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The Law School Admission Test, better known as the LSAT, is one of the major factors that every law school admissions team considers. While the grading curves at different colleges and universities may vary considerably—such that a 3.8 undergraduate grade point average (GPA) at one school might be a 3.5 GPA at another school—the LSAT score is considered a uniform metric by which to compare applicants. The LSAT has two parts: the writing sample and the multiple choice exam. The multiple choice exam is made up of three different question types: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning (known to most as “logic games”). In the same way that studying for an exam in college can help ensure a better outcome, putting in the time and effort to prepare for the LSAT can make a world of difference on test day.
Despite what you may feel after taking an initial LSAT practice test, it is possible to raise your LSAT score and there are myriad test prep resources available to help you. Whether it is an online LSAT prep course, an in-person course, a prep book, or a mountain of practice exams, ultimately, the best way to study for the LSAT depends entirely on your learning style. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to test preparation. Therefore, before diving into your first practice test, you should spend some time researching all of the different prep options available. This section outlines the range of test prep alternatives out there, as well as things to consider when determining which one of them is the best for you.
Factors to Consider:
How Do You Learn Best?
The LSAT will not be the first test you ever take (nor even the first standardized test); you have spent the last few decades taking quizzes, tests, and exams of all types. So start by asking yourself what study methods have served you well in the past. Did you learn best by sitting in a classroom with other students and listening to the professor or did you glean more by going through the textbook at your own pace? Do you like learning online or do you prefer in-person learning? In all likelihood, the test preparation approaches that have served you well up to this point are a good indicator of what will help you excel on the LSAT.
There is no avoiding the harsh truth that cost is a major factor when it comes to choosing the best test prep option. An LSAT tutor can cost hundreds of dollars an hour and LSAT preparation courses vary in price by thousands of dollars. Make sure you understand the pricing of each option; some test prep companies offer multiple courses at different price points. It is a good idea to set a budget and stick to it.
Big Brand vs. Small Business
The test prep market is filled with companies that are well-known and highly regarded, from The Princeton Review (save up to $250 off The Princeton Review LSAT 165+ course when you register before 11:59pm ET, 01/24/22 with promocode:January250) to PowerScore. These companies are standardized test experts and offer courses centered on the LSAT as well as the GRE, GMAT, etc. However, there are also smaller businesses and independent tutors who know their way around a logic game. Would a larger company with innumerable resources and various add-ons to zero in on your weaknesses be helpful? Or is a more personalized approach offered by a smaller company the way to go for you as a test taker?
Additional Study Materials
Much like the real LSAT, which moved online in 2019, studying for the LSAT can now be done entirely online. Consider whether you would prefer to use a physical LSAT prep book, an app, or videos to assist in your LSAT prep. Remember that you can also use multiple exam prep resources in tandem. For example, some LSAT tutors also recommend complementing private sessions with a test prep book, such as The LSAT Trainer by Mike Kim, that you go through on your own.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit that administers the LSAT, only licenses official LSAT content to certain tutors and test prep providers. This means that only these companies can provide customers with actual LSAT materials. Check which tutors and LSAT prep courses have a licensing relationship with LSAC, which will allow you to practice with previous LSAT tests as well as access every official LSAT question ever released.
LSAT Prep Options:
Online LSAT Prep Course
One of the most convenient exam preparation options is the online LSAT prep course. These courses tend to be video lessons allowing a test taker to study anywhere, anytime (on mobile or desktop). Magoosh combines its video lessons with a stable of remote tutors who are available to answer questions via email. Wize offers each test taker six months access to all Wize LSAT (save 10% off a Wize LSAT Prep Course) on-demand classes, which includes their videos as well as practice questions.
In-Person LSAT Prep Course
If you tend to focus better in an in-person class rather than online class, there are a number of test prep providers that offer the traditional classroom experience. PowerScore offers in-person classes in New York City (in addition to its live online and on-demand classes). In-person classes provide you with the chance to go through each practice question with the instructor in real time as well as confer with classmates. The Small Class LSAT Course offered by Kaplan limits in-person classes to between 5 and 15 people, giving you more time to go through each practice question and wrong answer in the manner that is most helpful to you.
Working with an LSAT tutor offers the most personalized experience. A tutor can prepare a study schedule that is specific to you and that takes into account your strengths and weaknesses. If you find yourself struggling with a specific type of logic game, your tutor can adjust your study schedule accordingly. With personal tutoring, it is particularly important to find the right person for you and your learning style. Wyzant, the online tutoring marketplace, allows people to choose from a wide range of tutors. Other tutoring companies are specifically geared towards a particular client base. For example, elleSAT was founded by women who wanted to specifically focus on helping female test takers with the LSAT.
You can use private tutoring as your sole means of LSAT preparation or use a few sessions with a tutor to supplement a prep course. Manhattan Prep offers a number of different tutoring packages ranging from 10 hours to 30 hours as well as an hourly tutoring option, so that you only have to pay for what you actually need. Due to COVID-19, many LSAT tutors now meet on Zoom; however, in-person tutoring is still an option in some locations. A few companies, such as The Princeton Review and Luminate LSAT, offer both online and in-person options.
Study On Your Own
If you are self-driven and do not need the structure offered by an LSAT tutor or prep course, there are free and low cost options available to help you study on your own. A few years ago, LSAC worked with Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization, to create free LSAT prep materials. These materials are personalized and range from interactive lessons to LSAT strategies and test-taking tips. Khan Academy will help you establish your baseline LSAT score and then prepare a study guideline for you. Khan Academy will also check in with you periodically about your LSAT study schedule. Through the Khan Academy platform, you will have access to up to 10 practice LSAT exams. In addition, many of the commercial test prep companies offer free resources such as LSAT tips. Velocity Test Prep even has a free library of video explanations for each question released by LSAC from previous LSAT exams.
There is no “wrong” way to study for the LSAT. There are more resources than ever before to help you increase your score; what is most important is finding the one (or the combination) that best suits your learning style and your budget.