I had the opportunity of talking with prospective LSAT students at a Kaplan event last week. A young woman was telling me that her plan is to take the June test but that right now she is very busy with classes, and probably not going to start prepping until the middle of May. She admitted that she had seen an LSAT prior to our event and while she was surprised at the content of the exam, she expressed confidence that she could probably do well enough with about 3 weeks of work. My concern must have shown on my face, because she asked me if I thought her plan was a bad one.
Given the constraints that people have to work under, it would never to be a good idea to let someone know that their proposed approach to the LSAT is not good, yet, for most waiting until 3 weeks before the LSAT is not necessarily the best approach. The June test in particular has one or two twists that should be taken into consideration in addition to the suggested long-term approach to the LSAT.
The June test is administered on a Monday, beginning at approximately 12 noon; the date for this year is June 10. The Monday administration can also mean the need to take a day off from work or school. Unlike the three other administrations which are on Saturday mornings, taking the June test means spending several hours in the morning waiting for the exam to begin. This can result in additional stress. In addition, the LSAT itself is a long exam – roughly 3 ½ hours of test time, plus breaks, and additional administrative time for test booklets to be collected, distributed and counted. For those taking the LSAT in June, this can mean being at the test center from 11:30 until after 4:00. Energy from breakfast will begin to wear off, and it is not always easy to have a good lunch right before starting the test. As the test goes into early afternoon, test takers will be combatting not only test fatigue, but tiredness of the day. For many test takers, it can be more difficult to maintain energy and focus at 3 in the afternoon as opposed to 1.
At the very least, now is a good time to start thinking about how the time of day will affect test day performance and incorporating that into test day practice. Over the next 3 ½ months to test day try to incorporate practice at a time that will mimic test day timing. We generally encourage our students to take practice tests on Saturday mornings – for the June test, try to incorporate practice tests on Mondays if possible; if that is not an option, strive for late morning practice on weekends.
With a fair amount of time until the June test, it is the perfect time to begin prepping for the test overall. We will talk more next week about things to do to get ready. Can you be ready for the June LSAT in 3 weeks? Maybe. Should you wait until May to begin prepping? Probably not.