Should I quit my job to study for the LSAT?

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Should I quit my job to study for the LSAT?

Postby HMPass » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:32 pm

I work on the in-house legal team of a tech company, reviewing commercial contracts. While on paper, my job should be 9-5; it's definitely not. I often continue answering emails/taking calls after I get home, before I get into the office and on the weekends. I've been trying to study for the LSAT with this type of schedule for the last two years. The plan was to wake up around 4a or 5a to get some study in before work and to a couples in after dinner when I get home. But because of the nature of my job, I've found it hard to keep a consistent enough study schedule to break into the mid-160s and up; I'm a splitter (CAS GPA: 2.9, although I've been out of school for almost 10 years) so I feel like I really need a high 160s to get into a top 30.

My highest timed practice test to date is a 161 (and have now been consistently scoring in the 157 - 161)--which is not reflected in the scores of the two LSATs I've already taken: 143 and 151. From what I can tell, my issue right now is with maintaining hard core focus during the test and finishing on time. (For example, I've done a couple experiments where I took adjusted timed tests where I gave myself an extra 10-15 minutes to finish, and managed to get a score of 171 and 173.) My hunch right now, is to quit my job so that I can focus full-time on studying--but I wasn't sure if that's too drastic or if it's worth it? Any advice would be very much appreciated.


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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:12 am

Re: Should I quit my job to study for the LSAT?

Postby OnThePrecipice » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:40 pm

It seems that you've tried to study around work for two years, but that approach hasn't gotten you to where you would like/need to be. If that's the case, and if you wouldn't be satisfied with a law school you could get with a ~160 LSAT, quitting your job to study might be the way to go.

A few things might affect your decision, though. I'm sure you'll have considered them, but it might help to explicitly consider them.
(1) Financial situation after quitting: How might quitting affect your finances? Can you continue living well for the next six months, year, or perhaps even two years that you'll spend studying the LSAT?
(2) Likelihood of score increase after quitting: Are you sure that time is all you need? If no amount of time can raise your score into the high-160's, you'd not only sink time into studying for the LSAT, quitting your job will have been a waste as well. Maybe you just need proper tutoring or different strategies, not time. Of course, diagnosing this problem basically requires trial-and-error; but if you can figure out that time isn't the roadblock, don't quit for that reason.
(3) Relative value of a continued relationship with your employer: I assume that, for many people, quitting a job means losing their connection with their employer. For others, they can quit their job, but it's still an open-door policy for them. It might help to figure out which type of employee you are, because your current connection to your employer might not be worth giving up.
(4) How much you'd like to attend law school: This question is at the heart of all the others because it determines how much you value all the other opportunities available to you, including staying in your job. It seems like you've already carved out a decent career for yourself. The opportunity cost between this career and law school (along with its price, finding new work, foregone income, etc., etc., etc.) is very important to consider.

I hope you figure out what's right for you, and best of luck.


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Re: Should I quit my job to study for the LSAT?

Postby SvladCjelli » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:59 pm

You listed two years of study so I think the most accurate way to assess this situation is to know how you've been doing it. Has it only been self study? What materials have you used (which books, what websites)? Have you tried paid courses, a tutor?

If you've tried all those options and still haven't seen progress that would be the point at which, if you really are too busy all the time, quitting might be beneficial to do some serious focusing. But I think that's a massive risk if over two years you haven't seen progress already.

If you haven't tried everything, then start researching classes in your area, tutors, other study materials, etc. Maybe you just needed to see things a different way, or the way a tutor teaches it makes it click.

Blueprint LSAT

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Re: Should I quit my job to study for the LSAT?

Postby Blueprint LSAT » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:48 pm

I would also be wary of how much you weight the results of the experiment you mentioned. A majority of the challenge of the LSAT comes from the time limit. Being able to answer the questions with 45 minutes instead of 35 might mean something, but it doesn't really tell you how much effort it will take to get to your goal score. It is definitely possible to improve from where you started to where you are trying to get, but the effort required is almost exponential and the progress comes in bursts and plateaus.

In my experience, people tend to achieve a bump in score when the familiarize themselves with the test a bit. Then they get another bump when they have worked for a while with prep materials or worked their way through a prep course. Going past that level is something a lot of people don't need or want to do. It takes a lot more effort and can sometimes involve breaking down every aspect of the test and drilling it mercilessly until you could write the test or teach a prep course yourself. I've seen people do it. I've even seen people with your current schedule do it. But if you stay in your job you are probably looking at a dedicated plan with help from a tutor or self-study with exceptional personal organization and discipline over another year or so.

Quitting your job would certainly give you more time, but it might still take you quite a while and you still might be without that income for longer than you might expect. Learning takes time to consolidate material, apply what you have learned and work with it until you have the mental equivalent of muscle memory. Doubling or more the amount of time you spend per day may not halve the amount of days/months you need to see the improvement you are looking for.

I will echo the other respondents when I say that you need to do some soul searching about your goals. You should do an honest appraisal of what you expect to get out of a legal career and what it will require to achieve it. A lot of people have misconceptions about what a legal career is/means for them and they don't do a realistic cost/benefit analysis. You may have done this already, but it never hurts to check in and make sure things haven't changed. The jump from the low 160s to the low 170s is exponentially harder than the jump from where you started and would be tragic to make the sacrifices it might cost if you don't' really need to. You work with lawyers so you have a chance to ask people questions, use it.

If you do decide that, yes, it is right for you to pursue the specific subset of legal careers that require attending a school that in turn requires a 170+ lsat score paired with your GPA and that you can afford leave your job to pursue that goal, it may be the right call, but be very sure before you pull the trigger.

Andrew McDonald, Blueprint LSAT Instructor

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