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How To Overcome An LSAT Plateau

The most frustrating LSAT experience is to study for hours on end, only to see your score stagnate. Trust me, you're not alone on this. Almost everyone who studies for the LSAT experiences this at some point. Let's discuss why people plateau and how to overcome this hurdle.

But first, it's worth mentioning that plateaus don't necessarily mean you are doing something wrong. For many people it's just part of the game. Consider the following example--suppose you did a logic game and thoroughly reviewed it. It turns out you made a mistake with a particular question, and you learned from it. You then get excited and do a new game, only to find out that your score didn't improve. You begin to think all that studying was a waste of time.

But it wasn't, as long as you truly learned from your mistake. You have to remember that not every game is the same, and the question of the same type you missed won't appear on every single game. You will learn little lessons from each game, passage, or question and in the moment you won't feel much of a difference from it. But overtime, all of those tiny lessons add up to massive changes.

Think about it this way--if you are trying to get in shape, do you see your body change every single day? No, you don't. But weeks or months at a time, you see gradual or even sudden progress. The same thing applies to the LSAT. For this reason, many people stay stagnant for a long time and then suddenly see a dramatic increase in their score because everything suddenly clicked for them.

Also, plateaus can vary from person to person. Some people are naturally able to learn logic games very quickly, but other section types stagnate, or vice versa. This is why I recommend giving yourself ample time to study for the LSAT. It's hard to predict exactly how long it will take you to reach your target score, so it is much better to overestimate than to underestimate. Sometimes, it's not that you're doing anything wrong. For many people, it's just a matter of time.

That being said, there are certainly things you can do to break through LSAT plateaus more effectively.

1. Focus less on the overall score and more on individual concepts

Don't think just because your LSAT score stagnates that means you aren't improving. Some sections are harder than others. If you got a particularly challenging section compared to previous ones, the fact you got the same score actually could mean you improved!

So, rather than focusing on how you did on the score overall, focus on how you did on specific question types. If you prioritized Strengthen questions, for example, and your score dropped while you got 100% accuracy on Strengthen questions, that's a win! As long as you keep adding more and more skills to your toolbelt, your score can't help but to naturally go up overtime.

2. Don't just take full sections or practice tests.

Taking timed sections and LSAT practice tests is extremely important. But if you are missing roughly the same number of questions over and over again, it's likely you are making the same mistakes over and over again. And this means you are likely not recognizing specific patterns in the test.

Only taking practice tests can make it harder to spot patterns because questions are spaced out further from each other. For example, suppose you are trying to improve with grouping games. You won't necessarily see grouping games in every single logic games section, and even if you do, they will be mixed up with other game types. But keep in mind that each LSAT game type, question type, and passage has its own patterns. The best way to identify them is by drilling questions or games of that type back-to-back.

Focus on one or two concepts for a week or however long it takes for you to feel confident in that subject. This means you should have relatively high accuracy even in the harder questions. Then, take a full-length practice test or multiple sections to see if you are consistently doing better in that concept. If everything looks better, you can move onto the next concept and continue doing this until you see progress.

3. Be patient and consistent

Even if you are studying as efficiently as possible, that does not mean you will see results overnight. But if you have not been studying almost every single day, you're missing out on tons of progress that could have been made. You don't need to study a lot, but just one game or one logical reasoning question can do wonders for you in the long run. But the opposite is also true if you are studying inconsistently. Have a goal of the bare minimum you should complete every single day, and don't ever skip it. Make it your utmost priority. And of course, on days where you can handle more, do more!

Stay motivated!


Cho from Impetus LSAT

If you are interested in learning more about how to study, check out more free LSAT tips or read my book on how to study.

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