This post is part one of a series on LSAT Study Strategies. In this article, we’ll talk about setting goals and creating a plan for your study. With the new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and you may be finding yourself setting grand goals for your LSAT score. But before we get too far into the year, I want to share a few ways you can set yourself up for success with your LSAT goal.
(If you’re curious about what NOT to do, check out my post on how NOT to study for the LSAT.)
Center your LSAT study strategies around a habit
If your goal on the LSAT is “get a 170,” it can be hard to see what exactly you should be doing today, tomorrow, and three weeks from now. There’s nothing you can check off on your list each day. The goal describes an end product, but doesn’t tell you how to actually get there. You’re left spinning your wheels, and you’ll inevitably be less efficient or even skip some study sessions.
But if your resolution is to “study half an hour before work” or “do more thorough practice test reviews”, then you have something definite you can do right now and check off your list. By focusing on these habits, you’re also a lot more likely to keep working at it, and you’ll likely make more progress than you would have with an end product goal. Strong study habits are therefore one of the best LSAT study strategies you can develop.
This idea of focusing on the process rather than the results is a key point in research about productivity and habit formation. If you want to read more, check out James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It’s one of the best books on habit formation I’ve read recently.
Little habits make big changes
Speaking of habits, it’s important to make sure you’re seeing yourself up for success by choosing the right habits to focus on.
I personally tend to overestimate what I can do, so I’m often guilty of committing to new habits that are far too ambitious. I start out strong, but then when life gets in the way and I miss a day, I get detailed and all too often abandon the whole habit.
A much better LSAT study strategy is to create tiny, cornerstone habits. Ones that don’t take much effort and which are therefore more sustainable. But ones that also have a big impact and that you can build into later. With a cornerstone habit, you can effectively attach a second habit once the first is firmly established.
For example, if you want to run more often, a cornerstone habit you can focus on would be putting on your running shoes. It’s not too hard to do, and doing it makes it easier to decide to actually run. And once you have a habit of putting on your running shoes, you can add another easy habit like starting your favorite podcast or opening the front door.
If you struggle with consistency in your LSAT prep, for example, make it a habit to open one of your books each day. That’s it. You’ll naturally do much more than just open the book. But if you promised yourself to study a chapter each day, you’d likely skip days and end up studying less and less over time.
Get accountability for your LSAT study strategy
When we tell someone about our plans, we become a lot more likely to actually follow through and reach our goal. Google anything asking the lines of “the power of accountability” and you’ll likely find articles touting a study by the American Society of Training and Development which found that being accountable to someone can make you 65% likely to achieve your goal, while having ongoing accountability meetings with your accountability partner can drive your success rate up to 95%. That’s huge!
You can cash in on this effect by telling someone your strategy for your LSAT studies. Just be sure to commit to a process rather than an outcome so that you have something concrete you can discuss when you check in with your accountability partner.
If you need accountability, you may be interested in my guided self-study program, which has built in accountability checks.
So there you have it. Three ways to refine your LSAT study strategy for the new year. I’d love to hear what your goals are. Send me an email or share publicly on the Resolution Test Prep Facebook page for some added accountability.
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.
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