If you are thinking about throwing a thousand dollars or more in to an online prep course or a live course, it may have crossed your mind “why does this cost so much?” It’s a fair question. Basically, it boils down to one thing: huge markups on LSAT prep questions. In this post, we’ll explain exactly why these courses are so expensive & show you how to avoid overpaying!
The company that makes the LSAT is called the Law School Admission Council or, more commonly, simply “LSAC”. Despite the somewhat official sounding name and the .org domain name, make no mistake: LSAC needs to make some money to keep doing what they do. That isn’t terribly hard given that they have a perfect monopoly on tests-that-gets-you-into-law-school in both America and Canada. If you want to go to law school, you have to go through them.
Students of economics will know that whereas a company in competition with others must sell its goods at the market price, a monopoly creates the market, and can sell at whatever price it wants. They set the cost at whatever price will bring in the most revenue.
The same monopoly pricing applies if you want to look at a single LSAT question before you walk in to take that exam. Each and every LSAT question you’ll ever see is reprinted with the permission of LSAC, with a licensing fee paid. If any LSAT prep company wants to show you a prep problem, they have to pay up to the test makers.
And it is expensive.
A prep company whose name will remain unmentioned gives you the following with their basic online course:
- 300+ real LSAT questions
- 9 real LSAT exams
So 9 full preptests, plus 300 additional questions pulled from other preptests is equivalent to a total of about 12 preptests. That’s 12 preptests out of the 70 or so that are in print.
Now, if you want to add some more prep questions, and go up to the next level of the prep course, you get basically the same course, but now you can access…
- 600+ real LSAT questions
- 23 LSAT exams
…but it’s going to cost you an extra $150 dollars for essentially the same course. It’s about fifteen more preptests, which works out to a clean, even ten bucks a preptest.
Now, if you were to buy those same preptests direct from LSAC, who sells them on Amazon, it will only cost you just $2 per preptest. What gives?
Well, behind the scenes, LSAC charges more to that prep company to license these tests than they charge you to buy them directly– as much as $6 per preptest. It’s a way of making sure that if you buy the preptests alone, you buy them from LSAC. It’s also a way of making sure that prep companies add real value such as explanations and training to go along with the preptests. Otherwise, they could not justify their higher price point. LSAC can charge this big licensing fee because they’ve got a monopoly hold on these prep companies.
However, that only explains part of the mark up. After they pay up the $4-$6 to license the preptest from LSAC, the prep company adds another $4-$6 on top of that! In total, you end up paying somewhere between $10 and $12 for the exact same preptest that you can buy on amazon for $2. It’s a big part of how they make their profits. That price is all wrapped up with price for the other services they provide, so it is harder to see, but it’s there.
Basically you have a choice: either buy those preptest at $2 a pop on Amazon, or pay A LOT more to access them through a prep company.
“But I Don’t Have A Choice About Buying A Prep Course. That’s What Everyone Does.”
Right? Nope. Almost everyone I met at my school, U Chicago, actually just studied on their own. It’s the same at other top 5 schools. If you are able to self-motivate, you’ll suffer no disadvantage from prepping without the course.
You can get everything that you would get from a full course much cheaper by getting it all separately, rather than together. A good course typically has three major components: the LSAT preptests, explanations for the questions, and material to teach you how to do the problems. Here’s where to get it all at a lower price.
Here a list of every LSAT preptest available, with links to the cheapest place to get it. Amazon sells them cheaper than LSAC does on their site. Why? Because that’s just Amazon’s modus operandi.
If you buy LSAT explanations that come with the test, guess what? You are paying that same crazy licensing fee plus a nice hefty extra profit for the maker of the explanations. Here for example, is an explanation of LSAT preptest 63 for $30. The author probably pays about $4 to LSAC for that and the rest is their mark up. They are decent explanations, but he has only made three of them… and you can do this a lot cheaper…
Here is the same preptest for under $2 (!) as part of a compilation of 10: 10 New Actual Official LSATs.
Now for the explanations part. Here are full explanations of 10 preptests for just about two dollars a pop. By purchasing the LSAT preptests directly on amazon & adding these stand-alone explanations, your total cost is much much lower!
These are from Graeme Blake’s “LSAT Hacks,” the top-selling LSAT explanations on Amazon (with a 5 start rating). Since, they come separate from the test, you don’t have to pay the hefty licensing fee. Seems like the smart move to me.
Graeme has made explanations that cover every question from LSAT Preptests 29-38 and 64-71. Josh and I really support what Graeme is doing by making the highest quality explanations available cheaply, so make sure you check them out.
Graeme’s Blake LSAT Hacks explanations available for instant download!
Now Here Is The Really Smart Move:
Our mastermind group comes with hundreds of LSAT explanations, and you can request a personal explanation for any problem/game that you find difficult!
It’s $159 for all the explanations and life time access to our study group. Click here to join now!
Josh and I were thinking for a while about how to bring you all the advantages of having a LSAT teacher, tutor, and coach for a small fraction of the price you pay for an LSAT course. If you want to avoid the huge expense, and still get top quality training, this is our solution. For the price of an hour with a professional LSAT tutor, you get…
Lifetime Access to our Mastermind Study Group including:
– Any other LSAT question you want explained, done on demand
– Thousands of existing explanations
– Any question about LSAT prep or law school admissions, answered by myself or Josh
– Access to our private forum where you can talk with us and other group members, all of them focused on getting a high score, not trolling (trust me, it’s a way friendlier, more supportive environment than TLS)
– Access to all of our premium schedules, with help if you need to modify your plan
– Access to all our premium lessons and webinars. There is a ton in there already, and we are building more all the time
Join the LSAT Mastermind Group
All you bring is the LSAT preptests, which you buy yourself (thus avoiding those hefty licensing fees), and our favorite study guides: The LSAT Trainer, and the Logic Games Bible and Logical Reasoning Bible.
Taken together, this is the least expensive way to get everything you would get out of a course. More really, because I guarantee when you take a live course, you won’t be talking with the CEO. With our Mastermind Study Group, you are in constant contact with myself and Josh, not some employee who is killing time before they go to law school in the fall.
Why do prep courses cost so much? Part of it is clearly on LSAC, but at the end of the day prep companies charge so much because they can. After a year plus of giving free advice, we saw a way to bring you everything they can at a fraction of the cost.
We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to helping you succeed on this all important test!
Great article. Will join this group if I get the money together. Excellent value. Thanks for the resources!
Are Graeme Blake’s LSAT Explanations still included in the LSAT Mastermind Study Group like they were (as listed above) when this was written in September?
“Lifetime Access to our Mastermind Study Group including:
– All of Graeme’s “LSAT Hacks” explanations”