Law school can be one heck of a wake-up call, even for strong, motivated students.

But long before you apply, you should think about your intentions and motivations.

After all, it involves a big financial commitment, and it’s not for everybody.

If you ultimately decide to go to law school, you need to do research, experts advise.

What are you looking for in a law school?

A great way to find out is through LSAC, the Law School Admissions Council.

Its primary goal is to administer the Law School Admissions Test, the LSAT, but it does much more.

The council provides information on admissions requirements and allows students to submit applications to multiple schools in one place.

Shamaila Khan, assistant director of student affairs at Detroit Mercy Law, said the best time to register with LSAC is in your junior year of undergraduate studies.

Junior year is the perfect time because students also begin prepping for the LSAT.

The Law School Admissions Test is like the ACT for law school.

It has five multiple-choice sections, one reading comprehension, one analytical reasoning and two logical reasoning.

The last part is an unscored writing section.

Out of the whole test only four of the five multiple-choice sections go toward your score, which is on a scale of 120 to 180.

There are many ways to study: sign up for a class, get a tutor or purchase a book to study on your own.

Find the best method for you and plan accordingly because the test is administered only four times a year.

This is also a great time to start thinking about classes that will teach skills beneficial to law school.

Classes focused in philosophy, logic, writing, political science or research will be helpful and look great on your transcript.

Regardless, law school can be a beast and it will require time to adjust.

The study system that worked for you as an undergraduate may fail you in law school.

Zachary Kowalczyk is a third-year student at Detroit Mercy Law.

“For my first test, all I was doing was making notecards filled with facts and none of the facts were on the test,” he said. “I ended up getting like 33 out of 100.”

Instead of reading and recording the facts that you would normally be tested on, look for broader concepts, he said.

Focusing on broader concepts will help you when you get called on in class.

Angela Esseily is vice president of the Student Bar Association.

She said that what you see on television is real: Law classes are taught through the Socratic method.

What does this mean?

It means you make sure to do the reading assignment and are prepared.

You might get randomly called on in class and have to show you understand the lesson.

Make sure you put a good amount of time aside for your reading, too.

The average reading per week is 100 pages, so time management will be key.

As you may have expected, if the reading is different so is the writing.

Law students follow a format called IRAC, which stands for issue, rule, application and conclusion.

This form or writing may strike some as bland and repetitive, but it gets straight to the point.

You will not be showing off creative writing skills while in law school so save it for another time.

The amount of down time will be low, too.

Some weekends you won’t be going out with friends or spending time with family.

Still, you need to give yourself a break occasionally, said Michael Valenti, president of the Student Bar Association

“Sometimes you just have to force yourself to relax,” he said, “because if you don’t you’ll drive yourself crazy.”

If you keep these matters in check during your first year, you’ll be on the right track.

Just don’t go into law school thinking you already know everything because you probably don’t, several students said.

They recommended going in with an open-mind. It might make law school just a little bit easier.