How to Study for the LSATs

By Janet Siroto · December 08, 2023 · 10 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

How to Study for the LSATs

No doubt, law school is a major undertaking requiring a lot of hard work as you train for a challenging and rewarding career. And a key part of getting accepted into law school can be scoring well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). What’s more, a high LSAT score can potentially increase a student’s scholarship and other funding opportunities to pay for law school.

But getting an LSAT score you’re proud of can take some planning and preparation. To help with that, this guide will break down how to study for the LSATs. In addition, you’ll learn some helpful study tips, test-taking strategies, and important dates to remember.

What Is the LSAT?

The LSAT is a standardized test that many law schools require. It is considered to be a good predictor of how well a student will perform in law school.

The test contains four sections, and test takers typically have about three hours to complete it. The LSAT score range goes from 120 to 180, with the average score currently being approximately 152.

💡 Quick Tip: Get flexible terms and competitive rates when you refinance your student loan with SoFi.

What Does the LSAT Cover?

The LSAT is administered in two distinct sections. One section is a multiple choice exam that is divided into categories including logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.

There is also a writing section that is administered separately from the multiple choice portion of the LSAT. Test takers are allotted 35 minutes for each of the four sections required for the exam, and there’s a 10-minute break between sections two and three. These sections are:

•   Logical reasoning, 24 – 26 questions

•   Logic games (aka analytical reasoning), 22 – 24 questions

•   Reading comprehension, 26 – 28 questions

•   Experimental section (typically used to develop questions for future LSATs), 22 – 28 questions

•   Writing. This section is administered separately from the multiple choice portion of the exam, but test takers will still be limited to 35 minutes.

The writing section gives test takers a prompt to articulate a stance on. The written section is available to test takers eight days prior to their testing date.

It can be taken at any time during this testing window and is proctored online using secure software. Although this section is not used to calculate the score, it is still sent to law schools and used to some degree for admissions.

The experimental portion of the exam is also unscored. This section is used internally for measuring the difficulty and effectiveness of LSAT questions. However, test takers will not be aware of which section is experimental.

The LSAT can be taken in person or remotely via a proctored online portal.

Recommended: What Is the Average Student Loan Debt After College?

What Is a Good Score on the LSAT?

As mentioned above, the LSAT scoring system ranges from 120 to 180, with a current average of 152.

What qualifies as a good score will vary depending on your outlook and how competitive the law schools are that you plan on applying to. For instance, if you want to attend one of the top-tier law schools in America (that is, one of the top five programs), you will likely need at least a 170 on the LSAT.

💡 Quick Tip: It might be beneficial to look for a refinancing lender that offers extras. SoFi members, for instance, can qualify for rate discounts and have access to financial advisors, networking events, and more — at no extra cost.

How Do I Prepare for the LSAT?

Preparing for the LSAT can involve time and energy. There are a variety of methods. Some people choose just one and stick with it. Others combine a couple of techniques. There’s not one best way to study for the LSAT; it’s a personal choice.

Preparing for the LSAT has become a full-fledged industry, with a slew of specialized tutors, study guides, and courses offering their services. Among the options:

•   LSAT preptests

•   LSAT prep books

•   Test prep companies and tutoring

•   Official LSAT Prep on Khan Academy

•   Study groups with other students/prospective test takers (such as prelaw students at your college).

Read on to learn more about a couple of the methods.

Taking Official LSAT Prep Tests

How to study for the LSAT? Get organized before you start planning your applications for postgrad education. One popular option to consider is signing up for the LSAT Prep® on LSAC’s LawHub.

LSAC stands for the Law School Admission Council, a nonprofit that supports access, equity, and fairness in law school admissions.

By signing up, you can get access to four full practice tests. If you want further practice, you can purchase a service known as LawHub Advantage. This provides one year of access to more than 75 full Official LSAT PrepTests® for $115.

Recommended: What Is the Maximum Student Loan Amount for a Lifetime?

Tailoring a Study Plan To Your Needs and Goals

Following your first pretest, you now have a starting point to build from to reach your target score. In some cases, you may excel in one section and struggle in another.

Does reading comprehension have you stumped? As part of your LSAT preparation, brushing up on vocabulary and dedicating more time to related practice questions could be a better use of your time if you already have a knack for logic games.

If your GPA is on the lower end of the spectrum, you might want to set a goal for scoring higher than a law school’s median LSAT score to help improve your candidacy.

As noted above, you have an array of options in terms of how to prepare for the LSAT. For some prospective test-takers, paying a tutor or for a prep class can help keep them accountable. For others, the social aspect of joining a study group at their college can be the right fit. And still others may prefer online learning as they work towards law school admission.

Making a LSAT Study Schedule That Works For You

The amount of time you plan to study for the LSAT may be influenced by how much you’d like to improve your score, based on the pretest.

•   A general bare minimum baseline is around 120 hours. Those that are interested in a significant score boost or other factors may require more time.

•   Kaplan Test Prep generally recommends that students spend between 150 and 300 hours, spread out in 20 to 25 hour weekly increments, preparing and studying for the LSAT.

•   Many LSAT takers are also juggling other responsibilities, like finishing an undergraduate degree, working, and taking care of family.

•   Consider all of your responsibilities and demands on your time as you build your study schedule. The goal is to set a schedule that will help you prepare effectively and prevent burnout.

•   Bridging a narrower gap between your initial score and target score may require less study time to achieve, but individuals with higher LSAT scores may be more likely to secure scholarships to help pay for school.

•   If you’re still in undergrad, think about taking an elective course that is geared towards the LSAT, such as logic, to simultaneously help stay on track for graduation and preparing for the LSAT.

Simulating Actual LSAT Testing Conditions

While day-to-day studying can be broken down into shorter segments to work on logic games, vocabulary, and mastering concepts, it may be helpful to take several LSAT sample tests in full.

Creating realistic testing conditions is as simple as following the 35-minute time limit per section, sitting at a desk, and getting up on a Saturday morning to take it. Not only could this approach provide a more accurate LSAT score sampling, but also build endurance and time management skills in a test environment.

In between practice tests, allowing time for review and doing more practice problems can also help gauge growth and identify which section needs the most improvement.

LSAT Test-Taking Tips

As much as the LSAT is about mastering logic and thinking analytically, test takers can also benefit from an in-depth understanding of the LSAT itself. On top of finding and adopting the best ideas for how to prepare for the LSAT, these test-taking tips could be helpful.

Answering Every Question

Unlike the SAT, the LSAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers. That’s right: You’re not penalized for getting something wrong. Since leaving questions blank could potentially result in losing out on coveted points, it may be worth allotting the last 30 seconds of the section to fill in an answer bubble for remaining questions.

If you’re stumped by a difficult question, you might benefit from entering in your best guess and moving on to dedicate time and effort to questions you feel more confident answering.

Keep in mind that once a section ends, you are not permitted to go back and answer questions or correct responses.

Using Process of Elimination

Multiple-choice questions on the LSAT can contain similar answers that can trip up test takers, especially when rushing.

Given the test’s emphasis on logic and analytical thinking, employing a process of elimination strategy can help get rid of flawed answers one by one and avoid choosing a well-crafted, misleading answer.

Relax… It’s Okay to Retake the LSAT

Given the importance the LSAT plays in law school acceptance, it may come as no surprise that many people retake the test.

One benchmark study found that, at a given test administration, about 26% were second-time test takers. Another finding was that second-timers in a given year typically raise their score by two or three points. (Keep in mind that law school admission committees will likely receive all of your test scores.)

If you’re worried about your nerves getting the best of you, planning to take the LSAT well-ahead of admission deadlines could help alleviate some stress since you’ll have another chance or two to retest if needed.

There are limits to the number of times the LSAT can be taken within certain timeframes, including five times since 2018 and seven tests in a lifetime. It’s possible to cancel test scores if you are unhappy with how you did, but canceled scores will count towards the totals mentioned here.

Important LSAT Dates

When figuring out how to start studying for the LSAT, it might be helpful to map out a timeline of test dates and law school admission schedules. There are multiple options and locations for testing dates, as well as law school application deadlines to be aware of.

If you’re hoping to pursue your J.D. within a year or two, it may be easier to work backwards from when you actually need to apply to law school. Deadlines for law school applications can vary, with many regular-decision dates falling between February and March and early-decision ones in November or December.

Many experts recommend taking the LSAT in June so there’s time to retake it in the fall, if needed. Scores are generally sent three weeks after the exam on a pre-specified release date. The current schedule of 2024 test dates runs from January through June; for updates, visit LSAC’s site.

Paying for Law School

Education is an investment — both in time and money. Typically, law school spans three full-time academic years, and the rigorous schedule can make it challenging to work outside of summer internships. Here’s some important information about paying for law school:

•   While the payoff can be considerable for legal professionals, the upfront cost can be a heavy lift. When thinking about how to pay for law school, know this: Using the most recent data, the average total cost of law school is $220,335, according to the Education Data Initiative. The average in-state tuition for public universities was $9,610, while the average for private universities reached $53,034.

•   When law school scholarships and financial aid are not enough, students can take out federal or private student loans to help pay the difference for law school. Coming up with a plan to pay for law school early could help put you on track to tackling law school debt and focusing on your budding law career.

•   Students or graduates still paying for their law school (and potentially undergraduate) student loans could opt to refinance and combine payment under one loan. This may make payments simpler and/or more affordable, but it’s important to note that if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan. In addition, refinancing federal student loans means forfeiting federal borrower benefits and protections, so it won’t be the right choice for everyone.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender