Great to meet you online and thanks for trusting in the Trainer —
Per what you’ve mentioned, I would actually suggest that you start off with the 8 week schedule, and go into it expecting to adjust it per your needs — I definitely understand the reasoning behind going w/the 4 week and adding pt’s on to the end of it — and I definitely think that that is also a viable option. However, I think you can get all the same things accomplished using the 8 week schedule, and that the 8 week schedule will be easier for you to manage and adapt.
For most students, effective prep involves some combination of learning (from books like the Trainer), practice (in the form of drills and pt’s), and careful and correct self-assessment. The ideal proportions are different for each student — some students need more learning and less practice, and for others it’s the other way around.
No matter the proportions, an effective study system coordinates all of those components beautifully, so that you can augment what you learn with targeted practice, so that you can review, consider, and master issues that appear in your practice by returning to your learning resources, and so on — it is this cycle of learning and doing and assessing that will help you get better and better at the exam —
And so an ideal study schedule is one that
a) accounts for all facets of prep (learning, practice, review)
b) helps you correctly organize the relationship and flow between these facets for maximum efficiency and effectiveness
c) is flexible enough to adjust to your particular needs
The Trainer schedules are designed to account for all phases of your prep — for your learning, drilling, and pt work, and so if you go from using the 4 week Trainer schedule to then 7 or so weeks more of practice, you may be rushing the learning phase a bit unnecessarily, and giving too much time to other parts of your prep —
However, if you start off with the 8 week schedule, it’ll help you balance your work throughout your study period, while also giving you a few extra “free” weeks to add on additional drilling, pt work and so on —
So having said all of that, here are some more specific directions for using the 8 week schedule as a base, and for riffing off of that as you see fit:
Think of your prep as having roughly four different, overlapping phases, (not meant to be of equal time-length) — and monitor and adjust your studying per these phases —
Phase 1: Study the LSAT (lots of learning) and get some experience with it (just a bit of practice).
This consists roughly of reading through about ½ the Trainer, taking your first PT, and maybe trying your first few drill sets.
You’ll notice that the Trainer schedules are designed so you can easily move assignments forward or backward weeks — if you find that, because you have more prep time, you are able to get through the first part of your prep faster than is assigned, just go ahead and move the assignments up on the schedule (however, I strongly encourage you not to rush your way through the Trainer, especially on the pain-in-the-ass drills).
By the end of this phase, you should have a pretty good sense of
a) how long it will take you to get through the trainer as you ought
b) how much improvement you need to make in order to reach your goal score
c) whether you think it’ll be best to allocate your “bonus” additional study time to more learning, drilling, or pt work.
d) whether you feel stronger or weaker at LG, LR, RC.
Phase 2: Finish the Trainer and connect that work with some heavy drilling
You may decide that the amount of drilling assigned isn’t enough, and if so, you can go ahead and grab PT’s 52-61 to use for additional drill work. You may also decide by the end of this phase that you might find another study resource useful, or that you might want to revisit and review again certain lessons from the Trainer, etc.
Phase 3: More heavy drilling, shore up any final gaps in learning/strategies
Again, depending on what you think you need most, you may end up doing more drilling than is assigned. In addition, if you decide that another study resource might be useful (perhaps to address weaknesses in one section or another), you can use it here in conjunction with your drilling (for example, if you are having trouble w/LR, you can go through a new LR book as you are drilling corresponding LR q types).
Phase 4: Get ready for test day (focus mostly on pt’s)
If you decide that you want to try more than the # of assigned full PT’s, you can add extra time/work here — and you can purchase exams 72-77 separately, giving you six additional fresh pt’s to use (and you can use older exams as well if you need even more).
Again, the 8 week schedule is designed to account for all of these phases, and I think it’s a perfect base for you to start with and for you to adjust to fit your own study needs as you need to. And, if you want any help or advice with decisions along the way, I’ll be more than happy to offer my thoughts.
Sorry for the length but I think it’s important for you to get started on the right foot — as I always say, you know yourself best so please feel free to use what you want and to discard whatever advice u think doesn’t apply — but I hope this gave you some good ideas and some good food for thought — if you have any follow-up just let me know —