Many people giving prep advice, particularly people selling it, are a little over-concerned with making LSAT prep students feel good about what they are doing to prepare to take the test. We here at LSI are more concerned that you get the best score you can.
This means doing what you should do, even if you might break down in tears and throw your LSAT prep books across the room a few times during your LSAT prep.
We take our gloves off in this post and hit you with five harsh truths about what you are doing wrong to study for the LSAT.
Harsh Truth #2
You May Have Wasted Time & Money On Terrible LSAT Prep Materials
If you are new to the LSAT prep world, you can be excused for not knowing this, but some LSAT prep companies have a much better reputation than others.
Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barron’s, and McGraw-Hill are all companies that really have no business teaching the LSAT. They are just throwing a lot of advertising dollars around and trading on their reputation for helping high school students prep for the ACT/SAT to make a quick buck. Kaplan isn’t as bad as the rest of them, but they are still second-rate. It’s a bit like Nike making skateboards. This isn’t their niche.
If you are thinking of going with these companies, don’t do it. No one is paying me to say this. Look around the internet, and you’ll see that other disinterested experts agree with me.
When I started my LSAT prep, I went out and bought everything that was at my local bookstore. Only later, when I wasn’t seeing the improvements that I was hoping to make, did I begin to do some serious research. I found that Powerscore’s Logic Games Bible was the top choice of most top-scorers. When my copy came in the mail, and I cracked it open, I quickly realized that it was hand’s down better than the other books that I had been using.
Even though I had already learned the Kaplan system, I decided to begin using PowerScore’s techniques instead. Only then did I begin to see real improvements in my LSAT score. Make the switch to better instructional materials, and you will see real benefits. Even if you are halfway or more through your LSAT studies, it isn’t too late to go over to a decent prep company. With logic games especially, it is of paramount importance that you have a good system. Diagramming logic games correctly helps you go faster, plain, and simple.
Go with books from a company that started in the LSAT world. Powerscore, Manhattan LSAT, Blueprint, Fox Test Prep – all of these companies carry good reputations for helping people get top scores on the LSAT. Of course, you also need a ton of actual, official LSAT Practice Tests.
Here is our list of LSAT books that we strongly recommend:
Harsh Truth #4
Your Practice Test Scores Might Be Inflated
You Can’t Expect To Hit Your PT average On The Day of the Real LSAT If You Don’t Simulate Exam Conditions. I was guilty of this sometimes during my LSAT prep, but really, don’t make it a habit.
If you’re doing simulated tests with only 4 sections and taking little breaks between sections to get up and stretch and get water, you aren’t really doing the test the way it will be on test day.
At least half the time you do full, simulated LSAT preptests, make sure you do it just how it will be on test day: add a fifth section from an older test to simulate an experimental section.
Do 3 timed sections without stopping, bam, bam, bam. Then take a break. After that, do two more timed sections without a break. Stop. You just did a simulated correctly.
If you don’t do this regularly, don’t expect to hit your practice test average on test day. You won’t have built up the proper stamina to think at full speed for the entire five sections. That said, it’s perfectly okay to often do just 4 sections with breaks in between.
My theory of test prep is that you have to get good at things under ideal conditions before you make it harder on yourself.
We’re Here to Help
We invite you to work with us for those shooting to do the very best possible on the LSAT. We run the LSAT Mastermind Group, a small group of motivated students who can help each other and rely on Josh and me for support. We are in the process of inviting a small number of highly motivated students aiming for the top, so join now if you are interested. Once you are in, you are in for life, with access to hundreds of lessons and weekly small group tutoring/coaching with some amazing students.
Now that I’ve played LSAT bad cop for a while let me point you toward some more soothing advice: how to relax and manage stress before the LSAT. While we aren’t your therapist, you may find it comforting that we are here to answer your LSAT and law school-related questions. If you need some real expert advice from someone who will give it to you straight up, ask us anything in the comments or on Twitter @onlawschool. Good luck!