By Amanda Gernentz Hanson • July 03, 2015•Writers in Residence, Law School, Pre-Law
Something that I’ve been doing lately is studying for the LSAT, when I can. Between planning a wedding and fulfilling the obligations of my full time job, it’s been difficult to find the time. In trying (and sadly, failing much of the time) to find the time and space to study for such a challenging and unique exam, I’ve come up with some tips that may help other pre-law studiers out there.
- Sit at a desk or table. After being at work all day—and especially on the weekends—the last thing I want to do is sit at another desk. I love my job, but I do not enjoy sitting in a stationary position all day long. However, have you ever tried to study on the couch? It doesn’t work as well. I have the tendency to fall asleep, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Not only that, but it takes me much longer to complete the task at hand when I’m slouched on the couch. So what do I do? I bite the bullet and sit at a desk (or sometimes, the kitchen table) for a couple of extra hours. It makes me more productive, and that is one key to studying for the LSAT.
- Put your phone on airplane mode. I’m notorious for getting distracted by my phone—just ask my fiancé. Something I’ve started doing during dinners together is turning my phone on airplane mode. That way, there are absolutely no potentially distracting notifications coming in. This rule also can apply to studying for the LSAT. I usually use my phone as a timer when I’m completing practice sections, so knowing the only sound it is going to make will be to let me know my time is up aids my productivity.
- Eat before you start timing yourself. Maybe this is just me, but I can get easily distracted by the growling sounds my stomach makes if I’m hungry. To curb this, I usually eat a little something before I start working on anything that may be timed. This helps me keep my focus and allows me to power through whatever it is that I’m working on.
- Put the dog in his kennel (or at least take him out before you begin). We have an adorable English setter, and he’s usually really good. But he likes to bark at squirrels. And he has a teeny tiny bladder. So when I’m studying at home, I do one of two things—if he’s been out of his kennel all day, I put him in there while I study. He usually naps, and it’s a quieter environment for me. However, if he’s been in his kennel for most of the day, I take him outside before I start and hope that he’s quiet and well-behaved. Even when my life consists of work and studying, I still try to be a good dog parent. And he means well, even if what he ends up doing is licking me while I’m trying to read something.
- Give your brain a rest when it needs it. This has been key for me when I’ve been trying to balance studying and working full time. Some days, I’ll get home from work and my brain will hardly be able to process the complicated plotlines in Pretty Little Liars. Those are the days I do no study. Any progress I make on those days isn’t retained in a mushy brain. This is part of what has made this process so slow going—the research part of my job makes my brain tired more often than not.
Have you noticed a trend in this list? It’s all about being your most productive self. I have been trying really hard to give myself a space at home, amongst all the crazy of wedding planning, to be productive. It’s been a slow process, but it’s working. Those logic games are starting to make more sense to me (finally!).
Do you have any study tips for the LSAT? Share them with me, either in the comments below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.