In the past, we have written about ways to get a good LSAT score, and even ways to get a 180 on the LSAT. However, people often do not focus on the things they should NOT do if they want to get a good LSAT score. Test-takers learn many different LSAT tips and strategies from many different sources. It is often difficult to sift through all of them and, ultimately, decide what works best . . . and what to avoid.
Here, we list and briefly identify the 21 things you should NOT do if you want to get a good LSAT score.
21 Ways NOT To Get A Good LSAT Score
1) Do nothing
This should be readily apparent. If you do nothing to prepare for the LSAT, chances are you will not do well (unless you’re a genius). So . . . do something . . . anything, alright?
Taking an LSAT prep course that teaches you the logic on the LSAT and emphasizes practicing with actual LSAT exams is the best way to prepare for the exam and get a good LSAT score. (Here is a free LSAT logic guide and free logic course to get you started.) The best way not to get a good LSAT score? Subscribe to the mentality that commercial LSAT courses are just out to take your money, and that you could do well on the exam through self-study. We aren’t saying it can’t be done. But the odds of getting a good LSAT score would be against you.
3) Spend every waking second studying for the LSAT
Spending 10 hours per day, seven days per week for six months may help you cover every LSAT ever administered. But it will also burn you out. Devote just a few hours a day to studying, and do so for two to three months. Getting a good LSAT score is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t over-do it.
4) Use every single study aid you can get your hands on
Many LSAT study aids on the market will guarantee you that elusive good LSAT score. By trying to read them all, and memorizing every piece of advice ever given on the LSAT, your head will likely explode. You will also find that some advice will conflict with other advice, and that conundrum will confuse you. Instead of taking an all-of-the-above approach, choose a select few, and stick to them.
5) Learn the logic, but don’t practice
We’ve emphasized before that, to get a good LSAT score, you need to learn the logic that the LSAT tests. However, being able to identify the various logical principles on the LSAT is one thing. The ability to recognize these principles as they appear on the exam, in context, is another thing entirely. To succeed in doing that, you must practice as much as possible with actual LSAT exams. If you do not take the time to practice, you will not be able to recognize the logic on the exam, nor will you become familiar with the question types and how these logical principles manifest themselves on the exam. This is usually a recipe for . . . you guessed it . . . a low LSAT score.
6) Practice, but skip the logic
An alternative to the approach above is jumping straight into practice. The benefit of this approach is that you become familiar with the exam very quickly. You may even score well after a few tries. However, this approach lacks the substantive foundation necessary to understand what you’re actually doing. Why did you get certain questions wrong? How do you diagram those logic games? What is conditional reasoning anyway? Practicing without understanding these concepts is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel.
7) Practice with made-up LSAT questions
The best way to become familiar with the logic on the LSAT and the exam in general is to practice using actual LSAT exams and actual LSAT questions. Want to know how not to become familiar with the exam or prevent yourself from achieving that good LSAT score? Practice with made-up questions! Some LSAT prep courses or tutors may use made-up questions or examples to teach you the exam. The problem with that approach is that it undermines the very goal of becoming familiar with the LSAT. You will not understand how the test writers prepare LSAT questions, and you will not be able to anticipate what the next exam will look like. It’s like going into the exam with blinders on.
8) Don’t review incorrect answers on your practice exams
An effective way to identify your weaknesses on the LSAT is to identify and understand which questions you are answering incorrectly. That way, you can work on improving those weaknesses, which, in turn, will help you improve your LSAT score. If, on the other hand, you don’t care about those pesky weaknesses (or a good LSAT score), then don’t bother!
9) Study in a group
Group study is not the most efficient means of studying for the LSAT. Learning the logic on the LSAT principally requires drilling and practice. Group study will largely prevent you from spending time on drilling or engaging in the repetitive training required to master LSAT logic.
10) Master the skill of speed reading for use on the Reading Comprehension section
You’re not supposed to speed read or skim through the Reading Comprehension passages. If you do, you’ll miss critical information . . . and answer questions incorrectly.
11) Don’t bother to figure out where you stand . . . ever
Speaking of blinders, one of the most effective ways to remain in the dark about this test is never to figure out how you’re doing with your score. Wisdom dictates that, at the beginning of your LSAT prep, you should take a practice test cold, just to see where you stand and for assessing how high a hill you need to climb. Further, as you get into the practice-intensive portion of your LSAT prep, you should measure your performance to see how you’re doing. Not doing either of these things leaves you in the dark, without a clue, and farther than you’d like from a good LSAT score.
12) Get drunk or high the night before the big exam
Why? Why would you do that?
13) Wake up the morning of the exam and eat five candy bars (or eat a lot of sugar in the days leading up to the exam)
Want to know what a lot of sugar does to your brain? Bad stuff . . . like poor memory formation.
14) Wait until test day to figure out how to get to your test center location
Imagine waking up the morning of the LSAT and discovering that you have 20 minutes to make what is normally a 35 minute trip. Or realizing, on that Monday afternoon test administration, that the parking situation at your test center isn’t optimal. These are sure-fire ways to lose valuable time and sacrifice critical points on the exam.
15) When the exam begins, skip the directions
The LSAT tests you on how well you follow difficult and silly directions. If you don’t pay attention, you will, again, miss critical information.
16) Day dream during the exam
If you can’t go 3 1/2 hours without day dreaming about the girl next door, the musical you watched last night on Lifetime, or the identity of the Reverse-Flash, you’re going to have a difficult time getting through – and answering every question on – the LSAT (let alone coming close to a good LSAT score).
17) Make assumptions about the information in a question
Everything you need to answer a question will be on the page or pages in front of you. You should use only the information that the question provides. Thus, if you want to completely torch yourself on this test, assume some additional information (that has no connection to the LSAT) based on the information in front of you. Or you could omit some other part of the question or assume some part of it is not important.
18) Rely on outside knowledge to answer Reading Comprehension questions
All Reading Comprehension questions can and should be answered using only the information in the passage. Therefore, an effective way to blow a question is to answer it using your own knowledge (you know, because – lucky you! – this passage is about computer science, and you’re like a total super-duper expert in that computer stuff).
19) Allow the LSAT to frustrate you
The LSAT is designed to mess with your head. So, if you let some insane Logic Game or silly Logical Reasoning question get you angry, the LSAT wins. And you lose.
20) Skip or don’t answer questions
The LSAT doesn’t penalize you for guessing. By skipping a question, you lose that 20% chance of getting that question right. You have nothing to lose by guessing. So, if you want to completely deprive yourself of the slimmest of chances of getting a question right, skip it.
21) Don’t keep track of time
Who needs time, right? (Or a good LSAT watch.) Spend 20 minutes on that first Logic Game. Let that second Reading Comprehension passage consume 15 minutes of your life. Focus, after all, should be prioritized . . . over a good LSAT score.
And that’s a wrap! If you want to get a good LSAT score, don’t do any of the above. Or try to avoid as much of the above as possible.