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LSAT Self-Study: Your Guide

April 8, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 4/8/24

Trying to figure out the ins and outs of self-study for LSAT? Read on for tips, LSAT self-study resources, and FAQs to help you ace the LSAT on your own! 

Studying for the LSAT can feel like a daunting task for many aspiring law school students. With its extensive content and countless ways to study, it’s often challenging to figure out where to start. 

While there are many options for private tutoring and prep courses that focus on the LSAT, many students often opt for self-study. Since formal LSAT courses and tutors often cost a pretty penny, on top of costs for study guides and other resources, self-study comes to students as the most accessible option for most. 

So, how do you self-study for the LSAT? This article will address just that! We’ll be discussing best practices as you self-study for the LSAT and whether LSAT self-study is even worth all the effort to reach your goal LSAT score

Let’s get started!

9 Essential LSAT Self-Study Tips & Schedule

How to self-study for the LSAT

There are many steps to success when it comes to self-study. While you can utilize the study habits you’ve acquired throughout your education, studying for the LSAT will require much more preparation and consistency. 

Below, we’ll discuss tips to study LSAT effectively.

1. Start Earlier Than You Think You Should

As with any test, you’ll want to ensure you have enough time to cover all the content, review, practice, and reinforce your knowledge. With self-study, it’s especially important to give yourself more time than you think you need. 

Since you’ll be going into your LSAT prep without professional guidance, it’s critical for you to take into account any miscalculations or missteps that you might encounter. Starting earlier will give you time to adapt and recalibrate your study plans to any changes over time. This will ultimately allow you to study at a slow and steady pace, which is ideal. 

With that said, you might be wondering when you should start studying for the LSAT. To identify when you should start, consider the available LSAT test dates and determine when you’d like to take your test. 

When choosing your test date, think about the application timeline for your desired law schools and how long it will take for you to receive your LSAT score. Ideally, dedicating four months to study for the LSAT should be enough. However, if you’re taking on self-study, you might want to start planning six months before your test date. 

2. Build a Comprehensive Study Schedule 

The most important thing you should do before starting your LSAT prep is build a comprehensive study schedule. There are a few things you should do: 

  1. Familiarize yourself with LSAT content and structure. 
  2. Find your baseline and identify your strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. Set your goal LSAT score.

Having a good understanding of these three pieces will allow you to better build your study schedule. It will give you an idea of what sections you should spend more time on, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how much you should be studying to meet your goal score. 

You can identify your baseline by taking an LSAT practice test and finding the appropriate steps based on your initial results.

Once you’ve determined what you need to prioritize in your studying, it’s time to build your schedule! Remember to consider your day-to-day life; block out any personal, professional, or academic commitments you might have throughout your LSAT prep, and work around that. 

Considering your everyday life and obligations increases the sustainability of your LSAT prep–making your study schedule more realistic makes it easier to stick to!

3. Gather the Right Resources 

Gathering the right resources for your LSAT prep can be the most challenging part of your journey. With an endless list of resources at your disposal, it can be tricky to figure out which resources are reliable and effective and which ones aren’t. 

When determining which resources best suit your studying, you’ll want to incorporate varying types of study materials.

Specifically, you’ll want a combination of information-based and application-based study materials. This means that you’ll want to gather a good variety of textbooks that cover information on each section, as well as practice tests (timed and untimed) to apply and reinforce your knowledge.

Ensure that you research and gather as many relevant study materials as you can. Then, assign which ones you’ll use for each phase of your study schedule!

4. Incorporate Deliberate Practice

As someone who is taking on self-studying for the LSAT, it’s essential to study smart. You’ll want to take time to learn new material, review, and apply everything you’ve learned through untimed practice tests. As you go through this process, ensure that you utilize deliberate practice all throughout your LSAT prep. 

Deliberate practice requires you to be intentional and consistent with your study routine. While this is more easily accomplished with a coach or a mentor, you can accomplish it on your own by applying the following principles: 

5. Work on Your Foundation and Build Up

As previously mentioned, you’ll want to find your base level of knowledge before you start any kind of studying. Knowing what your foundation is will help you understand what needs more work and how you can best incorporate what you know to support what you’re learning. 

Once you’ve identified this, start with the basics of each LSAT section and slowly add to your knowledge and understanding of these concepts. Use your foundational knowledge to reinforce the new concepts you learn along the way to develop a thorough understanding of the LSAT subject matter. 

6. Define Your Goals 

Another important aspect of deliberate practice is to define your goals. This is something you should do as you plan your studying. Defining your goals allows you to objectively pinpoint areas you should be investing more time into, which will ultimately give you a clear trajectory of how you can reach these goals. 

7. Push Past Your Comfort Zone 

Moving past your comfort zone is essential to developing and mastering any skill. With your self-studying, ensure that you gradually increase the difficulty of your practice. Be sure to move on to the next topic once you've grasped its prerequisites; you want to avoid practicing concepts that you're already good at!

8. Analyze Your Performance and Give Yourself Constructive Feedback

It’s important to take a step back to take an objective look at your work. It’s easy to get caught up in your study routine and keep going without assessing your progress. Ensure that you’re able to ask yourself whether you’re improving with each study section, and if not, analyze the questions you find most challenging. 

Learn how to give yourself constructive feedback and apply it to future study sessions. Keeping an LSAT study journal outlining your study habits, strengths, and weaknesses might help you stay on track!

9. Build Endurance and Precision With Timed Practice Tests

Last but not least, it is of utmost importance to build precision and endurance throughout your studying. Once you start getting the hang of the LSAT material with untimed practice tests, you’ll have to learn how to answer these questions quickly and precisely; you won’t be afforded the same amount of time on test day. 

Incorporate timed practice tests throughout your study schedule to make sure you’re simultaneously building and reinforcing your knowledge and understanding of the LSAT content.

Should You Self-Study for the LSAT?

Whether or not you should self-study for the LSAT is completely up to your discretion. You will have the best understanding of your study habits and how you learn. While it’s much more affordable to self-study for the LSAT, it requires a high level of self-discipline, time management skills, and introspection if you are to do it successfully. 

If you’re someone who is easily distracted or needs guidance as you study, then self-study may not be the best option for you–which is completely okay! Taking the LSAT is one of the most important steps on your path as a lawyer, so don’t shy away from asking for help if you need it.

Self-Study vs. Study Prep Course: Pros and Cons

Just like with any decision, there are pros and cons to both self-study and taking an LSAT prep course. Here are some factors that you should consider when deciding between the two. 

Self-Study Pros & Cons

Self-study comes with a variety of advantages, including: 

  • Convenience: Studying on your own means that you have complete and total control over when and where you study. You can study whenever you have free time for as long as you wish. This makes self-study convenient for students with many other personal commitments. 
  • Cost: If you’re on a budget, self-study might be a more attractive option! You can find plenty of free tools and resources online to help you in your studying. 
  • Personalization: Not only do you have complete control over your schedule, you’ll also get to control what you study and how. You won’t have to keep pace with other students; you can focus on your own needs, strengths, and areas for improvement. 

However, self-studying also has some drawbacks. If you’re planning on self-study, here are some things to think about: 

  • Time-consuming: Not only will you have to put in the work to study hard, take practice tests, etc.; you’ll also have to create a study schedule, scour the internet for resources, purchase practice tests, analyze your mistakes… the list goes on. You’ll need to account for all that extra work in your self-study. 
  • Lack of structure: You may find it challenging to approach LSAT self-study from scratch. The LSAT is a notoriously difficult exam and requires rigorous study. Studying on your own could be overwhelming and lead to a lack of structure and motivation. 
  • Lack of insight: If you choose to self-study, you might run into problems when trying to determine the best prep materials and strategies. You may also find it hard to analyze your own mistakes and come up with solutions to improve without an outside perspective. 

LSAT Prep Course Pros & Cons

Taking an LSAT study prep course can alleviate lots of stress and provide support! Here are some pros of studying for the LSAT with a tutor: 

  • Convenience: Online LSAT tutors can work with you on a flexible schedule, anytime, anywhere. They will also help you create a solid study plan and provide you with materials and resources so that you don’t have to do all the background work yourself. 
  • Personalization: Each test prep plan is customized specifically to each student. You can get access to a study schedule that is tailor-made for you! 
  • Insight: Working with an expert means that you’ll get insight into strategies that are proven to work. You’ll also get a trained pair of eyes to examine your work and help you pinpoint your weaknesses, as well as tips to overcome them. 
  • Accountability: Studying on your own can make it hard to stay motivated. A prep course can provide you with the accountability and structure you might need in order to stay focused and driven. 

The main drawback of taking an LSAT prep course is the cost. Many test prep courses tend to be pricey. However, you can take advantage of different payment plans, and some prep courses even offer scholarships or discounts for various reasons. 

To help you determine if you’re ready for the LSAT or if you should sign up to work with a tutor, take our pop quiz


If you still have questions, check out these frequently asked questions about LSAT self-study.

1. How Long Should You Give Yourself to Study for the LSAT?

Four months to study for the LSAT should be an adequate amount of time. If you’re self-studying for the LSAT, however, it is recommended to start much earlier to give yourself enough time to ease into your study routine. 

2. Is Two Months Enough Time to Study for the LSAT?

Two months can be enough time to study for the LSAT, depending on your starting point and your LSAT score goal. If you’ve taken an initial timed practice test and determined that your base score is close enough to your goal score, then you might be able to get away with two months of LSAT study time. 

3. Are LSAT Prep Courses Worth it?

LSAT prep courses are definitely worth the investment if you have the resources to take one! Finding a great LSAT prep course can take a lot of the guesswork out of studying for the LSAT–keeping you accountable and on track with your progress. 

Personalized LSAT tutoring is also a highly effective option if you want to reach your goals more efficiently. 

4. Can You Study for the LSAT by Yourself?

With enough dedication and hard work, you can successfully study for the LSAT by yourself. Just know that it will take an exceptional amount of discipline and work to do so!

Final Thoughts

With all the different options and resources available, LSAT self-study is certainly a viable option for aspiring law students. If you opt for self-study, ensure that you work hard and follow our expert tips to maximize your time and efficiency as you study for the LSAT. 

Best of luck!  

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