The LSAT is a test that demands intense concentration and attention to detail – but that can be exhausting if you haven’t yet built up the skills of staying focused while you study.

It can be so easy to get distracted. Or to postpone the hard stuff in favor of an easier task like watching one more tutorial video. You may also be struggling with ADHD, or just other events in your life, which make it tough to hold yourself to a study schedule.

But without deeply focused study sessions, it’s challenging to make the kind of progress you need on the LSAT.

So with that in mind, here are some suggestions for building your focus on the LSAT. I’ll skip the advice you probably already know, like turning off notifications for social media or leaving your phone in another room. I’m also not going to make any recommendations about ADHD treatments (although I will give you this quick reminder to apply for extended time accommodations).

 

Tip #1: Focusmate

Hands down, the resource that has helped me the most when I need to do focused work is a program called Focusmate. If you’re struggling with staying focused and motivated in your LSAT studies, this has always been my top recommendation.

(I also want to state upfront that this is not sponsored by Focusmate, nor am I receiving any sort of commission from them. I simply use their program regularly and know firsthand how helpful it can be.)

 

What is Focusmate?

Focusmate is a platform that allows users to schedule focused work sessions, which are then completed with the accountability of another user on the platform. Essentially, it’s like co-working over something like Zoom, except that you and your partner are working on completely different things.

Sessions run 25, 50, or 75 minutes, and have the following structure:

  1. Check in with your partner. Tell them what you will be working on during the session.
  2. Get to work! People usually mute themselves out of politeness, but you’ll see them working and they’ll see you. You can also screenshare if you want the accountability not to open another tab.
  3. At the end of your session, check in again. Report on your progress, celebrate your partner’s progress, and wish them luck!

The program is free for 3 sessions per week a very affordable $5 per month for unlimited sessions. The program also allows you to set gender preferences for your match and to snooze, block, or favorite partners after working with them. I’m a shy person, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable using the platform.

 

Tip #2: Inspire yourself

I know that for myself, I do better at staying focused when I surround myself with information about productivity and focused work. Whether it’s a book or a podcast, these materials help me keep my work ethic front of mind while also giving me practical suggestions to try.

Two of the books I have found the most helpful have been Deep Work, by Cal Newport, and Atomic Habits, by James Clear.

Deep Work discusses the importance of carefully cultivating the ability to focus intensely on intellectually challenging tasks, which he argues is increasingly valuable in the modern workplace (and which I would argue is a key factor in LSAT and law school success). He provides suggestions for how to build up this skill.

Atomic Habits provides a practical discussion of how to build new habits without just relying on willpower. If you like the book, I also recommend checking out James Clear’s website and newsletter.

 

Tip #3: Define goals for each study session

Personal development guru Michael Hyatt is credited with saying “What gets scheduled gets done.” But sometimes just scheduling a study session isn’t enough to guarantee that you will be able to stay focused while you study.

If you’ve ever found yourself worrying about LG while you are studying LR, or wondering if you should interrupt your flaw question drill to re-read that chapter on conditional reasoning, you’d likely benefit from writing out clearly defined goals for each study session.

Here are some example goals:

  • Drill three grouping games with numerical distribution.
  • Take notes on Powerscore LR – Chapter 4, then drill questions to reinforce.
  • Review PT 73 Section 3 and write list of takeaways.

Write these goals in whatever system you use to keep track of your schedule, whether that is Google Calendar or a paper planner. Or if you’d like something more LSAT-specific, then check out my LSAT Study Planner.

 

Putting things into perspective

It can be challenging to build focus for an exam that is as cognitively demanding as the LSAT. It might seem overwhelming to think that you’ll have to maintain this intense focus for hours on test day.

(And it can be even harder for those of you with small children. Hats off to you. It’s really not easy.)

But think of it this way: the skills you build now will serve you so well later. When you are in law school, when you’re prepping for the bar exam, and when you are a practicing attorney, you’ll thank yourself for the effort you took to cultivate your ability to focus on the LSAT.

This post may contain an affiliate link or a referral link. For more information, please see my disclosure here.


LSAT Notes

 

If this post resonated with you, I’d love to stay in touch. About once a week, in the form of an email newsletter, I share useful strategies and insights I’ve picked up during my years teaching the LSAT. “LSAT Notes” you can use to study more effectively and raise your score.

Often these are inspired by breakthroughs my students had that week. Other times, they respond to questions students like you have. My goal is to provide motivation and encouragement along with knowledge about the test and advice about how to study.

Learn more about it here, or to subscribe, simply fill in the form below.

 

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