What are you going to need, besides the occasional bubblebath and half a Xanax?
LSAT Prep Materials
Lawyers make a comfortable living. Spaces are limited, and demand far outstrips supply. Enter capitalism, at its finest.
The LSAT prep industry is a multimillion dollar business. Students, and parents, are willing to fork out large sums on prep books, classes, and even "summer intensives." We kid you not: Kaplan's premiere offer 300+ class hour retreat in Boston. What fun! A whole summer of eating and breathing nothing but LSAT. The cost? $8000 (USD), plus half that in room and board. Pretty sure Mom and Dad are footing the bill on this one.
There are less extravagant courses, tutorials, and online programs. About half our students took some type of course before coming to us. I always like to ask if these courses were worth it. Suffice it to say that some of the expressions I've witnessed have been quite memorable. See my thoughts on these courses here,
With new students, we begin with having them complete an untimed diagnostic exam, at home, downloadable here:
Then, the first session involves taking up the exam so that we can assess the student's accuracy. The tutor will take up the exam, and focus on the sections where the student had difficulties. We go on to explain the different question types, and provide handouts with a detailed methodology on how to approach the question, highlight common elements (aka weasel words), and proceed to either "scoop" or employ process of elimination to arrive at the correct answer.
Buy ONE introductory LSAT Text (Princeton Review, Kaplan, Manhattan, etc). There's not one standout I can recommend, they're all basically the same: they introduce the materials and give elaborate explanations of how to solve the questions.
Due to copyright restrictions, most of these books do not use actual past LSAT questions, they just mimic them. These "fake" questions are usually easier than the real thing, so be forewarned.
Now, the company Powerscore publishes thick, comprehensive guides to each of the three sections, aptly called "Bibles." Some swear by them, and regard them as the ultimate authority in
LSAT prep publications. The Logic Games Bible is particularly well-known. But I have my reservations. I've found that the Bibles go into so much detail that they actually lose me along the way.
By the time they arrive at our door, students usually have compiled an impressive library of LSAT materials. Many have taken prep courses already, diligently working through the assigned materials using the standard techniques with mixed levels of success.
So we're quite indifferent as to how you started your preparation... but if you're lucky enough to be reading this very early on, just avoid two things: (1) expensive courses and (2) amassing that tower of LSAT books. You've already heard me lambast courses, but there's equally no need to buy every LSAT publication you can find on the internet. This approach is both expensive, frustrating, and ultimately detrimental.
Okay, so aside from the one 'Text' and perhaps one 'Bible,' to get started, you'll need something else. Your most invaluable resource is going to be real, past LSAT tests, published by LSAC itself.
LSAC Preptests: Beyond Essential
With our discount packs new LSAT books are provided free of charge.
By the time students come to us, it's almost always time to start with the actual tests. If you don't practice on real tests, you're not going to do well. There's a well-trodden course here: first, you familiarize yourself with the format of the test, the question types, and thoroughly unpack the questions. This first stage is all about accuracy: arriving at the right answer regardless of time. As you get reasonably comfortable, only then should timing be introduced into the equation. Unfortunately, many green students try to do this backward: racing to find the correct answer before they really understand the question (aka the stimulus). This inevitably results in disaster.
Now, these books are pretty bare bones: they have answer keys, but no explanations. But sometimes you'll find that developing your own methologies and using techniques that are more familiar to you, your explanations can be far superior and more memorable than the epic poem-type analyses you'll often find in the Bibles. On the LSAT, ain't nobody got time for that! It'll be normal to be perplexed by some of the questions, especially at first. Thankfully, your tutor will be right there with a crackerjack methodology designed to break down and simplify it.
Once you're in the full swing of things, you'll eventually to replicate exam conditions as closely as possible. This means no cheating. You'd be surprised how easy we are on ourselves: "I needed those two extra minutes because I wasted time to blow my nose!" Guess what, your nerves on the exam will be 10x worse, and you'll have to blow twice! In the weeks leading up to the exam, you'll want an accurate assessment of how you're scoring.
Our tutors start out of the Third book, the "Next 10 Actual Official Preptests"
(they're easy to mix up, since the covers have changed over time). To complicate
things further, LSAC published a few of the books out of order -- we'll make
sure you understand how the sequence works. LSAC's first official iteration of
the new LSAT was in June 1991, and June 2017's LSAT was #81.
We have detailed solutions to each question in this game, and our usual
method is to assign students a test, and then take up incorrect answers
together. We've worked with these particular tests and know them inside
and out. This way, students get the full benefit of our insights on every
Oh, and there's no pressing need to prioritize more recent tests; I find this to be a very common myth. There have been only a few minor changes to the test in two decades. I've noticed that the Logic Games in earlier books are slightly more difficult, while the reading has gotten harder in recent years.
I have a feeling this myth is circulated by the publishers...after all, the newer editions are (i) more expensive, and (ii) unavailable used.