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Speed Up

Get faster by...

  1. using the timer as a teacher rather than a judge,
  2. recognizing common patterns,
  3. appropriate confidence, and
  4. sprinting.

Timer as teacher, not a judge

Is your sense of time reliable?

I often feel like I'm speeding through a hard Reading passage because my brain is working like crazy to figure it out. But in fact, my stopwatch reveals that I've been staring at the page for 5 minutes.

I sometimes rush through hard Reasoning questions because I feel like I'm going too slowly. But in fact, my stopwatch reveals that I've been going too fast.

When timing yourself you don't always need to use a count-down timer. You can also use a count-up timer, like a stopwatch.

Count-up timers provide a more objective perspective on how you spend you time. You can then use this more objective information to identify problem areas and make an informed plan about where you actually want to invest your time.

The advantage of a count-up timer is that (1) there's less pressure and (2) you can track in detail how much time you spend on each part of your process.


When you hit the lap button What it tells you
After each question Which questions are hard for you.
After each step in the process within a single question Where your process isn't smooth. If you're actually doing every step.

The more often you lap, the more information you get and the more you interrupt your flow.

Automatic pattern recognition

The LSAT never repeats itself in content. But it often repeats itself in form.

Spotting these patterns, and knowing what to do about them, will save you precious time and brainpower.

  • Learn the common patterns by reading about the test and through puzzle practice.
  • Use flash cards and checklists to memorize the patterns and your job when you spot them so you don't clutter your mind with half-remembered strategies.
  • Deliberate skill practice will help you recognize those patterns in the wild. Then race practice will test whether you've truly made those skills automatic.
Practice suggestion: rapid fire recognition

Try to name the types of 5 question in less than 0:10 seconds. Then do 10 in 0:15. An entire section in 0:30.

Go back with time, to see if you were right. When in doubt, try to solve the question and see if the strategies from the type you identified help solve it.

Deeply review every questions that you hesitated on. Try to find the keywords that tell you what question it is. Make a flashcard: "keyword a, keyword b" / "question type"

Use this for questions in every section, as well as Game types and Game rules.

Add challenge (and some time) by also articulating what your strategy should be for that question.

Appropriate confidence

confidence level acts like every question is wastes time by tries to be cure
under-confidence hard waffling / overthinking a knight fake it till you make it
over-confidence easy staring / reinventing the wheel a cowboy checklists
appropriate-confidence easy until proven otherwise puzzling a curious robot taking the test

Appropriate confidence basically means trusting your subjective feeling of difficulty.

Let it be easy when it's easy

If you love 1 answer and hate the other 4, choose the answer you love and move on. If you get it wrong, you can review it later to see what you missed.

When you feel like you can't go faster, sprint

Sprinting changes your baseline

When you've been cruising on your bicycle at 12mph, 25mph feels recklessly fast.

In contrast, after driving at 60mph on the highway, a 25mph speed limit feels painfully slow.


  • Reading: normal read (~3:00) then 0:20 per question
  • Reasoning: 6 questions in 3:00

The first time you do these sprints, you may feel awful. You may feel far from your goal. So try again. Literally, the same questions. With practice, you will rise to the challenge.

Making mistakes is the point. The extra time pressure will reveal what parts of your process are not as smooth as you thought.

Or in your hurry, you may skip parts of your process and find that nothing bad happens. In this way, the pressure may reveal that some parts of your process are unnecessary, or at least unnecessary in specific circumstances.