Which LSAT books to use?

Good morning!

Or I guess it could be afternoon or evening, I’m not sure when you’re reading this.

Last time, I compared studying for the LSAT to getting lost: you might be moving, but if you’re moving in the wrong direction, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Today, I’d like to extend that metaphor a little bit. If you’re going on a trip, you’re going to need a good map. “But Steve,” you might protest, “I have my phone for that!”. 

To which I would like to remind you that Google Maps is still a map. 

Speaking of, do you remember the early days of GPS mapping when if you weren’t in a major city, your Garmin might direct you right off the highway and into a cornfield? 

Well, bad LSAT study materials are kind of like that.

BOOM! Look at that transition!

I can bring anything back to LSAT study, it’s a gift. Or maybe a curse, if you ask my relatives during any family function. Apparently, my Aunt Susie isn’t interested in discussing Logic Games.

Anyway, I digress. My point is if you are studying with sub-par materials then you are wasting time and energy. There are a LOT of study guides and books out there, and they are not all created equal.

Every head of a student re-using a paper they wrote for a different class? That’s essentially what Kaplan’s done YEAR AFTER YEAR. They use the same fake practice tests from a bunch of different prep books, including the GRE and GMAT.

The GRE and GMAT are definitely NOT the LSAT and you can’t study for one like you study for the others. But, they re-use the same practice questions anyway!

(Note: I reviewed the Kraplan book a bazillion years ago, so it might be different now, but these books typically change so little from year to year that it's not worth my time to review each year. Just...be careful.)

The Princeton Review did something just as bad (if not worse). Their Logic Games Workout book uses real LSAT questions that are reworded or reordered.

You might think this would make you more prepared, but it actually has the opposite effect.

Why? I have a whole article on why this is terrible, but the short answer is if you do the LGW and do poorly, then take an actual LSAT prep with essentially the same questions, of course you’re going to do better. You’ve seen those exact questions!

To oversimplify it a bit, it is the difference between memorizing that 5 x 5 is 25 and actually understanding how multiplication works. As soon as you get 9 x 7, you’re going to be stumped.

This is getting long, so I’ll keep this short and sweet: Barron’s has been re-using the same test questions for years (like since 1979!).

They did finally redid their LG book back in 2014, but from the reviews I’m reading it still has a lot of errors.

Here’s the bottom line: read the reviews on anything before you buy it. Do your homework. Buy from a source you trust. You’re spending a lot of time and money on prepping for the LSAT, so spend it wisely.

Here are the LSAT materials that I endorse 100%:

You'll be glad you used them.

Study hard, study smart!

Steve, the LSAT Librarian

Recommended Resources:

1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT materials with my full curriculum for each section, including video courses, guides, and study plans to keep you on track. You can save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. LSAT Explanations
The explanations that should have come with the LSAT. These don't just fall back on "out of scope," but actually tell you why the wrong answers are wrong, why the right answers are right, and the easiest way to get the correct answer.

3. LSAT Cheat Sheets
Based on what I'd typically do in college: read what the professor emphasized and condense it all onto a single piece of paper. It gave me a quick reference, making things a lot less threatening and a lot more manageable.

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