If you dream of defending clients in a courtroom and impressing judges with your legal skills and knowledge, you need to know how to best prepare for the LSAT. While law schools look at the extracurricular activities you took part in, your overall grade point average and other factors, those schools place a high level of importance on your LSAT scores. With a high score, you can get a spot in any of the top law schools, and you can get a good score when you prepare for that test in the right way.

Prep for Each Area Separately

There are three different components of the LSAT: analytical reasoning, logical reasoning and reading comprehension. Far too many students take practice tests and attempt to study for each section, which leaves them feeling confused and can drop their overall scores. Take the time to focus on each component separately. You might study logical reasoning one week, analytical reasoning the next week and reading comprehension the week after. Many students find that dedicating one hour or more to each section of the test every week can help them improve their scores.

Start Early

Starting early is another useful tip for those looking at how to best prepare for the LSAT. You’ll likely hear stories about people who scored highly after never taking a single practice test and stories of people who spent the week before the test preparing and received a high score. Those who receive the best scores are those who start early and make time in their schedules to study. Cramming the night before can leave you feeling anxious and stressed about the examination, and studying only a few times beforehand can leave you unfocused when it comes time to take the test.

Take LSAT Tests

The LSAT offers practice tests that include questions found on earlier versions of the test. While you won’t see the same questions on those practice tests, you will see similar questions that cover some of the same topics found on the official version. There are computer programs that will grade your test seconds after you complete it, and you can find other versions that will let you retake that test to improve your score. Practice tests also show you the areas you received the lowest scores, which can help you determine what topics to study.

Work with a Professional

To best prepare for the LSAT, you need to work with a professional. Shawn P O’Connor of U.S. News & World Report suggests that students either take professional LSAT prep courses or that they work independently with a private tutor. Working with a tutor can help you focus on your best and worst areas and get individualized attention, but taking a test prep class usually costs less and features an instructor who took the LSAT in the past. Both private classes and working with a tutor teaches you how to prepare in the weeks leading up to the test and even what to do the night before.

Related Resource: Graduate School Dissertation

Your performance on the LSAT gives law schools some idea of how you will perform in the classroom, and many schools use those scores as a deciding factor on whether you deserve a slot in their programs. To best prepare for the LSAT, start studying early, use practice tests and work with a professional.