A little over a year ago, I wrote a piece for Ms. JD about studying for the LSAT while working full time. Back then, I was in the midst of planning my wedding, plus taking care of a rambunctious dog and trying to spend time with my now-husband, all while working nine-to-five as a technical writer. Some things have changed (I’m married! And the dog has settled down a bit), but the tips have stayed evergreen. Are you looking for more advice on studying for the LSAT while working full-time? Here are some more time-tested ways to ensure success, even when your life is hectic.
Stretch Out Your Study Schedule
Many LSAT resources recommend at least three solid months of studying before taking the exam. That recommendation comes with the assumption that the person taking the LSAT is going to have ideal study conditions—no work, no school, very few outside obligations. This may be true for a college student in the summer, for example. If you’re already out of college and working full-time, however, these ideal conditions do not apply to you. So the best way to start preparing yourself is
If you’re already out of college and working full-time, however, these ideal conditions do not apply to you. So the best way to start preparing yourself is to give yourself more time to absorb the information. If the average LSAT taker needs three months to prepare, give yourself five or six. This will allow you to study less each day and still be prepared when the exam date arrives.
Study When You are Fresh
This may not be true for everyone, but I can definitely attest to the statistic that people are fresher in the mornings. When I’m trying to absorb information and get things done, the best thing I can do is wake up earlier and focus on the task at hand.
This is the same when studying for the LSAT. If you find that you are freshest in the early morning hours (like me), start getting up early to get your studying in before you go to the office. If you’re a night owl, block off time before you go to bed. Just make sure you are consistent, so your brain learns when it will be absorbing new information.
Treat Your Studying Like It’s a Second Job
This is a way to help you maintain consistency in studying. Each day, block off several hours when your brain is the freshest and make it a part of your routine. If you’re serious about going to law school (and I’m assuming you are, since you’re reading this!), you need to treat preparing for the LSAT like it’s a job in itself.
Take Smart Breaks
Now, you also have to remember that everyone needs a day or two to recuperate from the workweek—build that into your schedule, too. You have to rest your brain, or you’ll burn yourself out before law school even begins. Remember, though, that while it’s tempting to take the weekend off of both of your “jobs,” that might be when your brain is the freshest and the most able to absorb information, since you’re not tired from a day at work.
Limit Your Outside Commitments
The most difficult part about studying for the LSAT with a full-time job is that it reduces your ability to have a social life. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way around that fact—in order to focus on your future as a lawyer, it’s best to start reducing outside commitments. That isn’t to say that you have to quit everything else in your life—you’ll get frustrated and feel more burned out if you do that. Just don’t overcommit. Sleep is just as important as the time you spend studying, and you can’t risk losing time on either.
Take Time Off in the Last Month
I understand—missing work isn’t ideal, and not everyone gets paid vacation. However, the LSAT is a big part of your law school application package and is weighed highly by admissions teams. The LSAT shows that you can think in the way that will allow you to be successful both in law school and as a lawyer. So it’s one of those situations where, yeah, it sucks to take time off of work to take an exam, especially if you don’t get a lot of time off. But that last month before the exam is the most important, and you will want your focus to be on getting as high a score as you possibly can. This is one way to keep yourself on track.
Is studying for the LSAT while working full-time doable? Absolutely—people do it every year and successfully get into the law schools of their dreams. It is a commitment, though, and it’s something that you have to take very seriously. As long as you use your time wisely, you’ll be able to achieve the score you’ve been working toward. Good luck!
— – —
Want more law school tips? Sign up for our free mailing list today.
And check out these helpful posts:
- All The Advice You Need to Conquer the LSAT
- Everything You Think You Need to Know About Law School – The LSAT
- Maximize Your Final Month of LSAT Prep
- How to Decide Which Law School is Right For You
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.