5 Signs of LSAT Burnout, and How to Recover From It

As the LSAT approaches, you've probably started clutching your PrepTests for protection. Your friends have started to compare you to Linus from the Peanuts comic, who carries his blanket wherever he goes.

However, if you've been studying for a while, you might be sick of the LSAT by now. Your body might start to reject the LSAT like an organ transplant gone wrong.

So how do you continue to prepare when you feel like you just can't take it anymore, but the LSAT's still a couple of weeks away?

More importantly, how do you know whether your aversion to the LSAT is due to burnout or laziness? Believe it or not, people sometimes mistake one for the other.

Here are some tips to help you determine whether it's burnout or laziness, and, if it's the former, how to deal with it.

Burnout vs. Laziness

1. Average PrepTest scores drop
If your PrepTest scores have recently dropped below your average PrepTest score, it's probably burnout.

If your score was never high to begin with, it's probably laziness.

2. Careless mistakes
If most of your recent mistakes are due to carelessness, rather than a lack of understanding, it's probably burnout.

If you just make a lot of mistakes in general, it's probably laziness.

3. Studying but feel like it's going nowhere
If you've done several practice exams recently and feel like it's going nowhere, it's probably burnout.

If you haven't done anything recently and feel like you're studying's going nowhere, it's probably laziness.

4. Feel guilty for taking short breaks
If you took a break from studying for an hour and felt guilty, it's probably burnout.

If you took a break from studying for a month and felt guilty, it's probably laziness.

5. Studying 10 hours per day
If you study for 10 hours per day, it's probably burnout.

If you think about the LSAT for several hours every day, and you count those hours as actual studying, it's probably laziness. (Note: lawyers often bill for this kind of "work" too, so you'll be in good company after graduating from law school)

If you've identified your problem as laziness, read 5 Reasons to Stay Motivated During LSAT Prep.

If your problem is burnout, read on.

How to recover from LSAT burnout
You may just need a break to recharge your batteries.

The burned-out student might say, "But I can't stop studying now! The test is 2 1/2 weeks away, and I still have another 30 PrepTests to finish before then."

You may not have any brain cells remaining if you try to do that many PrepTests in such a short period of time.

The LSAT's like riding a bike. Memorization's not involved, so cramming won't work. Sure, there are some things you need to remember. However, if taking a day or two off makes you forget them, you probably didn't understand them in the first place. The LSAT is about skills and a particular mindset, not facts.

So take a day or two off and exercise, watch a TV show or two, whatever you like to do to unwind.

Then rebuild your confidence by redoing your favorite Logic Games, Logical Reasoning questions, or Reading Comprehension passages. This will help you get back in the groove and gear you up to get back on schedule (see Daily LSAT Schedule Recommendations).


  1. this past week, my scores have been dropping, and it's been freaking me out. i think it may be stress and overthinking, but honestly i have no idea how to stop it. three tests spaced apart and my scores were rising, and then i took three tests this week and my scores steadily got worse. any advice?

  2. Sorry to hear your scores have been dropping. There are too many potential reasons, and I don't know enough about your situation to speculate.

    Take a deep breath.

    Then, try to figure out if there are specific sections or question-types that are giving you difficulty. Review the basics on those types.

    Good luck!

  3. I just decided to give my brain a rest and take a one day break from the LSAT. And today when I took a practice test I was back up to my high score. You're site is great, especially the tips about time and reading comprehension which are the areas I struggle in.

  4. Your. Your site is great.

  5. I'm currently in grad school right now, but am planning on taking the LSAT in December of 2010 or February 2011. Is there any reason to begin studying now, or should I wait until six months prior to begin, in order to avoid burnout?

  6. mmmmmk....just confirmed that im burnt out...nothing new...but only about 3wks left, i just don't think i have the time to take a break! just ready for it to be over with! thought about waiting until Dec, but I dont think it will really make much difference after 3mths intensive studying, avg +5 pts, highest +9pts (159) & I'm just ready to be done...this is my 2nd time too (151 1stX)...any thoughts?

  7. Hi Steve! I just took the September LSAT after studying for 6 weeks. Everything was set up perfect (my strength is reading comp and I was hoping for a reading comp experimental section since logic games would have killed my confidence, and I luckily got rc). But I was so nervous and my anxiety level was so high, I had a migraine during the entire exam! I'm upset for allowing myself to get so worked up. I was wondering whether I should cancel my score and take it again in December? What is your suggestion? Is this common? and how can I avoid it next time?

  8. This post is very helpful! I fit the diagnosis. Thank goodness I have a little while until the Dec. LSAT. Will recharge the batteries, as you suggest. Thanks for the helpful burnout link on the sidebar, too.

  9. Is it possible to be a mixture of burnt out and lazy? I feel like I am doing everything that I can to prepare, but in comparison to someone else's preparation maybe I'm lazy? Is discouragement a sign of being burnt out or being lazy? Ugh, who would have though that taking the LSAT could cause so many unfamiliar feelings!

  10. Does preptest number range matter? My score wasn't skyrocket high, but from preptest 40s-60s I was hitting scores within certain ranges, but as soon as I started doing early 30's, my score dropped. Is this a burnout? Lazy? or just LSAT test tendency?

  11. This came at the right time. Thank you.

  12. It's burn out for me. I stress about not being able to study during the day because of work and my performance has been inconsistent this past 3 days. Need to get back on my groove...

    Thanks Steve!

  13. Much needed read. I saw two peaks, mid 160s and have steadily been declining since. Have been on lsats in the same year, so the curve is the same, although the difficulty (I think) ranges. Thanks, Steve. I feel super guilty, and have increased my studying from 4-6 hrs to 10....perhaps you're right. Best, L.

  14. Thank goodness for this article. Thank you.

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