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How to Prepare for the LSAT

Instructor: Rachel Diamond
In October 2014, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) surveyed students who took the LSAT to determine the most effective study methods. Find out which preparation strategies resulted in higher test scores.

Test Preparation Books

The LSAC study showed that students who used test preparation books saw the biggest difference in their scores. These books were also reported as the second most popular method of study.

The books available to help you prepare for the LSAT feature strategies for answering questions on each exam section, ways to save time while taking the exam, test-taking drills, sample questions and explanations for different types of questions. Some of these books are available from the same companies that offer commercial test preparation courses, like Kaplan, Powerscore and The Princeton Review. You can even find an LSAT for Dummies book.

Other Test Prep Methods

The study showed that students who used the test preparation methods below also had higher scores on the LSAT:

LSAC Preparation Materials

The third most popular test prep method, according to the study, was using LSAC prep materials. LSAC offers free sample questions with explanations and free test prep videos on their website that can help you get ready. They also sell The Official LSAT Handbook and The Official LSAT Superprep, which contains three sample tests with explanations for each question and a guide to the LSAT logic problems.

Commercial Test Preparation Courses

Another popular method, fourth most common on the study, is a commercial test prep course. You can find both in-person and online test prep courses available from several companies. An in-person LSAT prep course might give you much-needed structure and accountability. It could also give you access to an instructor who can answer questions and provide specific feedback. Online courses are also available and might be better for self-starters, but may not provide all of the same benefits as in-person courses. However, these courses can be expensive - online courses cost between $800 and $1,000, and live courses cost between $1,200 and $1,500.

As a low-cost alternative, Study.com offers an LSAT Prep & Review course and an LSAT Prep: Tutoring Solution course with video lessons and short quizzes to prepare you for the reading comprehension sections. These courses also feature tips and strategies for writing strong essays.

LSAC Sample Tests

Sample tests (6th most common study method among respondents to the LSAC study) can prepare you so that there are minimal surprises when you sit down to do the real thing. LSAC recommends that you take at least one full practice test, under time constraints, to prepare yourself. Drilling yourself on each section of the LSAT, in a timed session, will make sure that it feels more natural to you come exam time. LSAC offers prep tests in an e-book format on its website. Paper-based prep tests are also available.

Self-Study

Self-study was the most popular method reported by test takers on the LSAC study . If you are organized and motivated, it's easy to create your own self -study program. You can use some of the materials described above, give yourself practice tests and educate yourself on the tricks to solving each kind of test question.

Exam Day - and the Night Before

As on any test, be sure to get a good night's sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast! Here are some other tips for a drama-free exam day:

  • Be sure to print your LSAT Admission Ticket, available on your LSAC.org account. The address for your testing center may change right up until the night before, so printing it then will assure that you have the timeliest information.
  • Make sure you have plenty of sharpened No. 2 pencils! The test must be completed in pencil, no pens or mechanical pencils will be allowed, and no writing utensils will be provided by the test center.
  • You can bring a clear gallon-sized plastic bag containing your ID, wallet, keys and pencils, among other things. Prepare your bag the night before so that in the morning all you have to do is grab it and go.
  • The test can take 7 hours, so bring a snack! You can have a beverage in a non-aluminum container and a snack in your clear bag.
  • Numerous things are prohibited at the test center, including cell phones, purses, backpacks, hats or hoodies. Review the list on the LSAC's website and make sure you know where you will store any items that you can't bring in with you - or leave them at home.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to make it to the testing center and park (if you drive). If you are late, you will not be admitted once the test has begun.
  • If you have to use the bathroom, do so before you check in. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the beginning of the test.

LSAT Overview

The LSAT is made up of five sections, each of which contains 35 multiple-choice questions. The sections test reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. There is also a writing section, where you are given 35 minutes to write an essay on a given prompt. This section is unscored but your sample is provided to the law schools that you listed on your LSAT registration.

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