5 Test Taking Tips Backed by Research

November 22, 2019

Everyone has their own favorite study methods, but the research shows that these particular methods and habits can improve your performance. As you prepare for the LSAT, keep these tried and true test taking tips in mind.

Woman preparing using her laptop to study for the LSAT

Summarize What You Study

In addition to underlining, highlighting, or taking notes (which can be distracting and have not shown to improve scores), finish reading the section or paragraph, and then summarize the whole section. Try summarizing it out loud. This engages critical thinking skills and shows a strong correlation to retention.

Work Out Before the Test

Struggling with sleep? Exercise more. Feeling stressed? Exercise more. Sometimes it seems like fitness is the only advice people give. But the research shows that when it comes to test-taking, regular exercise can improve memory and improve thinking in most people. For those who work out regularly, working out before a test can improve test scores even more (compared to not working out before).

Get a Longer Night’s Sleep

A study recently showed that students who slept just one more hour at night—averaging seven instead of six hoursscored 1.7 points higher (on a scale of 20) than other students. Deeper sleep allows more time to go into deep REM sleep, which helps with memory consolidation and integration of new knowledge. Rest up, especially during the week before your test date.

Eat a Strategic Meal

Eat the right foods to fuel your brain. Eggs contain choline, which can improve your thinking during memory tests, and oatmeal provides you with sustainable energy to beat brain fog. Save the celebratory donuts for after the exam is over. 

Simulate the Real Test

When you take a practice test, don't take it in the comfort of your home or in your favorite chair. Go somewhere quiet yet slightly distracting. The goal is to have other humans around you, so that you can get used to the sounds of other people while you're concentrating. Time your test exactly how it will be timed, and try to take it at the same time of day as your scheduled test. 

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Topics: Applying to Law School