It’s been roughly 7 months since I gathered around a hundred or so other law school hopefuls to pour my brain into the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Unlike many of the other graduate level admissions tests out there, the LSAT is still taken entirely on paper (as opposed to on a computer) and is only offered a handful of times every year (instead of the GRE which you can practically waltz into a testing center and take at your convenience provided you have an appointment).
About the LSAT
For all official information regarding the LSAT you can reference the LSAC website. Prior to registering for the LSAT you will need to create an account with LSAC. You will also use your LSAC account to apply to law schools and send your LSAT score later on. The LSAT is given four times a year in September/October, December, February and June.
What Costs are associated with the LSAT?
At the bare minimum you will need to pay to take the LSAT ($180) and pay for the Credential Assembly Service ($185). Many students will choose to take the LSAT more than once and sending your LSAT scores to potential law schools is $35 a pop. Law school is expensive so it seems fitting that the LSAT for law school entrance starts by prepping students to spend inordinate gobs of money on what seems like made up services (ha!). Fee waivers are available and can cut down on LSAT related costs substantially so it is worth applying if you think you may qualify.
Study materials for the LSAT can also add up quickly. LSAT workbooks come from a variety of test prep companies and start at roughly $20. LSAT courses can be purchased online (usually at a bit of a discount) or in person. Class prices differ but it is average for a class to cost anywhere from $1000-$1500. Many students find an LSAT prep course helpful as it holds them accountable and provides a study plan and a teacher to answer any of your questions.
What did you use to Study for the LSAT?
Thinking LSAT Podcast
Listen here or subscribe on iTunes
Nathan & Ben, two LSAT teachers host a biweekly podcast all about studying for the LSAT and applying for law school. When I first started studying for the LSAT I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t have any close friends or family members who had gone to law school or who were studying for the LSAT at the same time as me. I think I googled “podcasts about LSAT” and was happy to discovered “Thinking LSAT”. During most episodes Ben & Nathan discuss common LSAT questions (sent in from listeners), LSAT news (yeah, that’s really a thing), the law school application process and general LSAT study tips. Towards the end of each episode they go in depth working through one LSAT practice question. As an added bonus Nathan and Ben broke down which LSAT courses not to take, which companies are reputable. I chose Blueprint because of their recommendation and threw out the Kaplan book I bought initially as they both had a lot of issues with the Kaplan curriculum and the way Kaplan teaches the LSAT.
This podcast was my Bible for three months, I swear. I listened at work, in the car, at the gym, etc. The Thinking LSAT podcast broke down the test taking process including the day of rules/schedule/etc. I didn’t realize how much it would help me to familiarize myself with test taking procedures until I noticed other test takers getting psyched out and reprimanded for breaking silly rules (like bringing a water bottle that was too big to the testing center) while I was cool and relaxed. I highly, highly recommend the Thinking LSAT podcast for anyone getting ready to take the test.
A Cadre of Experts: An LSAT Novel
Find A Cadre of Experts: An LSAT Novel on Amazon or Audible.
While I was studying for the LSAT I was working at a job that allowed me to listen to podcasts/audiobooks/music/whatever all day long. I made the most of my time at work by listening to podcasts (like the one mentioned above) and books throughout the day. I bought A Cadre of Experts on Audible prior to any studying as an introduction to the LSAT. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The book, in novel format, tells the fictional story of Alexandra as she begins studying for the LSAT until she takes the test and applies for law school. The story is a little cheesy but much more interesting than just reading a list of LSAT study tips. I thought it was entertaining to learn about study tips through a story. I found I recalled the study tips more accurately because I thought of the tips in terms of the story.
As I mentioned previously I didn’t know much about the LSAT or law school admissions prior to studying so A Cadre of Experts helped me understand all the basics while providing valuable information and study tips. I listened to the book once before I studied at all and a second time after I’d been studying for a month or two. This book was helpful but definitely not a “must read”. If you’re like me and had a lot of time to “listen” but not necessarily “read” I think this book is a great addition to a study plan. If you are choosing between actual study time with practice problems and reading A Cadre of Experts definitely go with the practice exams. All of the LSAT novels out there are no substitute for real practice!
I enrolled in the Blueprint live LSAT prep course. The course met 3-4 times a week for 2.5 months leading up to the December LSAT. Each class session was long (4 hours) and in between classes there was online homework assigned. The course content was helpful, no doubt about that, but all class materials were available online and in the workbooks. Since lessons were available online and I didn’t have many questions for the instructor I personally felt I should have saved a few hundred dollars and taken the online Blueprint course instead of the in person Blueprint course (especially since my brain was dead during the last hour of class, 9:00-10:00 PM). If you are pretty good at learning material on your own (or have successfully taken online courses before) I recommend considering the online version of the course as a way to save a little money, you’ll need it for law school (;
Overall I thought the course was incredibly helpful. Blueprint had entertaining online videos to break down concepts as well as specific questions. There were practice questions, quizzes and even games to encourage students to study for the LSAT. I thought the online videos were really helpful for explaining concepts I didn’t understand and I used the online practice questions constantly (all questions are real questions from past LSAT exams).
Nathan Fox Logic Games Playbook
The Logic Games section of the LSAT was the most confusing to me right off the bat. I also knew that the games section was the easiest to improve on from listening to the Thinking LSAT podcast. Nathan Fox, one of the Thinking LSAT Podcast hosts has a series of books for helping prepare for the LSAT. I believe he uses the books for his classes but you can also buy the books individually on Amazon. I used the The Fox LSAT Logic Games Playbook and tried to order the The Fox LSAT Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia: Disrespecting the LSAT but accidentally ordered another copy of The Logic Games book #FAIL. I found Nathan’s book really helpful as he broke down real LSAT logic games step by step providing thorough explanations on how to get to every correct answer. This book really helped me to noticeably improve at the logic games.
I haven’t used any of Nathan Fox’s other books but I assume they are all equally fabulous. They can be found on Amazon as well:
Official Practice Tests
All LSAT students want to use official practice tests to study. If nothing else I suggest you pick up a book of 10 practice tests which can be purchases from LSAC or on Amazon. Most experts recommend using the more recent tests before using the older tests. Here are a few of the test booklets:
The following resources don’t necessarily have to do with the LSAT but are good resources if you are thinking about law school.
Are there services you wish you had used or would recommend that you did not use?
Of course the most well informed advice comes from materials I have actually used and courses I actually purchased, that being said I have heard really good things about the following courses/books:
Nathan Fox’s Prep Course: Online or In Person in Los Angeles & the Bay Area
I used one of Nathan’s books (The Logic Games Playbook) and listened to the Thinking LSAT Podcast. I definitely wish I would have known about his online course options beforehand.
Ben Olsen’s Strategy Prep Course: Online or In Person in Washington D.C.
I listened to Ben on the Thinking LSAT Podcast and can definitely vouch that he knows his material!
I am currently in the process of studying for my first law exam so it honestly feels weird to reflect on the LSAT. I started studying at the end of August last year and took the December LSAT a couple months later. Leaving the test room felt like such a big accomplishment! Though I have taken loads of standardized tests in my academic career the LSAT felt different, more serious, like so much was at steak. If you have taken the LSAT I would love to read about what you used to study. If you’re currently studying for the LSAT, good luck! At times the LSAT can make you feel defeated but your persistence will pay off!