LSAT Prep Books & Self-Study – How I got a 177 on the LSAT

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Joshua, How did you get a 177 on the LSAT? It would be helpful to know for my preparation efforts how you achieved your score increase and how quickly your score increased. My first diagnostic was 155 and I’ve studied for four weeks. I take my next timed practice test this weekend, but I’m not expecting a large increase. Any information you can offer would be much appreciated — and most likely life-changing. Thanks for giving me hope.

 

 

joshua_craven

Joshua Craven
UChicago Law School
J.D., Class of 2012

First of all, I’m glad you are feeling hopeful and inspired. That is a fantastic attitude to have when you are prepping for the LSAT.

A high LSAT score is, indeed, quite life-changing. An LSAT score above 175 can get you into a top 5 law school—on the largest scholarship they offer. It certainly did for me. But I did work hard to get there.

My first diagnostic score was similar to (actually below) yours. I scored in the 152-153 range on my initial diagnostic LSAT. With about 3 months of LSAT prep, I was able to score a 177 on the actual exam.

It is possible to increase your LSAT score by 20 points or more, but it is going to take some hard work. I was able to do it, but the large increase in my LSAT score did not happen overnight. It took me weeks of prep to increase my LSAT score from a 153 into the 165+ range. Once I was consistently scoring in the 165+ range, it took me a solid 4 weeks of 40-hour-per-week LSAT prep to increase my LSAT score into the 175+ range.

As far as what I did to increase my LSAT score: although it is difficult to summarize within a few paragraphs, I will do my best below. Check out my full 3-month LSAT study schedule for a detailed step-by-step guide.

LSAT SELF-STUDY vs. LSAT PREP COURSE

I chose to self-study rather than taking an LSAT course. I made the decision to teach myself the LSAT for a few reasons.

First, when I was in undergrad, I generally found that I was able to learn the required material by reading the textbook rather than listening to lectures. Perhaps that is just my learning style, but I was always able to absorb the material better when I read it myself rather than listening to a professor lecture about it for hours.

Second, I had the discipline to make an LSAT study schedule for myself and stick to it. At an early stage in my LSAT prep, I was able to recognize how important my LSAT preparation efforts would be, and how important it was for me to adhere to a strict schedule.

If you learn better by listening to lectures, or if you find it difficult to maintain the self-discipline required to adhere to a strict self-study schedule, then you may find an LSAT prep course to be a helpful supplement to your LSAT prep study.

GET THE BEST LSAT PREP BOOKS

The key to prepping for the LSAT, in my opinion, is selecting the right materials to study with. If you try to study with the wrong set of books, then you may see a modest increase in your score, but you will probably spend most of your time simply spinning your wheels.

When this post was first published, you could get all 9 of the LSAT prep books that helped me improve my LSAT score by 25 points for a total of about $240. For current pricing, click here to view all 9 books in an Amazon shopping cart.

These books should be pretty much all you need to prepare for the LSAT. If you don’t have at least a majority of these LSAT prep books, then it will be very tough to see a significant increase in your LSAT score.

So here are the top 9 books that I think you MUST HAVE to prep for the LSAT

Buy anything on that list and you wont be wasting your money… those books helped me earn a 25 point increase in my LSAT score, and were the key to my 177.

TAKE PLENTY OF REAL, TIMED LSAT PREPTESTS

Start with the LSAT Superprep to familiarize yourself with the general ins and outs of the LSAT. Then use the Powerscore bibles (LGB / LRB / RCB) to get the basics of each section down. Work through one section at a time (since Logical Reasoning accounts for a full 50% of your score, that’s generally where I’d recommend starting).

Once you have worked through the Bible, start using the real LSAT preptests from the list above to drill yourself and keep refining your skills as well as your timing. Start with older LSAT preptests from the “10 Actual Official” books, saving more recent exams to use as full, timed LSAT practice tests closer to exam day.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW I GOT A 177

I cannot stress the importance of getting feedback throughout your LSAT prep efforts. Keep working and keep asking questions. There is much to learn, and those of us who have taken the LSAT and scored in the top 99.9 percentile have tons of advice to offer. This website is here to help.

Take advantage of the free resources offered here, and ask questions in the comments so that I can help guide you along your path to LSAT greatness. If you’re looking for a little extra help, join me in the LSAT mastermind study group.

Additional Reading:

Logic Games

Logical Reasoning

Reading Comprehension

General

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198 Comments

  1. Hi. I have been studying for the LSAT for some months now, and I am still struggling on RC. I miss about 5 questions on each section. I am trying to set a goal of missing zero; however, I am content with missing one or two, since I am strong in the LG and LR areas. Any feedback or opinion on how I can decrease the number of missed questions on RC?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Tanika,

      Evan here. RC is really tough. Gains in that section tend to come only through familiarity earned by lots of practice. Are you taking it in October? I might go back over old tests and see if there is any pattern to the questions you are missing, then try to relearn that question type from the RC bible. Is speed the issue or just accuracy? For the record, I had turned in what was for me a bad score on the RC, a -4, and still managed to get a 173 (usually I missed 1 or 2), so really good scores are still possible even with a poor showing in RC relative to the other sections.

      Good job getting to this point. It seems like you are well on your way to a very solid score!

      • YES I AM TAKING THE TEST IN OCTOBER. AND THE QUESTIONS THAT IT SEEMS LIKE IM HAVING A HARD TIME GRASPING INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUTHOR. QUESTIONS SUCH AS, THE AUTHOR WOULD MOST LIKELY AGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT OR IT WILL HAVE A FEW WORDS THAT I MAY NOT KNOW THE DEFINITION. AND QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PASSAGE WOULD ANSWER WHICH ONE OF THE QUESTIONS. SPEED IS NOT A HUGE ISSUE, BUT IT DOES PLAY A LITTLE PART BECAUSE AFTER TAKING A LOT OF TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE THIRD PASSAGE THAN IT FORCES ME TO HAVE LESS TIME TO REALLY UNDERSTAND PASSAGE 4. AND THAT GOES ALONG WITH ACCURACY.

  2. So it took me a long time to finally decide to take the LSATS as I believed Law School was going to be a long and extremely costly shot. After further discussion, I came to the conclusion that I would lose more by not applying than I would by taking the test and seeing where that leads me.

    Simply put, my question is are all 10 books recommended here to get a good score for the LSATS or are the top 5 books good enough?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Yes, you really need nearly all of them. The idea is that you need the bibles to teach you the techniques. After that, you should do nearly every published prep question as practice. That is what this list enables you to do. Leave any available practice out of your prep and you run the risk that you haven’t hit your potential. The cost of LSAT prep, particularly self-study, is a tiny investment when you consider the potential payouts (thousands of dollars in scholarships, better job opportunities, etc.)

  3. I have been studying for the Oct. LSAT since early July. My diagnostic score was about 154. I am currently scoring anywhere between 163 and 165 (with one exception, the June 2001 LSAT, on which I scored 171) consistently but am hopeful that I can reach 170 before test day!

    RC is definitely my strongest section. I typically miss 1 or 2 questions in this section on each preptest. On LR I will miss anywhere from 2-6 questions. I am very inconsistent on this section. Sometimes it’s a breeze, and other times I fumble my way through it.

    FInally, games probably gives me the most trouble. I’ve tried to focus my attention on this section and have managed to keep improving with repetition, however, I have only recently begun taking recent LSATs and have found that this section has evolved considerably over time.
    How can I defeat games and be more consistent on LR? What are your suggestions for my final month of studying?
    Looking forward to hearing from the LSAT king himself!

    Lauren

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi Lauren,

      Evan here. Sorry, Josh is on his honeymoon so I have comment duty even though I’m in China for the month 🙂

      First off, good job on getting your scores to that point. Definitely another self-study success story in the making.

      For LR my recommendation is to make sure you are reviewing the questions the right way, i.e. you aren’t looking at the answer until you can describe to yourself why you picked your final answer and why the other answer choices are inferior. Still do them on the first pass under timed conditions, but do this thorough review before you look at the answers.

      With logic games, I think the really important thing to do is just keep hammering them and hope it clicks. I wish there was more to it but it sounds like you have the fundamentals down. Lots of practice is what will move you over the finish line. The best thing to do is have days where you basically do games until your eyes bleed. Maybe twice a week do at least five hours of games even if it means you have to hit some older ones (for me, I knew I did games hard enough if I was still seeing variables flying around in my head when I laid down to go to sleep). The ‘click’ should happen sooner or later for you if you keep giving it extra attention.

  4. Great post.

    I graduated with a Master’s degree on May and so far getting a job on my field has been impossible.

    I was between Law School and PHD. Finally decided to go for law school.

    I love your study plan idea, however, I have a question:

    How do you study 40 hrs a week when you work 80, as it is my case?

    Do you think 4 daily hours would do some magic?

    Thank you!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Diana,

      It’s definitely tough to self-study when you have an intense job. My recommendation is that you look at our study schedule: http://lawschooli.com/lsat-study-schedule/ and do that within a ~5 month time frame.

      In that case, I’d guess most days you would probably be doing about 2 hours of prep and 3-4 hours a couple days a week. Make sure that you do occasionally mix in intense days with more study (maybe one day a weekend) Also, when you get to the tail end of your LSAT prep you must schedule in the time it takes to do full simulated tests.

  5. Struggling for that 170 on

    Hi Josh and Evan,

    I am registered for the October LSAT. I am averaging at 165, however, I am desperately hoping in these last weeks to hit and reach a 170 on test day, having done so only once. I am trying to stick to a 40 hour a week schedule, taking tests 3-4 times a week. My problems are not specific; basically any of the “difficult” questions will get me. I would appreciate ANY advice you have for a struggling LSATer who has hit the wall of hopelessness. THANK YOU.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well, first, you sound just a little bit stressed out. Focusing on the prep is great, but maybe try some sports and meditation too. Make sure that when you aren’t simulating a test you take lots of little breaks in your study.

      To deal with those difficult problems, try mixing in a little untimed prep back into your schedule and also remember to properly review each and every question you find hard. We’ve got some tips on that here: http://lawschooli.com/reviewing-an-lsat-practice-test/

      Beyond that, you want to just keep doing what you are doing. A lot of people make big strides in the last month so there is still time for things to click.

  6. I am an incoming junior in college and I want to start prepping for the June 2014 LSAT. What type of schedule do you suggest I follow?

  7. Daniel E. Mills on

    I would like to know how I go about registering to take the LSAT, as to I have finished my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice/Paralegal. I am interested in this program, all programs involved, and preparation to take the LSAT as well.
    Just wanting basic feedback on all areas to taking the LSAT, as well as having great aspirations of applying to LAW School afterwards.

  8. What would be an example of a study schedule i should follow? Do you recommend spending at least a month on logical reasoning, than another month on logic games and so forth ?

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