the necessary cognitive skills to have adopted the thought process that is needed on the LSAT.
At the same time, 2 months is insufficient time for you to have learned the test and mastered how to get the timing right.
Remember that a huge part of this exam, aside from the necessary mental skills and abilities tested, is the time constraints within which you have to answer a question correctly.
Therefore taking 2 months to prepare for this test would be a huge gamble that will likely not play out in your favor.
It is worth noting however that all this depends on your current level of knowledge and experience with the material covered on the LSAT.
If you had studied the material beforehand, perhaps during a previous LSAT attempt, then you may be able to effectively cover substantial ground in 2 months.
However, if you are starting your LSAT prep from scratch, you will definitely need more study time. Unless of course, you simply want to get the test over with and are not particularly keen on a great score or a high score increase.
Is 3 Months Enough Time To Study For The LSAT?
In order to determine if 3 months would be sufficient LSAT study time, for you, you first need to answer the following:
- What is your diagnostic test baseline score?
- What is your LSAT target score?
- Are you one of those students who just ‘get it’ and are good at taking the LSAT?
- How much time can you dedicate to studying each day?
- What other commitments do you have going on in your life?
Yes, you can study for the LSAT in 3 months. However, this will highly depend on the kind of learner that you are.
If you have a good grasp of the cognitive skills tested on the LSAT, you can get away with putting in a mere 2 hours of study time daily for a few weeks, and still manage to score a 165+ on the exam.
If you are not a great test taker, then you may have to push yourself more intensely, putting in no less than 25 hours of weekly study time drilling practice questions, and tackling a practice test on the weekends.
Regardless, if you are hell-bent on a particular test date, it is possible to work within a three-month period and end up with a stellar LSAT score.
However, a 4-month study period is more advisable as this allows you to prep enough so you have the material down cold.
FAQs About How Long To Study For LSAT
How Many Hours A Day Should I Study For The LSAT?
When studying for the LSAT, aim to study for 4 – 8 hours a day, culminating to about 20 – 40 hours of weekly study time.
20 hours a week is sufficient study time on the lower end, and anything above 40 hours a week is likely to result in burnout.
When’s The Best Time To Take The LSAT?
The best time to take the LSAT is at least 2 years before you plan to enroll.
This means that if you intend to jump right from undergraduate to graduate school, you should take the LSAT in your junior year. This allows for sufficient time to re-test, if need be, and get your Law School applications submitted in good time.
Another handy tip is to take the exam during spring or summer. This allows you to study during the winter and early spring months whereby there are far fewer distractions compared to studying in the summer months.
Can You Study For The LSAT In 4 Months?
Yes, you can study for the LSAT in 4 months.
As a matter of fact, for most students, 4-6 months tends to be the sweet spot of studying, giving you enough time to really absorb the LSAT material, implement the strategies, and work on your test-taking timing without feeling rushed or experiencing burnout.