The Importance of Using a Timer
The LSAT is an exam which tests a particular skill set, but it is also a test of efficiency. To do well, you will need to be able to break down information quickly and effectively. When you begin preparing for the LSAT, if you have difficulty completing practice test sections within the allotted time, this is not uncommon; the test makers intend to make time constraints a significant part of the challenge. This is why timed practice tests are vital to your preparation; as you develop a greater familiarity with the test it is possible to make significant gains in both accuracy and efficiency.
Your timer should be a constant companion in your test preparation (if you would like to purchase a silent timer we have them available on this site). This will allow you to continually monitor your practice as you strive to find a consistent pace at which to move comfortably and confidently through each section of the test. By taking practice tests under timed conditions, you more closely replicate the environment that you will encounter on test day. While not all of your preparation should be in the form of timed tests, we do suggest that you take several timed practice tests, reviewing the incorrect answers afterwards (off the clock).
As you are probably aware, the LSAT contains four scored sections (plus an experimental section that is irrelevant to our discussion here), each of which is 35 minutes in length. For the Logical Reasoning sections, which contain approximately 24-26 questions each, you will have about 1 minute and 20 seconds for each question. The Reading Comprehension and Analytical Reasoning sections are divided into four parts (either by reading passage or game, respectively), allowing 8 minutes and 45 seconds to complete each section. As you prepare for the test, use the timer as often as possible to determine what speed best maximizes your performance; practicing under timed conditions allows you to not only push yourself to move faster, but also to establish and maintain your own optimal pace.
Although new LSAC regulations prohibit the use of digital timers for LSAT administration (analog watches are now the only acceptable form of time-keeping on the actual test), using a timer can be an effective way to ensure that your practice tests reflect the same time constraints as you will experience on test day. When taking your timed practice tests, keep in mind that this work will pay off, building not only practice and familiarity with the test, but also physical endurance! Sitting down for several hours answering questions at LSAT levels is not meant to be easy, but just like any other type of endurance, it gets easier as you go.