Test preparation is typically pretty straightforward. The student reviews the material covered by the test, memorizing the information that will help them successfully answer the test's questions. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a very different kind of test interested students will need to seek out LSAT-specific materials to prepare.
The LSAT tests reading comprehension and the student's ability to reason logically. As a result, the test does not ask the student to recall memorized materials and instead checks the student's ability to analyze arguments. This makes it a particularly difficult test to prepare for. A good starting point is to look at materials provided by the company responsible for the LSAT. Below you will find a discussion of LSAT prep resources for your consideration.
What Official Materials are Available?
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is the organization that designs and administers the LSAT. The company provides official test books and online materials including sample questions with explanations, examples of tests and test questions from past years.
Although the specific questions change every year, the structure of the test and the kinds of questions asked are very similar from year to year. LSAC recommends taking tests under testing conditions, using the time constraints and other conditions that are part of the LSAT test-taking procedure.
What About Test Preparation Companies?
Some students may prefer to pay a test preparation company to assist with their study. Companies and the services they provide vary greatly. Some may provide materials they generated to help guide your study, while others use materials licensed from the LSAC. Some companies may provide one-on-one guidance, while others are held in a lecture hall with very little personal attention given.
Since the LSAT is focused on testing the student's thinking processes rather than a body of knowledge it is very difficult to determine how much study a person requires, or the kind of study that might best help them. Having a solid understanding of your needs as a student and the environment that will be most conducive to preparing for the test will be critical to choosing the right test preparation company, or deciding to study on your own.
Some well-known LSAT test prep companies include:
Is There an App For That?
It seems like there's an app for everything and LSAT test prep hasn't been overlooked. Studying for the LSAT using an app has some obvious limitations. Instead of a classroom with a teacher you can ask questions or other students to trade study tips with you may have your phone or tablet and little else. That said, apps are much cheaper than LSAT classes, which can cost thousands of dollars and some programs offer additional services that more closely approximate the LSAT test prep course experience.
On the other hand, LSAT app creators are not subject to any regulation and the quality of the materials they offer may vary greatly. Some (but not all) of the app makers also maintain an online presence, allowing you to continue your studies on a desktop computer. The following is a short list of LSAT apps that users found helpful:
- LSATMax -- a free app with video lessons, a community board, and instructors to answer questions;
- Magoosh -- a free flashcard-based study tool; and
- 7Sage LSAT Prep App -- a free app with study tools, test tracking, and instructional videos.
Preparing for the LSAT and law school involves making a lot of important decisions with very little information. Fortunately, FindLaw for law students provides resources to help you learn more about the LSAT, law school, and the bar exam.