What to Do if Your LSAT Practice Score Is Stuck

The LSAT has a steep learning curve.

For example, the first time you encounter a logic game, the task of organizing and making deductions from the information provided might seem bewildering. Fortunately, proven methods to set up a logic game are widely available.

Using a range of resources that fit your budget, you can methodically work through every type of LSAT question. Within a couple of months of practice, you will see that the LSAT may be difficult, but it covers a narrower range of questions than other standardized tests like the GRE.

Unfortunately, the reassurance of steady improvement can turn discouraging in later stages, when progress may seem uneven or stalled. It might seem like you’ve hit a ceiling on your own potential.

[Read: How to Weigh LSAT Test Prep Options.]

Giving up at this point means missing the chance for further breakthroughs. Instead, step back and try a fresh approach. Here are five ways to refocus your practice to get out of a rut:

— Focus on what you find hardest.

— Investigate your past performance.

— Stop the clock.

— Get curious, not judgmental.

— Take a break.

Focus on What You Find Hardest

Not all LSAT practice is equally valuable. The theory of deliberate practice holds that skill improvement comes when you work at the edge of your knowledge.

Imagine you’re learning tennis. As a beginner, you’re learning constantly. As you become good enough to hold your own on the court, your improvement tapers off. Why?

First, you may get complacent. When you master a strong forehand, you may let your backhand skills atrophy. That might be OK for regular play, but a professional competitor would readily recognize and exploit this weakness.

[What Is a Good LSAT Score?]

Second, you may not encounter new challenges in routine practice. Perhaps you don’t know how to defend against a tricky drop shot, but you rarely face them. Without a coach or mentor, you may not even realize this gap.

Likewise, many LSAT test-takers grow complacent once they get comfortable with the test. But if you want to keep raising your score, seek discomfort. Do you hate the reading comprehension section, especially its science passages? Devote extra time to practicing it. Resist the temptation to lean into your strengths.

Investigate Your Past Performance

If you get questions wrong on the actual LSAT, you lose points. If you get questions wrong on a practice LSAT, you gain valuable lessons and insights.

To make the most of your wrong answers, record them and keep track of trends. Like a detective, trace how you missed a key point or got tricked by a wrong answer. Come up with new ideas about how to avoid those mistakes in the future.

Stop the Clock

Taking practice tests can help you simulate the pressure of an actual test and gauge your current performance. But if you’re fixated on the clock, you won’t take the risks that lead to breakthroughs.

This is why untimed practice is so important. Without time pressure, you can feel free to experiment with new approaches to troublesome questions. If you find yourself losing focus in untimed practice, set a loose time limit and gradually return to timed practice.

Get Curious, Not Judgmental

Don’t beat yourself up when your LSAT score is stuck. It doesn’t mean you’re “not a good test-taker.”

Overthinking, self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs are common symptoms of test anxiety, which must be managed like any other LSAT skill.

[Read: LSAT Test Day — What to Expect and Do]

Rather than criticize yourself or rush into new practice tests to feel productive, seize the opportunity for new growth and new learning. Think of the test like a challenging puzzle and approach it with curiosity rather than dread and shame.

Take a Break

Finally, avoid burnout by taking a few days away from studying. Turn toward other helpful daily habits to keep your mind sharp without the repetition of practice. After a break, you might see your problems from a fresh perspective.

Remember that the best time to break through a score plateau is during practice, when your score doesn’t count.

If you submit multiple LSAT scores that are similar, schools will see this on your score report. Although law schools typically take your highest score, some schools will average multiple similar scores.

Focused practice is the best way to avoid this scenario. So, step back and try a new tact.

More from U.S. News

How to Address a Low LSAT Score in Law School Applications

How to Answer LSAT Questions About the Main Point

Wide Gap Between LSAT Scores, GPA: What to Do

What to Do if Your LSAT Practice Score Is Stuck originally appeared on usnews.com

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