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LSAT Sanity: The Role of the Goal – Part 2

When it comes to the LSAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan LSAT instructor and jdMission senior consultant Mary Adkins teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Last week, I talked about good goals to set in preparing for the LSAT. Once you’ve set them, the question becomes how in the humanities passage to stick with (and meet) them in a way that gets you the biggest bang for your buck.

First, meeting your goal(s) should be challenging, at least a little bit. If it’s not, you didn’t set the right one(s). If you’re trying to quicken your pace on games, and you set a goal for 11 minutes instead of 13, and that’s easy to achieve, your goal wasn’t ambitious enough. Set it for 9. Or go crazy… 8! If you are having trouble concentrating for long periods of time and decide to study 30 minutes without texting or getting a snack, once that becomes easy, don’t increase it to 40. Go for an hour, or even 90 minutes. Push yourself when it comes to resetting your goals over time, and this practice will serve you well.

But how to stick with your goals? Consider some sort of accountability/reward mechanism. Don’t let yourself pee until you’ve done 12 problems. (I’m kidding. Okay, half-kidding.) Tell your best friend or boyfriend or mom that you’re going to sit down and do a full-length, five-section test, and that you want to be asked later how it went. Maybe even ask them to buy you a drink or dinner if you can honestly report that you did what you set out to do. (This requires having generous loved ones.)

If you’re thinking, “Nice try, Mary, but that’s not going to work in my case,” check out stickK, a tool for setting and achieving goals (co-founded by Yale Law professor Ian Ayers). The short story of stickK is that it creates an incentive for you to achieve by getting you to increase the stakes. Do you loathe the Republican party? Use stickK to harness that view in your favor. If you fail to reach your goal, money you’ve put on the line is donated to it. That’s just one example.

Finally, when you find yourself struggling, remember that it could be worse. You could be committing to giving up the Internet for a year, like this guy.

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