The Goldilocks Problem in LSAT Preparation: Some Data

In June, I did two posts about “The Goldilocks Problem in LSAT Preparation” (link to Part One).  Briefly put, the Goldilocks problem is the difficulty that prospective LSAT takers have in calculating the right amount of time and effort to put into getting their highest LSAT score.  Not too much, not too little.  On the “not too much” side, I said that excessive preparation risks increasing the scariness of the LSAT, a loss of momentum and exhausting the relatively small amount of good LSAT prep materials.  You also may just have better things to do with your time (for your sake, I hope so).  A good LSAT advisor will develop a program to reduce these risks for you and save you a lot of wheel-spinning time in the process.

There were three bears, three bowls of porridge, three beds; there should be three posts.  Thankfully for the sake of symmetry, The Financial Times ran a story on July 5 suggesting that we’d all be better off, and productivity wouldn’t suffer much, if people scaled back to a shorter workweek.

I didn’t think that much more about the article until a supporting letter to the editor (unfortunately, not available online) came out on July 12.  The author reminded readers that in the 1970s, England mandatorily reduced the workweek to three days for a few months because of the energy crisis—with no decline in what workers actually produced.  No decline at all.  None.  (Full disclosure: this was not a “reminder” for me—it was news).  The writer says that Brits “worked a little faster, cut buffer time, and socialized a little less.  It was an awkward discovery that people could do as much in three days as they did in five.”

Shorter can be better.  Not always better, maybe, but England’s lesson is particularly important for those preparing for the LSAT, given its structure.  The exam itself—yes, we’re back to the all-important exam day—demands efficiency, concentration, focus, has few breaks and, if you’re smart about it, no socializing.  In other words, you need to “work fast, have little buffer time and socialize less.”

Your LSAT practice should mimic that, so you’re well-prepared.  Certainly, it can’t be too short, since you need time to become comfortable with content and technique.  That’s why I believe that 10 weeks is optimal.  Preparing for 6 months, or one or two years, won’t help you be better prepared.  A shorter, focused, and intensive but not exhausting program is simply better, and hard data from the 1970s in England bear that out.

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on July 15, 2010.

One Response to “The Goldilocks Problem in LSAT Preparation: Some Data”

  1. […] LSAT day) nor too long (so that you’re tired and past your peak).  We’ve talked about this in previous blog posts as “The Goldilocks […]

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