Before you start learning about the best LSAT books and LSAT preparation courses, check out the following (a bit of advertising):
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Now, back to the main point.
This post and the topics listed in the pages and links to the left should help you find the answers to:
– everything you ever wanted to know about the LSAT; and
– some things that you must know, but didn’t know you had to know!
Here are some additional links to LSAT test preparation and tutoring sites that may be of help to you:
– Law School Bound links
LSAT Preparation – Getting Started – First Steps
– The “Bear” (Sorry “bare”have you seen the movie “Jungle Book”?) Necessities
You should start by reading and understanding what LSAT says about its own test. Remember, it’s their test. They get to set the rules. Only after having read, considered and understood what LSAT says, should you move to “third party” books and courses.
LSAT on LSAT
Two Free Sources and One Inexpensive Source
1. A link to a presentation made by Law Services about the LSAT.
If you are interested in a third party article about the “predictive value” of the LSAT see:
What is the LSAT?
The letters “L S A T” stand for “Law School Admission Test. The LSAT is administered by Law Services based in Newtown, PA. The test is required as part of the application process to the overwhelming majority (I know of only one exception) to Canadian and U.S. (ABA approved) law schools.
If you desire more information “About The LSAT” see:
When Is The LSAT Offered?
At present the test may be taken four times a year – usually in June (best time), October (very good time), December (a bad time of year for those in school) and February (suitable only as a retake or an early bird start).
When Should You Take The LSAT?
“Success Favors The Prepared Mind.”
Part of preparation is planning. Planning is so important that:
“Many people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan!”
In an ideal situation you should:
Plan to take the LSAT in June. In a perfect world you will NOT have to do the LSAT again. But, if you must repeat the LSAT (and may people do), you will have the chance to take the October LSAT. You should try very hard to avoid the December (it is the first weekend of December) and February (it is very late) LSATs. I might add that you should consider taking the LSAT the first June that you are free to do so. If you are sure that you will apply to law school, then there is no reason to delay taking the test.
How and When Do You Register?
You register online. You should register well in advance of the deadline for registration. Major test centers fill up quickly. Registration for the June 2008 LSAT opened in January 2008 and the most popular test centers were filled within days.
What Is The LSAT About And Are There Specific Skills That It Tests?
The LSAT is a multiple choice test of reading and reasoning in context.
All LSAT question types test these skills. That is both good and bad news.
Good News: The LSAT tests only reading and reasoning – no specific background knowledge is tested.
Bad News: The LSAT tests only reading and reasoning – no specific background knowledge is tested.
It is easier to prepare for tests that test background knowledge. All you need do is learn that particular knowledge. LSAT preparation is NOT that simple.
What Is The Specific Format Of The LSAT?
The LSAT is composed of six thirty-five minute sections. Four of the six count toward your test score (reported on a scale of 120 – 180). One of the six is experimental (not counting toward your score) and one is a writing sample (which although does not count toward your score is used as part of your application file) at some law schools.
The four sections that count are:
– two separate and distinct Logical Reasoning sections (24 – 26 questions each);
– one Reading Comprehension section which contains three passages and one “Comparative Reading” set (total number of questions 26 – 28);
– one Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) section (total number of questions 22 – 24).
Although these sections have different names, they all test reading and reasoning in context.
About LSAT Preparation – What Does It Mean?
To put it simply:
Your goal in LSAT preparation is to improve to the point where you are able to achieve the highest score that you can with your level of reading and reasoning ability.
LSAT Preparation And Anxiety
The LSAT preparation industry (books and courses) create the impression that you are hopeless without preparation. This is not true. Many people can answer many questions without any preparation. Don’t forget this! Your goal when you prepare is to improve your timing (there isn’t enough time) and to improve on the question types that give you trouble.
Sources Of LSAT Preparation
There are two sources.
Source 1 – LSAT Themselves – www.lsac.org
It is imperative that you begin by seeing how LSAT describes their own test. They have a publication – The LSAT Registration Book – that contains a free sample test and commentary on the questions. The contents of the book are also available on their site – www.lsac.org
Start with this! You must understand what LSAT says about their own test.
This is another example of:
“The best things in life are free.”
LSAT also sells most a number of actual LSAT exams. Use them!
Source 2 – Third Party Books And Courses
There are a large number of “third party” books and courses. “Third party” means the book or course does not come directly from LSAT. This doesn’t make it either bad or good. A good book or course can add a great deal to your understanding of LSAT questions. Almost all test takers use “third party” sources. Just remember, to begin by understanding what LSAT says about their own test! Here are some steps to successful LSAT preparation:
Step 1 – Becoming Familiar With The LSAT
Start with the LSAT registration book. Read it from cover to cover. LSAT also publishes a book called “LSAT SuperPrep” which is an important part of your prep. After all, it does come directly from LSAT.
Step 2 – Take A Sample LSAT Under Timed Conditions
This will give you a sense of how much preparation you need. Some of you will not need any additional work and some will. There is at least one free LSAT sample test on the LSAT site.
Step 3 – Acquire A Number Of Actual LSATs
These can be purchased directly. They also come with the course materials of almost all LSAT courses.
Step 4 – Purchase Any Third Party Books You May Want
People are always asking the question:
What is the best LSAT book? Well, it really depends on the stage of LSAT preparation that you are at. This blog will provide some thoughts about LSAT books for whatever stage you are at.
You will see that groups will be grouped into the following categories:
- Beginning LSAT Books
- Intermediate LSAT Books
- Advanced LSAT Books
- Specialty LSAT Books – Logic Games (Analytical Reasoning)
- Specialty LSAT Books – Logical Reasoning
- Specialty LSAT Books – Reading Comprehension
The site lsatbooks.com is another site that you may want to consider when evaluating or purchasing LSAT preparation books.
Step 5 – Enroll In An LSAT Course – If This Is The Route That You Want
LSAT preparation is a function of:
First, being prepared; and
Second, feeling prepared.
It is possible to achieve a high score without taking an LSAT preparation course. To put it another way – an LSAT course is (to use the language of certain LSAT questions) neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for a high score.
That said, a good course should help most people, improve their scores, most of the time.
I once heard an LSAT teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience offer the following insight:
“A good LSAT course will help some people a lot and a lot of people some.”
Since all LSAT courses teach from LSAT tests, you are paying for the instruction. Hence, the issues are:
– who is teaching and (given that there is no universal agreement on what constitutes a good, medium or bad teacher)
– do you like the teacher.
Shop the market looking for a teacher. You may also want to consider private tutoring.
Although this blog is about the LSAT, the author or a recent GMAT book had the following to say about GMAT courses:
“I’m a fan of test-prep courses and believe that every candidate should take one, notwithstanding availability, wherewithal, and the time required to complete a course. In my opinion, test-prep courses get results first and foremost because they provide structure. This should not be underestimated. We all know how difficult it is to motivate ourselves; any serious undertaking requires a schedule backed by commitment. The best test-prep courses typically provide live instruction and rely on “good” instructors. An experienced instructor is able to frame course material and add valuable examples and anecdotal information, which may not be part of the formal course offering. Many times the answer to the question, “Which company has the best GMAT course?” may very well be the same as asking, “Which company has the best GMAT instructor(s)?”
– Brandon Royal – Chili Hot GMAT”
The same may be said about LSAT courses.
There are basically two kinds of course formats – those offered on weekends and those on weeknights.
Step 6 – The Most Important For Last – Don’t Adopt Just One Method!
Please remember that there is NO best or universally correct way to answer LSAT questions. There is no shortage of books and courses trying to sell you on their method. Do NOT buy into one method. Your approach should be as flexible as possible and incorporate as many methods as you can. In some cases, the best method is:
No method at all. I just know the answer!