Are you Rocky, or are you Drago?
He was bigger than Rock, he was meaner than Rock, and he had the full backing of the Soviet military - but in the end, Ivan Drago was no match for the Italian Stallion.
If you haven't seen Rocky IV...sorry, I just spoiled it. (Like you didn't know that Rocky was going to win). But you should go watch it anyway. I bring up this classic of Eighties cinema not just because Rocky Balboa is a true (fictional) American hero, but because Rocky IV has the best training montage of any movie ever - and it illustrates something very important when preparing for the LSAT.
You don't need to train fancy to hit hard. Drago's got nuclear-powered treadmills and dastardly Communist chemistry on his side, but he still loses to the guy who's out throwing boulders in the snow.
You can do the equivalent for LSAT studying. While LSAT-specific prep is definitely important (just as Rocky's boxing-specific training mattered in Rocky I - III), you can strengthen the skills we talked about in the inventory without ever cracking open an LSAT prep book. Here are some tried and true methods that worked for me and my students:
- Go out of your way to read a challenging, literary novel. A 2013 study found that people who read literary fiction - fiction focused on the psychological concerns of the characters, rather than the twists of a tight plot - experienced increases in their scores on an empathy test. You'll also expand your vocabulary and base of knowledge.
- Seek out writing on unfamiliar topics from high quality magazines. Many reading comprehension passages are directly adapted from articles featured in magazines like The Economist, The New Yorker, and Scientific American. You'll learn how to digest unfamiliar topics while also exposing yourself to the different styles of writing you'll encounter on the actual test, and also expand your vocabulary and base of knowledge.
- Find the strongest available counter-argument to one of your strongly held beliefs, digest it, and then explain that counter-argument to a friend. You'll learn to open yourself up to alternative points of view, and practice one of the best learning methods around.
- Puzzles! This one's a bit obvious, but there's a ton in common between working on an analytical reasoning puzzle and taking on, say, a sudoku - and you'll probably have more fun during the sudoku. Try out MENSA's Sudoku book, by Michael Rios.
And there are so many more ways that you can connect the skills on the LSAT to other real world tasks and materials. I catalogue new resources once a week ("Resource Roundup") on The Zen Blog - go check it out!