First of all, congratulations on making the decision to go to back to school and choosing law as your future career. As a parent embarking on this journey, you have my greatest admiration.
If you’ve just made this decision, you’re probably looking at the LSAT and thinking “what do I need to do?!”
First things first, as a parent with a full workload looking after children (and a spouse), be patient and give yourself enough time for your LSAT test prep. Most people will leave themselves 3 months to prepare, but as a parent, with limited time, I would suggest you allow 4-6 months. Most people who do well in the LSAT have re-sat for the test or postponed it at least once to make sure they were ready, so don’t feel pressured into taking the test before you’re ready.
I would recommend at this stage that you talk to your spouse and, depending on their ages, your children too. The sooner you get them involved the better. No doubt they’ll be proud of you, but you also want to guard against them resenting the time you have to commit to preparing for your LSAT. Let them know what you’re doing and why it’s important to you. After all, you’re probably doing this to give them a better life as well, so spend some time planning together what life will be like once you’ve achieved your goal of graduating from law school. This will help motivate you through the tough times, and let’s be honest, there are going to be some, and help your family keep you on track too.
Draw up a schedule of when you will study for your LSAT. Time-blocking is one of the best time management tricks. Take a calendar and block out times to study. You’re probably going to want to start with 1-2 hours at a time, 3-4 times a week and build up as your test date gets closer. Blocking this out and agreeing it with your family creates commitment and helps them to help you by avoiding interruptions. Maybe you can ask your spouse to look after the children during those times. Or maybe, it will work best for you to study after they’re in bed. Remember though, after a long day, working at night may not be optimal for comprehension, recall and logical thinking. But needs must, and you have to figure out the right time blocks that will work for you and your family.
Preparing for your LSAT is a good test of your motivation and staying power. If you find the process of studying for your LSAT a drain on your energy and motivation, then use this as a barometer of whether you’ll be able to get through law school. As a parent myself, I know how exhausting it can be, so it’s inevitable that you will go through periods where the thought of studying gets you down. But if studying becomes an activity you regularly dread and procrastinate over, you must consider how you will get through, not just your LSAT, but law school as well.
Perhaps the best way to study for your LSAT is to take lots of practice tests. Past test papers are available for you to go through to get familiar with the format, nature of the questions and timings. Analyzing the questions you struggle with or get wrong will help you to improve your final score no end. Some aspects of the test may take you more time than others. Knowing this before taking the actual test will allow you to do something about it – practice until you can do the tests in the time available.
A career in law is an exciting one with great prospects. The day you pass your LSAT and are accepted into law school will be a proud day for you and your family and worth the effort. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.