We get asked all the time which LSAT courses are considered the best. While we can’t attend them all, we can help you out with some information to guide your decisions. A lot of the information you’ll see around the web is outdated and doesn’t account for the recent rise of online prep options, so we’ll discuss the best online LSAT prep courses as well.
In addition to telling you our favorites LSAT prep courses for 2014, we’d really like to hear from you. Please use the comments to tell about your experience with prep courses and we’ll add that information to the post. You can comment anonymously if so desired. Also, if you’ve taken classes or used online courses from two or more different companies, please say which one you thought provided the best LSAT prep course experience and why. Trust me, your fellow LSAT takers will really, really value your input.
Do I need to take an LSAT prep course?
No, you don’t have to. Self-study has proven just as effective for those trying to get a great LSAT score. If you are very motivated and do well with assigning yourself work, sticking to a schedule, and following through with it, then self-study is a great option for you. It’s also less expensive than a prep course.
If you are self-studying, start off with the winner of our award for “Best LSAT prep book of 2014″, The LSAT Trainer™, by Mike Kim. Mike Kim was for years the brains behind Manhattan LSAT prep’s books. CLICK HERE to pick up a copy of his best-selling new book, which has gotten a ton of five star reviews on Amazon.
Rather than just show you the techniques and leave you to your own devices, this book is more like a complete course in that it tells you exactly which problems to practice as you work through the book, then discusses them in detail. Plan to take about a month to work through the book at a comfortable pace if you are doing all the accompanying problems from 10 New Actual Official LSAT Preptests.
On the other hand, there are distinct benefits to taking a course. The biggest is that the problem of what to do and when is completely removed. You don’t have to think about how to learn, just follow their schedule and you’ll be in great shape. (That’s if you take a decent prep course anyways. We’ll talk more about that later.)
Courses also help keep you motivated. The instructor in a good course will have been through this process before and can help get you over any difficulties. If you’ve had trouble improving through self-study, definitely take a course. Courses are very, very good at taking 150s scorers and turning them into 160s scorers.
Live vs. Online LSAT Prep Courses
Online courses represent kind of a third way between self-study and traditional live courses. Generally cheaper, online courses offer the benefit of planned study without having to drag yourself to a classroom a few times a week. Online prep courses range from being pretty expensive to only a little more expensive than self-study.
We are huge, huge fans of the online format. Being able to review material that you are having troubles with is critical if you want to improve , and online courses make that easy. Also, when time is tight, it’s probably better to spend it actually prepping rather than commuting to a class after work.
On the other hand, online courses require you to motivate and stick to the schedule on your own. No one will be standing over you watching your progress, so if you don’t think you can study as effectively without committing to the class time, you may prefer the live option
Determining If An LSAT Prep Course Is High Quality
While there are a ton of options out there, there are also a lot of medium and poor quality courses run by companies more interested in making a buck than delivering innovative LSAT prep. I’ve been running this blog for almost a year now, and I feel like Evan or I come across a new prep company every week. This industry has low barriers to entry so almost anyone can start a prep company, but coming up with a really great prep course takes serious time and effort. Not a lot of people have done it. Here’s some features that you need in a good LSAT prep course:
It’s going to be a real drag to learn the LSAT from someone who hasn’t mastered it themselves. You are there to learn how to solve problems, not watch someone else figure it out. A good rule of thumb is to stick with companies that hire 170+ scorers. These people figured out how to master the LSAT, and can better help you do the same. All the companies listed below hire exclusively from the 170+ crowd.
Also, the better companies pay their LSAT instructors more and keep them around longer, which helps insure that they’ve got good ones. With bargain-basement LSAT courses, I am always hearing stuff about the instructor not showing up and other nonsense. You don’t want to mess with that.
REAL LSAT PROBLEMS
There is no substitute for the real thing. Using real problems is expensive for prep companies because they have to license them from LSAC, the makers of the test. It is totally worth it, however. Fake problems tend not to capture the various nuances of the LSAT, which is a very carefully crafted test. All of the prep courses we recommend use real problems, for good reason.
You cannot learn the LSAT the week before the LSAT. Even a full month of bi-weekly class instruction isn’t nearly enough to do it right. For more on this, see our post on how long you should study for the LSAT. While you might make progress in a short time, the whole idea of LSAT study is to reach your full potential. Signing up for a prep course with a month to go before the LSAT is just throwing money away.
This is the big one. It’s absolutely key to teach fundamentally correct strategies. Every prep course below is the kind of prep course that students switch to and see a big boost in their score. That is because these companies use superior techniques.
The Best Live LSAT Prep Courses
The following are most-highly regarded companies in the LSAT prep world. They’ve all been around long enough to establish a good reputation and have helped a ton of people get into top schools.
An established giant, their full length courses are effective and have a long track of success. Well I would avoid using the weekend courses late in the game, but because comes with full access to the online course, it would be an acceptable way to start your LSAT prep. Full length Course — $1295
Though Blueprint has been around forever and ever, they continue to improve their approach. Blueprint has a great reputation for getting people into the 170s. Full length Course — $1299
The most choosy of the bunch when it comes to hiring great teachers, reports are that it’s well worth it. Full length Course — $1499
The Best Online LSAT Prep Courses
BEST LOW COST OPTION — 7Sage provides a course that is extremely low cost without sacrificing on quality. This option hardly more expensive than self-study. Full length Online Course — $549
UPDATE 5/21/14: J.Y. Ping over at 7sage saw this post and decided to give lawschooli.com readers a discount! Use the coupon code LAWSCHOOLI for 10% off any of their courses.
The same great course they provide live, but with animation! Full Length Online Course — $799
Just a final word — lawschooli.com is fully independent and we don’t get any money from these companies to promote their stuff. This represents our opinion on who the best is right now.
If you have an opinion of your own, please share it, whether or not the company is included on this list. We’ll gladly review any company that you feel should be included.
Also, if you are having trouble deciding what’s right for you please let us know and we’ll try to help out.