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The Right Way to Drill

Many people suggest taking 60+ practice tests to improve on the LSAT. And while this may be true for some, there are many who have taken every test in existence without seeing ANY progress.

Besides, I'm not here to just tell you how to eventually improve. I'm here to tell you how to improve as efficiently as possible.

Here's the key...are you ready?

You must drill.

The LSAT is a pattern-based exam. It has to be, because all standardized tests contain patterns. They are recycling the same types of games, inferences, passages, and answer choices over and over.

The reason why you may be struggling with the LSAT is because you do not recognize these patterns, so every test seems completely different from the last.

The reason drilling is so important is it allows you to see these patterns.

If you just take a bunch of practice tests, you may eventually spot these patterns. But there are patterns within specific question types and game types as well. Because these various categories are spaced out more within practice tests, it can be more challenging to identify the repeating concepts.

So, the way to overcome this is by drilling questions by type. When you do this, you are much more likely to spot the similarities within the question type. Here is how to effectively drill if you are self-studying.

Step 1: Learn the Prerequisites

Although there are patterns within individual question categories, there are also certain recurring concepts that can appear in ALL question types. You must learn these before attempting to attack questions, or else certain questions will not make sense no matter how skilled you are at that individual type. Here are the prerequisites for each section type. Most prep companies should offer advice regarding each of these concepts. Select a specific section you want to work on, learn the prerequisites, and then move onto Phase 2 within that specific section type.

Logic Games:

-Identifying the important parts of the Overview/Opening Passage

-How to identify each game type

-How to create basic diagrams for the gameboard and rules

-Conditional Reasoning

Logical Reasoning:

-Identifying structure (premise/conclusion/sub-conclusion)

-How to identify each question type

-Identifying various trap answer choices

-Conditional Reasoning

Reading Comprehension:

-Understanding what to look for and highlight within the passage

Step 2: Untimed Drilling

Don't try to run before you can walk. Throw away the clock and focus solely on accuracy. At this stage, you are focusing on an individual question type. Learn the strategies for how to approach that specific question type. Then, use the following step-by-step process.

  1. Attempt a single question

  2. Read through the explanations for the question

  3. Immediately redo the question until you are able to complete it with high confidence and with no hesitation

  4. Move onto the next question and repeat steps 1-3

  5. Repeat the questions the next day before moving onto a new set of questions

You may be asking yourself "Why do I have to do all this repetition if I already remember the answer?"

Well, you'll be surprised how many times you will redo a question and still get it wrong. It's not because something is wrong with you. It's just because certain questions are challenging and confusing.

But that's not the only reason. It's not just about knowing the answer. It's about knowing how to get there. Always ask yourself "If this were the first time seeing a similar question to this one, would I be able to arrive at the correct answer? Did I come up with a process to avoid this mistake in the future?" If not, there is still something you need to learn. Figure out how you could have approached the passage or game differently to arrive at the correct answer.

You don't need to do a crazy amount. Aim for 10-15 questions each day. You'll be surprised how much this helps if you approach this correctly and consistently. The repetition will help you store passages and the lessons you learned into your long term memory, helping you apply them in future questions more effectively. Don't move onto another question or game type until you are consistently getting them correct with a high level of confidence.

During this phase, you should also be trying to figure out any patterns within your mistakes to figure out if there is anything you need to review and focus on.

Step 3: Timed Drilling

Once you feel comfortable with the specific question type, you're ready to put yourself to the test. Time yourself on individual questions or take a timed section to track your overall performance. As counterintuitive as it may sound, avoid thinking about the time as you go through the question, as this will only make you throw the strategies you worked so hard to obtain out the window. The goal is to be able to complete the question within a given time frame even though you are taking your time. I know it sounds crazy, but trust me--it can be done. If you struggle with this, it simply just means you need more practice and repetition.

These are the steps you should take before moving onto timed practice tests.

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.

Interested in getting personalized help? Sign up for private tutoring. I offer a free 2-hour trial session.

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