Five Key Tips for Managing LSAT Anxiety

The LSAT is an important test. A couple extra points on your score may mean the difference between acceptance or denial to your choice law school. Or between getting—or not getting—an amazing scholarship. Even the most mellow law school applicants often feel some pressure while preparing for the LSAT. With that in mind, here are five key tips for managing LSAT anxiety so you can perform your best on test day. 

  1. Plan in Advance

Studying for the LSAT takes time. Many test-takers spend at least a few months getting ready. From the beginning of your prep, it is important to consider your diagnostic score and your goal score to come up with a reasonable expectation for the time you’ll need to spend studying. You can eliminate unnecessary stress and pressure by giving yourself plenty of time to work up to your target LSAT score. Slow and steady wins the race!

  1. Study Under Testing Conditions

Athletes talk about “practicing like you play” to get ready for the big game. The same principle applies to studying for the LSAT. When you study, you should treat it as seriously as you would other work or school commitments. Not only does this involve sticking to the plan you set out for yourself, it means practicing under live testing conditions. Taking timed exams in an environment that replicates what you’ll face on actual test day can help you manage LSAT anxiety and feel confident once test day arrives. 

  1. Flexibility Is Key

The LSAT test makers love surprises. Odds are good that you’re bound to see something unusual on test day, but don’t let that derail you. Throughout your LSAT prep, try and adopt the mindset that you love surprises, too. You can start to train your brain in this way by using a wide variety of practice material. Take as many practice LSATs as you can get your hands on—all of the disclosed tests are available for purchase. 

Different types of questions or logic games seem to fade in and out of style over the years, so taking earlier tests can expose you to things you might not have seen on the more recent tests. Your goal should be to tackle as many different types of questions as possible. That way, when you see something unusual on the actual test, you’ll be comfortable handling the unknown!

  1. Control What You Can 

When it comes to the LSAT (plus law school and life, for that matter), there is only so much you can control. Manage your LSAT anxiety by focusing on what you can control. This means creating and sticking to your plan and putting in the hours. The night before your test, make sure you have all the materials you’ll need in the same place. While you’re bound to feel a little nervous on test day, preparing beforehand can help reduce nerves.

  1. Remember, the LSAT Doesn’t Test Your Self-Worth

Studying for the LSAT can be a frustrating and humbling experience, but you should try to keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, it’s just a test. If you don’t get the score you want, you can retake it. If something happens that throws a wrench in your preparations, you can reschedule it. 

Here is a list of things the LSAT will test: your logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension. Here are some things the LSAT does not test: your self-worth, your intelligence, or how good a lawyer you’ll be.