Choosing Which LSAT Books To Use (And How Many)

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BookshelfA couple of weeks ago I was asked about using multiple LSAT prep books for each section during self-study. How many LSAT prep books do you need? Is it wise to use materials from a bunch of different LSAT companies when you are doing your prep? Here we will talk about this, and also how to prep if you do choose to use multiple books for your self-study.

When you go to self-study for the LSAT, you encounter many choices. Even within the narrow range of quality LSAT books that we recommend, you have some decisions to make.

 

Choosing Your LSAT Books

I’ve listed some of our top prep book recommendations below so that we can talk further about them:

For Logic Games:
The Powerscore™ Logic Games Bible
The Blueprint for LSAT Logic Games

For Logical Reasoning
The Powerscore™ Logical Reasoning Bible
The Fox Test Prep Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia: Disrespecting the LSAT

For Reading Comprehension
The Powerscore™ Reading Comprehension Bible

(This list is just the books that teach techniques, so it excludes practice tests, which of course you need for self-study no matter what, and explanations)

So that’s a bunch of books. Some cover the same material, just a bit differently. The Blueprint for LSAT Logic Games, for example, includes everything you need to know to do logic games. So does the Powerscore Logic Games Bible, but they teach it differently, each with unique diagramming techniques, tips, and strategies.

So which book should you choose? Or should you just get them all?

You obviously need at least one resource to teach you how to do each section type. However, I’ve noticed that many high scorers have used multiple books to attack the LSAT. This multiple-book approach appears to be the favored strategy among high-scoring self-studiers.

The thinking goes like this: if you study from several different books, each covering the same topic, you can pick out the techniques from each book that make the most sense to you, enabling you to customize your approach in a manner that works best for your thinking style. It’s a sensible approach, but it comes with some potential problems:

  • It might be difficult to choose among different techniques, and keeping track of all the choices you make can lead to confusion. If you use multiple books, you’ll run into situations where one book gives you one way to approach something & another book gives you a very different approach. In these cases, deciding which technique to go with is hard.
  • With logic games, in particular, you have to choose one diagramming technique for each type of rule and apply that consistently. Switching back and forth between methods is going to slow you down and cause you to make errors.
  • Time. Studying from multiple books is going to take longer.

So what should you do? Here’s how I’d approach each section…

Logical Reasoning

With logical reasoning, it’s good to hear anything that a thoughtful expert has to say about it. You never know which tips will resonate with your or which way of thinking is going to work best for you. Exposing yourself to a variety of approaches can give you something to latch on to that helps your logical reasoning strategy.

When I was studying, I was like a sponge for logical reasoning advice. I think that’s one of the things that helped me gain true mastery of the section. I went from having significant difficulties with LR at the beginning of my prep to being nearly perfect at the end, missing 0 to 1 questions per section on every single practice section.  Based on my personal experience, along with what I’ve seen working with LSAT students of mine, I’m a big proponent of soaking up a lot of advice on this section.

I would recommend drawing from at least a couple of different resources to learn logical reasoning. Learning how to navigate through differing approaches is likely to serve to strengthen your LR skills as you’re working with the problems.

Reading Comprehension

With reading comprehension, I don’t think it’s often necessary to get a ton of advice on the section to do well. Here’s what I would do with RC: try your skills out after you’ve learned strategy from just one source. Practice for a while. Only if you are having trouble improving, then you might want to go back to the drawing board and seek some other advice.

The point here is that reading comprehension requires a lot of practice to improve, and the improvements tend to come slowly. I don’t want people freaking out if things aren’t going great at first, then running around always looking for some magic techniques that don’t exist. The key is to be patient and build your skill on this section slowly.

Start with one resource (I like the Reading Comprehension Bible) and work off that. It should be enough for a majority of test takers to see maximum improvement. If by the midpoint of your prep, you are still struggling to make any gains, then you may want to seek some more resources.

Logic Games

The LG section is the tricky one. I think your decision whether to use a single LG prep book vs. multiple LG prep books is going to come down to learning style. Does the idea of knowing two different ways to do something freak you out or give you comfort?

Remember that you have to pick one way to approach a given task. For example, when you see the rule, “There is one spot in between G and F,” you have to know precisely how to represent that rule in your diagram. You must be able to do this quickly and consistently. If you’re juggling multiple approaches in your mind as you’re solving games, that is going to distract you from the task at hand.

On the other hand, different books provide their own set of tips and tricks, and a particular technique from one book might resonate with you more than another book.

Don’t think that you’ll necessarily be at a disadvantage using just one book per section type. With logic games, I confidently stuck with just the Logic Games Bible (LGB), used only their methods, and had excellent results. Josh didn’t know about the LGB until he’d already been studying for a while, so when he read it, he’d been using slightly different techniques. By incorporating the Logic Games Bible techniques

The two LG specific books the list above are both complete, comprehensive resources. Either one will give you all the tools you need to beat the section. However, if you think you like seeing things two ways and think it won’t get confusing, don’t hesitate to work with a couple of resources.

One more thing: If you feel that a particular prep company’s LG strategies just aren’t clicking for you, by all means, try something different (as long as it’s not Kaplan or Princeton review). However, make sure that you’ve given the strategies a fair chance. It takes more than a week to learn how to use new techniques. Make sure you’ve tried things out for at least a few weeks before you even consider a switch.

Also, realize that switching techniques can put you back a bit. By the last month of your LSAT study, you need to make sure that you’ve locked in your approach and you are consistently applying the same methods each time you work on a game. It is okay to refine your techniques by implementing minor tweaks, but it is probably a lousy idea to make any drastic changes during the final few weeks of your prep.

Using Multiple LSAT Books

Our LSAT study schedules give you a step-by-step outline of what to do using just the Powerscore books along with LSAT preptests. How do you add additional resources to the mix? For starters, I would recommend starting the schedule at least a few weeks early to give yourself plenty of time to work through the additional resources.

Then, I’d start working with the Powerscore Bibles, as outlined in the schedules. For each question type, you’ll want to read the PowerScore Bible first. Once you’ve gone through a chapter in the Powerscore Bible, you’ll be armed with some new techniques. Now you need to practice implementing those techniques on real LSAT questions. Drill at least 20 to 30 questions of that type first. Then, and only then, should you consider reviewing a secondary resource to get a different perspective on how to approach that question type.

Remember: the question type drilling is critical. If you don’t spend time implementing the first approach you learn, then learning a second approach isn’t going to be very helpful.

For example, you may want to bring in the LSAT Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia (‘Disrespecting The LSAT’) when you’re attacking the logical reasoning section. After you’ve learned how to approach a particular question type via the Logical Reasoning Bible and completed the practice drill questions, then open up the analogous section in “Disrespecting the LSAT”, and work through the problems in there as well.

Bear in mind the two books are kind of counterpoints to each other and will have very different advice. The techniques that you like and that make the most sense to you are going to kind of naturally come to the front of your mind. That’s totally okay.

In general, adding books is just business as usual: you read the instruction, do the problems, then seek out more practice using practice tests. Adding prep resources isn’t reinventing the wheel. Don’t freak out that there is some precise way to do it that is the only way to unlock your LSAT powers. Just follow the usual game plan: learn techniques, then practice them until they become a habit. When you get stuck, dig deeper by reviewing the relevant section in the bible or consulting a secondary resource.

There must be a thousand different ways to study for the LSAT successfully. That said, they’ve all got something in common: more time prepping and less time surfing the web. Now go hit the books! 😉

If you have any questions about how to organize your study, hit us up in the comments or on twitter @onlawschool. Also, if you’ve had experience with these LSAT books or any others, please feel free to discuss it the comments. Other readers will definitely appreciate hearing your story.

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University of Chicago, J.D., 2012 Ready to Kickstart your LSAT Prep? Join the LSAT Mastermind Study Group

29 Comments

  1. Hi Guys!

    I just want to let you both know that your site has been the greatest tool for my lsat preparation.

    I began studying for the June, 2014 lsat a few days ago. I have all of the Powerscore books and Workbooks as well as LSAT Superprep book.

    However, I was highly considering purchasing the Disrespecting the LSAT logical reasoning book and the Blueprint lsat trainer in addition to the other books.

    My question is, do you think I will have enough time to incorporate these books before June? ( I am following your 3 month study schedule)

    Thank you!

    • Hi Victoria,

      I would say that you aren’t going to have enough time to juggle all that before June and get the most out of it. I wouldn’t worry about buying the blueprint book certainly. Disrespecting the LSAT can be a good one to have as a reference whether you really use it all or not, so if you think it sounds useful, picking that up will be fine. However, I recommend only using it to target weak spots once you are a ways into your prep.

      Let us know if you are having any troubles fitting in all the stuff you already have!

    • Hi, Chelsea

      I’ve only looked over their logic games strategies, and while some of it is okay, I’m really not a fan of the way they want you to setup up games (doing everything in just the main diagram). I would recommend the blueprint for logic games instead. Similar symbol usage but better diagramming.

      I’ll try to check out their LR book and get back to you. From what I’ve heard it’s pretty good.

  2. Hey guys – thanks for all the valuable info you guys have been putting up on this blog. With regards to the Powerscore books, is there much variation between the various editions? What would be your advice on picking up one of the older editions (say 2007) vs. a new edition?

    Thanks again

  3. Hey, I am really enjoying this blog and finding it very helpful! I have a few questions. I am registered to take my lsats this June 2014. I am planning to sign up for a course called testmasters, have you heard anything about it and if so what? Also, I started studying since I will be in school and it will be hard to balance both school work and LSATS. I started with the LG bible book should I do the LG workbook after or move on to LR bible book? Thanks so much!!

    • Hi, Yostina,

      Testmasters has a good reputation. That said, I’m not personally familiar with their techniques so I can’t really give them my full stamp of approval.

      I would do the LG workbook right after you finish the LG bible to reinforce the skills right away.

  4. As with previous commenters, I have to thank you both first for providing this extremely valuable and encouraging blog. I took the LSAT a year ago after prepping for a few months with all three PowerScore Bibles. Unfortunately, I took the test with a sinus infection and didn’t do as well as I hoped. I also didn’t study near as intensely as I should have. Career things have since developed and I’ve somewhat delayed thoughts of law school (also somewhat in anticipation of the job market improving). However, I’m planning to retake February 2015 and this blog post could not have been better timed–I was already thinking of having a firm study plan ready for October. I like your idea of starting earlier with the Trainer, using the Fox and LR Bible together and using the RC Bible as needed. I think with the Trainer and LG Bible (2008) I will also be set. I will watch for updated versions of the Fox and Trainer, but will not plan to get the updated LG Bible (or any other updated PowerScores that are published) unless you definitely suggest it. Thanks again so much for this resource; I feel positive and (surprisingly) eager to study hard and do much better on this lovely test.

    • Thanks for checking in BL. It sounds like you have a solid plan. Yeah, you should be fine with the older LG bible in that case.

      Stay positive and let us know if you hit any snags when you get started.

  5. I recently bought the LGB which has been helpful so far, but if it’s my only resource is it sufficient to do very well on the logic games section or should I get another book?

    • It’s definitely sufficient. That’s all Josh and I used and we did fine! The LGB will give you a tool to attack every kind of problem.

      Don’t hesitate to review the book throughout your study. If at the midpoint of your LSAT study you are having trouble making progress on games, talk to us and we’ll see if we can suggest something.

    • Yeah, that’s in part why I wrote this post. I know a lot of people are going to go out and seek a bunch of different resources because that’s just how they usually learn. I just want to say that your not wrong to do this and it works for a ton of people.

      It’s lucky for the current LSAT generation that there are several good resources available. When I prepped in 2008 the Powerscore books were really the only decent books on the market.

  6. Choosing between which book to use proved to be a difficult predicament for me. While I’ve landed on the LSAT Trainer and the Power Score Books, I’ve often wondered if I was wasting my time. I’ve discovered that by reading each book cover to cover, I was able to pick and choose what strategies and approaches worked best for me.

    I also agree with needing more time to cover each book, as it has taken significantly longer than I intended.

    • Thanks Matt, yeah, the LSAT Trainer is 600 pages, which is no joke. Even working through that at full speed is going to be a week plus endeavor, and I recommend taking your time with it.

      Don’t worry, it’s not a waste of time to use different resources. See what I said to Doreen below.

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